Council bringing in Integrity Commissioner regarding comments made during meeting

Wood Buffalo Council have called on the Integrity Commissioner to investigate comments that were made by a councillor during a live streamed budget meeting on Feb. 3.

Council held a special meeting on Feb. 4, to discuss the matter of an investigation into Councillor Shafiq Dogar’s comments made towards indigenous peoples.

Mayor and Councillors asked that Dogar resign and save the municipality from taking action with an investigation.

Councillor Dogar responded that he will not resign, and that council were being “chickens”.

Councillor Keith McGrath spoke during the meeting on the matter, “This is not a fight against Dogar, this is to cherish the seat he’s elected to. And right now, this morning, when I hear no remorse, in fact, add more insults. I would say this publicly, I would help you anyway that I could, as long as you resign.”

Mayor Sandy Bowman commented that they will be looking at indigenous culture training as well as healing for council.

“I am deeply committed to doing everything in my power as a Mayor alongside my Council colleagues to take action and fully support Indigenous Peoples and communities in light of these devastating, hateful and divisive comments. Collectively, all of us have publicly asked Councillor Dogar to resign immediately, but regrettably he has chosen to not do so,” Bowman said in a press release.

Dogar posted on social media that what he said was taken out of context and that with his language barrier, some of the things may have gotten lost in translation.

“For what I won’t apologize for is what Athabascan Tribal Council and others in the region is portraying me to be. I never said or believe that rural indigenous community members come to town to get involved in immoral/ illegal activities. That is a bunch of lies!,” Dogar had written on Facebook.

Under the Integrity Commissioner Bylaw, the Commissioner will receive, review, investigate and adjudicate complaints based on the formal complaint procedure outlined in the Code of Conduct Bylaw.

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