London, Ont. mayor filing complaint against fellow council member

The Mayor of London says he will be filing a complaint with the integrity commissioner against a fellow member of city council.

During Monday’s Middlesex-London Health Unit COVID-19 briefing, Ed Holder commented on an anti-vaccine mandate rally that was held in Victoria Park over the weekend, saying, “It's not lost on me as well, that a member of city council not only attended but spoke at this event on Saturday. Unfortunately I'm not surprised, but I am horribly disappointed.”

Known for using colourful language in the past to describe anti-mask or anti-vaccine rallies, this time, Holder said, “Most of these people who showed up at Victoria Park over the weekend aren’t even from London…Instead, they pull like-minded knuckle draggers from across Ontario…”

While Holder didn’t name which councillor he was referring to who attended the rally, he goes on to say that “He's [the councillor] openly and visibly defying and undermining council policy by virtue of his participation.”

According to Holder, council doesn’t have the ability to sanction a fellow councillor and says the legality of the process in terms of outcomes is a function of the integrity commissioner.

When asked specifically if he would be filing a complaint, Holder said, “…Can anyone file a complaint, the answer is yes. Will I file a complaint? The answer is yes.”

On Sept. 14, city council directed staff to develop a draft COVID-19 vaccination policy for council members that will be similar to the policy recently implemented for city employees.

It would require an attestation from all 15 members of council that they are either fully vaccinated or have a health or Human Rights exemption.

Potential violations of the policy would be sent to the Integrity Commission for investigation. If a council member was found in contravention, council could impose consequences ranging from a verbal reprimand to a suspension of pay.

As CTV News London reported earlier this month, Councillor Michael Van Holst is inviting those who share his beliefs when it comes to COVID-19, to join his creed.

The Ward 1 Councillor confirms to CTV News London that he attended the weekend rally saying, “A freedom rally seemed like a good opportunity to speak to people who would be interested in the [creed] website, so I went and read the creed to them.”

Van Holst previously stated the “Order of Freedom” was launched online to provide what he believes will be a Human Rights exemption to COVID-19 vaccine policies.

— With files from CTV London's Daryl  Newcombe