Fired Thunder Bay director questioned 'old boys club'

A board member with the Thunder Bay Canadian Lakehead Exhibition is calling the dismissal of another member a public lynching.

Thunder Bay's Linda Gambee was ousted from the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition board of directors

Canadian Lakehead Exhibition board members have access to a private bar, 24-hours a day. (Adam Burns/CBC)

A board member with Thunder Bay’s Canadian Lakehead Exhibition is calling the dismissal of another member a "public lynching."

Linda Gambee was fired from the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition's board of directors after they say she threatened to sue several of their members. (CBC)

Steve Clearwater said Linda Gambee was bullied by other board members after raising concerns about an open bar in the boardroom.

"Basically it's an old boys' club … But it's time for things to change," he said. "She dared to challenge some things that were going on, and she paid the price for it unfortunately."

The CLE has said drinking at its bar is controlled, and bars are common in similar organizations across Canada.

It also said Gambee was removed only for threatening to sue other board members.

The bar that's available to CLE board members for free. A reflective mirror in the photo has been blurred out to protect the identity of the person who took the picture. (Supplied)

Gambee said she only did that after months of bullying, which she said came after she raised her concerns about the bar.

"I have witnessed myself, on numerous occasions, people leaving there influenced under alcohol," she said.

CLE spokesperson Ralph Scharf said the bar is there for directors to have a drink after meetings.

"It's quite common in fairs across Canada, and quite common in other organizations that I've served on," he said.

Clearwater, who has been with the CLE for 20 years, said when one becomes a board member, two keys are given out: one for the Coliseum building "and the other key allows you access to the bar ... and, you have 24-hour, unfettered access to it, 365 days a year."

Clearwater added he doesn’t "see people leaving there pie-eyed or anything like that. But there are lots of times when people have over-indulged, and do drive home."