‘I’m Sorry’ (John Denver 1975)


After reading several articles regarding the apology that Councillor Wilson was required to publicly make, I had several thoughts, but my late wife’s words were foremost:  ‘Apologies are very powerful things’. First, I believe Councillor Wilson apologized, but with gritted teeth.  In her initial comments, she reached out and tried to be kind: ‘You are always blaming someone else for your problems – I get it… I’m so sorry for your wife’s health struggles.  If you need help to pay a parking pass reach out.’  

The complainant, someone we’ve become more familiar with since the start of the last election, didn’t reply in a civil, polite manner, like: ‘Thank you for your kind, considerate words.’  Nope, nope, nope. All he saw was, ‘You are always blaming someone else for your problems…’. Perceiving that he had been slighted/besmirched/insulted, he doubled down and got very personal with his ill-considered response: ‘Wow. You are very childish for an old person.’  And then let fly with what, to him must have been the  most damning condemnation of all – forbidding her to talk to him again. He forbade her! As in, ‘I’m the adult, you’re the child and I will tell you what you can and cannot do.  

“GLADLY!’, was likely her first thought when she read that.

This was a long way from the type of nasty remarks that he has been in the habit of using, mostly from the remoteness and safety of social media, but it does make one thing very clear: when David Shanahan wrote his op/ed and said that the Complainant was ‘unfit to serve’, I know that he chose his words carefully.  He also chose them well.  

Thankfully council did choose Deb Wilson to fill the vacancy. She deserves it. This council did the right thing in its selection process. Ms. Wilson works very hard for the community that she has been part of, all of her life.  Most importantly, she has shown that she can work with others.  Can you imagine the direction council would have taken if they had picked the other person attempting to get on council, having had such a small number of votes?  The people had made their choice and it was a smart one.  

Now, some have been heard to opine, ‘ANY individual who is thin-skinned – vituperative – vindicitive – coarse – contumelious – unforgiving – vengeful – abusive should never be elected/selected to any public office.’ (Really? There are people who talk like that?) Those people had best be wary: the litigious Complainant would love nothing more than to sue the backsides off of any and all who demean him in any way. Lacking funds, in this case, he tried the ‘Go Fund Me’ route, but no one or too few took the bait.

Question:  Where and when did the attitude come from that anyone who has the gall to disagree with you is not only wrong but evil–and revenge must be taken?

She cautioned him, “If you are thinking about running for any elected position..be careful”. I would caution the electorate: If he is thinking of running for any elected position (and he will be back, rest assured), WE need to be careful.

Embittered after not being selected to sit on the council, he got away with saying anything and everything that he wanted. Next, he lodged a complaint. Why? To exact some revenge? I cannot be certain beyond a doubt, but what I suspect is that he is a vindictive person. Walking away, or biting his tongue may not be a part of his character.

I too lost my wife to illness…cancer. In my 5-plus years of grief, I have tried to keep this quote in mind: ‘When those you love die, the best you can do is to honour their spirit for as long as you live. You make a commitment that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life. (Patrick Swayze)  

My wife’s lesson was to be positive and not waste energy being negative and angry. Also, never miss an opportunity to say, ‘I’m Sorry’ when you know that you are in the wrong.

If the Complainant’s wife is in his head, the way mine continues to be in mine, and if she was the type of good person that my wife was, (and I am assured that she was), then she is likely urging him to ‘take the high road’, and ‘choose to be positive’ and ‘don’t waste your energy being angry all the time.’

Congratulations Councillor Wilson.  Your family, friends, and colleagues must be very proud of you.  

As am I.

Peter Johnson
Upper Oxford Mills



  1. This is certainly a complex issue that has been made more complex by the insertion of emotions and personalities. Everyone needs to start by looking at ” Code of Conduct for Council Members”
    The “Code” allows anyone to register a complaint to a committee consisting of the Mayor, CAO, and the Clerk. They have the authority to either dismiss the complaint or forward it on to the “North Grenville Integrity Commissioner” for further determination. The Commissioner can dismiss the complaint if he believes it lacks merit or carry out an investigation. In this particular case the Commissioner decided the complaint had sufficient merit to carry out an investigation of the complaint. This investigation led the Commissioner to come to conclusions that the Councilor in question violated the “Code of Conduct for Council Members”. As outlined in the “Code” the Commissioner was then required to report his findings and recommendations to Council. According to the “Code of Conduct” it is the Council that determines what sanctions if any are necessary. In this case the Commissioner reported to Council that the Counselor in question had violated the “Code of Conduct ” and recommended to Council they should request the Councilor in question make a public apology to the complainant. Based on the Commissioner’s report the Councilor in question elected on their own to make the recommended public apology to the complainant.

    If you have issues with this ruling I would suggest rather than defending or attacking individuals it would be more productive to challenge the policies and procedures that guided the the decision making process. In my opinion it makes more sense to request that Council and the Integrity Commissioner review, amend or validate the policies and procedures currently contained in the “‘Code of Conduct for Council Members”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here