TABLE OF CONTENTS
146.....Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee
Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee
It is debateable as to how exactly relevant the Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC) and the assorted embarrassment, anger, and humiliation of half of the newly elected Woolwich councillors is to the primarily political and environmental story of this book. The key, of course, is to the politics of this story. Yes, it took me far too long to come to grips with the inherently conservative, pro status quo, anti-environment sentiments of local, regional, and provincial politicians. Whether these sentiments explained the refusal of health departments at the regional , provincial or federal levels to conduct health studies of Elmira and downstream residents or not is open to debate. There are lots of excuses and few substantive reasons for the decision never to conduct health surveys or studies.
Some readers might enjoy reading about ordinary citizens taking it to the local council members who either participated directly in the 2015 apparent smearing, slandering, and libel of volunteers on the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) or who simply went along for the ride and voted in favour of Sandy Shantz’s and Mark Bauman’s “leadership” in doing Chemtura Canada’s dirty work for them. Councillors may have justified their vote in their own minds by the corrupt Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) support for Chemtura‘s position against the honest and committed citizens on CPAC.
To the contrary there may very well be citizens who would be appalled by any attempt to abuse the process for examining improperly filed election financial statements (EFS). In other words, regardless of the motivations, environmental or otherwise, they would not support and in fact be upset if they felt that citizens’ appeals to the Municipal Clerk, MECAC, or the courts were solely for the purposes of political payback.
While I certainly was front and centre in the overall efforts to bring half our local politicians to account, I cannot take credit (or discredit) for starting the ball rolling. That honour goes to Dr. Dan Holt and, yes, I do believe the word, “honour,” is appropriate. Both Dr. Dan Holt and Dr. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach ran unsuccessfully for Woolwich Council in October 2014. They were two excellent and experienced candidates; however, they were beaten by Patrick Merlihan, half-owner of the Woolwich Observer newspaper and one other. In fact, Dr. Holt came in third out of multiple candidates including very experienced Ruby Weber as well as the incumbent, Al Poffenroth. The other winner was twenty-six year old, Scott Hahn, with virtually zero political or community experience. His claim to fame may have been his last name and the support of the local Royal Canadian Legion because he had spent nine months in Afghanistan. Frankly, in a community founded by non-violent, non-militant Mennonites that may seem a little surprising.
While I was surprised by Mr. Hahn’s win, I had talked to him at a candidates’ meeting prior to the election and been reasonably impressed by him. He actually promised to attempt to get me appointed to CPAC by the new council if he won. Well, he won despite my not voting for his community inexperience. Dr. Holt had been also surprised by the apparent bottomless funding displayed by Mr. Hahn during the election campaign. Mr. Hahn’s election signs were everywhere plus, according to Dr. Holt, they were larger and hence more expensive than everybody else’s and as well larger than the rules allowed. Interesting. After Mr. Hahn won, Dr. Holt did on a couple of later occasions suggest that he was interested in seeing Mr. Hahn’s election financial statements because he wondered how much he had actually spent and who had donated to his campaign. After March 21, 2011, the election financial statements were published on the Woolwich Township website. Dr. Holt was disappointed however as there appeared to be little or no information on Mr. Hahn’s Financial Statements. No donors were listed and few expenses—certainly nothing for signs, which normally is the single largest expense in a councillor’s campaign. What the hell was going on? Dr. Holt telephoned both me and Richard Clausi. It was Mr. Clausi and Mr. Holt who then took the steps necessary to assure that the public could see the true picture in regards to Mr. Hahn’s election contributions and spending. Furthermore, I now believe it likely that Mr. Hahn got some bad advice from either the Municipal Clerk or from one of his colleagues on Woolwich Council. That advice may well have been in response to Mr. Hahn’s question as to how serious these financial statements are and does anyone ever really look at them? In fact, Mr. Hahn’s efforts turned out to be far less than even ridiculous. If he wanted to deceive he should have taken a page from Sandy Shantz who really cooked up some clever and self-serving calculations. Instead, Mr. Hahn, who obviously had spent close to a thousand dollars or more on signs, claimed a grand total of approximately $250 expenses above his $100 nomination fee. That was ridiculous and obviously, blatantly, wrong. It would appear that Mr. Hahn failed to advise whomever he talked to ahead of filing his financial statement that he wasn’t even going to make the remotest attempt to get his election financial affairs in order. He didn’t have an election bank account. He hadn’t listed his sign costs and so much more that was required. By the time the smoke cleared he had closer to $3,000 worth of expenses and contributions, not the $250 as originally reported.
