What happens when you are accused of something that you had not done? How do you feel? Hurt, angry, on the defensive for no reason? Now what if you are accused but by a coward, one who stays anonymous, one who uses a false name? To add even greater severity to the whole disturbing situation the accusation is made public. Your family has to endure the accusation with you. Your friends although stand by you sill have the nagging thoughts if the accusation wasn't true how was it possible to allow it to be public? Worse now those you work with make their decisions, point fingers and talk behind your back. So I repeat, how are you expected to feel?
Each of you can ask that of Niagara Region Councillor Andrew Petrowski. He has had to deal with just these circumstances and even worse. As an elected representative Andrew Petrowski has a public face, he is a public figure. He works at the grassroots level of government, of law makers. He works at a level of government that affects each one of us on a real daily level. He in fact works for us.
Andrew Petrowski not only had to endure an anonymous accusation, he had to endure a very public escalation of that accusation by a fellow Niagara Region council member. This individual made it public he knew who the anonymous cowards are and smeared Andrew Petrowski in public even more. St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan publicly attacked Andrew Petrowski based on anonymous cowardly accusations, although to Mayor Brian McMullan the coward was not anonymous. Mayor Brian McMullan publicly admitted to know the anonymous cowardly accuser.
In St. Catharines selected justice is far from new or shocking. We as democratic Canadians live in a world where we think we are protected by a Charter of Rights, by ideals of human rights, and a fair and just judicial system. Think again! All these ideals are there it is true but if you do not stand up and fight for them, you only become another silent victim. Lies by officers of the Niagara Regional Police on official documents, intentional destruction of a reputation, of an individual by reporters of the only real newspaper we have, and the false accusations by Mayor Brian McMullan are not unusual here in St. Catharines. It is up to each of you the people of this city to say enough, not to turn a blind eye to it, before one of you becomes a victim.
Andrew Petrowski was elected by the people of St. Catharines to represent them at the regional level of government. He is a tall and large figure, animated when he speaks, full of passion and old fashioned enough to give a damn. It is not uncommon to joke as potholes on roads pop out within a week or so of being filled in, that working for government is job security as they never do anything well the first time. Yet Andrew Petrowski did not see a joke as six guys stood around a hole when one was in it with a shovel. He did not think of the light bulb joke. Nor did Andrew Petrowski see it a joke to have an hour coffee break, then another lunch break and then what else. Andrew Petrowski saw this as our taxpayer's dollars not simply wasted but grossly abused. Without hesitation that made him unpopular. In an interview with Doug Herod of The Standard Andrew Petrowski is quoted as calling himself “a self-appointed crusader for the taxpayer,” and one may take issue with such a self image. He has been referred to as a bull in a china ship, and he would agree himself that he lets it go from the hip. Yet Andrew Petrowski campaigned on issues of taxpayer dollars and the over-spending by Niagara Region. He says that he will not “rubber stamp” staff reports. So if he sees issues or asks questions does that mean he should be a target for a 'set up.' Andrew Petrowski ended up as the classic target we see in the movies. He spoke out against the normal or accepted flow. He opposed the way things are done and became not only a nuisance but a liability.
Andrew Petrowski was accused of inappropriate actions by an anonymous accuser yet no one at Region saw anything wrong in that. Chairman Gary Burroughs nor CAO Mike Trojan thought anything suspicious of a coward making accusations hiding behind a false name. Neither Burroughs nor Trojan want the 'normal way' of life at Niagara Region disturbed. When Andrew Petrowski was accused of taking photos of regional staff at a job site, and was supposedly witnessed walking back to his vehicle, the accuser did not take down the license plate number! Petrowski had told me that his vehicle could not have been at that location on the day and he could prove it. It was Petrowski not the anonymous accuser who faced questions.
The accusations became worse and more serious. An e-mail by an individual named Tim Lewis was sent to all regional and municipal councillors. This e-mail was sent to media as well. Now the accusations reached a level of slander and attack that no one had to endure. Whoever Tim Lewis is one thing is certain he is a coward, hiding behind a fictitious name and with ulterior motives.
Now Andrew Petrowski is accused of physically handling a female regional employee. This coward Tim Lewis makes serious accusations yet no one really questions who he is, not even Doug Herod of The Standard. Mayor Brian McMullan makes a public statement in an interview with Doug Herod of The Standard that he “learned who they are” HOW!
In addition to anonymous accusers Andrew Petrowski has had warnings issued via e-mail by CUPE head for the Niagara Region, Shawn Wilson. Unions used to be in place to protect the worker and their benefits. Here it seems the union is only interested in protecting the status quo. If union members are abusing the public purse than no one better think anything can be done about it. After all they are union members. It doesn't seem to matter to CUPE boss Shawn Wilson that his union members may be the one's in the wrong. Somehow the line between right and wrong has been blurred in this case against Andrew Petrowski. Doug Herod of The Standard wrote on December 9th 2011 a piece titled, “Petrowski, McMullan at odds over accusations flying at Region.” Mayor Brian McMullan for some reason saw fit to copy to the fictitious Tim Lewis a letter he sent to Chairman Burroughs. Why?
