Eddie McCann disqualified from council

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Allyson Beauregard

PONTIAC – Following a legal battle that began last year, the municipality
won their court case against Councillor Eddie McCann, May 11, which removes him from council.  McCann, who previously served as mayor until he was defeated by Roger Larose in 2013, won a

Allyson Beauregard

PONTIAC – Following a legal battle that began last year, the municipality
won their court case against Councillor Eddie McCann, May 11, which removes him from council.  McCann, who previously served as mayor until he was defeated by Roger Larose in 2013, won a
by-election for Ward 2 (Quyon) last year after Councillor Denis Dubé resigned.
Over a year following the 2013 election, McCann was notified by Elections Quebec that he had not accounted for all his
campaign debts by the deadline, December 31, 2014; the letter said he would therefore be ineligible to run for council for four years, effective from January 2015.
“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. I spent about $4,100, below the $5,000 upper limit, but it was my money. How can I repay it to myself? But that’s what they wanted to see,” said McCann in an earlier interview. After speaking to Elections Quebec to sort out the matter, McCann said he had received permission to run in the by-election.
During last December’s council meeting, a majority voted for a motion to ask the municipal lawyer to obtain clarification from Elections Quebec regarding the legality of McCann occupying the seat.
According to McCann, the reason he lost the case had more to do with  exceeding the legal contribution limit for election campaigns. “The judge seemed to understand the whole debt issue, but what disqualified me was that I exceeded the maximum amount you are allowed to donate to an election campaign by over donating to myself by a couple thousand dollars,” he told the Journal.
Benedikt Kuhn, Pontiac Director General, confirmed the judgement: “You can’t take from one pocket to give to the other without blowing a huge hole in the Elections Act regarding the accounting of expenses, financing, etc. If you were able to finance your own campaign without limits, equal opportunity would be lost. The integrity of the system must be protected,” he explained.
“This is 100% personal and has nothing to do with protecting the integrity
of the system,” retorted McCann. “Only the defeated candidate or a person within the riding can challenge an election, but this was overlooked.”  However, at the end of the day, he was in the wrong. “I knew there was a limit, but I didn’t put the two together. I’m not embarrassed; I did what we should all try to do
as much as possible [not have debts]. I’m just disappointed. If I hadn’t repaid my debts to someone, I could understand.
This is hard to accept,” he added, noting he will be unable to run for the next municipal election, which he had hoped to do.
The judgement leaves Ward 2 without a representative for the second time since 2015. The municipality is currently deciding whether to hold a by-election or to wait until the next municipal election to fill the seat. Although McCann has the right to appeal the decision, according to Kuhn, the case was analyzed inside and out so an appeal is unlikely to be successful.