A crowd of Kincardine, Ont. residents are letting it be known, they don’t want a councilor’s lewd and sexist comment to go unpunished.
“I think councilor Cuyler should resign. I don’t think he has any trust from Kincardine anymore. He doesn’t have support from the residents,” says Arianna Murdoch-Fyke, who was amongst 60 residents who protested outside Kincardine council chambers on Monday night.
Kincardine residents are upset with what they heard Coun. Dave Cuyler said during last Monday’s council meeting, the first in-person council session in two years. Amidst a heated debate with fellow Coun. Laura Haight, a microphone picked up Cuyler saying a derogatory and vulgar comment.
Haight, along with Monday’s protest participants, believe the profane comment was clearly directed at her.
“I did hear that broadcast and it was quite disconcerting to see somebody who is elected talk like that to another person, let alone another woman,” says protest participant and mother of two young girls, Terri Smith.
Cuyler apologized to the community and all impacted by his actions, but did not name Haight specifically.
In a written statement released on April 6, Cuyler says, “I was frustrated with myself for personal reasons when I openly commented to myself. This comment was not directed to anyone other than myself. Please know, while I may at times be emotionally vulnerable, I, in no manner or capacity would willingly participate or directly disrespect this community and its citizens.”
Protesters outside Kincardine, Ont. council chambers on April 11 called for the resignation of a councilor following a ‘vulgar’ comment made during a meeting. (Scott Miller/CTV News)
Protest participants aren’t buying Cuyler’s explanation.
“He says he wants the best for the town, and you can see by this protest, the best thing for the town is for him to resign,” says protest participant Dennis Flavell.
Kincardine Mayor Gerry Glover had this to say about his fellow councillor’s profane comment. “On April 4, there were unacceptable comments made at the Municipality of Kincardine Council meeting. I have filed a formal complaint with the integrity commissioner who will determine if a member of council has breached the code of conduct.”
So far, more than 50 complaints about Cuyler’s comment have been received by Kincardine’s clerk. An “expedited” investigation is currently underway, says Glover.
“This beautiful little town has been brought into disrepute. We’re hearing about Kincardine in London and KW [Kitchener-Waterloo]and that’s not what Kincardine is about,” says Helen Flavell.
“Ideally, I think he should resign, but I doubt that will happen, so I think whatever the integrity commissioner says should happen, and I think we should get more progressive people on council, in the fall,” says protest participant Kristen Beaton.
“Nobody should have to hear that language, whether it’s directed at someone or not. It’s inappropriate in the workplace, and it’s time to stand up and say we’re not going to take it anymore,” says Sarah Foster.
Protest organizer Meagan Fair says she’ll be bringing Elect-Her Grey-Bruce to Kincardine to try and encourage more women to stand up and be a part of municipal politics, because she believes, the need is now more than ever.
“The community is watching, and we deserve better,” says Fair.