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Manitoba council to appeal court decision over ousted councillor

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A rural Manitoba council is planning to appeal a judge's decision overturning its attempt to kick out a rookie councillor.

The legal battle between the Rural Municipality of Thompson and Coun. Donna Cox is not over yet. During a special meeting of council held on Monday afternoon, the council decided they would be returning to court.

"Based on the interpretation of the municipal act, Council is in disagreement with the outcome of the court case," reads the resolution of council, which is posted on its website.

This comes after a Manitoba judge blasted the rural municipality earlier in February, saying they 'failed miserably' to communicate or compromise, while making changes they knew would set her up to fail.

READ MORE: 'Failed miserably': Court blasts rural Manitoba council for trying to oust elected official

The council disqualified Cox in May 2023, something the province said only the court has the power to do. The RM then went to court to defend its decision, saying Cox had missed three consecutive council meetings or local urban district (LUD) committee meetings without leave.

"Critically, I have no doubt the absences were not a matter of neglect, irresponsibility, or intention to flout her obligations to attend meetings," Manitoba Court of King's Bench Justice Chris Martin said in his decision.

Martin noted council changed the meeting times, making it difficult for Cox to attend, if not, prevent her from attending altogether.

"With those changes, it should have been clear she was bound to fail," he wrote.

In his decision, Martin said Cox remains as an elected councillor.

The RM of Thompson's council is directing its lawyers to proceed with an appeal of that decision. The vote was unanimous, with the exception of Cox who abstained.

CTV News has reached out for a comment from the RM and is awaiting a response. 

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