After being advised by Municipal Clerk Val Hummel, about the complaint, MECAC set a date for a hearing into the matter. Mr. Hahn was reasonably straightforward and clear in that he had received the signs as a gift from his family and as well also received election brochures from his in-laws, none of which he had included in his expenses. Mr. Hahn played the youth and inexperience card as well as his military service card claiming that he was simply again trying to serve his country and community through public service by being a municipal councillor. He also indicated that he had approximate values for his signs and brochures because he was still trying to obtain the receipts for them as some of his family were currently out of the country. A new date was set for these documents to be available to both MECAC and the complainant, Dr. Holt. Richard Clausi made the comment after the hearing to Dr. Holt and I that this proposed, months- after- the- fact, production of invoices and receipts could certainly inspire some creativity on Mr. Hahn’s part. In fact that is exactly what it did.
While Dr. Holt and Mr. Clausi led the charge against Councillor Scott Hahn, I was an apt student of the process. Very early on there were signs of a “live and let live” attitude by the MECAC members. Discrepancies, which certainly became more and more obvious over time, were not pounced upon by MECAC. When Mr. Hahn produced a number of invoices for his signs and his brochures, the extent of his failure to follow the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) became even more glaring. More issues arose as to the size of the individual donations to Mr. Hahn. Frankly, based on his months late submission of a financial statement it appeared that a lot of creative bookkeeping may have been indulged in. In fact after MECAC properly and appropriately followed the MEA by ordering a forensic audit, the author of the forensic audit made some suggestions that all was not yet right with Mr. Hahn’s financial statement and certain claims and statements by Mr. Hahn and his donors could not be fully backed up by the documentation to date.
MECAC had made the obvious and appropriate decision to order a forensic audit of Mr. Hahn’s late and somewhat odd financial statement. This decision was to be the only appropriate and correct one that MECAC made in regards to either Mr. Hahn or the later pathetic decisions they made regarding Sandy Shantz’s various financial statements. MECAC was convened again after allegedly having read and understood the forensic audit provided by Froese Forensic Partners Ltd.. While Mr. Froese had indeed written his audit and remarks carefully so as not to out and out accuse Mr. Hahn of either fraud or other illegalities, he, Mr. Froese, had made clear his lack of satisfaction with the situation and the results. He did state that Mr. Hahn had cooperated fully in regards to verbally answering questions but his concerns had not been fully clarified by the written documents produced. There was ambiguity in a number of issues that were relevant to specific clauses in the MEA and whether or not they had been violated. Dr. Holt, Mr. Clausi, and I all believed that these concerns raised by Mr. Froese required further examination and as Mr. Hahn had admittedly broken the MEA in numerous areas it was obvious that MECAC should follow both the spirit and the words of the MEA and send Mr. Hahn’s case on to a prosecutor, who could determine if charges should be pursued. MECAC refused to do so with a litany of nonsense and assorted mostly irrelevant drivel.
Long before Mr. Hahn’s case was ended, I was looking at the other Woolwich Councillors’ financial statements. Three of them appeared satisfactory upon a quick examination. Sandy Shantz’s caused me pause, however, and I needed to do some simple mathematical calculations as well as check some references in the MEA. Councillor Mark Bauman’s lack of financial statement was immediately riveting. Keep in mind this inquiry was all in the context of Sandy and Mark taking a holier than thou attitude, manufacturing a crisis, and then pointing fingers at CPAC and subjectively and dishonestly proclaiming CPAC’s sin. Well! As I was just beginning to smell blood in the water by legitimately looking at the public, on-line financial statements, why on earth wouldn’t I continue to follow up some apparent strange behaviour?
Where was Councillor Bauman’s financial statement? I looked repeatedly on the Woolwich Township website. Everyone else’s was there. All the other financial statements for councillors as well as trustee candidates and regional council candidates were there. I checked the on-line financial statements for Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. Everyone’s was there except for Mark Bauman. I knew that Mr. Bauman had been acclaimed but there had been other acclamations throughout the Region of Waterloo and yet all had submitted financial statements as required. I double-checked the MEA to ensure that acclaimed candidates were required to submit financial statements. They were. Also there was possibly in one of the candidates’ guides or elsewhere the rationalization for this requirement. A candidate who formally submitted his nomination papers and early on started erecting thousands of dollars of election signs could discourage other potential candidates from entering the race. I did not know at the time whether or not this situation pertained to Mark Bauman or not in Ward Two of Woolwich Township.
