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Kirwan working to discredit ‘anti-KED, anti-council’ crowd

‘Welcome to politics,’ city integrity commissioner Robert Swayze said after receiving correspondence from Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan in which the councillor complains about the rhetoric used by ‘anti-KED, anti-council’ members of the community
Robert Kirwan is the Greater Sudbury city councillor for Ward 5.

Although Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan says he has been building a case against the anti-Kingsway Entertainment District community, the city’s integrity commissioner isn’t having it. was recently leaked two pieces of emailed correspondence between Kirwan and city integrity commissioner Robert Swayze. The balance of city council and the city’s executive leadership team was also included in the initial correspondence.

In the emails, Kirwan complains about citizens who oppose the KED and the “lies that are being perpetuated.”

As city council’s most vocal supporter of the KED, which is to centre around a new municipal arena off of The Kingsway, Kirwan has received the brunt of criticism from its opponents.

“Please let me know if I have any recourse against individuals like Mr. (Arthur) Peach who are trying to undermine my reputation with this toxic rhetoric,” Kirwan wrote to Swayze. 

“Is there nothing that councillors can do when this kind of thing is going on? Do we have to sit back and take it without responding for fear of being charged with a violation of the Code of Conduct?”

Kirwan added that Swayze should “consider the motive” when he receives future complaints against him from certain members of the “anti-KED, anti-council” crowd. 

“They have targeted certain councillors and they will be doing what they can through social media and letters to the editor to inspire rage, hatred, intolerance and confusion among the public.”

In correspondence with, Swayze said he couldn’t say much on the record, but clarified that his role as integrity commissioner is limited to holding members of city council and local boards accountable to the city’s Code of Conduct. 

As for Kirwan’s complaints about private residents who do not fall under the auspices of Swayze’s role, the integrity commissioner offered the councillor a simple message:

“Welcome to politics.”

The chief target of Kirwan’s complaints, anti-KED advocate Arthur Peach, said he didn’t quite know what to make of a city councillor compiling a file on him and other citizens.

“I don’t really know what ‘files’ he has except that any emails that I have sent regarding his advocacy of the KED development have been copied to all members of council, media and my list of personal correspondents,” he said by emailed correspondence, adding that this appears to be part of Kirwan’s “irrational” reaction to him and other people opposed to the KED.

In addition to his correspondence with Swayze, recent days have seen Kirwan complain about KED opponents on the Valley East Facebook page he moderates with his wife, Valerie, and a recent letter to the editor in which he blames them for the dysfunction on city council.

This has contributed toward the ongoing feud between Kirwan and anti-KED activists, which includes the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and a collection of a few key residents who occasionally identify as members of the Our Towns Our City Institute

Their primarily online presence is “clearly an attempt to undermine the confidence that the public has in council,” Kirwan said, pointing to various points of misinformation as fueling dissension. 

“I often forward information and articles that are posted that basically are attacks on me to Mr. Swayze, just so he can hold on to them,” he said, maintaining that the two reprimands he received through Swayze’s investigations were “not justified” and likely submitted by people opposed to the KED. 

This, he said, includes the Jessie Timmons-related reprimand and a 2019 reprimand that came out of nine complaints related to Kirwan’s online activities – specifically, the way he reacts to people who disagree with him.

"One common thread through most of the complaints is the allegation that Councillor Kirwan abuses and harasses members of the community if they disagree with him, which is contrary to the code,” Swayze wrote at the time. 

“He appears too often to be unable to enter into professional debate with anyone who disagrees with him, but rather prefers personal attacks.”

Between misinformation and countless online posts poking fun at him and his wife on social media, Kirwan said that what he’s seen lately is “not something that should be tolerated.”

In the end, however, he said he’s confident that the public at large will seek out the factual information they need to make informed decisions at the polls on Oct. 24.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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