Jerry Kaiser, division 5 councillor for the Rural Municipality of Baildon, plans to take legal action against the organization because it suspended him for failing to apologize for alleged abuses against staff and colleagues.
The RM council voted to suspend Kaiser and remove him from all committees immediately during a special meeting — which he did not attend — in mid-November.
He could have avoided this suspension if he had written an apology in the Moose Jaw Express to ratepayers for his alleged wrongdoings — as per an investigative report — and acknowledged the report as true, and if he verbally apologized to council and office staff.
Council informed Kaiser of these sanctions during previous meetings, but he indicated that he did not intend to comply, denied the allegations, and planned to appeal the report.
Leslie Belloc-Pinder, Q.C., an independent third-party investigator, spoke to all council members and office staff last spring — every interview was recorded — and produced a report in August that found Kaiser supposedly harassed Baildon’s reeves and office administrators regularly over the years, that his actions were contrary to the harassment policy, and that his behaviour as a councillor was contrary to the code of ethics bylaw.
The RM of Baildon has spent $141,855 on legal fees since 2010, with all but one issue related to Kaiser.
Outcome of sanctions
Kaiser will remain suspended until all sanctions have been met, which means Reeve Terry Anthony will handle all issues in division 5, the meeting minutes said.
Meanwhile, for the remainder of Kaiser’s term in office — if he apologizes and is reinstated — he will not be permitted on any RM property without an appointment unless it’s for a regular or special council meeting. If he fails to show for those appointments, they are considered cancelled, and he may not enter the premises.
Kaiser must direct all legal correspondence to the RM of Baildon’s legal counsel. His seat will remain vacant until he apologizes — or the 2024 RM elections occur.
Kaiser did not have anything to say about the investigative report but said he thought democracy was under attack worldwide and this was one example of it.
“This suspension of mine from council is just one wound in the democratic creature,” he said recently.
Kaiser, 74, has lived in the rural municipality for years and claims he has seen the RM council engage in corrupt practices and unfair treatment.
He became so frustrated with these alleged problems in 2019 that he ran for council in 2020. His platform made clear that he thought council gave too much special treatment to friends and family, while other ratepayers supposedly received the runaround.
After being elected, he ensured his division’s needs were met and attempted to learn how internal operations worked.
“(The) questions that I asked didn’t sit well with the corporate-farmer elite that’s on council and the powerful administrators,” Kaiser said. “So, they picked everything they could that was insignificant and blew it out proportion. It cost them thousands of dollars to have a lawyer come down on their side.”
Kaiser denied “each and every allegation” in the investigative report “because what they say isn’t correct” and planned to mount a judicial review soon. He also refused to address the sanctions since those are “incorrect,” and he has rights.
The RM office has not heard from Kaiser since that special November meeting, either verbally or in written form, said administrator Carol Bellefeuille. She has been with the organization since 2016 and has not seen anything like this before.
“He didn’t even bat an eye that he thought it (the investigative report) was wrong, that it’s OK to say things and do those things to people,” Bellefeuille said. “We just wanted people to be aware and him to take ownership of it and apologize … .”
Bellefeuille added that the RM hopes Kaiser understands how his actions are affecting everyone and takes no further steps that negatively impact the organization.