Friday, August 5, 2011

Double Dipping - Part Two (Part Deux)

Questions have been raised on candidates and the 'double dipping' of campaign contributions. A committee formed, as all committees about as effective as wet bathroom tissue. Forgiveness dished out in the name of caring for public cost. I can suggest a few more decisions that were more appropriate for such consideration. But alas it was decided that it would cost too much for the laws of this land to be actually enforced. A venerable politician raised a point of monetary value of a political soul. With this I cringed in fear and doubled over with laughter at the possible response. A protagonist who raised the issue to public light hailed for her efforts, yet gave no logical response as to why selective justice was her choice and why the greatest offender left out in the clear by her decision process. Still no one has raised the question as to why it was necessary for a contributor to provide the bowl twice for a candidate to in fact double dip. In clear language, why was it necessary for Mr. Dan Raseta, Mr. Len Pennachetti, Mr. Nitsopolous and Mr. Rankin (I apologize if I left out any other names and not given you individual credit), to contribute twice to the one candidate???

We have all heard the story of Adam and Eve. How Adam being a little dense and unaware of God's rule or the Municipal Elections Act followed the temptress down a path of ruin. Here Mr. REGIONAL COUNCILLOR and ex-mayor Tim Rigby the price of a soul was only an apple. I read how Mr. Raseta bragged to the Standard reporter Matthew Van Dongen about his political contributions. I quote Mr. Raseta again from that article by Van Dongen: “It is not unfair, because those are the rules, we're very passionate about our community so this is our way of participating in the democratic process. I would encourage anyone who feels the same way about their community to do the same.”

Mr. Raseta you said “because those are the rules,” did you imply that you read the rules? As a contributor to a candidate in a political election you have to read the rules, true? After all it is the element that can influence an election. Now Mr. Raseta let me show you the rules and a copy is posted here. Now I quote from the bible – The Municipal Elections Act.

A contributor who contravenes the contribution rules may face a fine of up to $25,000.00 ($50,000.00 for corporations and trade unions) and/or up to six months in prison if the offence was committed knowingly.”

Wow now that's somewhat different to “because those are the rules,” eh. Oh and did you read the point, A contributor is limited to a maximum of $5,000.00 in total contributions to candidates running for office on the same council or board.”?

You brag about your pride in the community and so on. But I ask why did you find it necessary to dish out twice the maximum to one candidate? Obviously you had seen the rules, you knew the maximum amount. Why was it necessary for you to give twice to the same candidate? Are you from N.Y., you know the thing about named twice because it's so nice.

I understand pride in my community. I understand pride in my Canada. I don't understand why a corporate contributor finds the need to give twice the maximum to a candidate. So Mr. Raseta why did you find the need to give twice the maximum allowed $750.00 to Mayor McMullan? True you did give twice the maximum allowed to others like Councillor Tim Rigby, and more. Why did you Mr. Len Pennachetti find it necessary to give twice the maximum of $750.00 to Mayor McMullan? In the 2006 Election you only gave the maximum of $750.00 why twice in 2010? Why did you Mr. Nitsopoulos find it necessary to give twice the maximum of $750.00 to Mayor McMullan? Why did you Mr. Rankin find it necessary to give twice the maximum of $750.00 to Mayor Brian McMullan?

True you all, or most of you, gave twice the maximum to other candidates as well. True your lawyers sent letters for refunds. And yes there were maybe others who did the same, yet it were your names that were made public. It was Mr. Raseta in an interview with Van Dongen of The Standard who bragged of his “passion” about his community. Mayor Brain McMullan stayed silent throughout the public spectacle of 'double dipping' always referring to consultations with his campaign manager, yet he was one of the worst offenders. Ms. Lancaster was praised for bringing this to the public's attention, yet I won't praise selective justice. Our chosen chairperson of the Audit Committee Mrs. Pinder chose the excuse of saving tax payer money and not to enforce the laws and legislation she was given responsibility over temporarily. Is it not the taxpayer who pays for our courts, our judges and our police. Is it not the tax payer who pays the salaries of all our elected and non-elected public servants. Is it not the tax payer who is owed the full truth and all the facts. And is it not the taxpayer who if he transgresses in any way minor or more seriously has to face the weight of the law. Mayor McMullan may clam up on the truth but logic paints a different picture of Mayor Brian McMullan.

The laws and legislation of the ELECTIONS ONTARIO ACT were even strengthened for the 2010 campaign. Maybe Mrs. Pinder businesswoman should of read the booklet each candidate received. Penalties for the contravention of the Municipal Election's Act, 1996 had been increased for a reason. Under no circumstances can we allow anyone to have any outside or undue influence on those we elect to govern us. Yes I heard Mr. Raseta and his passion. I also heard him say “because those are the rules.” Mr. Raseta is a business man of some success and should not be in any way thought of as a fool or a buffoon. A successful businessman in today's world especially is successful when armed with the greatest ally and weapon in success – information, knowledge. Mr. Len Pennachetti (the center of the liable suit against Mr. Preston Haskell by ex-councilor Andrew Gill (read CASE STUDY: Andrew Gill vs. Preston Haskell ), Mr. Nitsopolous and Mr. Rankin would be considered successful business men. Why then would any one of them find the need to contribute twice the maximum to Mayor Brian McMullan or any other candidate?

