Ignace, Ont., mayor resigns after continued criticism on social media

The mayor of Ignace, Ont., resigned Wednesday afternoon, citing concerns with comments made on social media.

Don Cunningham  was elected in October 2018, along with four other new councillors.

He resigned from his seat not quite halfway through his term.

“We are moving forward. We still have a very responsible, active council wanting to do the best for all of our residents, and everybody involved,” said Debbie Hart, a councillor in town, who has now become the acting mayor.

Hart said comments made on Facebook were disparaging to Cunningham, as well as township staff.

The municipality has about 12 staff members, including public works and recreation.

She said there was no formal vote on her becoming mayor, but she will, for the interim, become “head of council.”

“We want to take care of things,” she said, noting the community has pressing matters to deal with surrounding COVID-19.

She said there would be a council meeting in the next few weeks to determine how council will fill the mayor’s chair. The first move, she said, was to establish a rule for council to meet electronically. That first meeting would take place within the next week.

Hart declined to confirm if the township’s CAO would also be departing from her position.

In late 2019, councillor Dave Penney resigned from his seat on Ignace town council. He was replaced by Shaun Defeo, who sat on council in the previous term.

It’s not the first time a mayor in Ignace has resigned from the position.

Long-time mayor Lee Kennard resigned in January 2012, citing personal reasons, but took the job back about a month later. He was subsequently re-elected mayor in 2014.

Ignace is a community of about 1,200 on the Trans-Canada Highway, about 250 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.

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