Dufferin News Municipal Politics

Melancthon Councillor Resigns after ‘defamatory assaults’

Melancthon Councillor Resigns

The afternoon of November 9th, shortly after publishing an article about Melancthon’s council receiving a pay increase, Dufferin News received notification that Melancthon Councillor David Thwaites resigned effective November 6, 2020. This detail was not shared with Dufferin News when requesting comment on the matter of council pay.

A letter from David Thwaites to Melancthon CAO Denise Holmes accompanied the press release, which is below in its raw form:

“After much reflection and consideration I have concluded that I must resign as a Councilor for the Corporation of the Township of Melancthon. This letter constitutes my notice effective immediately.

When I decided to put my name forward to serve on Council in July, 2018 I considered it an opportunity to serve my community, using my experience, professionally and personally, integrity and hard work. I was not naive in the realties and challenges that I might face but I never considered that personal animus would be the issue that would force me to reconsider that decision.

I did not sign on to serve where my character and integrity would be attacked when I all I have done is to serve with character, hard work and often sacrificing to fulfill my duties and responsibilities. I resign without apology for any action taken on my part in service of the Township and its residents.

The comments of another Councilor at the meeting of October 15, 2020 accusing me of “hate”, which he refused to retract and apologize for on November 5, 2020 is my breaking point. I will not be subjected to slanderous and defamatory assaults. He has made it impossible for me to serve. I do not know what has truly motivated the actions/comments. I feel very sorry for the Councilor and any who serve with any personal animus. I was appalled by the words on October 15 and continue to be appalled.

For any who might ask questions about Councilor Hannon’s allegations of hate I strongly deny such. I would further note, not that I owe any explanation to give even a better perspective of who I am, I note I have devoted much of my adult life, both professionally and personally, to service, including those who are of visible minorities, the disadvantaged and mentally ill. I have served and continue to serve in the education system as a volunteer and an employee where hate and prejudice have no role and I condone neither.

I have members of my extended family and friends who identify as lesbian and gay. I have immediate family members, including a son, a daughter-in-law and a grandson who are either mixed race or a “visible minority”. I have served on international missions where I have been the visible minority. I have a foster child being of a different race and culture who considers me her second father. I have a son who suffers from mental illness and numerous encounters with the police and criminal justice system. The last thing I would ever want my grandson to be told is that is grandfather spread hate. These factors alone do not mean I cannot spread hate but the factors and my life for the past sixty-five years do tell the reality of who I am.

I was once confronted, not long ago, by the words, to the effect, “welcome to politics”. I took issue with the comments then and I take issue with them now. Politics with honour and integrity is one thing, politics to defame and personally attack, be it direct or indirect, has no place at any level but certainly at a local municipal level of governance.

I recognize the challenge that my resignation creates. To you I apologize for any additional work or stress. To the members of the various Boards and Committees I served on, thank you.

I have already spoken with each of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor on the evening of November 5, 2020 to advise them of my intention to resign.

David Thwaites, Councillor

The Township of Melancthon wishes to thank Mr. Thwaites for his service and dedication to the Township and to the many Boards and Committees he has served on. Pursuant to the Municipal Act, Council will declare the seat vacant at the next regular meeting of Council. Melancthon CAO Denise Holmes confirmed to Dufferin News that a report will be on the Agenda for the November 19th Council Meeting on the matter of filling the vacancy.

Dufferin News will continue to provide updates as this story progresses and will be reaching out to members of Melancthon’s council for comment.

Melancthon’s next council meeting is scheduled to take place on November 19th starting at 5 pm. It is accessible to the public via Zoom.

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