Coun. Janz facing complaint over retweet calling police officer a 'pig'

New councillor Michael Janz is sworn in, in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday October 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

An Edmonton city councillor on Monday both apologized for a social media post he shared and called an attempt to have him sanctioned for it a "smear job."

On May 29, Janz retweeted a post from a man in Calgary who referred to a police officer as a "pig."

The Ward papastew representative said he did so to highlight what he feels were instances of policing favouring drivers over cyclists. Janz claims he didn't initially notice the "pig" reference but deleted it when he was made aware of it.

"I apologize to anyone who was offended by this and who has concerns with it…Twitter moves fast. You make spelling errors, you make mistakes, you delete them, you move on," Janz said in an interview with CTV News Edmonton.

Integrity Commissioner Jamie Pytel is now looking into the matter as a code of conduct complaint, Janz said.

The man who filed the complaint said Janz sharing the tweet was "very disrespectful" to members of the Edmonton Police Service.

"Cut the derogatory language like 'pigs.' You know, we see in the public, we get the sense (Janz) has a hate for the police. I want them to be resolved," resident Thomas Deak told CTV News Edmonton.

Earlier this year, Janz was cleared by Pytel for tweets critical of police. The Edmonton Police Association launched the complaint in that case. The commissioner concluded that Janz was exercising an opinion on a topic of public interest.

Janz said he felt the new complaint was an effort to silence him.

"This whole thing feels like a bit of a fishing trip. It's a vexatious waste of taxpayers time and dollars," he said. "Anyone who's on social media knows that retweets are not endorsements."

Edmonton's Council Code of Conduct requires councillors to "conduct themselves with decorum at all times" and refrain from "disrespectful" language towards others.

A violation of the code could lead to a councillor being forced to apologize or required to attend "specialized training." Councillors can also be suspended from certain roles, if a council vote approves that.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Chelan Skulski