QUYON / LUSKVILLE – The 2013 election for mayor in the Municipality of Pontiac saw sitting mayor Eddie McCann lose to challenger Roger Larose. Mr McCann had been mayor for three terms: 1990-94, 2005-09, and 2009-13. Over a year following the election, Mr McCann was notified by Elections Quebec that he had not accounted for all his campaign debts by the year’s end deadline, December 31, 2014; the letter said that McCann would
therefore be ineligible to run for council (or sit on a council seat) for four years.
Despite this, Mr. McCann has recently run in a by-election for a council seat in Ward 2, and won it by a comfortable majority (69% of the vote, with a 59% participation rate). McCann told the Journal he believed he had received permission to run from Elections Quebec.
“In a conference call with my lawyer and
two Elections Quebec
officials, I was told by one of their lawyers, ‘you have a 100% right to present your (nomination) papers’,” McCann told the Journal. Later, Elections Quebec also wrote to him as “Edward McCann, Independent Candidate”.
“You have a debt to
yourself and it is unpaid”
The original letter, said McCann, claimed he had not paid all his outstanding debts from his 2013
“That’s what’s crazy,” said McCann. “I had no debts at all. I was
determined to use my own money and not to be seen owing any favours to those who might have supported me. Yes, I spent about $4,100, nicely below the $5,000 upper limit, but it was my money. How can
I repay it to myself? But that’s what they wanted
McCann said a clerk at Elections Quebec suggested he open a bank account in his own name and pay the debt into it. “I would be paying myself back for money I had loaned to myself — that doesn’t make sense! I’m proud of what I did – I had no IOUs within my municipality.” McCann continued: “I talked to my lawyer and found other politicians who have had similar problems.” McCann brought this information back to Elections Quebec and was told, finally, in his lawyer’s words, “Nothing’s unpaid, all the taxes, all the reports are done. You’re OK to run.”
At this year’s November 10th council meeting, with McCann now sitting in Seat 2, the council agreed, on majority, to refer his question to the municipal lawyer to obtain clarification from Elections Quebec. McCann challenged the legality of this motion since the
councillor making it and the mayor supporting it had both supported McCann’s by-election opponent. McCann also asked how much this will cost the municipality, and if there is a limit on the legal fees
for the municipality. The mayor said that he didn’t know, reports McCann.
McCann insists he will serve out his term.
The Journal has been unable to reach anyone at Elections Quebec who could comment on this