Yes ex-St. Catharines mayor and now elected Regional Councillor Tim Rigby diminished this to a snide remark on the value of a politician's soul. Councillor Tim Rigby it is far more than that sir! I guess integrity has inflation affecting its value as well. You remember a time when there was honour and integrity in political service? Heck you've been around long enough to remember that. Now we as a society have become so blase of dishonesty and the lack of integrity in our elected. So Regional Councillor Tim Rigby such a statement as you made only demeaned a long and experienced career in public service, or have those long years made you even more jaded?

So in the end the legislation and laws tightened to protect the interests of people in our community fall flat on their lawmaker's butts. Mayor Brian McMullan stands with fondue sauce all over his face still probably consulting with his campaign manager, unapologetic. Other candidates saved by inflation. The protagonist hailed for selective justice. Our chosen chairperson, temporary judge drops a gavel on a wet sponge and splatters dollar signs into the air in place of responsibility, law and protection of the public's interest. Yet no one questions those who provided the golden apple of temptation. Municipal Election's Act 1996 strengthened with serious penalties for contributors, ...$50,000 for corporations and/or up to six months in prison if the offence was committed knowingly.” No one questions the money trail, here is where Tonto would come in handy. After all we build our society on the pillars and foundation of money, development, economic growth, not on the value of a soul.


In light of those last words there lingers a little question regarding another contribution. Not doubled nor even at the maximum. Rather small on its own yet more questionable than most. All philosophical questions of integrity, value of souls and more can be raised here.

This blog began for one major reason. A corrupt act by Mayor Brian McMullan and Councillor Jennie Stevens - breach of the Municipal Act, breach of Oath of Office. Our Charter of Rights which guarantees us all Canadians equality before and under the law only made a joke. Slowly the whole mess has been made very public here in the pages of A final and most alarming instalment to come.

Here are the facts and you the reader make up your own mind and answer the question at the end.

When information broke of the illegal fixing of a fine by Mayor McMullan and Councillor Stevens it was a shock to some degree. It's all here every piece of the evidence and direct proof. True Mayor McMullan crowed the day after the election (an election peppered now with more breaches of the Municipal Election's Act, questions of integrity and honesty and of course dollar bills), that there was no foundation to this evidence. The NRP used in an attempt to discredit the evidence, The Standard to lie in print about the evidence. A final update soon to be posted the most alarming of all. Yet now comes another alarming question.

In March 2010 I wrote both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister for Municipal Affairs, Minister Jim Bradley. The Premier replied April 20th 2010 and said that this was the responsibility of Minister Bradley. Ontario's Minister for Municipal Affairs is responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Act and the Municipal Election's Act. A response came from Minister Jim Bradley dated May 3rd 2010. We all know here in St. Catharines of the association of Minister Bradley and Mayor McMullan, after all Minister Bradley represented, and for now still does, our city of St. Catharines for many years.

I brought to Minister Jim Bradley as Minister for Municipal Affairs a serious breach of the Municipal Act. The response you can read for yourself. Minister Bradley sheltered his pal Mayor McMullan with the excuse that it would be out of place for him as the Minister responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Act to intervene as I had legal counsel. I had not said at the time I was taking legal action only legal advice. At the time the legal advice was to attempt and resolve the issue with the appropriate ministry responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Act. Minister Jim Bradley walked away from his responsibility. Why?

Fast forward to the 2010 Election and the campaign of Mayor Brian McMullan. Look at his financial statement of contributions, no not the 'double dipping' with Mr. Pennachetti or Mr. Raseta etc. No look at the contribution by a James Bradley, the address of the James Bradley. Now look at the front page of the financial statement of Minister James Bradley and his address listed there. True the amount of the contribution not large not doubled or anything. True Minister and Mr. James Bradley are residents of the City of St. Catharines. Yes it is true that under the Charter of Rights we are all equal and with equal rights. Now the proverbial – but. Only months prior to this Minister Jim Bradley as Minister for Municipal Affairs responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Act had in front of him information of a serious breach of the Municipal Act by Mayor Brian McMullan. This contribution shows support, heck why else would anyone contribute to a candidate in an election, community passion alone?

So now the question to the Integrity Commissioner and to you as you are the people of this city of this Canada. As Minister responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Act, even the words of the Premier, confirm: “As this issue falls under the responsibility of my colleague the Honourable Jim Bradley...”, Minister Jim Bradley had to deal with a breach of the Municipal Act and a serious one at that. Minister Bradley walked away form that responsibility and sheltered his pal. Now months later Minister Jim Bradley makes a financial contribution to the re-election campaign of his pal Mayor Brian McMullan. Does this raise issues of integrity and much more? Does this raise questions of conduct by a MPP?

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