My next step was a visit to the Municipal Clerk Val Hummel. According to the MEA, it sounded as if Municipal Clerks were almost independent of the township for which they worked. I found that odd as the MEA appeared to be suggesting that Municipal Clerks had independent oversight of all matters relating to municipal elections and certainly did not take directions from either councillors or the Chief Administrative Officers (CAO). As Municipal Clerks were appointed often from within the municipality and paid for by the municipality, I foresaw some conflicts of interest here. Regardless, I went to see Ms.Hummel and asked her why Mark Bauman’s Elections Financial Statement was not on the Woolwich website along with everyone else’s. Councillor Patrick Merlihan, my Ward One councillor, accompanied me. Ms. Hummel smiled, looked me in the eye, and stated that “Yes, Mr. Bauman’s financial statement was on the Woolwich website.” The last time I had looked was likely within the last thirty minutes of my arrival to her office plus by now we were literally many weeks past the deadline for these to be publicly posted. I did not blink. I did not get angry and I did not call her a liar or any other insult. I said nothing for several seconds while staring at her. She did not blink, she did not falter, she did not vacillate. Clearly, she felt that the conversation was over although she was too polite to turn her back and walk away without an acknowledgement from me that I was finished. I was not. I advised Ms. Hummel in front of Mr. Merlihan that she was incorrect, that Mr. Bauman’s financial statement absolutely was not on the Woolwich Township website, along with all the other candidates Elections Financial Statements. Val appeared a little non-plussed by my certainty and confidence. She hesitated, confirmed that I was positive that it was not on-line and then cheerfully told me that “Oh you are right. It actually is sitting on my desk and I have not gotten it put on-line yet.” She was very sorry and the fault was hers. Wow, I didn’t see that coming.
I rebounded quickly from that claim and advised Ms. Hummel that as an elector and a citizen I had a right to see that Elections Financial Statement and that it was weeks overdue, and therefore, please get it immediately and let me see it. Not a word out of Patrick Merlihan. He had stood there politely and respectfully, but I did sense there was now some discomfort on his part. Ms. Hummel while much tenser nevertheless politely and respectfully told me to wait right there that she would go and get it.
Patrick and I waited right there. For five minutes we waited right there. Nothing. For ten minutes we waited right there. Nothing. I began to wonder if Ms. Hummel had moved her desk somewhere off-site. Approximately fifteen minutes later she reappeared. By then I had a pretty good idea as to what had been going on. I would be willing to bet that she had gone to CAO, David Brenneman and told him that a particular you know what-disturber, one Alan Marshall, was at it again. Or more succinctly she might simply have said to David, “Help!”
Ms. Hummel informed Mr. Merlihan and I that she was mistaken and that Mark Bauman had not submitted a financial statement as he had been acclaimed and that was okay. I assured Ms. Hummel that according to the MEA it was not okay. Not remotely. She countered with” Yes, it is okay” because Mr. Bauman had been acclaimed before and that it was Woolwich tradition not to require him to submit Election Financial Statements after he’d been acclaimed. I asked her if she thought that Woolwich tradition trumped provincial legislation. She wilted. She asked me if I wasn’t famous enough already. I was shocked. I didn’t think that that comment was intentionally meant to be rude but I could be mistaken. Frankly, in that moment, I didn’t understand the inference she was making. I maybe was famous due to the Varnicolor Chemical scandal of twenty plus years before and I was well known for my environmental activism in regards to Uniroyal Chemical but her reference to my “fame” seemed odd. In hindsight, I have to wonder if Ms. Hummel knew full well how much trouble she, Woolwich Township, and Mark Bauman were now in. She essentially asked me to look the other way, to let it go. And I essentially said no.
I was shocked and dumbfounded not so much by Mark Bauman’s failure to file a financial statement nor by the fact that he was a repeat offender. What shocked me was the Municipal Clerk’s attitude. She knew right from the start that this behaviour was wrong and contrary to the Municipal Elections Act. She blatantly lied to me both about Mr. Bauman’s statement being on-line and then about it being on her desk. The comment about a “Woolwich tradition” really blew my mind. Who the hell did either she or Woolwich Council members think they were? What Val Hummel was admitting to was that this municipality picked and chose which provincial legislation they would comply with. This attitude made my decision to proceed further very easy.
