Manitoba

Several Winnipeg civic election candidates violate campaign rules

City report recommends several candidates for mayor and city councillor in 2014 should be prosecuted for breaching election rules.
A new report suggests several candidates during the 2014 municipal elections failed to file proper financial statements. (Bert Savard/CBC)
Former Winnipeg mayoral candidate Mike Vogiatzakis failed to file audited financial statements after his 2014 run for mayor. (CBC)
Running for office requires a smile for the camera, good footwear and complying with election rules. However, more than a dozen candidates in the 2014 Winnipeg municipal election face prosecution for flouting the city's by-laws on campaign finances and reporting.

Mayoral candidates Hazem Aslan and Mike Vogiatzakis failed to file audited financial statements of their campaign expenses and they may be fined for the omission.

Both candidates registered for the 2014 election, but failed to provide the number of signatures to be officially nominated.

Fillion unhappy with city

Bill Treytiak, the city's campaign expenses and contributions officer, also recommends prosecuting former mayoral candidate Michel Fillion.

Treytiak said Fillion issued a cheque out of a personal account to cover the difference between a potential rebate and the total amount of an invoice he received for work on his campaign.
Michel Fillion exceeded the $1,500 personal contribution limit in the 2014 Winnipeg mayoral election. (CBC)

Fillion also exceeded the $1,500 personal contribution limit to his campaign.

In a letter to news outlets, Fillion blamed the city's election manual for candidates, claiming it was not totally clear. Fillion was also angry that he received no official notice from the city of Winnipeg that he had violated the rules.

The review of the 2014 municipal election is contained in a report to city council to be tabled this week (below).

Filing failure

Six candidates for city council also failed to file audited financial statements, including: Regan Archambault, Derrick Humphrey Davy, John Cardoso, Dave Donaldson, Donovan Martin and Trevot Mueller.

"The filing of an audited financial statement is critical to the election process.The statement shows funds collected and how they were spent and is prepared by a professional accountant able to undertake audits in Manitoba," the report on the 2014 election states.

Treytiak recommends prosecuting for these violations and for other improprieties in the campaign last October.

Four candidates for city council also did not deposit cash donations received in the bank account listed in their registration applications, and then used the money to pay for expenses. That list includes former Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith and his campaign manager Joe Chan, who ran in the St. Norbert ward.

Report recommendations

Treytiak's report on the 2014 election makes several recommendations he believes will improve the process and make it clearer for candidates. Treytiak observes that the number of candidates who do not file an audited financial statement of expenses and donations has persisted through the years.

"It is therefore recommended that a fee or deposit be imposed upon any person who registers as a mayoralty or councillor candidate in an election," Treytiak writes. 

"The amount of deposit should be set at $1,000.00 for mayoralty candidates and $500.00 for councillor candidates. These amounts indicate the seriousness of the process involved. If a registration deposit is implemented, this amount would then be refunded only upon filing of the audited statement by the required deadlines."

​Treytiak is also urging the city to modify the election rules on fundraising, campaign deficits, audit fees and candidate registration.

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