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City apologizes for Mayor's political assassination; media should too

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

The City of Brampton has formally apologized for the toxic smear campaign that not only politically assassinated the Mayor and senior staff, but also cost the city dearly in organizational and governance stability, economic development and lost productivity--not to mention the loss of public #trust.

The "old guard" should apologize. But so should the local media.

It is time we held journalists and the media accountable for the corrosive role they increasingly play in dividing communities, destabilizing public institutions and ruining lives for cheap ratings, rather than enhancing democratic understanding and engagement with complex local issues.

An ethical journalist acts with integrity, seeking the truth and reporting on it in the public interest, while minimizing harm in recognition that colleagues, sources and those who they are reporting on are human beings -- not cannon fodder for for ratings or petty ambitions.

A key pillar of democracy is a #freepress. The media's role in a #democracy is to use this freedom to inform and engage citizens in constructive discourse, building shared understanding--not to unleash mob rule and foster chaos.


See extracts (below) from "The Political Assassination of Susan Fennell...City Formally Apologizes", Bramptonist, June 4, 2021:

The Apology | Last Wednesday at City Council, former Mayor Susan Fennell attended Council to accept a city-issued apology over the affair.
Mayor Fennell was consumed in the scandal, fabricated by her political opponents and promoted by local media outlets. The false narrative placed considerable strain on Fennell, her family, and the careers of several senior managers. Eventually, the false allegations cost Fennell her 2014 re-election aspirations.
“Thank you all for your formal public apology”, said the former Mayor, “Nothing was more important to me than my family name”.
Susan Fennell also praised former staff, “I was proud to be surrounded by the most incredible staff…the best municipal staff in the country”. Unfortunately, the character assassinations cost many of these employees their jobs with considerable damage to their reputations.
She also thanked Council for finally recognizing the “smear campaign”. Councillor Rowena Santos then thanked Mayor Fennell for being so “gracious” years after suffering from the “smear” campaign, and in light of what happened, her continued advocacy for Brampton.
The Old Guard is Gone | With the past political gamesmanship, the City of Brampton lost significant opportunities to advance economic and community prosperity. The actions of the “Old Guard” of Councillors paralyzed the City, thereby stifling major infrastructure projects, such as a new hospital or the expansion to public transit.
The “Old Guard” spent considerable time attacking each other, they lost their focus on their responsibilities as elected officials representing taxpayers.
Thankfully the old guard is out and sitting on the sidelines. However, they should accept the consequences of their actions. While the City was awarded $3.08 million by the courts, the failed lawsuit does not address the lost opportunity costs. There is no practical way of quantifying the number of dollars wasted in economic development that was lost due to American-style attack politics.
Imagine if they had directed their energy to get a new hospital, or a new transit system, or a new university.
The current City Council apologized to former Mayor Susan Fennell, which was in order as a result of the failed lawsuit. However, Bramptonians also deserve an apology from the “Old Guard” for playing politics in lieu of looking out for the best interest of their community.


What is to be done? Read more in the exclusive local government edition (includes workbook) in Save Your City: How Toxic Culture Kills Community & What To Do About It.

Citizen's edition can be found here ( Book trailer below.

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Jun 15, 2021

We have been discussing ethics or the lack of ethics in the media and they should be held accountable. The reporter's, the station's, either radio or television and the newspapers. If they are all held responsible for destroying lives and careers then they would act more responsibly. If they cause someone to lose their job due to poor reporting and not checking the facts, they need to be confronted.


Jun 15, 2021

People need to have a positive attitude to move forward, not a negative one and I fully agree with Gaby's comment.


Gaby Wickstrom
Gaby Wickstrom
Jun 14, 2021

This is the best line in the story: Imagine if they had directed their energy to get a new hospital, or a new transit system, or a new university. Imagine….

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