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Candidate calls Labour Council endorsement “bizarre”

Troy Shantz The Sarnia and District Labour Council has endorsed 11 candidates for this year’s municipal election, but one of them isn’t happy about it.
Sarnia Vote

Troy Shantz

The Sarnia and District Labour Council has endorsed 11 candidates for this year’s municipal election, but one of them isn’t happy about it.

Business owner Nathan Colquhoun took exception to the fact the Labour Council is also backing Mayor Mike Bradley.

Nathan Colquhoun

“It’s a bizarre world out there when the very folks who promote their opposition to harassment choose to endorse someone who has a rich history of it,” Colquhoun posted on his Facebook campaign page last week.

“The SDLC represents thousands of workers and their annual theme this year is ‘harassment is not part of the job,’” he told The Journal.

“To then go and endorse a man who has been proven to have harassed four different women, and has a decades-long pattern of behaviour, is obscene to me.”

Colquhoun wasn’t the only one questioning the local labour council’s choice to back Bradley.

When the endorsement was brought to the attention of the Canadian Labour Council (CLC) by at least two Sarnia residents, the CLC responded on social media with: “Regional labour councils are responsible for their own municipal endorsement process.  After looking into the circumstances surrounding the mayoral candidate, the CLC has decided not to support this labour council’s municipal campaign.”

That statement was later repeated in an email from CLC regional representative Lisa Bastien in Toronto.

In June of 2016, city council suspended the mayor’s pay for 90 days after Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze found Bradley’s treatment of senior staff had created a “culture of fear” that led to the departure of two administrators.

Four months later, a workplace investigation report concluded Bradley had harassed and bullied four senior managers, three of which left the city to work elsewhere.

City council responded by restricting the mayor’s City Hall access, installing security cameras and approving a wall to separate his office from staff.

Labour Council president Jason McMichael said he wouldn’t comment on Colquhoun’s statements.

Asked if endorsing Bradley while promoting workplace safety was a double standard, McMichael replied: “All aspects and history were considered of every candidate.”

McMichael said the Labour Council’s political action committee sent a questionnaire to each candidate. All that returned it were considered, including anything “we knew about them or the history of those candidates,” he said.

“The only comment I have is that the decision to endorse those 11 candidates was a unanimous decision of all unions in the Sarnia and District Labour Council.”

The Council represents 7,300 unionized workers in Sarnia-Lambton.

In addition to Bradley and Colquhoun, it is supporting David Waters, Michelle Parks, Bill Dennis, Meghan Reale, Eric Dalziel, Bryan Trothen, Norm Francoeur, Dave Boushy and Mike Stark.

- With files from Cathy Dobson

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