London Mayor says he’ll file integrity commissioner complaint after councillor attends anti-vax rally
An anti-vaccine rally in Victoria Park over the weekend will mean some extra work for London’s Integrity Commissioner.
At a virtual media briefing on Monday, London Mayor Ed Holder said he’ll personally file a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner about Ward 1 Councillor Michael van Holst’s participation in the rally that featured noted anti-vaxxer Chris Sky in the park on Saturday.
van Holst spoke to the crowd, talking about freedom from vaccination mandates.
“It’s not lost on me that a member of city council not only attended, but spoke at this event,” Holder said. “Unfortunately I’m not surprised, but I am horribly disappointed.”
Holder noted that any sort of discipline would be in the hands of Integrity Commissioner Gregory Stewart. He also didn’t mention van Holst by name during the media briefing.
“Council does not have the ability to sanction a fellow councillor. Those decisions are at the soul discretion of our integrity commissioner.”
According to the Ontario Municipal Act, the maximum penalty that Stewart could impose is a loss of three months of pay.
Holder said he will be among those who file complaints.
“Can anyone file a complaint? The answer is yes. Will I file a complaint? The answer is yes.”
The Integrity Commissioner taking action on a complaint is rare. Stewart hasn’t brought findings of a violation to council since then-Mayor Matt Brown and Ward 5 councillor Maureen Cassidy admitted to having an affair in 2016.
van Holst has opposed anti-COVID measures throughout the pandemic, even going to the point of starting his own “creed” in order to file for an exemption from vaccine mandates.
He’s been the Ward 1 councillor since 2014.