Brampton mayor says city officials have been ‘vindicated’ by report, but city director said probe is inadequate

Mayor ‘impressed’ at progress city has made and says ‘clearly’ it needs help in executing strategic plan

Brampton mayor says city officials have been ‘vindicated’ by report, but city director said probe is inadequate

Brampton, Ont., mayor Patrick Brown says “clearly” the city has been vindicated by a report on civic elections spending, days after the city director said he did not agree with the findings.

“I am pleased to see that the review has drawn no conclusions on any specific events … and it has provided a roadmap for further investigation and resolution on this matter,” Brown said.

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A commissioned review into the Toronto election of 2018 released Monday says while the practice of allowing candidates to spend funds derived from donations is legal, there were procedural and, in some cases, financial flaws in the way it was used.

The report is contained in a memorandum to Brown from a municipal review panel formed in December to investigate reports about irregularities involving the campaign fundraising process and spending by Brampton candidates.

“It is clear that City officials conducted themselves in a professional manner throughout the implementation of the City’s strategy and will be vindicated on the merits of this report,” Brown said.

But the report also took issue with how the election campaign funding regime is operated, especially the lack of limits on how much candidates can raise as well as on how much candidates can spend.

“The revenue reporting process is both financially burdensome and an inefficient way to manage financial resources,” the report read.

Brown said city officials have been working on reforms since the report came out, and added the recommendations will be on council’s agenda when it meets next month.

Brampton director of infrastructure services Bruce Brooks said in an interview Monday the review is a step in the right direction, but he said it falls short of what is needed.

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“There is no reason why we can’t be 100 per cent professional in these new, modern ways and make sure that we’re taking all of the best practices in the marketplace, and applying it to our own old way of doing things,” he said.

Brooks also said the report does not give the city a clear road map on how to proceed, but said he does not agree with many of the findings.

A second report released earlier this month said complaints about poll workers presiding over elections were made after the election, but that the grievances, filed between February and March, did not report violations of electoral law.

Brooks said as part of their action plan, the city is making efforts to improve training and is in the process of setting up an office to handle complaints and disputes.

A third report released in November outlined 42 potential offences, including that of illegally dividing precincts, giving false information or impeding the success of an election by attempting to influence vote or the ballot process.

Voters and candidates filed complaints after the 2018 election, in which the Liberal party swept most city council seats, saying a handful of officials trying to limit turnout made it difficult for voters in some wards to choose from.

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