Province to Target Bullying, Harassment on Rural Municipal Councils

By Lett, Dan | Winnipeg Free Press, April 23, 2018 | Go to article overview

Province to Target Bullying, Harassment on Rural Municipal Councils


Lett, Dan, Winnipeg Free Press


THE province is launching an extensive consultation with local government officials from across Manitoba to identify new strategies to address bullying and harassment on rural municipal councils, the Free Press has learned.

Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton and Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires will meet with journalists this morning at a Winnipeg airport hotel where the Manitoba Municipal Administrators Association (MMAA) annual general meeting is being held. At that news conference, the ministers will confirm a broad consultation seeking solutions to what appears to be a growing problem of bullying among rural municipal officials.

The consultation — which will be overseen by the MMAA and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) — could be used as the basis for new legislation, although sources say the province will be looking at all options available to rural councils to deal with the rampant harassment. Initial results from the consultation are expected to be delivered by June, the sources said.

This is the first concrete response by the province to a rash of news reports on some extreme cases of harassment that have involved direct threats, sexual innuendo and instances of bullying against primarily female councillors and administrative staff. These reports followed headlines one year ago, when Jackie Hunt, former mayor of the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, resigned after she was subjected to chronic name-calling and belligerent behaviour from her fellow councillors. …

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