Gord Steeves investigated for possible election no-no
One day after announcing his intention to run for mayor of Winnipeg, Gord Steeves is under investigation for possibly violating election rules.
Candidates for mayor and council are prohibited from raising or spending money until the official campaign period begins in May of the election year.
Steeves spent money on his campaign by renting a room at the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park, as well as on printing signs and T-shirts.
The city clerk's office confirmed to CBC News on Tuesday that it is looking into whether Steeves broke the rules. If he's found in violation he could be fined a maximum of $5,000.
Steeves told CBC News that because he had been out of politics for a while, he wanted to get a jump on things. He added that he spent only a couple hundred dollars on his campaign kickoff.
"I don't think I broke any rules. But if I did, the rules are antiquated and they should be changed."
Steeves was the city councillor representing St. Vital for 11 years until he left in 2011 to seek a provincial seat with the Progressive Conservatives. However, he lost that bid.
Council Speaker Grant Nordman, who also chairs the city's governance committee, said Steeves should at least have been familiar with the rules.
"I certainly don't want to throw Mr. Steeves under the bus, but at the same time — number 1, as a former councillor, and number 2, as a lawyer — he should've known better that he can't be incurring expenses," Nordman said.
Steeves is the first person to officially declare his intent to run for Sam Katz's seat, but several others have said they are seriously considering it as well.
Couns. Paula Havixbeck and Harvey Smith are disappointed, saying that Steeves, as a councillor for 11 years and a lawyer by trade, should have known better.
But Steeves said he doesn't blame anyone for what happened.
"It's a hypersensitive time around city hall and things have to be done properly," he said.
"In a way, I'm kind of glad this came to the fore because it's going to make sure our campaign team gets exactly that, you know, we have to check and double-check and triple-check every single thing we do."
The next municipal election is set for Oct. 22, 2014.