Rhonda JubenvilleBy Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A Chatham-Kent councillor penalized for her actions and comments she made on social media regarding what flags can fly on municipal property is taking action.
North Kent’s Rhonda Jubenville saw her pay docked for 90 days by council in a 13 to 3 vote Aug. 14. She said she has filed a complaint to the municipality’s Integrity Commissioner based on allegations an unnamed councillor made, saying she was anti-Black and anti-LGTBQ+.
The allegations came to light during the council meeting when South Kent Coun. Ryan Doyle said he had received information stating Jubenville was prejudiced against the two communities.
Jubenville said she emailed IC Mary Ellen Bench with the concern Aug. 17, but said she isn’t sure what will happen next.
“I did file and it has been acknowledged (by Bench),” Jubenville told The Voice. “I have to speak up when there is an untruth being circulated about me.”
Jubenville said she was unaware she could complain about the statements allegedly made about her and communicated that to Bench during the council meeting, however the commissioner said she had indeed informed Jubenville she had the right to take action.
Regarding the sanction against her, Jubenville feels she is “under attack and scrutiny from people who are being led by a false narrative.”
She said flag issue has been “hijacked” by the Pride flag issue, adding her stance was only that government flags should be flown on municipal property.
Flying any other flags goes against flag etiquette, the councillor said, noting the issue blew up when she made Facebook posts disagreeing with flying the Pride flag beneath the Maple Leaf at a Blenheim school.
Depending on the outcome of her complaint, Jubenville said further action could be taken that could include a judicial review of the matter.
Jubenville also said that if another councillor faced similar sanctions, she will be “the first” to say that no councillor should have their pay docked unless they have been criminally charged or found guilty of a criminal or civil offense.
“Based on feelings and innuendo and hearsay, I would never do this to another councillor,” she said.
Another wrinkle has developed in the ongoing saga, said Jubenville, noting someone has created a rondajubenville.com, coopting her name. The website displays “The Rhonda Jubenville Foundation,” and addresses abortion rights, fundraising and Gay Pride.
The councillor said whoever created the website has launched a “passive-aggressive attack on my character and my principles.
“It is someone who is offended that I am pro-life and a Christian,” said Jubenville, noting she has contacted police about the matter.