Thunder Bay Councillor Aldo Ruberto Speaks Out on Integrity Commissioner Finding

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THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – I have taken the liberty to send the report to a workplace investigator who investigates harassment, violence, and breaches of internal policies which include Code of Conduct investigations.  The Investigator has extensive experience in dealing with these type of investigations at the Federal and Provincial levels of Government. 

Below are my comments in response to the commissioner report.

1) The way the initial Facebook post has been interpreted, in my opinion is very unreasonable – The post reads: “I hope it is a case of wind blowing a tent and hitting the truck. And not a truck purposely running over a stationary tent. 

The safety of people is the ultimate goal”. 

I think it is important to note that I am very aware of the challenges the City has faced, and continues to face, with regard to homelessness, mental health and addictions issues. 

To me and many others this Facebook post says, “I hoped it was not someone trying to harm a homeless person, and I hoped it was the wind, or the driver who lost their capacity in some way to drive.

Anything but malicious intent. How this post can be interpreted as attempting to influence a police investigation or court proceeding is far reaching. It is beyond my comprehension. 

If a post can be interpreted in such a way, perhaps all City councillors should refrain from the use of social media as many of them use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit  and other platforms. 

I would go as far as to say that the portion of the Integrity Commissioner’s report (para 33, pg 7) suggesting the Facebook post was “posting unsubstantiated speculation relating to a matter under police investigation constitutes inappropriate conduct…” further perpetuates the incorrect interpretation of my Facebook post. 

I would emphasize that my post was that, “I HOPED it was the wind and that safety of people was the ultimate goal,” and that I cannot understand how that could have been misinterpreted as was the case in the integrity commissioner’s report. 

I strongly disagree with the interpretation of my post and the Integrity Commissioner’s report which further misrepresents my post, full stop.  If people want to believe that I hoped a homeless person should be run over by a lunatic in a truck? Then there is nothing anyone can do about that. That is one the problems with social media.  This entire allegation makes no sense to me.

The Blocking issue …. I will block anyone if it means protecting my mental health. 

As an elected official, blocking someone because you feel you are being harassed is justified, blocking them because of meaningful political engagement is not justified. 

I would say that having my post twisted into a misrepresentation of my intent, is far from meaningful political engagement. Elected or not, I should not have to subject myself to repeated harassment in the real world or online. 

I am not the Prime Minister or an MP. People aren’t missing out on what I am up to in Parliament, if I block them. 

There is no legal precedent or policy enforcement in Canada that guides when an elected official can – or cannot – block a citizen.

There has been plenty of discussion about it, the issue is a topic of debate in Canada and the US. 

I fail to see how a municipal code of conduct investigation can suddenly change the landscape of politics and social media for the entire country. Blocking someone doesn’t cut them off from access to you, you have a phone, an email address, and regular mail. 

Lastly, there is no social media policy for councilors in this regard.  The Integrity Commissioner oversees MPP conduct and has said that there is no specific policy related to blocking constituents on social media.

The amount of abuse one can take should be regulated by the individual not a policy. The Integrity Commissioner does recommend we have a social media policy which I do agree with.

The only thing I am guilty of in this investigation is expressing my hopes, and believing in the best of mankind.

Aldo Ruberto
Councillor at Large

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