At the time I was not aware that Mr. Bauman had by law, immediately forfeited his council seat when he failed to file any financial statement by the deadline. Ms. Hummel certainly did not so advise me and in fact she and Council actually had the brass to later suggest that Council had voluntarily suspended Mr. Bauman until he was reinstated to his council seat. They were mincing words desperately trying not to admit the severity of their non-compliance with the MEA. Their repeated non-compliance in regards to Mr. Bauman’s financial statements over previous elections was incredibly disturbing. These failures meant not only Ms. Hummel but the previous Municipal Clerk had allowed the same behaviour. This knowledge more than confirmed my suspicions regarding a conflict of interest for these Clerks to be the “police” of municipal governments during elections.
It actually got worse, yet Woolwich Township were able to sell the whole affair to the public as some sort of a victory. Mark Bauman and his lawyers quickly determined exactly how pathetic and weak the MEA really is. They booked an emergency hearing before a judge of the Superior Court in Kitchener. The Motion as written described the two parties as being Woolwich Township and Councillor Mark Bauman. Excuse me, but why on earth would I and the voting public not be parties? Well, it was, after all, politicians who drafted this legislation in the first place. The legislation reserved the worst and most immediate penalties for the most egregious and blatant failures. This especially included a total disregard for the law by simply not filing an Elections Financial Statement. Hence, there was the mandated by law, immediate forfeiture of one’s council seat if one failed to file one of these financial statements on time as Mark Bauman failed to do.
Do you think the judicial system is more concerned with justice or more concerned with preserving the status quo? Well, Woolwich Township staff and council certainly didn’t want to lose Mr. Bauman. Therefore, he and they kept things very quiet. They kept it so quiet that the five to ten minute court hearing in Kitchener did not have an opposing party. I and the public were intentionally, totally kept in the dark about this hearing. I could have entered evidence that both Mr. Bauman and the Municipal Clerk had a history of violating the MEA and only one inquiring citizen had discovered these infractions and exposed them. I could have also advised the judge that the Woolwich Township Clerk lied and tried to deceive me when I lodged my complaint and inquiry. All was to no avail as the hearing restored Mr. Bauman to his council seat without the judge ever finding out all the facts. What a disgrace and what a joke of enforcement in the MEA when essentially a one party hearing can reinstate a candidate who fails to make the slightest effort to comply with the law.
All three cases clearly indicated, for those willing to watch, listen, and learn, the basic contradictions within our judicial and political systems. To say that they are in bed with each other is simply too large of an understatement. Our judicial system moans about the importance of the appearance of justice when they should be far more concerned about the reality of justice. MECAC was miles beyond pathetic in its handling of the Sandy Shantz case. Long after MECAC’s sham, our courts followed suit albeit perhaps with a little better show being put on. Perhaps.
Part of the reason I am sharing just a small part of the public disgrace that occurred after the 2014 election is in order to provide a better understanding of how a truly committed and dedicated group of citizens can be totally stymied by the joining of forces of polluter, regulator, and government. Notice that while I focus in this book on our municipal government and on one provincial ministry, the reality is that both provincial and federal environmental legislation are riddled with loopholes as well as legislation is simply not enforced to the extent that it should. This non-enforcement, in my opinion, intentionally allows corporations to ignore their environmental responsibilities with impunity. They know that when caught there are endless opportunities for their lawyers to deflect, delay, and obfuscate their way out of any serious trouble. Also please note that the public disgrace I am referring to is not Todd Cowan’s penny ante expense double-dipping, or breach of trust. It is the long-term stickhandling around rules, regulations, and laws by some municipalities whose apparent standard operating procedure when caught having misspoken, misbehaving, or being incompetent is simply to lie their way through it.
After further detailed examination of Sandy Shantz’s Elections Financial Statement it was clear that she had messed up rather seriously. These errors, of course, were minimized by both Ms. Shantz and her cheerleaders on council, on MECAC, and even in the news media. Quite frankly, I never had anyone actually ask to sit down with me and go through each and every error, whether intentional or unintentional. Amazingly to this day the public still do not know the plethora of errors in her original financial statement much less the omissions even in her final financial statement that was ordered by Justice David Broad. News flash Woolwich residents: If anyone has enough money and the willingness to be vilified by our fine, upstanding mayor, I believe that you could, through the courts, actually have her removed from office, even now despite having been reinstated to the mayor’s chair, conditionally, by Justice David Broad. He insisted that she submit another Election Financial Statement in addition to the first two she had previously submitted to MECAC. He stipulated that she must include all expenses as well as all contributions. Ms. Shantz resubmitted her financial statements but unfortunately she again missed listing all her legitimate expenses and contributions. One of the larger unreported expenses was delivered to, out of town prosecutor, Fraser Kelly, on a platter with names, dates, and a photo, yet he and the judicial system determined that it was not in the public interest to proceed with charges against her. In our judicial system how many chances do you get to avoid criminal charges for stealing a loaf of bread versus how many do some politicians get for refusing to comply with the law?
