It was easy to see the tense relationship between Coun. Michael Seguin and his colleagues is no closer to being resolved Wednesday afternoon at a committee of the whole meeting.
Janet Leiper, the town’s integrity commissioner, attended the meeting to provide an update on a revised code of conduct for council and staff members. She had originally been scheduled to provide the update last month, but it was postponed due to the weather.
The proposed changes are to bring the code of conduct into compliance with new provincial updates, Leiper said.
The councillors listened attentively to her presentation, but it was obvious the mood soured a bit after Seguin asked a few questions about the changes.
In particular, after saying he wouldn’t touch on his own contentious situation with a code of conduct investigation that led to sanctions against him that have escalated to a legal action against the town, Seguion asked Leiper whether the changes meant “the town had been doing something wrong” under the current version.
“There’s been a lot of changes since 2016. Is this an admission that basically we were wrong in the way things were handled previously? It feels as if we approve this, then something must have been wrong.”
Leiper explained that wasn’t the case, and it was a fairly routine updating process.
That question clearly didn’t sit well with some of his colleagues, particularly Deputy-mayor Gail Ardiel.
She asked Leiper twice if the town would not be in compliance with provincial policies if the changes weren’t made.
“The policies would be missing pieces if you didn’t change or update them,” Leiper said.
She added the code of conduct was intended to be a “living document” that will evolve over time.