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No punishment for middle finger salute in Waterloo: councillor

Councillor Tenille Bonoguore said no penalties are being recommended for directing two middle fingers to protesters at an anti-lockdown rally in Waterloo in early June
FILE PHOTO. An overhead shot of the 'True North Freedom Assembly' on June 5, 2021.

A Waterloo city councillor will not be penalized after flipping off anti-lockdown protesters at a demonstration in the UpTown Waterloo Town Square over the summer.

Writing on Twitter, Ward 7 Councillor Tenille Bonoguore said the Integrity Commissioner investigated three complaints about the incident on June 5th, an event that drew hundreds including People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.

Bonoguore would later apologize, saying it was a completely spontaneous act and recognized the gesture is generally inappropriate in a civil society.

She said the Integrity Commissioner found she didn't contravene any council Code of Conduct rules, but did break the public square usage policy, and no penalty was recommended.

Reviewing that recommendation made by the Integrity Commissioner on Monday, Waterloo council voted unanimously in favour of no further action being taken against Bonoguore, as city staff confirmed that all parties were included in the investigation and given the opportunity to provide information - including the complainants. 

Speaking to council after the decision was made, Councillor Bonoguore stated that the UpTown anti-lockdown gathering "went against all public health and civic guidance", adding that it was that "threat to the community" that she had been protesting. The councillor also issues a public apology directly to Mayor Dave Jaworsky, and to the rest of Waterloo council. 

"As the investigator concluded, this was not for personal gain; it was not for political points. It was my own frustration, plain and simple." said Bonoguore. "Having not planned to do something, I didn't bring anything with me except my body, and that's what I used - but the gestures were crude, and I recognize that."


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