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Police board in Nova Scotia town suspends councillor for use of racial slur

October 03, 2016 - 1:38 PM

AMHERST, N.S. - A town councillor and mayoral candidate in northern Nova Scotia has been reprimanded and suspended for 90 days from the town's police board for using a racial slur.

Paul Calder, vice-chairman of the town of Amherst Board of Police Commissioners, said it censured George Baker on Monday by a vote of 3 to 2.

"The type of actions Mr. Baker did in uttering what he did reflects on the reputation of the board of police commissioners for the town of Amherst," Calder said.

Baker came under scrutiny after admitting to town officials that he said , "I'm not your n-----r" to workers at Bambino's Pizzeria while working a side job there in July.

Amherst town council decided it didn't have the authority to deal with allegations of misconduct and referred the matter to the town's board of police commissioners, a civil body that has a different code of conduct than council.

Calder said the board decided it needed to act now to discipline Baker because municipal elections will be held in less than two weeks on Oct. 15.

"A lot of people were apprehensive that we would just wait for the election to determine what would happen," he said. "We as a board didn't want to give the impression that we were waiting for somebody else to make a decision, that we had to make it ourselves."

Calder said options before the board included suspension, reprimand, removal from the board, or a combination of those actions. He said the board found Baker breached the regulations in the Police Act in making "comments of a racial nature."

Calder said he believes the board's ruling sends the message that Baker's conduct "was not acceptable."

"It was in violation of the regulations under the Police Act that govern the behaviour of members of the board," said Calder.

He said under the regulations board members must "refrain from engaging in professional or personal conduct that could discredit or compromise the integrity of the board of the police department."

Baker did not respond to a request seeking comment.

The controversy generated by Baker's conduct prompted a direct response from the Nova Scotia government in August.

Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill said the province will consider a uniform code of conduct for all municipal councils as part of contemplated changes to the Municipal Government Act in 2017.

Churchill said while some councils do have codes of conduct, they currently aren't mandated through the act or through provincial regulation.

— By Keith Doucette in Halifax

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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