A mayor in the Niagara region will have his pay withdrawn after councilors voted in favor of punishment in connection with an “inappropriate” message sent to a voter in May.
West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma’s pay will be suspended for seven days for allegedly asking a Niagara woman in May if she had her period after a COVID-19 vaccine.
The sanction comes months after a local acting integrity commissioner, Michael Maynard, recommended the reprimand, suggesting that Byslma’s response text was “possibly insulting” and “irresponsible.”
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Ahead of the Thursday night vote, Bylsma said the message was sent after voters informed him of concerns about women’s health that may have been related to vaccines.
“I am encouraged that there are many studies today showing a connection between various vaccines and bleeding in women, as well as infertility and a very disturbing study in the New England Journal of Medicine related to miscarriages,” Bylsma told the counselors.
The mayor went on to question Maynard’s report, which he said “admits in its analysis that it does not suggest a clear violation of the code” and that similar situations have never been cited as the basis for the decision.
“Mr. Maynard is simply voicing his opinions, attacking in new territory,” Bylsma said.
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St. Catharines Regional County. Laura Ip filed the complaint on May 19 with the integrity commissioner, suggesting that Bylsma’s actions were “undermining the need for public health measures.”
Following Bylsma’s comments, Ip questioned Bylsma’s apology and the fact that he did not contest the report as acceptance of the report’s findings.
“It is also incredibly obvious and clear that I don’t think there is anything to add regarding how egregious this behavior is and that it is a clear violation of the code of conduct,” Ip said.
The mayor had come under fire from Bradley and other regional councilors before that episode, when Bylsma participated in an April 10 demonstration against the blockade in St. Catharines.
Following the Lake Street protest, Bylsma received a summons to appear for allegedly failing to comply with orders under the Ontario Reopening Act (ROA).
The action resulted in the West Lincoln mayor losing his seat at the township’s emergency operations center after the local council removed him in April, saying his actions were a “conflict of interest matter.”
The integrity commission is expected to investigate the West Lincoln mayor’s participation in the St. Catharines protest.
He faces a possible fine of up to $ 100,000 as that case is still in court.
Global News has reached out to Bylsma to get a reaction on his subpoena, the removal of the West Lincoln EOC team, and the message sent to constituents.
The mayor has not responded to any of the inquiries.
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