Municipality vs. McCann continues McCann requests an appeal

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Allyson Beauregard

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Following the May 11 court judgement that removed former Councillor Eddie McCann from council and
disqualified him from running in any election for four years, effective from January 1, 2015, McCann submitted a request for appeal, June 10.

Allyson Beauregard

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Following the May 11 court judgement that removed former Councillor Eddie McCann from council and
disqualified him from running in any election for four years, effective from January 1, 2015, McCann submitted a request for appeal, June 10.
“I’m not ready to accept the decision. I was well below my spending limits when I funded my own campaign. This wasn’t an action initiated by the government but rather the council, and I’m not willing to accept that they can control this. This is 100% personal and has nothing to do with ethics and honesty,” explained McCann, who hopes to receive a decision quickly.
The judgement was the result of a legal battle which began last year. McCann, who previously served as mayor, was defeated by Roger Larose in 2013. After the 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.
After speaking to Elections Quebec to sort out the matter, McCann said he had received permission to run in a 2015 by-election where he won the seat for Ward 2 (Quyon).
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.
Although McCann had funded his own campaign and spent about $4,100, which is below the $5,000 limit, he exceeded the individual contribution limit for election campaigns by over-donating to himself by a couple thousand dollars, which led to the court judgement. “The judge was clear there was no fraud, mal-intent, or dishonesty on my part. It was a technicality that he felt he had to rule on. It seems like an extreme penalty,” said McCann, noting another reason for his appeal is that he wants to run for mayor in the next municipal election.
According to Pontiac Communications Officer Dominique Labrie, the municipality is sceptical that the appeal request will be successful. “The judgement was pretty straight forward and we don’t see how it could be successful,” he said, noting that if the appeal is granted, it will cost taxpayers an additional $5,000 to $6,000 on top of the approximate $20,000 already spent on the municipality and McCann’s legal fees. Under the municipal code, municipalities are required to pay for the legal expenses to defend any member of council. “[ The council] doesn’t care how much they spend because it’s covered by taxpayers. If it were coming from their pockets, it would be a different story,” claimed McCann.
Labrie said he was told it could take years for the matter to be settled, during which time the Ward 2 seat cannot be filled. “Until then, people in Quyon are left unrepresented at the table,” he said, adding that it is now a waiting game to see if the court decides to grant the appeal.