Protesters call for Clarence-Rockland mayor to resign
Monday night city council meeting ends abruptly after more than 100 people turn out to protest
A city council meeting in Clarence-Rockland ended abruptly Monday night after more than 100 people showed up to call on the mayor and two councillors to resign.
Mayor Marcel Guibord and councillors Guy Félio and Diane Choinière were charged with breach of trust in August, along with a lawyer.
A petition demanding their resignation has been circulating since Friday.
Ontario Provincial Police started looking into allegations of corruption two years ago when emails alleged to be written by Guibord surfaced online that suggested collusion between him, the councillors and lawyer Stéphane Lalonde to oust a former municipal manager.
That manager eventually left with a severance of close to $400,000.
But despite the calls for the mayor's resignation and the petition, Guibord told Radio-Canada he vows to stay on as mayor and serve out his mandate.
Under Ontario law, elected leaders aren't required to step down when facing criminal charges.
'If they care ... they will step down,' resident says
Protesters at the city council meeting told CBC News the elected officials should step down out of respect for the community.
"We want the positions for the mayor and councillor to be ones of integrity, ones of trust and honesty," said protest organizer Bob Gadoua. "And we feel that with these charges levelled against these councillors, that they have lost the moral authority to govern."
Resident Danielle Mantha said the charges reflect badly on Clarence-Rockland.
"If they care for the citizens that they represent, they will step down," she said.
Guibord and some councillors have discussed giving bylaw officers the power to handcuff and remove unruly residents from council meetings, but the subject didn't come up during Monday night's meeting.
The meeting ended abruptly when four councillors left the table and dissolved quorum.