Councillors accepting campaign donations from corporations and unions is dead wrong.
The practice creates a horrible conflict of interest when, particularly on planning committee, its members accept campaign donations from the very people councillors administer.
If Citizen columnist Joanne Chianello’s figures are correct, the pro-ban councillors need three converts on city council so that the province can be asked to move administration of the practice to Ottawa City Hall. That could follow with another vote on a ban.
So let’s see. I’ve known planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder for many years. Why I think I got then-Nepean-councillor Harder her first major headline when she sought a solution to run-off water from the Trail Road landfill. We both learned what leachate was (rain and melted snow filtered through garbage … there will be a test later, Jan).
One thing I know for certain is that Harder knows the difference between right and wrong. Harder has stressed those values with her family and the siblings have turned out well.
Accepting campaign donations from people you will be making decisions on at planning committee is wrong. No federal board such as the CRTC would stand for that.
So the Jan Harder I know will be against this practice. Currently Harder is on the list of people favouring accepting donations.
The same with College Councillor Rick Chiarelli. We have debated this point on the phone for some time. Chiarelli says corporate donations allow candidates to supply information such as flyers and signs so the public knows for whom to vote. In Chiarelli’s case, it would be Chiarelli. The College councillor is also on planning committee so much of the above applies to him.
Well Chiarelli, and for that matter Harder too, can just put their names on a ballot and win in their respective wards. Then why take money that in the eyes of many compromises your ethics? And those would be right and wrong. Not only do you have to be objective, you need to be SEEN as being objective on planning committee. That doesn’t happen with corporate donations to councillor campaigns.
So let’s see … who else can we convert from the dark side? Planning committee member Allan Hubley is a lock in his Kanata South ward, corporate donations or not. Now is a chance to show that your ethics are in the right place after they took a beating when you weren’t denying you were considering running for a higher office just after being elected again to city council. You eventually did the right thing by not running. Be right again. Older, and thus more experienced, councillors should be wise enough to know right from wrong. Let’s see if Hubley is wise enough.
And planning committee member Stephen Blais has campaigned hard for good causes. Maybe it’s time to look into your heart on this one. How do you tell your friends and relatives that you voted in favour of conflict of interest?
There’s Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, another man I’ve known for years and who is a great friend of a friend of mine who is one of the best persons in this town. Our friend would expect you to do what’s right, not to support conflict of interest. Get on the side of the angels Eli. Do what’s right, not what’s convenient.
So that should be enough votes to win and one would hope that some other backers of the practice will change their positions. That would be the right thing to do.
Mayor Jim Watson can’t be convince to come over to the light side. Corporations play a significant role in funding his huge campaigns. But accepting thousands of dollars from corporations, relatives of people in those corporations or employees gives lie to the pieces of ethics legislation Watson has passed while in office.
How does it make sense to accept thousands from corporations that do business at city hall for campaigns but Watson ethics legislation forbids receiving personal gifts more than $100 in value?
Sorry, how does it make sense? Well it’s good for His Worship so it must be right. And it leaves a giant loophole in his ethics legislation that he greatly takes advantage of. Then, worst of all, he equates the issue to democracy. That’s a mighty large leap of logic, Your Worship.
We must get rid of this odious practice accepting campaign donations from corporations and unions.
The Bulldog will be recording the names of councillors on this vote which is expected on April 15.
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