Decision to remove the name of Trooper Mark Wilson of London, Ont. Amenities prompting calls to review naming process – London

A decision by London councilors to remove Private Mark Wilson’s name from city amenities is prompting a review of how the city names things going forward.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, the decision to change all amenities bearing Wilson’s name was approved after evidence emerged that he assaulted another member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Ward 5 County. Maureen Cassidy proposed an amendment to the motion to direct city staff to initiate a comprehensive review of every piece of city equipment named after specific people and see if they deserve renaming, but later withdrew his request for amendment.

« What my amendment was looking for is that they don’t just do this review of how we’re going to name things in the future, I want to go back, and I want to look at all the places, streets and community centers, etc. , which are named after people and see if those names match where we are in 2022,” she said.

The story continues under the ad

Although Cassidy withdrew her original motion, she told Global News that she plans to take it to the Community and Protective Services Committee after more research has been done on it.

Read more:

Council votes to remove the name of Trooper Mark Wilson of London, Ont. Approvals

Cavalier Mark Wilson Place sign in London Ontario.

Through Google Maps

Wilson, who died in 2006 while serving in Afghanistan, has long been recognized as a local war hero, having an annual charity run named in his honor, as well as a park and street.

Wilson was the subject of a London Free Press report last week which revealed that he had been convicted of assaulting a woman, a fellow member of the Canadian Armed Forces, in 2004 when they were both recruits in a military training program.

According to the report, Wilson was charged with sexual assault and drunkenness following a military investigation.

The story continues under the ad

At his court martial, he pleaded not guilty to sexual assault but guilty to common assault and drunkenness under the National Defense Act, and received a reprimand and a $1,500 fine.

The victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, told the London Free Press that the annual eulogies and events in his name were a reminder of what happened.

After the news broke, Mayor Ed Holder immediately called for a review of all places the name was used and wrote a letter to council and several other councilors to that effect.

Holder spoke at the meeting about the council’s commitment to creating a safe place for women and girls in the community.

Read more:

London Mayor and Deputy Mayor call for Private Mark Wilson’s name to be removed from city amenities

The chief executive of the London Abused Women’s Center applauds the move to support women speaking out.

« When we first found out what was going on, we took a stand to have her name removed. It’s really important because we also have to think about the woman in the case, » Jennifer Dunn said.

“The City of London, there is a specific pillar in the strategic plan which is to create a safe London for women and girls, and so the Mayor is right to do what he has done and push that forward. «

The story continues under the ad

Following the report, Wilson’s parents retained the services of London lawyer Phillip Millar, who told Global News that Wilson’s parents were « devastated » by the decision.

“They are asking to make representations to the city council because there were parts of the story that are not told to us in the Free Press article, and it seems the city council just responded with a lack of courage and come too quickly to a decision that affects the legacy of a war hero and has deeply hurt a Memorial Cross family,” said Millar.

He also notes that this news was particularly difficult for Wilson’s mother, Carolyn Wilson, who served as a Silver Cross mother at local Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Millar echoed previous statements saying the decision was unfair given that Wilson could not defend himself or give his side of the story.

« They did such a disrespect to a family to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for women’s shelters and hospitals in their son’s name by not allowing them to sit at the table. »

Read more:

Monuments named after the London war hero are under review after an assault conviction emerged

However, for Dunn, the facts speak for themselves.

« I think at the time he was given a chance to speak. I mean, he pleaded guilty. Yes, it was a lesser offense, but he still pleaded guilty.

The story continues under the ad

“For a woman who was sexually assaulted or, in this case, he pleaded guilty to assault, she pretty much has to serve a life sentence. Yes, he lost his life serving his country, but this woman is walking down the street and can see a street name named after someone who changed her life forever,” Dunn said.

Dunn thinks more thought will need to be given to naming rights in the future.

“I think everyone just has to be careful. Do we really need to name things after people? Dunn said.

« Having a building or a street or anything named after someone may not be the direction we need to go in the future. »

—with files from Andrew Graham and Matthew Trevithick of Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Back to top button