What was the purpose of sending this Tim Lewis any copies of correspondence that relate to staffing issues? Herod seemed to lose the point of such a question of McMullan.
Herod of The Standard did ask if Brian McMullan knew who this Tim Lewis might be, and this is the response McMullan gave, according to Doug Herod: “Yes, I've learned who they are.” It is important to note the day this was printed, December 9th 2011. The interview with McMullan may have been a day or two before. Mayor McMullan goes further in his admitting the knowledge of the anonymous accusers by saying, “There's more than one person, I believe. But I don't know who Tim Lewis is, I know some of the other people involved.” This is as quoted by Doug Herod of The Standard on December 9th 2011.
Brian McMullan has publicly admitted to knowing who the anonymous cowards are. Yet a letter sent by Chief Administrative Officer Mike Trojan dated December 9th 2011 though signed only for him, states this: (Mind you before I continue, even though the letter mentioned from CAO Trojan states atop PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL, Andrew Petrowski is fighting to clear his name and is fighting for the truth. He allowed me to read and quote from that letter only specific passages to prove certain points and to raise alarming questions surrounding these anonymous accusations and the admittance by Mayor Brian McMullan.)
I now quote from the letter: “as indicated in ...November 30 email, despite significant efforts, we cannot identify the sender of the Tim Lewis emails. Unfortunately, I can provide no insight as to how 'Tim Lewis' became aware of our employee's report; and...” This following point has to alarm everyone in particular if you are the target or victim of an anonymous coward. “...as indicated in ...December 2 email, we unsuccessfully attempted to have Tim Lewis identify his interest while confirming for him and all members of Regional Council that any issues involving Niagara Region employees constitute confidential labour relations matters and are therefore dealt with as such.” Mayor McMullan has his view on such issues and is quoted by Doug Herod as saying, “This particular matter isn't strictly a personnel matter.”
There are more alarming points in this letter from CAO Trojan. Trojan said to Doug Herod that “we are always concerned if confidential information is shared beyond those intended to receive it.” How concerned is Mr. Trojan? Brian McMullan admitted to know who is involved, yet region's staff even after “significant efforts” were unable to “identify the sender of the Tim Lewis emails.” Did CAO Trojan think of questioning Mayor Brian McMullan? Rather obvious I would think.
Trojan's letter also states “you did not touch her or her name tag...” This is in relation to the accusations of poking or abusing a female regional employee. Mayor McMullan wrote Chairman Burroughs and stated, “Considering the strict policies regarding harassment and bullying in the workplace...” McMullan knew who the anonymous e-mailer was, or as he claimed were, and the accusations were false. In his December 9th 2011 letter Trojan says, “we again spoke to the employee whom you met at Hospice Niagara in July...” So it appears quite clear that Trojan had spoken with her on the issue of her name tag already. Here Trojan says “...you did not touch her or her name tag...” and “...her conversation with you concluded civilly and she is content that the matter now be closed.” Yet in his October 31st letter he/Trojan stated “...handled the Niagara Region identification tag that was attached to her clothing.” Anything strange here? Something sounds out of place, like the truth.
Did this woman lie in her initial report? Why would she do that? How did Tim Lewis get any of the official region information? Who is Tim Lewis? There are too many questions and more to come. On December 9th 2011 Mayor Brian McMullan admits publicly to Doug Herod of The Standard to know the identity of the anonymous e-mailer, not supposedly Tim Lewis. Yet McMullan said, “Yes I've learned who they are” and “there's more than one person...” Brian McMullan had to of told Herod this a day or two before it went to print on December 9th 2011. On December 12th 2011 Andrew Petrowski gets this e-mail, now it's from a Suzie Q. Another anonymous coward. But this time it is more alarming and has gone to a new level. Suzie Q claims to “personally know the public health inspector” and the location has now changed to McDonalds. Finally in this cowardly rant filled with lies this anonymous e-mailer has said that she “filed a report with Crimestoppers so the Niagara Regional Police will investigate this assault on my coworker.” This liar went so far as to file a report with the Niagara Regional Police!
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, Section 140 on Public Mischief:
140.(1)Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by
a)making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;
b)doing anything intended to cause some person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;
c)reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed
The result of such a false statement or report is a jail term of up to 5 years as an indictable offence, or summary conviction.
Suzie Q as the anonymous e-mailer had committed a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. This individual knew 'she' had lied. Andrew Petrowski had contacted the police to get some answers. Instead he was told that Crime Stoppers works in a different fashion and that he would have to file a request through Freedom of Information. In the meantime everyone that Andrew Petrowski works with has had a copy of this sent to them, including the brilliant reporter Doug Herod.
