Nova Scotia

New rules of conduct for municipal politicians could be ready by this fall

Rules governing conduct for municipal politicians could be updated as early as this fall. The Department of Municipal Affairs has been consulting municipalities about possible changes.

Province has been consulting municipalities about possible changes

Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter wants new rules governing the conduct of municipal politicians to be in place as soon as possible. (Robert Short/CBC)

Rules governing conduct for municipal politicians could be updated as early as this fall.

The Department of Municipal Affairs has been consulting municipalities about possible changes.

"It's important to me that issues of conduct are dealt with consistently and appropriately," said Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter. "I'm really passionate about that. I want to see this through and my timeline is … soon."

The province made municipal codes of conduct mandatory in 2017.

The warden of the Municipality of Yarmouth was given a paid leave of absence last month until the end of the term in October and asked to take anger management counselling. The decision was made after an internal review of Leland Anthony based on the municipality's code of conduct and its policy on workplace violence.

No details about what was investigated have been released.

Rules need some bite, says Mood

The President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities said the rules need to have teeth.

"There's no consequences," said Pam Mood. "Do I want to pay taxes for somebody's stipend when they are not even at the table? It's just wrong."

Mood believes a standard code of conduct should be developed by the province and the process should include an independent investigator.

She also thinks the public has a right to know about some of the details before a municipal politician runs for re-election.

"I can't understand why if someone goes through an investigation, and the allegations are found to be true, why the public would not have access to that information," said Mood.

Mood wants the issue dealt with by this fall so anyone who wins during this October's municipal elections can be made aware of the new rules.

"I always say, 'Don't issue me a speeding ticket unless you've posted the limit first,'" Mood said. "So they get the training. What happens after that is fair game."

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