Nfld. & Labrador

MHA apologizes again for text messages to mayor, reprimand recommended

Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway is apologizing yet again for a text message exchange with the mayor of St. Brendan's after being told he violated the House of Assembly code of conduct.

Text messages to mayor violated MHA code of conduct, commissioner rules

MHA Colin Holloway apologized again for a text message he sent in late 2016 to St. Brendan's Mayor Veronica Broomfield. (Government of Newfoundland/Facebook)

The Commissioner of Legislative Standards is recommending that Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway be disciplined after reviewing a text message exchange between the MHA and the mayor of St. Brendan's.

While Commissioner Bruce Chaulk commended Holloway for publicly apologizing for the incident, he found Holloway violated the MHA code of conduct in his interactions with the mayor.

The commissioner said penalties can "vary and range from the member being reprimanded to the member's seat being declared vacant."

His recommendation to the House of Assembly Management Commission was to come down on the lighter side of punishment.

"While accepting the member has suffered embarrassment, and is no doubt remorseful for his actions, violating the Code of Conduct warrants a recommendation that the member be disciplined," Chaulk wrote.

"The evidence also does not demonstrate any personal gain on the part of MHA Holloway. MHA Holloway appears genuinely remorseful for the manner in which he behaved and therefore a severe penalty is not warranted in this case."

'Remember, you didn't vote for me'

It all started in December when the mayor of St. Brendan's, Veronica Broomfield, shared a series of messages between herself and Holloway from the fall on Facebook.

The two were discussing cuts to the community's ferry service when the MHA said, "Remember, you didn't vote for me."

Shortly after sharing that exchange, Broomfield told CBC Radio's Central Morning she was taken aback by the text. 

"Is our island going to suffer? What would you pick out from it? That is what I picked out from my text message," she said at the time. 

Holloway, a Liberal elected in November 2015, also serves as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of business, tourism, culture and rural development.

He issued an "unequivocal apology for what happened" Thursday, along with a link to the report's findings

It was never my intent to leave the impression that certain communities or certain constituents are less important than others.- Colin Holloway

"My ill-chosen words in the heat of that debate led to my apologizing to Mayor Broomfield in January of this year and now, along with my release of this report, I wish to reiterate that apology once again and I do so without reservation," he said in the statement. 

"Like Mayor Broomfield, my single purpose for engaging in public life is to serve the interest of the people I represent. It was never my intent to leave the impression that certain communities or certain constituents are less important than others."

The MHA went on to apologize to his colleagues, and said he's committed to setting a positive example in his dealing with constituents.