Halifax councillor Matt Whitman handed temporary committee suspension
Halifax councillor Matt Whitman has been handed a three-month suspension from city committees for refusing to apologize and participate in an in-camera meeting addressing complaints made against councillors.
Whitman was the target of dozens of public complaints last month about his social media conduct. He came under fire after retweeting a tweet by a self-described "ethno-nationalist" group condemning the decision to remove the Edward Cornwallis statue.
On Tuesday, council debated whether to move forward with Whitman’s request to deal with the complaints in a public meeting.
"The accusations and the attacks have been public, and the response and the debate should be public," Whitman said Tuesday. “I've said it's all in public with me or all in-camera without me, so they can decide whatever they want."
Paul Vinneau filed one of the complaints against Whitman’s use of social media.
"He's cultivating an echo-chamber in his social media by blocking everybody who disagrees with him,” said Vinneau. “I believe that he honestly believes that he's being persecuted for some reason."
But Whitman believes Vinneau and other people’s complaints originate from the provincial election.
“(Vinneau) was someone who was upset with me after the last election, thought I was too conservative,” said Whitman. “Not many of these complaints were actually about the issue at hand, which is how I handled the Cornwallis retweet. They were about past grievances."
There have also been complaints made towards Deputy Mayor Waye Mason and councillor Shawn Cleary. Council accepted an apology from Mason and dismissed complaints against Cleary.
Whitman was handed his suspension behind closed doors.
"So here I am, in public, taking my lumps publicly, where those two have no punishment publicly," Whitman said.
Whitman hopes that with the complaints against him dealt with, the discussion can return to more practical matters.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.