Newfoundland town council apologizes to female firefighter for harassment

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- The Newfoundland and Labrador town that made international headlines over allegations of porn and sexual harassment has apologized to its only female firefighter.

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A news release Tuesday signed by Tony Menchions, mayor of Spaniard's Bay in southeastern Newfoundland, apologizes to firefighter Brenda Seymour. She is also a town councillor.

"We do not condone nor tolerate any such behaviour," says the statement. "As a council, we have adopted a zero tolerance policy on harassment of any kind and shall ensure that all town workers and volunteers operate in a safe, respectful and inclusive environment."

Seymour unleashed a uproar this month with harassment allegations that included pornography shown during firefighter training almost two years ago.

The Bay de Grave Regional Fire Services Board confirmed Monday that Bay de Grave regional fire chief Jeremy Hall had been replaced. He was removed as chief and as a provincially approved safety trainer in connection with an explicit porn clip shown at the end of a 2014 session for volunteer firefighters in nearby Spaniard's Bay.

It was one of several alleged incidents Seymour publicly described of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Long-running tensions peaked last week as most of the volunteer fire brigade resigned in support of their council liaison, who also quit, as part of an ugly rift that has split the town of 2,700 people.

Menchions in the statement thanks volunteers for their contributions and said Spaniard's Bay is now accepting applications to rebuild its fire service.

"Eligibility is available to past and present members as well as any community-minded individuals with an interest in the fire service," it says. "Council promises a safe and respectful environment and supports gender equity."

In the meantime, the Bay Roberts Fire Department is standing by as first responder for Spaniard's Bay.


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