In my opinion MECAC members were suffering from both bias and incompetence. I say that and in doing so am giving them the benefit of the doubt. The doubt refers to the other possibility which is that MECAC members and everyone involved in its inception were blatantly corrupt. MECAC had Thomas Jutzi, lawyer, as one of its members and who had also worked for many years for the local Mercedes Corporation. Meanwhile, Mayor Shantz had financial ties to Mercedes as she regularly declared a conflict of interest when Mercedes came to Woolwich council with an issue. For some peculiar reason, neither Ms. Shantz, Mr. Jutzi, nor any MECAC member felt that this conflict of interest should be declared. There were other potential biases noticeable on MECAC. Former politicians were on this committee allegedly neutrally judging their peers and or colleagues including Grace Sudden and Carl Zehr. Grace Sudden was a former Woolwich councillor as well as a regional councillor. Carl Zehr was the former mayor of Kitchener as well as a regional councillor for many years. To say that they both knew Sandy personally as well as shared a history on Waterloo Regional Council would appear obvious. What a joke having them sit in judgement of their political colleague.
So, Ms. Shantz appeared at the first hearing date of MECAC and promptly handed out a pile of paperwork to MECAC members and me at ten minutes to the hour. It included both a new financial statement as well as an Auditor’s Report. How interesting especially as one of the major errors in her financial statement of March 2011 was the failure to include an Auditor’s Report that was mandatory for any financial statement showing in excess of $10,000 for either expenses or contributions. This distribution of documents, of course, was trial by ambush as Ms. Shantz had not properly graced myself, the complainant, with these documents ahead of time in order to read them prior to the hearing. What the hell kind of Mickey Mouse hearing was this? To add insult to injury, the chair of MECAC, Mr. Carl Zehr, was five minutes late due to traffic, and therefore, clearly he had no time to read these just delivered documents prior to the hearing. This was the appearance at least. Months later, under oath, Ms. Shantz advised the judge in Kitchener Superior Court that she had delivered these documents to MECAC on the Friday before the Monday morning hearing. So which was it? Clearly delivering documents to either me or MECAC minutes before the start of the hearing is bush league, trial by ambush. Or at least it is, unless of course, the fix is in with a crooked MECAC. The alternative is that Sandy Shantz committed perjury in court and in fact Richard Clausi confronted her on that at a public council meeting later on.
MECAC did not have the authority to simply accept a now months late financial statement and Audit Report and pretend that no harm no foul. The Municipal Elections Act was violated in late March 2011 with Ms. Shantz’s multiple violations in her financial statement as well as with her failure to include the Audit Report as mandated by the MEA as her expenses and contributions both well exceeded $10,000. Again hindsight is truly wonderful. Any legitimate, intelligent, and honest body would have blasted the mayor on the spot and immediately ordered a formal forensic audit of her election finances. MECAC was not and did not. Shame on the pack of them, although their short-term comeuppance was on the horizon.
Rich Clausi and I were unimpressed and disgusted. Keep in mind at this early point in time we did not know about the Thomas Jutzi potential conflict of interest although the other conflicts of interest seemed evident. Then after Ms. Shantz’s “victory” at MECAC, the bombshell hit. I believe that it was Richard Clausi who made the discovery. The MEA clearly stated that there were a couple of serious breaches of the Act which demanded immediate removal from office of the elected individual. These serious breaches in Sandy Shantz’s case were essentially the same as Mark Bauman’s breach. As Mr. Bauman had failed to file an absolutely mandatory financial statement so Ms. Shantz failed to file an absolutely mandatory Auditor’s Report. How in the name of everything judicial and political did the Municipal Clerk fail to see this omission when Ms. Shantz filed her financial statement in March 2011? How did the Clerk fail to see and understand this requirement after I filed my complaint through the Clerk to MECAC? My complaint clearly indicated that Ms. Shantz had understated her expenses and contributions by thousands of dollars and had thusly avoided hiring and paying for an Auditor’s Report. It was the Clerk’s duty to remove Ms. Shantz as mayor then and there. How had MECAC who included former politicians, political scientists, accountants, and other professionals also fail to immediately understand and act upon this information? How after Ms. Shantz admitted her failures at the first MECAC meeting, including her failure to file an Audit Report, did she not get stripped of her office, on the spot, as the MEA demanded? I believe that there are but two possible answers. The first is gross neglect and the second is corruption. If the gross neglect includes allegedly intelligent, professional MECAC members making zero attempt to inform themselves, could not that be construed as a form of corruption as well? It’s as if they felt little or no need to work to inform themselves ahead of time because, perhaps, the outcome was already determined.
