Dave Bylsma, who has already faced criticism and a future court appearance for participating in an anti-lockdown rally, sent the message to Emily Spanton on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Good day Emily,” he said. “I haven’t seen your posts for a while, so I assumed we were no longer friends. Fair enough if it’s true.
“I think you’ll give me an honest answer. You posted that you got the vaccine some time ago, correct? This is not a usual question to ask an acquaintance, but have you noticed a change in your period? Again, this is none of my business. I respect you and your privacy. ”
A woman chose not to answer the mayor’s question
Spanton, an avid volunteer in St. Catharines, said the question was startling and intrusive.
She said her previous posts with Bylsma, who she was actually not friends with on Facebook, were mostly about civic issues such as her former chairmanship of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
The last messages they had exchanged, she said, were in the fall when she told him she didn’t agree with his anti-lockdown stance.
She did not respond to his message regarding the vaccine and menstruation.
“I don’t see anything I could say that would make this conversation a productive one,” she said.
“If he’d said, ‘Emily, I have questions about the vaccines,’ I would have taken some time for this conversation. “
She thinks Bylsma asked the question in good faith, but “there is so much to unpack in her statement.”
Bylsma said he knew the question to Spanton was risky, but he “gave her the option of not disclosing anything that she didn’t want. “
“I asked the question in private to someone who I sincerely believed would give me a fair answer based on professional dialogue that has covered many topics that have arisen during this pandemic,” he said. told CBC News in a text message.
“I have had constituents who have raised serious concerns about the worst menstrual symptoms after the vaccine. I’m just trying to ask a tough question on an uncomfortable topic.
Niagara Regional President “deeply concerned”
As mayor of West Lincoln, Bylsma also sits on the Niagara Region Council.
Regional President Jim Bradley issued a statement Tuesday evening condemning the issue and apologizing to Spanton.
“I am deeply concerned and disturbed that Councilor Bylsma is entering into a conversation with a resident about personal matters that are not so clearly of concern to him,” Bradley said in the statement.
“It is exceptionally disappointing that a statement has to be released on a topic of conversation that is so blatantly inappropriate. These types of interactions are embarrassing and reflect poorly on our entire community. “