Mayor says he initially misquoted Dogar, but council says it still violates code of conduct bylaw

Mayor Sandy Bowman has released a statement about the on-going investigation regarding comments made by Councillor Shafiq Dogar, last Thursday, about Indigenous People.  

“In response to the comments made by Councillor Dogar, I issued a statement expressing my solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and others in the region. Unfortunately, the initial statement that was released did not capture verbatim what was said at the public Council meeting,” said Bowman. “Immediately upon noticing this, a revised statement was issued. I have asked the CAO to do a review of internal processes and to make any necessary changes so this does not happen again.” 

Athabasca Tribal Council and Mayor Bowman had initially said that Dogar was quoted as saying, “Indigenous people reside in the rural areas and only come to Fort McMurray to get drunk, or fight, or have other legal issues.” 

Councillor Dogar has since 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.  

He was quoted saying, “These people are in rural areas and whenever there’s any drunk people in the town, I am a taxi driver and I can feel it after a few yards, few hundred yards, he would find some place where he would get some respite or something, for some relief and a taxi driver might get a hold of them. In your rural… some people drunk and maybe it’s a criminal case. Also fighting, beating someone unconscious, people can’t leave them immediately.”  

In his press release Bowman commented that Dogar’s words have been denounced by council, along with Indigenous leaders, communities, and also many other community leaders and residents in the region. 

For respect to the process, Indigenous Peoples and Councillor Dogar, no further comments will be issued by mayor or council until the Integrity Commissioner fully reviews their complaint and submits his findings. 

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