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Hamilton’s integrity commissioner suggests LGBTQ2 committee chair step down

The chair of Hamilton's LGBTQ advisory committee, Cameron Kroetsch, says he will not step down from the post despite the recommendation from the city's integrity commissioner in a report.
The chair of Hamilton's LGBTQ advisory committee, Cameron Kroetsch, says he will not step down from the post despite the recommendation from the city's integrity commissioner in a report. Cameron Kroetsch / Facebook

The chair of Hamilton’s LGBTQ2 advisory committee says he will not be resigning from his volunteer post despite a recommendation from the city’s integrity commissioner to do so.

In a report from the city clerk’s office, the commissioner suggested Cameron Kroetsch resign from the position saying his actions undermined the relationship
between the advisory committee and city council.

“He can likely more effectively pursue his advocacy efforts without the constraints of the city’s committee governance structure,” the commission said in the release.

Read more: Hamilton LGBTQ2 residents react to Pride 2019 review: ‘We knew that we were right about this’

The report stems from a formal complaint from the city in March filed against Kroetsch through the integrity commissioner.

The release points to a Global News Radio 900 CHML interview in which Kroetsch allegedly criticized the city’s selection process in appointments to the Hamilton police services board (HPSB), accused the city of a cover-up and generally disparaged council.

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The allegations also revolve around a tweet from Kroetsch in February of 2020 which contained text of a public motion passed by the LGBTQ advisory committee that “improperly” disclosed personal information contrary to the advice of the city clerk and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act.

“This we consider to be a breach of Rules 1 and 2 of the code of conduct, respecting good conduct and communications,” the commissioner’s report said.

Kroetsch said he received the findings on Thursday but was aware of the city’s allegations in mid-August when he was asked for feedback to a draft report.

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“This egregious overstep by Council only serves to further erode public trust in our government and the people we elect,” Kroetsch said of the findings in a statement on Monday.

“Rather than encouraging members of marginalized communities to speak their truths and to share their lived experiences, council’s action serves to silence their important voices.”

During his interview on Global News Radio with fill-in host Rick Zamperin, Kroetsch accused the city of a coverup in the handling of alleged white supremacist Mark Lemire‘s employment with the city as an IT specialist for over a decade as reported by Vice Canada’s Mack Lamoureux.

 

“So the perception, as far as everyone’s concerned, is that Craig Burley went down and spoke to folks in the city and other people made them aware, like, hey, this is an issue here,” said during the interview on May 22, 2019.

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“And nothing was said publicly then when the article broke by Vice. Suddenly there was a public discussion. So there’s a there’s kind of a tension between why you didn’t say something six months prior and why you’re saying something now.”

Kroetch also questioned the city’s selection process which filled a vacancy on the HPSB with an auxiliary police officer, suggesting there were qualified individuals from marginalized communities that may have been overlooked. He also showed concern over the transparency of the process.

“So how that happened, the way it was rolled out, and I’d even go farther to say the way that the selection process and voting happens is very kind of, I’d say spontaneous,” Kroetsch said.

“Suddenly at a council meeting, the announcements just made. Right. So is that the best way to do this kind of thing? It doesn’t leave time for the public to have input.”

A spokesperson for Mayor Fred Eisenberger told Global News that he is declining comment on the integrity commissioner’s recommendations and Kroetsch’s remarks until the city’s regular council meeting on Wednesday morning.

Read more: Activists call for defunding of police to address anti-Black racism in Hamilton

Legal firm Principles Integrity is Hamilton’s current integrity commissioner, appointed by the city.

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The commissioner is responsible for ensuring members of council and local boards follow code of conduct rules in addition to other rules outlined in municipal laws.

Kroetsch says he and other members of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee were interviewed by co-principals of Principles Integrity in the complaint process.

In his statement to Global News, Kroetsch said the allegations are “completely without merit” and the commissioner’s depictions of the events do not “accurately represent” what happened.