Vulgar language used in public hearing as Coun. Mike Nickel escapes sanction once again
In a hearing that heard explicit language uttered from a fellow councillor's mouth, Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel once again avoided sanction from his colleagues at city hall on Thursday.
The decision came after Edmonton's integrity commissioner told council Nickel violated its Code of Conduct.
lntegrity commissioner Jamie Pytel's findings stem from an investigation into accusations that Nickel improperly used email addresses obtained through official council duties for his personal election campaign.
Despite Pytel's recommendation for council to sanction Nickel, the motion against the mayoral candidate was defeated with a 7-4 vote in favour of sanction.
A two-thirds majority is needed in order to pass a motion to sanction.
If passed, the sanction could have meant a written letter of reprimand addressed to Nickel from Mayor Don Iveson on behalf of council.
On Thursday, Pytel presented evidence to council that suggested Nickel had improperly used email addresses to solicit support for his bid to become Edmonton's next mayor on four separate occasions.
Thursday's decision marks the second time Nickel has narrowly avoided sanction from his fellow members of council.
'I DON'T BRING CODE VIOLATIONS TO THIS COUNCIL LIGHTLY'
"If I was given evidence, or anything by councillor Nickel, that would suggest the complaints were brought in bad faith I would investigate and review and make a finding on that," Pytel said while presenting her evidence ahead of the vote on whether to sanction Nickel.
"I have no information to lead me to that conclusion," she added.
Pytel said the issue surrounding Nickel's email activity dates back to October 2020 when the first of four unnamed complainants reached out with their concerns about misuse of their contact information.
"I don't bring code violations to this council lightly or easily," she told council.
The Council Code of Conduct states in part that "councillors may only use the city’s website, social media, and electronic mail only for official duties.
"Councillors will maintain separate websites, social media, and electronic mail accounts for all campaign activities and communications.
"Website and electronic mail distribution lists that are used for official duties may not be used for campaign activities and communications."
NICKEL ABSENT FROM HEARING
Nickel was not present for the sanction hearing. Instead, his lawyer, Jonathan Denis, was in attendance to represent him during the process.
"We're dealing with four email addresses here," Denis told councillors, "and I question what possible advantage anyone seeking any type of office could obtain by receiving access to four email addresses."
"None of these complaints, with respect, are valid," he added.
Denis maintained Coun. Nickel's claim that the email addresses in question were collected during his past mayoral campaigns and on his campaign website through petitions.
"Your suggestion is that folks who contacted him in the 90s when he was running previously would've provided those email addresses?" Iveson asked Denis.
According to Pytel, Nickel never corroborated those claims to her satisfaction.
While speaking to media after the vote, Denis clarified that his claim is that the email addresses were taken from Nickel’s previous council runs in 2013 and 2017, not from his last mayoral run in 2001.
'THE BIASES ARE EXTREMELY OBVIOUS'
Ward 7 Coun. Tony Caterina was one of the four councillors to vote against sanctioning Nickel for the misuse of constituent emails.
"The struggle for me is still on the severity," said Caterina. "I don't think that it's been established that the intent was to misrepresent or misuse city assets."
"The biases are extremely obvious," he added, before reading a text from Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters.
"'I'm so sick and tired of this m**********r. He should be hospitalized,'" quoted Caterina before being abruptly cut off by Iveson.
Later in the hearing, Walters apologized for the text - and did so again later on in a text message to Caterina obtained by CTV News Edmonton.
Walters told CTV News Edmonton that he believes Nickel is intentionally wasting council's time and taxpayer's money.
"I'm enormously frustrated that (Nickel) is doing this because he wants it all to be public," said Walters. "He could have easily dealt with the integrity commissioner offline and we would have never had to have the hearing."
UPCOMING NICKEL SANCTION HEARING
An additional sanction hearing for Nickel's actions is still set to go before members of council.
That hearing will deal with social media posts made by Nickel about Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack.
"Councillor Nickel falsely attributed the estimated cost of the 2020 Code Complaints to Councillor Knack and his staff member, and called it a '$50,000 + Stunt,'" Pytel's investigation report reads in part.
That hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, but council voted to put it off until July 5.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says her government is crafting changes to be debated next week to reverse the part of a bill that gives her cabinet unfettered power to rewrite laws behind closed doors without legislature approval.
It was a monumental occasion when Canada stepped onto soccer’s biggest stage in Qatar, and while its World Cup campaign ended miserably, there is still hope moving forward. CTVNews.ca takes a look at the three talking points ahead of the next World Cup in 2026.
Russian authorities rejected a price cap on the country's oil set by Ukraine's Western supporters and threatened Saturday to stop supplying the nations that endorsed it.
Refugee advocates are raising concerns that Afghan refugees granted asylum in Canada are being burdened by escalating costs stemming from the government’s delay in processing their claims.
Dozens of Muslim philanthropic groups are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure that the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman office can access all the information it needs to conduct a systemic review of how the Canada Revenue Agency treats and audits Muslim-led charities.
Canadians can write to Santa in the language of their choice, Canada Post says, after some express confusion
After some people expressed confusion online over what languages Canada Post will accept from Canadians writing to Santa this holiday season, the corporation says it accepts letters in any language.
