Some candidates from last fall’s municipal election will face election finance compliance hearings in the coming months.
Candidates be wise to reflect upon their errors, be contrite, and make amends.
Unfortunately, the history of election finance violations and errors in Hamilton shows candidates doing the opposite.
The best-known example is then-Mayor Larry Di Ianni’s response to a citizen who did the heavy lifting of holding him (and other candidates) to account for campaign finance violations during the 2003 municipal election.
Di Ianni violated the Municipal Elections Act by accepting contributions beyond the campaign donation limit and from ineligible donors. A 2006 CATCH article posted to LiveJournal encapsulates Di Ianni’s campaign finance sloppiness.
After years of attacks against Chapman’s character, Di Ianni pleaded guilty to six violations of the Act in August 2006.
Two months later, Di Ianni was defeated at the polls, losing by 442 votes.
Cindy Kennedy Follows Di Ianni’s Example, Attacking Compliant
The first hearing, scheduled for next Thursday, involves a ward council candidate who filled a zero spending return but had spent money on their campaign.
Ward 4 council candidate Cindy Kennedy did spend money on her campaign.
During the Crown Point Community Garage Sale, she held a “meet and greet” and fund-raiser. She rented a bouncy castle for the event, purchased some balloons, and held a raffle.
Kennedy appears to be mistaken in believing that because she used her own funds and did not raise much money with the raffle, she did not have to file a complete financial report.
I’ve detailed the violations in a news story here: Ward 4 Council Candidate Cindy Kennedy Failed to Disclosure Election Spending.
[Note: Someone pointed me to the election sign photo at the top after I published the linked story.]
The complaint against Kennedy was filed by another Ward 4 candidate, Pascale Marchand.
Kennedy devotes much of her response to attacking and throwing shade at Marchand.
No government agency oversees Ontario’s municipal election finance laws.
Enforcement relies upon citizens to review financial returns, to be familiar enough with the law to understand potential violations, and to then compile the evidence into a request to their local Council-appointed municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee.
The system is broken.
After filing the complaint, citizens upholding electoral integrity often find their integrity smeared with baseless accusations and insinuations.
We should not tolerate dishonourable behaviour from those seeking public office.
Cindy Kennedy should heed the lessons of the past, take responsibility, ask Hamilton’s Election Compliance Audit Committee for leniency, apologize to Marchand, and accept she made an error in not filing a proper financial report.
Production Details v. 1.0.0 Published: May 5, 2023 Last edited: May 5, 2023 Author: Joey Coleman Edit Record v. 1.0.0 original version