Muskoka Lakes mayoralty candidate Alice Murphy has further addressed controversial comments she made about being subject to ‘extreme verbal abuse’ by her political opponent Don Furniss.

The comments came at an all-candidates forum held in Raymond earlier in the campaign. In a story about the forum, the Bracebridge Examiner reported that Murphy told people “I have been very reluctant to bring this up but I guess I am going to bring it up. I have been subject to some extreme verbal abuse by my council to this side (pointing to Furniss), physical intimidation, and I will tell the one that is the most hurtful … many of you know that my father passed away last year … and I find it almost unbearable that someone who has been as difficult to me as Coun. Furniss has been, would actually invade my personal space and my father’s graveside private burial and take that moment away from me. So yes, there are various forms of bullying and quite frankly the myth that’s perpetuated by People For Probity …”

In a subsequent email response to the Moose about the comments, Murphy stated:  “This is a personal moment for me that I regret has become the focus of a news story, as opposed to the very real election policy issues that should be debated. I received an outpouring of support from all Council members and from Township staff when my father passed away, and I very much appreciated how so many caring people took the time to attend at his visitation as well as the funeral. We have wonderful friends and my dear father loved Muskoka. I thanked everyone for their support, including Councillor Furniss.  It has certainly, however, been very hurtful to me, my mother, and the rest of my family in that we were forced to share a very private and intimate graveside burial with an individual who has been relentless in his personal, and what I consider to be very slanderous public attacks on me. I believe this to be inappropriate at best, but prefer to move on to other issues and the future.”

Contacted about Murphy’s comments, Furniss referred the Moose to a copy of one of his speeches that is posted on his website. He said most of the speech was read the night of a following all-candidates debate in Bala, but that he did not get time to read the below comments from the speech because his time for speaking was up before he could finish.

The portion where he responds to Murphy reads: “Councillor Edwards and I were the only members of council to attend Alice’s father’s funeral to offer support to her and her family. I stayed under a tree well removed from the internment site to give the family the privacy they deserved. I did not attend the reception as I thought it best for only close friends and family. The hug I received that day, plus the very nice email the following week outlining how appreciative Alice was of my caring and support during a very tragic time in her life was very much appreciated. So it was a complete shock to me and everyone who knows me, to learn that alice felt threatened and intimidated by my presence, particularly when you consider this comment came out of the blue, 14 months after the funeral, during an election campaign.”