Canada's housing advocate says during a tour this fall of several Inuit communities she got a glimpse into the dire living conditions many have faced for years.
A veteran and former Paralympian told a parliamentary committee that a caseworker from the Veterans Affairs Canada offered her medical assistance in dying, a week after the veterans affairs minister confirmed that at least four other veterans were offered the same thing.
Transport minister confident in a smooth holiday air travel season, despite expecting large volume of passengers
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the upcoming holiday travel season is sure to be a busy one, but that he’s working with air travel stakeholders to ensure the summer’s flight cancellations and lost luggage problems aren’t repeated.
Concern about surrounding Alberta's overwhelmed healthcare system grew Saturday after an announcement by AHS that health-care workers are being diverted to accommodate swelling admissions at Alberta Children's Hospital.
The average vet bill can cost anywhere from a few hundred all the way up to thousands of dollars, which is why Parachutes For Pets helped 50 low income families cover the hefty burden.
It's only a few months old, but a para snow program in Cochrane is already gaining international attention.
Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) has charged a 20-year-old woman with second degree murder after the body of a man was found in a home on 7th Street East.
Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have found a way to make red lentils more nutritious, and greener to process.
A Court of King’s Bench judge has certified a class action lawsuit alleging historic abuse at the Saskatchewan School for the Deaf.
Three local businesses in Regina announced they are closing their doors for good.
'I hope I was able to do it some justice': Artist works to perfect style in portraying Sask. prairies
The Saskatchewan Legislative Building was host to an art show, portraying life on the prairies.
Agribition highlighted advancements in agriculture-technologies this week, showing producers how new tech can save them money, time and limit hard labour.
The 59th annual Christmas Daddies telethon continued its Maritimes tradition Saturday. This year, the telethon has so far raised more than $608,000.
Prince Edward Island’s Ground Search and Rescue tested out some new equipment and learned new search management roles in a major mock operation Saturday.
The New Brunswick RCMP’s Major Crime Unit is investigating a homicide on the Elsipogtog First Nation.
The body of a man has been recovered following an industrial accident in Mississauga on Friday, Peel Regional Police say.
The Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade kicks off at 10 a.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) says many of the streets along the parade route will be closed until noon on Saturday.
A new report shows house prices need to drop by more than $500,000 for millennials to be able to afford a home in Ontario.
Young man in critical condition after being struck on Montreal highway, 1 arrested for impaired driving
Police have arrested a man for drunk driving after a 22-year-old man was struck by a car in the Viger tunnel after getting out of his own car to check an issue.
The psychiatric unit at Lakeshore General Hospital in Montreal's West Island has been temporarily closed due to a shortage of psychiatrists, with patients diverted to Verdun's Douglas Institute instead. In a statement, the West Island health authority (CIUSSS) said the move was made to "ensure safe care for our patients."
Arcade Fire returns to Montreal on Saturday night for a show at the Bell Centre. It's the local band's first show since multiple sexual assault allegations were brought forward against frontman Win Butler in the summer.
Help will arrive at CHEO next week as the children's hospital continues to see "unprecedented volumes" of young patients suffering from respiratory viruses.
A young mother in the Ottawa Valley is hoping to raise $100,000 in order to afford life-saving cancer surgery in the United States.
The power is back on for thousands of customers in Ottawa and across eastern Ontario, after strong winds caused by a cold front knocked out power across the region.
Protesters in Cambridge joined others across the province Saturday in an effort to push back against provisions in Ontario’s new housing plan which will remove sections of protected land from the Greenbelt to build homes.
Kitchener firefighters were called to put out flames at a construction trailer early Friday morning, and inside, they found a body.
A woman in her 50s was seriously injured in a workplace incident in Cambridge Thursday night.
For the first time, the CTV Lions Children's Christmas Telethon will be held at Greater Sudbury’s new arts facility, Place des Arts.
Emergency Services in Cochrane District want to be the first EMS in Canada to offer a vital anti-opioid treatment in ambulances, a move that would help more people overcome their addiction issues.
With some upsetting recent headlines, it may be hard to stay positive if you're a member of the 2SLGBTQ community.
A man is dead following an early morning crash in the Polo Park area.
Hundreds of newcomers got to witness a favourite Canadian pastime on Saturday.
A Manitoba family is honouring the memory of their son with a large donation to the Manitoba Children's Hospital Foundation.
None of the officers who responded to the altercation that led to the death of Const. Shaelyn Yang committed an offence, according to B.C.'s police watchdog.
A violent scene unfolded inside a Langley apartment complex Friday night, sending two people hospital and leaving some who live there shocked and shaken.
A hospital emergency code typically reserved for natural disasters and mass casualty events was briefly activated at BC Children's Hospital Saturday morning.
A Vancouver Island medical lab that closed in August due to a lack of staff will be reopening Tuesday.
Although he’s not being pestered by paparazzi or fending off fans now, Bonnie Nicholls says the llama that she’s walking down the street with is just as leisurely in the limelight.
First responders on the mid-island are asking for the public to obey "Slow Down and Move Over" laws, especially in light of this week's heavy snowfall.