Kitchener-Waterloo

Sharing 'White Lives Matter' video a code of conduct violation by mayor, says Wilmot integrity commissioner

Wilmot Township mayor Les Armstrong violated two codes of conduct for elected officials when he shared a video on Facebook framed by the banner “White Lives Matter,” according to a report by the township’s integrity commissioner.

Report recommends Mayor Les Armstrong apologize at Wilmot Township and at regional council

Wilmot Mayor Les Armstrong shared a statement Friday saying in part he is "deeply sorry" for the pain his actions caused. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Wilmot Township mayor Les Armstrong violated two codes of conduct for elected officials when he shared a video on Facebook framed by the banner "White Lives Matter," according to a report by the township's integrity commissioner.

Armstrong shared the video along with the caption "Another view. Interesting," the report notes. 

"A Facebook post by an elected official that explicitly draws attention to a message intended to discredit a movement seeking to overcome racism cannot be seen as simply 'another view,'" said integrity commissioner Robert Williams, in his report that goes before Wilmot council Monday.

Williams said that in sharing the video, Armstrong violated both the code of conduct for elected officials in Wilmot Township and for members of council with the Region of Waterloo.

Members of the public submitted complaints about the situation to both the township and the region, and it was decided that Williams would handle the investigation to avoid duplication, he said in the report.

Initial apologies also violated code

In June, Armstrong made two statements about the post, first to Wilmot Township council and then to Region of Waterloo council. Two complaints from the public said these apologies failed to erase the harm of the post, according to Williams.

In his report, Williams agreed that the apologies were misdirected and "fell short of a sincere admission that the video was harmful to people of colour." He determined that Armstrong also violated the two codes of conduct in failing to acknowledge in his apologies the impact of his original post.

Williams has recommended that Armstrong present a "truthful, honest and sincere" apology to people of colour in Waterloo region at both Wilmot Township council and Region of Waterloo council.

Mayor says he's 'deeply sorry'

Armstrong released a statement Friday afternoon saying, in part, that he apologizes to those in the community, "specifically the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in our community," who were hurt by his actions.

"I am deeply sorry for the pain my actions have caused each of you, and our community as a whole," said Armstrong in the statement.

Armstrong went on to say he has reflected on his white privilege and the fact that he hasn't suffered the same discrimination as others in the community. 

Council for the Township of Wilmot will meet Monday beginning at 7 p.m.

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