Nrinder Nann named in Integrity Commissioner complaint about safe injection site

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Residents believe “questionable procedural issues took place during (a February) meeting” that green lit a safe injection site at 746 Barton Street East. Nann pictured centre. Photo credit: Facebook/Nrinder Nann via Bob Hatcher 


A number of Hamiltonians, including former Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina and Council candidate and business owner Walter Furlan, have launched a complaint to the municipal Integrity Commissioner against Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann.

The complaint stems from abnormal procedural circumstances surrounding a February Hamilton City Council meeting in which Council approved a safe injection site at 746 Barton Street East. 

The property is in Nann’s ward and the site is strongly supported by the Councillor.

The first abnormality was that the agenda published before the meeting made no mention that the safe injection site was being discussed that day. 

Despite that, several delegations arrived at the meeting in favour of the site, suggesting that they may have been tipped off by someone on Council.

The residents launching the integrity complaint are calling themselves ‘Residents in the Barton-Gage-Sherman Neighbourhood’.

Then, after some of the delegates were given the chance to present, Councillor Esther Pauls asked Mayor Andrea Horwath if Councillors would actually be voting on the site that day. 

Horwath awkwardly answered the question, indicating that Council “might be” voting on the site later in the meeting.

But when delegations finished presenting, it ended up being Horwath herself that brought forward a walk-on motion for Council to endorse the Barton Street safe injection site. 

The motion passed 13-2, with Councillor Esther Pauls and Councillor Matt Francis voting against.

Furlan was at the meeting with a 1,200-signature petition opposing the site and says that he only heard about it by accident.

It was after that meeting and the approval of the safe injection site that Furlan and others launched a 100-page complaint to the Integrity Commissioner.

The accompanying news release that went along with the complaint emphasizes that residents believe “questionable procedural issues took place during the meeting.”

“The result was in fact a walk-on motion approving the disputed site in spite of the residents’ delegation stating that they had not been properly consulted, that they were not advised of the meeting, and that the agenda did not include a motion regarding 746 Barton Street East.”

The statement also alleges that Councillor Nann made “incendiary remarks in describing those opposing the site.”

The residents launching the complaint also note that they agree that there is a need for a safe injection site, but they have multiple concerns regarding the specific address. 

They contend that 746 Barton Street East is too close to daycares, an elementary school, and other services serving vulnerable populations. They fear an increase in discarded needles and an increase in criminal activities.

Nann responded to the Integrity Commissioner filing on social by noting that the safe injection site will also include “wrap-around services” and that they “are proven to save and transform lives.”

She also noted that the motion passed at Council requires that the agency sponsoring the application conducts “robust community engagement” to help address “safety and neighbourhood impact concerns.”

Nann’s statement did not fully address the accusations of procedural abnormalities, including whether or not pro-safe injection site delegates were “tipped off” that the topic was going to be discussed by Council that day.

Principles Integrity is the organization that acts as the city’s Integrity Commissioner. It is unclear when they will respond to the complaint that was filed. 

It should also be noted that, despite municipal approval, federal and provincial governments still have to give the green light to the injection site.

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