Human Rights Commission dismisses complaint against Town of Claresholm

By Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter)
February 7, 2019 - 10:16am

CLARESHOLM -- Claresholm Town Council is breathing a sigh of relief after receiving a letter from the Alberta Human Rights Commission in January.  It came a little more than a year after a former Town Councillor filed a Human Rights complaint against the town.
 
Donna Courage, who was elected to Claresholm Town council in October of 2017, filed the complaint against the town on January 23, 2018, alleging discrimination.
 
Several days before that, Courage told media and police that an intruder forced his way into her home one evening, pushed her against a wall and told her to "Keep quiet and leave town".
 
Courage told LethbridgeNewsNOW that tensions in the community had been rising since she started running for a position on Town Council - on a platform of government transparency and accountability.
 
She also alleged that a group dedicated a “hate page” on Facebook to her, warning her to conform or leave town. She said the RCMP were investigating but, the page itself had been deleted
 
At the time, Courage said she intended to stand-up to "bullies and intimidation tactics."
 
However, in August 2018, the Town of Claresholm issued a news release stating Courage had resigned.
 
At the time, Mayor Doug MacPherson said Donna Courage’s resignation is “unfortunate and regretful" and came as a surprise. He added that he didn’t know if January’s attack was a factor, saying she didn’t like to talk about it. Courage said at the time she felt she had ruffled feathers with her platform of transparency and accountability.

“We’ve had differences of opinions, but overall it was respectful,” MacPherson told LethbridgeNewsNOW. “She definitely did have some different opinions than some of the other members of council, but that’s just a normal council. I don’t think you’ll ever find a council that’s all on the same side. There are different opinions on every council in Alberta.”

As for the conclusion of Courage's Human Rights complaint, it was noted in a short information brief at the Town Council meeting of January 28th, that the town had received notification from the Alberta Human Rights Commission on January 14.
 
Chief Administrative Officer, Marian Carlson, stated, "The complaint has been dismissed, as they (the Commission) determined there was no reasonable basis to proceed with the claim."
 
In spite of repeated requests from the RCMP for any additional information the public might have in the home intruder case and after a lengthy investigation, no arrest was ever made.

Related stories:

Jan 24 - 2018  "I'm not letting these bullies win," says Claresholm Councillor who says she was attacked in her home

Jan 25 - 2018   Claresholm RCMP release composite sketch of suspect in alleged home invasion

Feb 2 - 2018 Claresholm Councillor files human rights complaint against the town

Aug 14 - 2018 Claresholm councillor who filed human rights complaint resigns

Nov 13 - 2018   Claresholm RCMP continue to seek information for assault investigation

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