Over 500 signatures on a petition demanding Chiarelli’s resignation

A petition published online yesterday demanding the resignation of City Councillor Rick Chiarelli has now reached 500 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Chiarelli, who is the City Councillor for College Ward, was accused earlier this fall of sexual harassment and other predatory conduct on multiple occasions by over a dozen women who either worked for the Councillor or were applying for employment.  

The petition demands among other things for the City of Ottawa to develop a Sexual Violence Prevention Framework, the creation of a designated Women and Gender Equity Office and a full examination of their current policies in relation to sexual violence. 

The petition has been endorsed by 10 organizations and individuals including UNIFOR Ontario Women, the president of CUPE Local 4600, Hollaback! and Women’s March Ottawa. 

“We published this petition in support of those facing sexual violence and harassment. We cannot continue to tolerate this sort of behaviour, especially of our elected officials,”said Veronique Prévost, who published the petition online.“Everyone deserves to feel safe at work and that should include the political staff of City Councillors.”

The Councillor has not shown up to council and committee meetings since August 2019, leaving his constituents without proper and adequate representation. He has only made one perfunctory appearance in November, apparently trying to avoid being obliged to give up his Council seat. 

“The collection of over 500 petition signatures in less than 24 hours, clearly signals that the public feels it is past time for his resignation; Council and the Mayor must act now,” exclaimed Prévost. “The numerous allegations have brought to light the precarious and vulnerable situation of the staff of Ottawa City Councillors and the need for immediate action. This begins with Chiarelli’s resignation.”