KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As apologies go, the apology by Halifax Fire Chief Ken Stuebing to Liane Tessier for the systemic and horrific gender discrimination she was subjected to was rather anticlimactic.
Lacking empathy and the apology itself extremely brief, the fire chief quickly changed the subject to the “tremendous progress” that has already been made.
Equally brief, Kymberly Franklin of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission apologized for the length of Tessier’s ordeal, but not for bungling Tessier’s case and dismissing it, forcing Tessier to take the Commission to court.
Neither the mayor nor City councillors attended the public apology, even though the behaviour of the city’s HR department and Employee Assistance program contributed greatly to Tessier’s problems.
None of the employees identified in Tessier’s exposé were ever disciplined. Nor will they in the future, Stuebing said.
“The terms of the settlement are about acknowledging the systemic discoveries that we’re committed to addressing moving forward, all I can speak to intelligently is that commitment and the work we have done to date,” said Stuebing.
“I believe wholeheartedly that Miss Tessier believes everything she says, and her concerns, but what we have agreed to in the settlement is to make the public apology, to make the policy changes and to affect our culture moving forward. We are not going forward with a tribunal where we would have addressed fact and lay blame,” Stuebing said.
The fire chief expressed confidence in his ability to change the culture in his department, no matter how deeply rooted misogyny may be
“I am confident that I have the fortitude to make the stand for what’s important to this organization to evolve, but it is not me in isolation by any means. It’s a group effort,” the Chief said.
Shortly after the Chief’s apology one of his employees sent an email to Tessier in which he suggest that in one case at least the discrimination she was subjected to occurred not because of her gender but because she was an unpleasant person.
The Nova Scotia Advocate has acquired an email sent today at 4:27 PM by Captain Bruce Mosher, using Halifax Regional Fire letterhead and the City’s email system. In the email he demands that his name be removed from Tessier’s blog, because of his belief that she “has her facts wrong.”
“The other females were granted access, only you and Andrea were not. This clearly then would be a case of personality conflict and not gender bias. Perhaps it was because you are not a particularly pleasant individual to deal with. But that is not for me to say,” writes Mosher.
Seems like the fire chief has his work cut out for him.
Here is that email.
Please check out Liane Tessier’s blog containing important information about her case that deserves to be widely read.
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