After my last post, I was informed about a similar incident of disrespectful behaviour during a previous public council meeting this year. It’s also by Councillor Bob “Lapdog” Madigan. And again his disrespect is again aimed towards female council members. Are you seeing a trend here? And why are local media silent about what seems to be abusive behaviour?
The meeting was held March 15, 2021, and the discussion in question was about spending taxpayers’ money to create yet more work for staff on Saunderson’s Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (the SVJI) and his vendetta against people who thwarted his personal ambitions back in 2012. But neither public concerns over escalating costs, nor over hiring his former employers without tendering the contract have never mattered to our mayor and his followers.
The video is here. Fast forward to 0:55:39. Councillor Tina Comi begins to speak about her concerns over how negatively the public is perceiving the continuing costs of the SVJI.
Madigan’s attention (in the panel above her) is clearly focused elsewhere instead of paying attention to her comments. At 0:57:45 he makes faces and visibly fidgets while she talks.
A recorded vote is called about the ongoing work and expense to continue Saunderson’s vain vendetta. Madigan shows his YES card and at 1:00:52 he makes a smarmy face at the camera as he shows his undying loyalty to his Great Leader. Such is love.
When the NOs are asked for, three female members — Councillors Comi, Doherty, and Hamlin — all vote against the motion. When they do vote, at 1:00:58, Madigan shakes his head and rolls his eyes at the NO vote like a kid at the back of the classroom.
At 1:01:05, Councillor Comi, who is evidently paying attention to Madigan’s blatant show of disrespect, brings his aberrant behaviour to the mayor’s attention:
I’d like to know why Councillor Madigan was shaking his head so aggressively just now, following the vote. Was it in relation to the vote?
At 1:01;15, Madigan shows his exasperation at being called out. But the mayor doesn’t ask him to respond, and Madigan doesn’t offer any explanation for his behaviour.
At 1:01:23 Saunderson, instead of being a leader and assuming his role as head of council responsible for decorum, excuses himself from decision-making about his pet councillor, saying he wasn’t even looking. However, he was clearly looking at the screen when Madigan was making faces earlier when the NO votes were raised (and paying attention to votes is his JOB). Why didn’t he show some spine and caution Madigan then?
But why should he care if his Most Loyal Follower acts like a misogynist jerk? After all, Saunderson has already abandoned his job and only waiting to get into Queen’s Park next year. But he’ll still take the taxpayer’s paycheque in the interim because doing the ethical thing and resign isn’t in his playbook. Besides, Saunderson knows he won’t have to deal with the fallout of his early departure before the term ends.
Instead, Saunderson says in response to Comi’s concerns, “I didn’t see him shaking his head.” As if actually acting like a mayor was so distasteful he can’t bear to do even the minimum to keep decorum. He then spouts some piffle about points of privilege to justify not taking action to even admonish Madigan. Where was the leadership?
At 1:01:35, Madigan again smirks at the camera, having once again flaunted his invulnerability from mayoral chastisement. Comi’s frustration is clear in her face. Madigan evidently feels a sense of entitlement at being protected from even his Leader’s mildest disapproval. No wonder he can smirk at Comi.
This is just another example of how some female councillors in Collingwood have to bear the brunt of Madigan’s boorish behaviour with not even the pretense of an effort by our mayor to deal with it, or to defend them. Could it possibly be that our mayor APPROVES of Madigan’s behaviour? And he lets Madigan behave in a way the mayor cannot?
Misogyny seems to be common among some male members of council. Councillor Berman visibly walked out of Councillor Comi’s Women’s Day presentation on Feb. 24, 2020 because one slide had a bullet point identifying Sandra Cooper as our town’s first female mayor.* Before the meeting, Mayor Saunderson sent an email to all of council asking if this historical fact about Cooper’s premiere role as female mayor should remain in her presentation. Appalling behaviour!
This behaviour is unacceptable and would be called out as bullying in other communities, but our local media have simply ignored it. Our mayor seems not only to go along with it, but seems to be a major part of the problem.
There’s no love lost between me and anyone on council, but I am appalled that this treatment of female members of council has been allowed to go on. Little wonder it is often difficult to recruit more women to run in politics when they can be easily bullied, mocked, and treated like this. And the responsibility for allowing it to continue falls directly on our mayor’s shoulders.
Collingwood deserves better.
* Berman’s disrespect is dryly noted in the minutes from that meeting (emphasis added):
16.2.1. International Women’s Day
Councillor Berman left the table at 5:27 p.m.
Councillor Comi provided a presentation highlighting the significance of Women’s Day, provided background and history, and the importance of recognizing women in government. Councillor Comi invited everyone to attend the International Women’s Day 2020 Flag Raising & Community Social, 1 p.m. March 5 at the Collingwood Public Library, and the International Women’s Day 2020 Panel Discussion & Networking Social, 2 p.m. March 8 at the Simcoe Street Theatre, tickets are available through
Councillor Jeffery provided an update regarding FCM’s initiatives for women in local government.
Councillor Berman returned to the table at 5:35 p.m
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