Brampton integrity commissioner clears Mayor Brown of harassment and ‘Tamil Genocide’ exchange


Published January 24, 2022 at 4:04 pm


Brampton’s integrity commissioner says the mayor’s behaviour was less than “exemplary” but didn’t violate codes of conduct when he spared with a resident over a memorial to the “Tamil Genocide.”

In a report to council coming on Wednesday, the city’s integrity commissioner cleared Mayor Patrick Brown of any conduct violations for his comments at a city council meeting that saw the mayor square off in a pointed exchanged with a Brampton resident.

In January 2021, council passed a motion to recognize the contribution of the Tamil community in Brampton through the construction of a monument to what Brown called the “Tamil Genocide.”

The next month, a Brampton resident – who was not named in the report – spoke at council and objected to the monument, saying it “recognized only one ethnic group” and instead called for a monument to “commemorate all the victims of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.”

Brown questioned if the speaker was a Brampton resident and asked if the Resident worked with or had spoken with the Sri Lankan government “due to a perceived similarity in the language used,” the report said.

But in March, the city’s integrity commissioner received complaints that Brown had “acted falsely and discriminatorily and exceeded his jurisdiction by stating that there was a genocide of the Tamil people.”

Brown is far from the only Ontario or Canadian politician to call the conflict in Sri Lanka a genocide, with Ontario’s Bill 104 passed last year a seven-day period in each year ending on May 18 as “Tamil Genocide Education Week.”

According to a 2021 United Nations resolution, it’s believed between 80,000 to 100,000 people died in the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka. Both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebel group have been accused of atrocities during the conflict.

The complaints also alleged Brown overstepped by directing city resources towards the construction of a monument to the Tamil people, and that the mayor “harassed or discriminated” against the Brampton resident “by accusing him of being a proxy for the Sri Lankan government.”

The complaint alleged Brown violated five rules under the City of Brampton’s Code of Conduct for Members of Council, and alleged Brown violated Rule 15, which deals with “Discreditable Conduct.”

And while the commissioner’s office said Brown didn’t violate any part of the code including Rule 15, it did say Brown’s behaviour while addressing the Brampton resident “fell short of the standard recommended by the Rule’s commentary.”

“I think his behaviour does not live up to the exemplary standard urged by the commentary,” the commissioner’s report said.

“Despite Mayor Brown’s suspicions, he had no direct evidence to believe that the Brampton Resident was appearing in bad faith or on behalf of a foreign government.”

The commissioner said it would not investigate parts of the complaint regarding whether the mayor acted outside the municipal government structure, was correct in saying the Tamil genocide occurred, or if his statements were unconstitutional with regards to his jurisdiction as mayor.

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