Councillors refuse to take their seats, refuse extra work to cover Rick Chiarelli as protest over embattled councillor escalates
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019 11:23AM EST Last Updated Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:51PM EST
OTTAWA -- Several city councillors refused to take their seats at the start of council Wednesday, as they joined demonstrators who arrived to protest the presence of embattled College Ward Councillor Rick Chiarelli.
Allan Hubley, Tim Tierney, Laura Dudas, Jenna Sudds and Eli El-Chantiry could all be seen standing behind their chairs, refusing to sit as council began.
Hubley was one of the councillors who took on Chiarelli's extra work while he was on leave. Hubley says he is no longer going to do that.
"I am done. He is spending money, hiring staff and meeting with people so I am not going to just do the work he doesn't want to do", Hubley wrote in a text to CTV Ottawa.
A group of demonstrators who are calling on Chiarelli to resign made an appearance at Ottawa City Council Wednesday.
Chiarelli took his regular seat at the table despite his ongoing medical issues and as a cloud of accusations of inappropriate behavior hangs over him. Chiarelli has said he never misses a budget vote.
He came in through the side door and did not speak to anyone.
Chiarelli has denied the accusations he faces, which claim he’s made sexually-suggestive comments to some women who worked in his office and at least one who was seeking to work there. Chiarelli is not facing any criminal charges, but at least one complaint against him is before the City’s integrity commissioner.
The group of protesters came in wearing shirts that said “Resign Rick.”
"We wanted to keep this issue to the fore front. It's important to the 13 victims who came forward", said Veronique Prevost.
"Our ultimate goal is to have Mr. Chiarelli resign."
A silent protest against Chiarelli was also held in early November, when the draft budget was on the agenda.
An online petition calling on the councillor to resign was launched Monday on change.org and has garnered more than 1000 signatures.
With files from CTV's Leah Larocque.