Headline News By Joanne Chianello 171 Views

Ottawa city council demands Chiarelli's immediate resignation

After expressing outrage, disgust and regret over reports of Coun. Rick Chiarelli's egregious conduct, Ottawa city council unanimously voted Wednesday to impose the harshest penalties available to them to sanction the veteran councillor.

Council was united in its call for the College ward councillor to resign immediately, and to ask the minister of municipal affairs and housing to change the law to allow a councillor found to have committed serious misconduct to be removed from office.

Many council members appeared shaken by the details of integrity commissioner Robert Marleau's most recent report on Chiarelli's behaviour, which Marleau called "offensive and disreputable."

"I know many of you share my concerns that the behaviour outlined in this report are repugnant and are completely inconsistent with what is expected of anyone in a position of power or trust," said Mayor Jim Watson. "There have clearly been a number of gross violations of the trust the public placed in this elected official."

The mayor issued a formal apology to all the women who came forward, and to others who may have been harassed but didn't feel able to tell their stories.

"I know that there are not enough apologies to make the pain of these events go away, but I would like to publicly apologize and [offer a] sincere gesture of recognition that this should not have happened and that we have listened and heard you," Watson said.

Many councillors joined the mayor in apologizing to the former staffers and job applicants.

Coun. Diane Deans had many dealings with Chiarelli's College ward office because their wards are next to each other, and said she had met Chiarelli's staffers on numerous occasions.

"I just wanted to say to the women involved that I am sorry," she said, her voice breaking. "And I am sorry I did not see the signs."