Niagara Regional Council votes to reprimand Mayor Dave Bylsma following comments made on CKTB
After a very lengthy discussion, including an hour in camera, Niagara's Regional Council has voted to reprimand West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma for comments he made on CKTB about various marginalized groups.
As part of their reprimand, Council voted to have Bylsma removed from any agencies, boards, and commissions where he represents the region for the rest of 2021.
Last June, Mayor Bylsma was invited to join Matt Holmes' show to talk about why West Lincoln was the only municipality in Niagara not to fly the Pride flag.
In the interview, Bylsma said many controversial things, including how he didn't understand what marginalized groups were still fighting for.
A Better Niagara's Ed Smith filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner over the comments, and council reviewed the IC's report at council this evening.
The Integrity Commissioner's report, which can be read here, states:
"Specifically, we have found the Respondent Councillor’s employment of the retort “All Lives Matter” in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement; his dismissiveness of the challenges of equity-seeking people (“What are they still fighting for? […] Or have they won?”); and his comments about the Six Nations of the Grand River community at Six Nations Reserve #40 (“That's what securing and acknowledging Indigenous rights has produced. This military style opposition when they feel that they have been wronged, they take up arms…”) are discriminatory in nature. "
Responding to the report at council, Bylsma says he doesn't find anything inherently offensive about All Lives Matter, and says as a Christian man with 9 children who are homeschooled, he feels marginalized.
Bylsma says he hears that his colleagues are asking for an apology, but he has lived his whole life on the principle of 'All Lives Matter', and ultimately, did not apologize for any of the comments made on 610CKTB.
St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik says they could argue semantics all they want, but 'All Lives Matter' is used a dog whistle for white supremacy.
The motion was broken down into three segments: one for the report to be received and considered, one for the report to be circulated to the township of West Lincoln, and one for the Mayor to be removed from agencies, boards, and commissions where he represents Niagara until the end of the year.
All sections passed.
9 councillors voted against Bylsma's removal from agencies and boards, they included Jim Diodati, Barb Greenwood and Peter Nicholson all from Niagara Falls.
Councillors Albert Witteveen, Gary Zalepa, Tim Rigby, Marv Junkin, Tom Insinna and Wayne Fertich also didn't support the reprimand.
See Bylsma's response to council, and CKTB's council play-by-play, below:
NIAGARA COUNCIL | Delegate Ed Smith addresses Regional Council regarding report on West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma. Read about the Integrity Commissioner's report here: https://t.co/uN98eJQYQ3 pic.twitter.com/vq6V9OBx7n— NewsTalk 610 CKTB (@610CKTB) January 21, 2021