Regina City Council decided not to impose any sanctions on Councillor Terina Shaw.
The decision came after Shaw revealed that he suffers from a severe brain injury and attention deficit disorder (ADD) and has taken steps to help and address her ‘unprofessional’ behaviour.’
“I do want to use this as an excuse; I tell people so they can understand my behaviour, my impulsiveness, I frustrate easily, I say things without stopping and thinking.”
The Ward 7 Councillor was the subject of ethics complaints submitted to the city’s integrity commissioner by a fellow councillor in March.
It was on March 21 that Councillor Andrew Stevens submitted a complaint partially due to a January 19 video conference where Shaw criticized Councillor Shanon Zachidniak for using a public chat function for the length of comments made during a question and answer period.
“Shannon, can you please leave your lecturing to a personal conversation instead of wasting my time,” Shaw wrote.
“Terina, can you please be respectful to your colleagues,” replied Zachidniak, according to a report considered by council.
According to Shaw, she approached Zachidiniak after the meeting and apologized for her comments.
The city’s integrity commissioner report encouraged council to sanction Shaw, requiring her to receive training or education “on how to communicate effectively in a respectful and courteous manner.”
Shaw stated that she realized that the comments she made were unprofessional.
‘I’ve always been someone who communicates in a very ‘frank’ manner and realizes that my approach can at times be misinterpreted as being disrespectful and dismissive; this is not my intent.”
“In the political world I live in now, I am judged for every word I say,” she said. “I don’t get a do-over.”
She said that since the complaint was filed, she has taken steps to communicate in a ‘more effective manner.’
“I talked to my doctor, and he suggested getting in touch with a therapist that understands attention deficit disorder, so I have booked some appointment with her,” she said. “There are other things that I need to do, and it’s a matter of pinching myself sometimes when I want to talk; it’s that impulsive reaction.”
She added that her doctor has also suggested she have all of her questions written down beforehand.
As for why Shaw felt the need to come forward and unveil her mental illness, she said that it was reflecting poorly on herself and her colleagues.
“The negative reflection that I have brought to council at times and the way the public as seen it, the way the media as ran with it, I did not want that anymore to reflect on council, I wanted everyone to know this about me.”
All but two members of council voted in favour of issuing no sanctions to Councillor Shaw, that being Mayor Sandra Masters and
Masters explained why she voted against ‘no sanctions.’
“I believe there is a certain sense of responsibility and privilege to be on the floor of council speaking, to be an elected official, and I believe that we should all be continually learning.”
This wasn’t the only complaint against Shaw. Another ethics complaint with 47 signatories calling for her removal was issued concerning two instances earlier this year where she is alleged to have made disrespectful comments about Indigenous people during council. Erica Beaudin, executive director of Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services (RTSIS), announced she would also be filing one.
Speaking after Wednesday’s city council meeting, City Clerk Jim Nicol said that the integrity commissioner found the complaints were unfounded and won’t be investigating them further.