ND Council to hold special meeting regarding controversial comments by Councillor Hoy, reprimand possible

From left, councillors Tyler Hoy and John Thompson, Mayor Tony Fraser, Councillor Gary Annable and Deputy Mayor Al Armstrong., immediately after their Dec. 4 swearing-in ceremony in the Township of North Dundas. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

by Tom Van Dusen

WINCHESTER – North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser says it isn’t enough to denounce Councillor Tyler Hoy’s controversial comments about Black Lives Matter (BLM) on social media… official action on behalf of the municipality must follow.

That’s why a motion reprimanding Hoy will be considered at a special meeting of council Monday night. As of Sunday, the wording wasn’t final and the mover and seconder weren’t yet known; however, the motion will come forward with Hoy present and free to vote as with any other motion.

While the outcome seems clear, Fraser said it isn’t pre-ordained. He advised Hoy of the council’s intentions and the Councillor indicated he’ll be present. Starting at 7 p.m., the meeting is live, at the Joel Steele Community Centre to allow for proper distancing; sanitizing will be required, as well as masks, and names and phone numbers will be recorded. 

The controversy erupted after Hoy referred to BLM as a terrorist organization, mimicking the stand of many right-wing Donald Trump supporters. While violence and looting have erupted at some BLM rallies, there’s no evidence the group is promoting terrorism.

The Councillor went further during a Facebook discussion by insisting he won’t back down from terrorists and that “all lives matter,” an expression that irritates BLM supporters because it diffuses their cause. The comments came during a discussion on What’s Up Winchester about a racial slur alleged by a local man from fence installers working next door. He insisted it’s time to “stop racism”. 

Fraser has already said publicly it’s “unfortunate and disappointing” that such comments and views have any place in today’s society. They don’t represent the mayor, council, or the municipality, the mayor added.

He told NVN that his stand has to be formalized through a motion in an era when an increasing number of businesses, developers and potential residents are looking at North Dundas as a place to settle. He called it the biggest issue to impact the municipality during the current term, one that can’t be allowed to continue casting North Dundas in a negative light.

He suggested that Hoy, from a dairy farming family elected to represent ND’s large agricultural community, was probably unaware of the impact his comment would have. To date, the councillor hasn’t reacted publicly to the uproar.

The incident led to a formal complaint being lodged against Hoy by local social worker Chris Clapp so the issue “won’t be swept under the rug.” Clapp suggested that if observers aren’t part of the solution, they’re complicit. 

She maintained that the township has been silent on the question of racism and called for diversity training for councillors and staff.

Pointing to the ongoing Councillor Rick Chiarelli controversy in Ottawa, the mayor emphasized there’s no mechanism for council to get rid of one of its members nor would he want to implement one. That duty is reserved for voters at election time.

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