Saskatchewan

Regina Coun. Terina Shaw faces no punishment after 2 complaints to integrity commissioner

Ward 7 Coun. Terina Shaw will not face punishment in connection with two separate complaints made to the city's integrity commissioner about comments residents said were racist and violated the city's code of ethics, and over comments made to a fellow councillor.

Decision comes after Shaw told council that she suffers from a medical condition

Coun. Terina Shaw sits at a meeting of Regina city council on Sept. 14, 2022. (Alexander Quon/CBC)

A Regina city councillor will not face punishment in connection with two separate complaints made to the city's integrity commissioner about comments she made. 

Ward 7 Coun. Terina Shaw faced complaints over comments residents said were racist and violated the city's code of ethics, and over comments made to a fellow councillor.

Shaw has also drawn controversy with her comments on conversion therapy and homelessness.

On Wednesday, city council chose to not follow the recommendation of the city's integrity commissioner, who said Shaw should be sanctioned and directed to take classes on how to communicate respectfully.

"I've always been somebody who communicates in a very frank manner and realize that my approach can at times be misinterpreted as being disrespectful or dismissive. This is not my intent," Shaw said at Wednesday's council meeting.

Council appeared to be convinced by Shaw, who disclosed that she's impulsive and speaks without thinking as a result of a medical condition. 

Couns. Shanon Zachidniak and Shaw watch as Coun. Andrew Stevens speaks to Regina city council about the integrity commissioner's report on Shaw's conduct. (Alexander Quon/CBC)

"I let people know that are close to me that I suffer from a severe brain injury and attention deficit disorder," she said.

Shaw said that she does not feel ashamed about her health issues and that she offered the information as an explanation, not an excuse.

One of the complaints against the first-term councillor was over comments she made in January during a private, virtual meeting of councillors. 

In the meeting's chat function, Shaw told Ward 8 Coun. Shanon Zachidniak to "leave [her] lecturing to a personal conversation instead of wasting my time." 

That incident was part of a number of issues that were brought to integrity commissioner Angela Kruk's attention by Coun. Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) when he filed complaints against Shaw.

The incident with Zachidniak was the only one deemed to be founded, with Kruk ruling the comments were not respectful or courteous. 

On Wednesday, Shaw said she had apologized to Zachidniak privately and publicly apologized for her comments. 

She also said she has spoken with her doctor, who recommended she see a therapist who specializes in attention deficit disorder. Shaw also said the doctor recommended she prepare questions ahead of council meetings, in order to avoid asking questions that may unintentionally offend others. 

Council voted 5-2 for an amendment that would mean Shaw would not be reprimanded. 

"She has outlined how she has sought professional assistance and will continue to seek professional assistance," said Coun. Bob Hawkins (Ward 2) who moved the motion to not punish Shaw. "I think there's nothing further that this council needs to do."

Only Mayor Sandra Masters and Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk (Ward 1) voted against the amendment. 

Integrity Commissioner Angela Kruk presents to Regina city council during a discussion about her report on the conduct of Coun. Terina Shaw. (Alexander Quon/CBC)

During a post-council media scrum, Shaw revealed that another complaint made against her had been deemed unfounded by the integrity commissioner. 

The complaint, written by Regina residents Florence Stratton and Susana Deranger and signed by 45 other people, outlined two incidents they said were racist, promoted stereotypes and violated the City of Regina's code of ethics bylaw.

The complaint alleged that during a Jan. 26 meeting of Regina's executive council, Shaw made comments that implied Indigenous men are sexual predators.

The second incident took place during a June 15 meeting of city council, where Shaw made comments about Indigenous peoples choosing to be homeless. 

Interim city manager Jim Nicol and Mayor Masters confirmed that there would be no investigation into Shaw's comments. The results of complaints are normally only made public if they're deemed to be founded and are then investigated.

However, the way the complaints were publicized meant more people got to know, Masters said. 

"Because of the public nature of how those complaints have been conveyed, I said it was only fair that [Shaw] be apprised that it was not moving forward," the mayor said. 

In June, Masters made an apology for Shaw's comments.

Shaw has maintained she did nothing wrong and on Wednesday repeated that she believes her questions were twisted and misunderstood.

She said that in the private sector, she was never judged on her first response. However, that has changed since she was elected to public office, she said.

"I am judged for every word I say."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

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