Moncton councillor investigated by city for Facebook comments toward local activist

·2 min read

MONCTON, N.B. — The City of Moncton, N.B., has launched an investigation after a municipal councillor appeared to threaten an activist on Facebook last week.

The investigation follows online comments from Coun. Pierre Boudreau in response to Hafsah Mohammad, who complained in a post on the social media site that some elected representatives make their decisions based on personal experiences rather than data.

The councillor's comments have since been edited, but according to screenshots captured by Mohammad, Boudreau responded over the course of several comments, asking her to “get ready” if she was planning to “pick a fight” with him.

The screenshots show Boudreau used an expletive and called Mohammad dangerous. “No need to worry. Like I said, the game is over and I won! Your (sic) really need to seek counselling,” he wrote.

In a statement released Friday, Moncton mayor Dawn Arnold said offensive behaviour or harassment was not condoned by the city council.

Arnold also said if Boudreau is found to have broken the code of conduct, the council may take corrective actions against him, which could include a public or private reprimand.

Mohammad said in an interview Monday she was surprised to see a councillor making such comments publicly.

“I'm not the first racialized person to be told their movements are meaningless, so that wasn't unusual,” she said. “It is unusual to see councillors dismiss trauma and use it to discredit the person.”

Mohammad said Boudreau blocked her on Facebook before posting two apologies for his behaviour to the site. He later took the apologies down and sent her a private emailed apology, but Mohammad said it had lost its impact since it came so late after the fact.

Boudreau said in an interview Monday that he has been suffering from acute depression in recent months and is taking medication. “There's no question that my comments were extremely disrespectful and totally unacceptable,” he said.

He said he told Mohammad in his emailed apology that he failed to allow her to express her opinion safely. "Our society does need individuals who ask questions and challenge the status quo to ensure those who represent us are accountable," he said.

Mohammad said she isn't looking for Boudreau to be reprimanded, but she hopes the incident will prompt change. She said would like to see a forum created where women from a variety of backgrounds can discuss misogyny and white supremacy in a safe space.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2021.

— By Danielle Edwards

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press