I am Corinne Dourlent and I would like to share with you my experience with Fraser Tolmie who has resigned as mayor of Moose Jaw and is running as a Conservative candidate in the federal election.
I am a native French speaking Canadian citizen using English as a second language after I immigrated from France to Montreal in 2006. In August 2019, I moved to Moose Jaw with my husband and our daughters, after we bought a house and the adjacent lot in the Friendly City.
In spring 2020, we decided to make major outdoor changes which certainly delighted the neighborhood.
Information was requested from the City Hall of Moose Jaw with the aim of operating as required. The City Hall of Moose Jaw provided us several times with obsolete documentation for us to build a fence. Indeed, the first documentation emailed was dated 2016, and was not very clear in addressing the challenges regarding our fence project. The City Hall of Moose Jaw ended up emailing new documentation dated 2017. It seemed suspicious as we never expected to receive obsolete documentation from a municipality.
As it was still not clear enough to give us the opportunity to make sure our project would be complying with the current regulation, we reached out to the Bylaw Officer a couple of times, but he never responded to our requests.
Based on what we were provided, a $10,000-commitment to build our fence was signed with Strictly Fences Ltd., a Moose Jaw company.
Surprisingly, the very same day the fence was to be erected, three individuals from City Hall came on site, including the Bylaw Officer and Ms Michelle Sanson, Director of Planning and Development Services. So, my husband and myself had a meeting with all the individuals present from City Hall while our neighbours agreed to stay upon our request.
That same day the City Hall of Moose Jaw came up again with new documentation, and this time they provided us with one dated 2020.
After Ms Sanson explained what we apparently were not understanding, I pointed out to her the fence of a neighbour which was not complying with what she just said, and I was answered that the owner was a doctor.
Shocked, I answered back I was not seeing any good point in that comment and added my husband was a pilot. Ms Sanson did not go further down the route of people’s social features. Obviously, Ms Sanson’s visit accompanied by the Bylaw Officer, for which we never could get in touch with, was clearly not to grant us any privilege based on my husband’s job. In fact, everyone including Ms Sanson knows that people’s social feature is not legally part of bylaws, so that this comment should had certainly been avoided.
Once that meeting finished, I evaluated the situation around three aspects:
my feelings were suggesting active corruption inside the City Hall of Moose Jaw
a $10,000 commitment with a business owner was set, and
the City Hall had repeatedly shown lack of professionalism in neither providing updated documentation to rely on nor having any Bylaw Officer available on due course.
We finally decided to build the fence as we made a commitment based on the first information provided by the City Hall which even after that point failed to act with responsibility.
To answer our decision to go further with the fence, the City Hall issued us a contravention involving threatening a $10,000 fine and six-month jail.
In my opinion which is based on the observance of the City Hall incompetence in regard to my expectation of staff of any municipality, we decided to request a meeting with Mayor Fraser Tolmie who never answered any of my emails.
On September 9, 2020, I met with Mayor Tolmie and was accompanied by my husband and a bilingual witness. Mayor Tolmie was accompanied by Ms Sanson, the City Manager, and also the City Solicitor.
When the City Hall provided me with the date, time and location of that meeting, I also received a list of the persons to be attending it, but the attendance of the City Solicitor was not mentioned. Then, one hour before that meeting, my husband received a call for his RCAF Commanding Officer informing him that Mayor Fraser Tolmie phoned the Moose Jaw Canadian Air Force Base Commander to complain that my husband harassed city staff and had an altercation with the City Hall’s staff.
My husband never met with Fraser Tolmie before that meeting, so by complaining to the RCAF in alleging an altercation, he was clearly reporting something from someone else that he could not testify.
In the event that a staff of City Hall would have experienced an altercation involving my husband or myself, that person should have taken herself/himself whatever action she/he would have felt appropriate.
During the meeting, Fraser Tolmie exclusively talked to myself referring to my emails while totally ignoring my husband. Moreover, Ms Sanson justified the fact that the Bylaw Officer never phoned us back by bringing the reason that his professional cellphone was broken.
At the end of the meeting, I asked Fraser Tolmie if we did something wrong, and my husband asked Fraser Tolmie why he phoned the Moose Jaw Wing Commander.
Fraser Tolmie’s evasive political answers were immediately followed by [him saying] he served with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) several years, so he underlined the respect he had for a wife’s sacrifices made for their spouse to serve the country. Following that point, my husband sough for a lawyer who sent a letter directed to Fraser Tolmie through the City Solicitor.
To conclude, please let me bring some thoughts.
If Fraser Tolmie would have had concerns about my emails or any of my behaviors, I think he should have informed me about that instead of phoning my husband’s employer.
If my husband would have been employed in a local business in Moose Jaw, the latest would not have been in a position of being professionally threatened by a mayor’s phone call.
Moreover, because Fraser Tolmie had served as a CAF officer for 7 years, I think he knew the intent of the call he made was to significantly harm my husband’s career.
And as leaning towards Conservative, it is unbelievable to try to be harmful against a CAF officer and his family.
From the facts, what Fraser Tolmie did is intimidation. I am not a member of Canadian Armed Forces, and Fraser Tolmie also knew who my employer was as I had already contacted him through my professional position months ago prior to this situation.
My opinion is that by phoning the Royal Canadian Armed Forces for a civil matter clearly not related to the latest, Fraser Tolmie made a deliberate choice to use his position to make an act of intimidation towards my husband with the idea to back me off from the meeting requested.
Instead of targeting my husband, Fraser Tolmie should have contacted me in order to solve the issues I raised in my emails. Fraser Tolmie could have chosen to show by any means that he was sensitive to the challenges we were facing with the City Hall Staff around the bad documentation and the Bylaw Officer unavailability, but he did not. Instead, he phoned the Canadian Armed Forces.
Fraser Tolmie could have chosen to directly communicate with me by simply answering my emails, but he did not. Instead, he phoned the Canadian Armed Forces.
Fraser Tolmie could have chosen to contact my employer to express what he expressed to the Canadian Armed Forces, but he did not. Instead, he phoned the Canadian Armed Forces.
Fraser Tolmie could have chosen to make me aware that my emails were a concern, but he did not. Instead, he phoned the Canadian Armed Forces.
Before individuals choose a candidate to vote for, I think people [need to ] benefit by having knowledge of how Fraser Tolmie deals with concerns and his lack of value for speaking of honesty and respect of the residents of the town he was the mayor of, and military members.
I am personally very sceptical in such skills and intents from Fraser Tolmie to demonstrate his devotion for other people’s respect in politics.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.