Thursday, September 17, 2015


Yesterday I mentioned an article written by the Ontario Bar Association and how it clearly explained that an ordered compliance audit was mandatory even if there was but a single contravention of the MEA. The title of that Bar Association article is "Fairness and Finances: Campaign Finances Oversight Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996". Today I'm going to point out another article this one written by Iler Campbell LLP titled "Let the Municipal Elections Act Games Begin". Interestingly despite the provocative title it turns out that while there have been examples of meritless Applications under the MEA they appear to have been centred in partisan and ugly municpal politics in the city of Toronto.

These updates became effective on January 1, 2010 hence they have been in force for the last two municipal elections namely October 2010 and October 2014. Two major changes were the mandatory establishment of a Compliance Audit Committee versus it being voluntary by municipalities. The reason for that was "The potential political implications of a compliance audit request aside, the purpose of such provisions is for citizen-electors to be able to ensure transparency and accountability in campaign finances. This goal is difficult to achieve if the elected council is the arbitrator of the alleged offence, however. Councillors will be reluctant to order a compliance audit against one of their own, if the impugned candidate was elected to council.".

The second major change to the MEA 1996 is as follows: "Another significant amendment to the MEA is the addition of s. 81.(17), which provides that the compliance audit request process "does not prevent a person from laying a charge or taking any legal action, at any time, with respect to an alleged contravention of a provision of this Act relating to election campaign finances.". This addition appears to be in response to the ruling in Hall v. Jakobek, 2003 (Ont. Sup. Ct.). In that case Mr. Jakobek laid an information in provincial court alleging campaign finance improprieties against Ms. Hall, when both were vying for the Mayor's job in Toronto.".

"In Jakobek, the court held that only a municipal council, following a compliance audit of a candidate's campaign finances, may commence a legal proceeding against a candidate. Now, it appears a private citizen may lay an information agaisnt a candidate at any time for an alleged violation of the campaign finance provisions, notwithstanding the compliance audit process.".

As I've mentioned previously there are checks and balances against meritless allegations of campaign finance irregularities. If the compliance audit committee finds zero reasonable contraventions they are not supposed to order an audit. If they do however order an audit and the auditor finds no contraventions then the applicant, not the municipality, are on the hook for the costs of the audit. Dr. Dan Holt took this risk with Councillor Scott Hahn and indeed the auditor (Froese & Partners) found serious contraventions. Similarily the compliance audit committee were made aware of mayor Shantz's numerous contraventions of the Act, including her admissions of them, yet they improperly and illegally refused to order an audit of her finances.

So the bottom line is because MECAC (Compliance Audit Committee) refused to do their legally mandated duty I am attempting to have charges laid under the Municpal Elections Act 1996 regarding mayor Shantz's Financial Statements. A compliance/forensic audit could have avoided this process.

No comments:

Post a Comment