For at least the first decade of the Elmira Water Crisis I assumed that our council were inherently honest and straightforward. Only after council incidents and decisions detrimental to the cleanup became obvious did I start to look and listen more carefully to Woolwich Council. The more I observed carefully the more disappointed in council I became.
Richard Clausi and I sent e-mails to the Clerk, to council members, to MECAC, and to the media. It was pretty hard for everybody not to gasp and ask what the hell was going on in Woolwich. Somewhere around this time, Richard began occasionally to refer to Woolwich Township as Dogpatch. The name just seemed to fit so well under the circumstances. Ms. Shantz attempted the same route as Mr. Bauman with a zero opposing party to her application to Superior Court in Kitchener for reinstatement to the mayor’s chair. We, of course, had a leg up after being fooled by Mark Bauman’s legal subterfuge and got legal advice of our own. Basically, I was allowed to be considered a “friend of the court” or amicus curiae. This status did not make me a party or allow me to question witnesses but it did allow me to address the Judge. Of course, this legal advice occurred after Ms. Shantz’s lawyer, James Bennet, attempted to intimidate me into not attending court. I found his e-mails to me rude and threatening but unsuccessful.
At court, I focused on an unusual fact in Sandy’s second financial statement. The date that this statement was filed was earlier than her first one and yet the second one was allegedly written months later. How could this be? My belief was that the office of her accountant had been contacted by her before the late March filing deadline and given a copy of her completed financial statement at that time. Then, I expect, that she found some “efficiencies” in her expenses and was able to reduce them below the magic $10,000 mark that required an Auditor’s Report. Unfortunately, when she was forced to go to her personal accountant after I blew the whistle on her multiple errors, he audited her financial statement and printed off both his Audit Report and her original financial statement that she had sent him. Oops! Now this discrepancy should have been carefully examined by the Judge but was not. Justice David Broad simply reinstated her conditionally to the mayor’s chair and she was to produce yet another financial statement, although this one was to include all expenses and contributions. It did not but she was already reinstated.
The Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee demonstrated their pro-politician bias demonstrably in Woolwich Township. They failed to send Scott Hahn on to the provincial courts and they didn’t even order a Forensic Auditor’s Report of Sandy Shantz’s financial statements. Both precedent and the MEA make it clear that an ordered forensic Auditor’s Report of a candidate’s financial statement is the norm when either obvious glaring errors or admissions of them are presented to MECAC. These circumstances occurred in the Sandy Shantz case yet they gave her a free pass. Scott Hahn’s forensic Auditor’s Report was damning yet MECAC failed to send him to a prosecutor. Democracy and the rule of law have taken a big hit with these two cases.
Many months later, I took one more kick at the can as I decided on my own to see what, if anything, the judicial system would do about these flagrant election accountability abuses. I found the judicial system to be slow, awkward, biased, and absolutely not user-friendly for citizens unless on the inside such as a lawyer, judge, or other authority figure. I may elaborate further on my personal odyssey through the courts in an attempt to make Ms. Shantz and Mr. Hahn honestly accountable for their political, self-serving sins of omission and commission. It is my belief that the behaviours of Councillors Bauman, Hahn and Mayor Shantz regarding their election Financial Statements are relevant to the failures of local political leadership in standing up for the public interest in Elmira and other Woolwich Township environmental matters. Mr. Hahn however, it is necessary to say, did not have multiple terms on Council as did Ms. Shantz and Mr. Bauman.
To say that my confidence in the “system” and in its credibility and veracity has been terribly eroded over the decades is an understatement. In the next chapter we will see how humour in the form of newspaper cartoons can get the message across.
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