Spaniard's Bay holds meeting with Municipal Affairs

Nicholas Mercer
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Rally held in support of Brenda Seymour

The backers of embattled firefighter and town councillor Brenda Seymour made their presence known at the Spaniard’s Bay Municipal Building Saturday afternoon.


Brenda Seymour (right) speaks with supporters after a meeting between the Town of Spaniard's Bay and representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs earlier today.

Organized by the St. John’s branch of the Smash Patriarchy: An Action Team, the rally today was significantly smaller than the rally held Thursday evening in support of the former members of the town’s fire department.

Where the firefighters received support in the hundreds, today’s demonstration drew just over a dozen people. Some were from Spaniard’s Bay, but most were from outside the community.

There was a different feeling around the rally as well. Some vehicles slowed down considerable and kept a close watch on the proceedings, while a trio of snowmobiles twice passed in front of the rally despite a lack of snow on the parking lot.

The backdrop for the rally of support was a planned meeting between representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs and the town council. Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons was also on hand for the meeting. The was plenty of speculation around the subject of the meeting.

Starting mid-morning in Spaniard’s Bay, the meeting stretched in the early afternoon and served as an education and guidance session set up by the department. Scheduled in early December, it was intended to give the council a better understanding on various issues at the municipal level, which includes the handling and definition of sexual harassment..

“This is a positive first step,” said Parsons moments after the meeting had concluded. “There has to be education and there has to be guidance.

Seymour and the rest of the town have been under fire since Tuesday when some 20 firefighters handed over their pagers and resigned from the department in support of Coun. Sheri Collins, who stepped away from council.

What came next was an Internet and media firestorm that has brought to light allegations of sexual harassment and a mismanagement of the department from firefighter Brenda Seymour.

An instance where a short clip of a pronographic film  was shown at the conclusion of training seminar in April 2014 in which Seymour attended is one of a number of issues that have been causing tension in the community for some time.

The situation has been brewing since November when three of Spaniard’s Bay’s seven-member council attempted to remove former fire chief Victor Hiscock via a pair of motions that were defeated. It’s put the spotlight squarely on the town and left people questioning what the next step is.

In the interim, the Bay Roberts Volunteer Fire Department is handling any emergency calls in the community.

It’s a story that has made international headlines and drawn plenty of interest online and in the news.

Before speaking the media, Seymour chatted with her supporters. She noted she has received phone calls from people all over the world pledging their support to her cause. There was even a 17-year-old aspiring female firefighter who is using Seymour as an inspiration going forward.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the core issue,” she said. “I want sexism like I’ve experienced to stop.”

The Spaniard’s Bay council has always been on the hot seat the last number of days. Some in the community  have handed around a petition calling for the council to remove Seymour from her position around the table.

“That’s a private issue and the council has nothing to do with them,” said Spaniard’s Bay Mayor Tony Menchions.

Menchions noted he though some of the online comments were “blown out of proportion” but committed to ensuring that changes are made wherever they need to be.

“We’re working on the policies as they come,” he said. “I’m one of many committed to the changes. It’s a long road.”

There’s no game plan or timeline for when this matter will be resolved.

“At the end of the day, when all of this has died down, we’ll be stronger and better for it,” said Menchions.

Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs, Bay Roberts Volunteer Fire Department

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Recent comments

  • Masterwatch
    January 25, 2016 - 10:07

    A tempest in a tea pot!

  • Fred
    January 25, 2016 - 09:09

    It's not about me. It’s about the core issue,” she said. “I want sexism like I’ve experienced to stop.” Sorry to disagree with you Mrs. Seymore but it is all about you and your ambitions. We see this same progressive actions from Liberals/socialists everyday. They bring in the outside heavy hitters to support their actions and the locals are left to clean up the mess. It's my way or the highway. Let's hope cooler heads prevail and the town council can work through it for the betterment of the whole town.

    • Chris
      January 25, 2016 - 10:40

      And now women aren't allowed to be ambitious too?? Oh my gawd! Beam me up Scottie.

    • reality check
      January 25, 2016 - 11:13

      so, once again we see defenders of the Fire fighter that quit, no defending them as innocent of the complaints of sexual harrassment, but actually blaming the victim. she should just 'get over it' and stop having any ambition while she's at it. its very eye opening to see no defenders claiming that the sexual harrassment did not happen, just that its no big deal.

    • Joanne
      January 25, 2016 - 12:25

      oh my Fred, I pray you are from SB too, so at least its only 1 town, where the men want the women to be seen but not heard. I also pray you don't have any children to pass your narrow minded, sexist views onto.

  • citizen
    January 25, 2016 - 07:54

    All the men who handed in their pagers should never get their pagers back, they left the town high n dry, time for the town to start recruiting new members.

  • Bay Girl
    January 24, 2016 - 13:25

    I think it's time for the Mayor and the 3 Councillors (who defended the actions of the fire chief in past motions) be dismissed. Well one has already resigned. This Mayor is incompetent. He should have fixed this problem last fall when addressed. The fire chief has had two discrimination charges filed against him. One in 2008 by a Ms Barrett who was refused recruitment by the Chief and another involving Ms Seymour in 2011. Both women won their discrimination cases. This same Chief has allowed sexual harassment against a woman in the workplace and is gender biased by not allowing Ms. Seymour advancement in the dept. despite her having the highest levels of formal training. This Chief should never be allowed to return after leading most of the fire dept to mass resignations, leaving an entire community in serous risk of harm. He has the wrong attitude about leadership and women's rights. .

  • keith reid
    January 23, 2016 - 18:53

    hey Nic, don't forget Upper Island Cove is also stepping up to the plate for fire protection for Spaniards Bay as well as Bay Roberts.....just saying that there is no mention of the little

  • Jerry
    January 23, 2016 - 17:03

    Thanks for comedy spanyards bay. The real laugh is on you...Is there a trailer park around there somewhere ?

  • Lauren
    January 23, 2016 - 16:32

    If I was a resident of the town I'd be livid with the fire dept. No matter what the issue their facilities and training were provided on the taxpayers dime and they walked out on the residents over something that should have been resolved in a more mature manner than leaving the townspeople vulnerable in the event of an emergency.

  • reality check
    January 23, 2016 - 15:53

    Spaniard's Bay, you should know that the world is watching you and judging you to be a bunch of backwards rednecks, blindly supporting sexual harrassment in the workplace as if its okay and Ms Seymour just needs to suck it up. that's not appropriate in 2016 and hasn't been appropriate for a long time. time to come into the modern world.