Ward 8 City Councillor John-Paul Danko during a January 2019 Hamilton City Council meeting. Credit: Joey Coleman

To no one’s surprise, Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko’s childish April 3, 2024, social media post against Jelena Vermilion and Ahona Mehdi violated Hamilton City Council’s Code of Conduct.

Hamilton Integrity Commissioner David Boghosian’s report, released today, confirms this.

He finds Danko violated Section 8(1) of the Code, which requires councillors to conduct themselves with ‘decorum.’

“Councillor Danko’s tweet constituted an ad hominem attack on the messengers (‘ungrateful, self-righteous toddlers’) rather than a reasoned critique of the message. In my opinion, the comments fell below the level of acceptable public discourse by a member of Council,” Boghosian writes.

The Integrity Commissioner recommends no sanction be issued, and that Council simply receive his report for information.

John-Paul Danko’s deleted ‘toddlers’ tweet

As a quasi-judicial official, Boghosian must provide the rationale for recommending no further action against Danko.

This is done by noting that this is Danko’s first integrity offence, in which he deleted the social media post, apologized, and acknowledged his shortcomings.

The report could be completed there, Boghosian includes a in passing comment regarding Vermilion’s actions following Danko’s tweet.

Integrity Commissioner Unnecessarily Opines About the Complainant

He opines Vermilion, as the complainant, “successfully and willfully traded off Cllr. Danko’s comments to enhance her media presence and stature in the community.”

What is relevant about her decision to further comment on the matter.

Vermilion is free to act as she chooses. She is not an elected public official.

Boghosian does not explain any relevance to the penalty judgment against Danko, beyond including it in a list of “mitigating factors.”

Danko submitted in his response to the IC that ‘the Complainant continued leveraging the impugned statement of his to garner continued media coverage from major local media
outlets.’

Boghosian cites this as a mitigating factor, “Cllr. Danko has already faced negative public and media reaction for his comments”

But the comment regarding Vermilion’s ‘trading off’ is not rationally explained or attached to anything else in the report.

To Opine About Complainants Discourages Complaints

When an elected official demeans a member of the public, especially in an instance such as this, in which [as Danko himself admits] there is no pretense or prior engagement, there is a power imbalance.

This is why independent Integrity Commissioners exist: to provide a neutral and safe venue for redress when elected public officials misuse their platforms and power.

The unnecessary comment regarding Vermilion could discourage others from filing a complaint due to the risk of motivations being ascribed to them by a quasi-judicial official.

The Integrity Commissioner process ultimately involves redressing councillor behaviour, preventing future behaviour, and, most importantly, protecting the public interest.

That comment did not serve the public interest.


Production Details
v. 1.0.0
Published: June 7, 2024
Last updated: June 7, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
Update Record
v. 1.0.0 original version

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1 Comment

  1. There was no need for Boghosian to insert his opinion or comments into his ruling. He was just being an ******* and should apologise then resign.

    [Editors Note: profanity censored by editor]

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