Thursday, 12 July 2012


In our community and perhaps other communities, it has become increasingly difficult to determine fact from fiction.
Examples abound of twisted and blatant attempts of one political party or any political party trying to discredit its opposition through Machiavellian means.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was correct when he observed that “Passion and party blinds our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind.”

On July 7, 2012 the St. Catharines liberal Party held a fundraiser to cover the expenses of one of our community’s leading ladies, Mrs. Eleanor Lancaster.
Having known and respected Mrs. Lancaster and her husband for decades I naturally attended this Liberal fundraiser on the topic of ‘Integrity in Politics’.
All those in attendance heard that unscrupulous business owners had over-paid $Hundreds of dollars to their favoured political candidates.

In his opening greeting Mr. Jeff Loucks started with the assuring words that ‘We’re gathered here to put politics aside and talk about what makes out government great’. Mr Loucks then pointed out the negative effects caused by the giving and receiving of illegal political campaign contributions. Loucks very correctly stated that when politicians accept illegal campaign contributions the people lose power and the employees {Bureaucrats} of those boughten politicians might no longer function in the best interest of the community or the citizen. Mr. Loucks acknowledged the efforts of the volunteers who worked on the ‘Integrity in Politics Fundraiser’ including Mr. Andrew Gill the Liberal candidate that placed third in last year’s federal election and still has failed to list in detail his political contributors!

In his introduction of the guest of honour, Mr. Sean Foley, stated that ‘the Niagara Region is not above the law’, and that ‘councillors have a specific duty, responsibility to respect legislation effecting their position of trust’.

Eleanor Lancaster explained that it was an article in the Standard Newspaper that first tweaked her interest and started her on her quest to seek justice and fairness regarding the rules of political campaign contributions.

Surely the points made at this ‘Integrity in Politics fundraiser’ should be accepted and appreciated.

However, the selective words of the whole evening began to elucidate a different message. The missing message projected back to the same Standard newspaper article that propelled Eleanor Lancaster to act in the first place.

Of interest was the fact that the Standard newspaper article did NOT leave out the politician with the most egregious illegal campaign contributions ranging into the $Thousands.
This same article did NOT name only one developer that just happens to be a conservative and the developer of Port Place the new development in Port Dalhousie.
This same article did NOT leave out Liberal over-contributors who just happen to have an even greater vested interest predicated on doing business directly with our government.

So, just what was left out of this so-called ‘Integrity in Politics Fundraiser’?

It would appear that the greatest omission is the Liberal Candidate, Mayor and Regional Councillor Brian McMullan who was the greatest single beneficiary of $thousands in illegal contributions far more than any of the councillors targeted by Eleanor Lancaster. Eleanor Lancaster did not ask what amount of democracy the over-financing Liberal contributors were buying. That stone was aimed solely at the Conservative Port Place developer!

I left the ‘Integrity in Politics fundraiser’ very disappointed. Disappointment for Eleanor Lancaster and disappointment in the fact that I found the presentation featured half truth and spin.                 

What I did not find was ‘Integrity’.
Preston Haskell

*illegal as defined by the fact that over contributions to political candidates contravenes the law governing financial limits of contributions to political candidates.

Within the week of the {July 7, 2012} ‘Integrity in Politics Fundraiser’ for Mrs. Eleanor Lancaster, she found herself facing a judge in a court of law. She heard the judge dictate that she must pay the candidates, which she had targeted, $13,000.00 to cover a portion of the legal expenses of those same candidates.
It assails ones senses that of the scores of Liberals in attendance at the much hyped ‘Integrity in Poverty Fundraiser’ not one of those attendees found neither the time nor the inclination to appear at Mrs. Lancaster’s side in court as a show of support and solidarity. After all, wasn’t it Eleanor that championed their cause?
Where was the ‘Integrity in Politics’ speakers Jeff Loucks, Sean Foley, George Dart or even Mr. Andrew Gill former Councillor and third place Liberal of the last federal election who was hailed for his efforts in making the ‘Integrity in Politics fundraiser’ the success that it was? And then there were those accepting accolades for their attendance such as long time Councillors Dawn Dodge and Bruce Williamson.
However, since there was no show of support or solidarity in the court room we can at least thank the local Liberal crowd for the lesson in ‘Integrity'.

Mayor McMullan’s contributor details as taken from his submission:
25 of 30 of the mayor’s corporate supporters or 83% of the mayor’s corporate supporters provided $19,500.00 of the $21,050.00 or 94% of total corporate dollars donated to support Mayor McMullan’s race in the 2010 election for the City of St. Catharines.

Since a great preponderance of the Mayor’s corporate supporters are connected in some manner to the development business, sceptics might conclude that these McMullan supporters hope to derive a benefit from political decisions.

14 of the McMullan corporate supporters are from other jurisdictions, (not of St. Catharines) with one non-resident Liberal developer contributing $1500 through $750 each from two associated enterprises.  A local and Liberal construction company contributed $1500 in the form of $750 from each of two associated companies.

In total it appears that there are 4 donors making 8 contributions of the Maximum of $750

Only 7 of the 9 individual supporters are residents of St. Catharines.
These 7 supporters out of a population 130,000 donated less than $2,575.00.

Of all the interesting things we found in examining political donations of candidates is that it’s telling to learn from the rules that no candidate can take office without clear and honest disclosure of their campaign finances, while at the same time, getting elected on false promises is acceptable!

If Ontario citizens ever needed a recall mechanism, we certainly need it NOW!

Does scrutinizing ‘Campaign Expenses’ highlight the term ‘Cronyism’ when you examine the ‘Who’s Who’ of donors to politicians’?

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