Now the real questions begin. Andrew Petrowski has been accused by an anonymous e-mailer. He has been dragged through mud in the public's eye with these accusations. His co-workers have been provided the same lies by the anonymous cowards. The Criminal Code breached. The law broken and Mayor Brian McMullan has publicly admitted to know the anonymous e-mailer. Remember Brian McMullan's words, “Yes I've learned who they are” and again “there's more than one person.” This anonymous e-mailer no longer is Tim Lewis but one of the “more than one person.” A criminal act has been committed and Brian McMullan has admitted to know who the anonymous e-mailer is! How is it that the brilliant reporter Doug Herod saw no reason to question the whole situation? How is it the Niagara Regional Police have not began an investigation on this criminal act? How is it that not one of the co-workers of Andrew Petrowski has made any effort to request the truth?
Trojan said in his December 9th 2011 letter that “despite significant efforts, we cannot identify the sender of the Tim Lewis email.” I'm in fact curious as how significant his or region's efforts were. Each e-mail presents an IP address and can be traced back to the sender. You will in fact get even the longitude and latitude of the location, and the service provider will provide the name and full address upon serious request. In fact it is so easy, my daughter did it as an experiment. How serious was Trojan or Niagara Region in their search for the truth? Or was it simply convenient to have this happen to Andrew Petrowski in an attempt to shut him up? A legitimate question now.
Also in the December 9th 2011 letter by Trojan this statement: “I've also received correspondence from CUPE leaders who have demanded that we take whatever action necessary to ensure that inappropriate behaviour towards their members ceases immediately.” Now I am not trying to say we have Hoffa re-incarnated in Niagara, but the union does not want the norm touched. I should stress here that according to the Niagara Regional Police Service anyone can take a photograph of another person in public and it is not an offence in any way. I have that in writing and an officer's voice recorded telling me that. Trojan also states in his November 1st 2011 letter to Andrew Petrowski, “In my 30 years in municipal government I have not encountered...” Has CAO Trojan encountered in his brilliant thirty years of municipal service such a concerted effort to destroy the reputation and character of an elected member of the municipal government? No one at region, not Trojan nor Chairman Burroughs want the truth and any claims of “significant efforts” only seems to be a joke.
The Niagara Regional Police have a breach of the criminal code in their hands, breach of Public Mischief and Section 140. They have admitted witness in Mayor Brian McMullan to the identity of the individual who committed this criminal act. Yet somehow no one see's anything wrong in this. Brian McMullan said, “He's a bully, and I don't mind saying that.” He said this of Andrew Petrowski. The question is what is Mayor Brian McMullan? What is his involvement in all of this? He admits to knowing the identity of the anonymous e-mailers? How does Mayor Brian McMullan justify this? How does CAO Trojan justify this? How does Chairman Burroughs justify this? Still this is Niagara and selective justice is far from unusual here.
Doug Herod of The Standard might of been able to put one and one together when he got the e-mail from Suzie Q. After all he has been at the Standard since 1979 presumably doing reporting. Yet it seems Doug Herod is far from a journalist who seeks out the truth. His questions to McMullan limited and tame. Herod as a reporter had Mayor McMullan admit to knowing the identity of the anonymous e-mailer, that anonymous e-mailer had committed a criminal act by making a false report to police. Dougie boy saw no reason to talk to the police or question Mayor McMullan in any way. Mayor McMullan in fact is an accessory with his admission. Still Doug Herod only uses Andrew Petrowski as the centre of a joke instead, to insult in public with his crystal ball and McDonald's fries. Well Doug Herod does belong to the venerable journalistic family of Sun Media with Marlene and Ezra. This is still your town Doug maybe it deserves a little more pride to be shown or a journalistic thirst for truth.
Andrew Petrowski as an elected public servant has been targeted with an organized and rather well orchestrated campaign of anonymous cowardly accusations. These were designed to destroy his credibility and reputation. His co-workers Burroughs, Timms, Katzman, Rigby, Heit, Caslin, Teal, Zimmerman, Bylsma, Maves, Greenwood, Volpatti, Lepp, Baty, Barrick, D'Angela, Marshall, Sharpe, Bentley, Badawey, Diodati, Augustyn, Eke, Joyner, Hodgson and Jest, all had received the anonymous e-mails. All are aware of what was attempted. All aware of Mayor Brian McMullan's involvement. All too much of a coward to stand up and make a statement in the name of dignity. The old man of Niagara politics mused at the dollar value of a soul with the scandal of illegal contributions, that it was worth more than $750.00. I would like to ask Councillor and ex-Mayor of St. Catharines Tim Rigby how much is dignity worth then? Andrew Petrowski's wife and son have had to endure this by his side. WHAT IS ENOUGH, HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH IN OUR NIAGARA?
I guess all you have to do now is look at The Standard's front page of Friday January 13th 2012 to see just how much of a 'news-paper' The Standard is. The photo shows Doug Herod with a tape measure and the caption reads, “Standard columnist Doug Herod does some investigative journalism...” Dougie, Sun Media should be proud of you and your investigative journalism.
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