Former City and Regional Councillor Sprovieri took to social media in defending the “sexual misconduct” of Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, claiming a “set up” and blaming the victim.
June 15, 2021
Former City and Regional Councillor John Sprovieri wrote on social media, “I have a strong feeling that (Councillor) Gurpreet (Dhillon) was set up, and he fell into the trap. No married woman with integrity would allow a young man away from home and family into her bed room at midnight to give her a message.”
Sprovieri continues, “Foolish Gurpreet allowed the woman to manipulate him and lead him into her bed room to set him up.”
No Means No – What Really Happened
According to the City of Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner (IC) Report, Councillor Dhillion engaged in “sexual misconduct” towards a Brampton businesswoman, while they both were in Ankara, Turkey on a city-sponsored business trip. When Dhillon was distracted, the complainant tried to call and text a colleague for help, however, her colleague did not immediately answer. The complainant then pressed the record button on her cell phone.
On the recording, the complainant said “no” to Councillor Dhillon’s sexual advances 74 times in a span of 2 minutes and 57 seconds.
After leaving the complainant’s hotel room, Councillor Dhillon returned.
As documented in the IC report, “After Councillor Dhillon left the Complainant’s room, he returned to her door and began knocking at her door while waiting there for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The Complainant opened the door and Councillor Dhillon said, “I just want to know if you are okay?”. The Complainant responded, “I need to take a shower”. Approximately 15 minutes after that, somebody else knocked on the Complainant’s door. When she looked through the peephole, she noticed it was a male who was holding an iron but was hiding his face. The Complainant did not open the door and put a chair behind the door for extra safety.”
Councillor Dhillon has categorically denied all of the allegations.
Upon receiving the IC report, and given that City Council cannot terminate a Councillor for violating corporate policies, Council unanimously asked Dhillon to resign. They also suspended his pay for 90 days, the maximum sanction permitted under the Municipal Act.
In a symbolic and passionate speech, Brampton Councillor Charmaine Williams asked Dhillon to “resign” 74 times. This is the same number of times his victim said “no” in a recorded tape.
And furthermore, given that Dhillon is also a Regional Councillor, City Council unanimously supported sending the report to the Regions of Peel’s Integrity Commissioner. Regional Council has yet addressed the complaint.
Councillor Dhillon took the City and the IC to court with a judicial review. Last week, a three-judge panel determined that the Integrity Commissioner was reasonable in launching her investigation, did not deny Dhillon procedural fairness, and was reasonable in her findings.
Lead Justice Kristjanson wrote, “(Integrity Commissioner) findings were reasonable and supported by the evidence before her” and “The Integrity Commissioner’s finding of Councillor Dhillon’s sexual misconduct – made on a balance of probabilities, and in absence of any explanation or substantive comments whatsoever from Councillor Dhillon – was reasonable.”
The judicial review also concluded that the City’s response was also reasonable within their municipal jurisdiction. The provincial legislation limits municipal councils on what they can do with a Councillor who violates the Code of Conduct.
The three judges ordered Dhillon to pay $20,000 in costs to the City and another $20,000 in costs to the Integrity Commissioner.
As ordered by the courts, Council needs to revise their sanctions in order to broaden the manner in which Dhillon communicates with constituents. Currently, to avoid any physical contact, Council mandated that only emails could be used between Dhillon his constituents. They will need the process to include telephone calls and perhaps video conferencing.
The first opportunity to comply with the court order will be at their next meeting tomorrow, June 16th.
The City of Brampton remains in the spotlight as the provincial government reviews the municipal Code of Conduct provisions and the inability of an Integrity Commissioner to fire a Councillor.