Rapid Response

Municipality Misled Me

October 22, 2010 - On October 21st, the A-Channel news stated that the mayoral race was between Randy Hope and Tom McGregor, and proceeded to promote Hope's campaign for free with a clip of … read more

Wallaceburg Forum Notes

October 19, 2010 - The Newspaper today did not appear to describe the same forum I attended last night. They gave Randy Hope 9 cherry-picked paragraphs of rhetoric dedicated to his responses, making it … read more

Plan for Prosperity

October 16, 2010 - I am pleased to release my Plan for Prosperity - a comprehensive platform of ideas and solutions designed to accelerate our economic development results. If I'm elected mayor, I won't need … read more

Mayor Hope Fell for Exaggerations

October 13, 2010 - With Victor Boutin poised to make another campaign stop in Chatham on behalf of mayor Randy Hope's "Vote Hope Or Else I Take My Millions And Go Home" tour to … read more

Everlast Condo Not Shovel-ready

October 5, 2010 - Since Victor Boutin of Everlast Group announced a $50 million condo/hotel project in downtown Chatham which he made blatantly conditional on Randy Hope's re-election, I've been searching for information. I … read more

Corporate Election Interference?

September 30, 2010 - It's deja vu - a potential investor has politicized a major development announcement with an endorsement of Randy Hope, promising to take his millions and leave if Hope loses. This … read more

Hydro Costs Poised to Skyrocket

- A major issue facing families, seniors and businesses is the escalating cost of electricity. Smart meters were installed under the promise of saving us money, yet most customers will have … read more

Executive Salary Increase

September 15, 2010 - In 2009, most salaries of Chatham-Kent’s Executive Management Team increased 7.3%. This comes in the middle of the worst recession since the ’30s, with local unemployment rating the … read more

Randy Hope Obstructing Information

During the Tilbury debate, mayor Hope decided to label an exercise in democracy and accountability as a waste of tax dollars. Perhaps he and his investor friend feel the same about our inconvenient election.

If Randy Hope and Mary Lee are going to bring up the Compliance Audit in which they were exonerated, perhaps they better be ready to answer some tough questions about how the process was subverted.

Hope pointed to that audit as justification for keeping council fractured and thus demonstrated an appalling lack of leadership because he harboured bad feelings against half of them. Mr. Hope is blaming the wrong people because he forgot that only 4 council members voted against having him audited. The rest were convinced reasonable grounds existed, and they did.

I sent these questions to mayor Hope, who is still proclaiming his innocence despite refusing to provide answers and blocking public information requests:

Hi Mayor Hope,

I notice that you and Mary Lee both raised your compliance audits at the Tilbury debate, and equated it to a waste of tax dollars on the basis that you didn’t really spend that much on your campaign anyway, so administration was essentially wrong to investigate citizen complaints based on valid applications approved by council that demonstrated reasonable grounds the Municipal Elections Act had been contravened. It is the democratic right of any citizen to bring such applications. Should I decide to counter your charges, I’d like you to answer some questions.

Are you saying that principals and the law do not matter if it costs more to enforce? That it’s okay to accept ineligible campaign contributions if you are way below the limit?

Are you saying that citizens do not have the right to hold elected officials to account contrary to the promises of openness and transparency both you and Mary made in 2006?

Do you think whistleblowers ought to be ridiculed, defamed, sued and discouraged from public participation?

How do you explain the fact that neither you nor Gerry Wolting ever responded to serious allegations of illegal municipal conduct during the audit process?

If the outcome of an inquiry under the Municipal Elections Act is tainted with perjury and influenced by litigation proven to be an abuse of process, do you think the inquiry findings are valid?

How about this generic question: If a politician benefits from perjury, do you think they should be held accountable and face consequences? What should happen to them?

It is very surprising that you would choose to bring up the audit in attacks against myself, considering that you refuse to release recordings of your audit testimony. If you and Mary are so innocent like you claim, why are you obstructing public information and costing taxpayers even more through contested Privacy Commissioner investigations?

Why did you knowingly accept the protection of having innocent third parties sued as a result of your audit and do nothing to stop it?

Why do you refuse to answer an MFIPPA request as to whether or not tax dollars went to fund a lawsuit against innocent people? At this point, the municipality is formally in deemed refusal. That draws an adverse inference which means yes, you did use tax dollars to help finance a $1.1 million SLAPP lawsuit against innocent people of Chatham-Kent, including a respected senior citizen. It certainly cost somebody more than a $13,600 audit but you didn’t complain about that.

Don’t forget that as a result of vexatious litigation, it has been proven in court documents that the compliance audit was misled, that the court system was abused to intimidate your opponents and alter the audit outcome, that private council information was wrongly obtained and used by Mary Lee and John Cryderman to forge documents and intimidate a concerned member of the public, and that your campaign manager took the phony $70 million Korean incinerator story to the media trying to get you elected. There were 491 similar facts proven in court documents. You should get a copy.

If you have nothing to hide, then please answer these questions and release the recordings of your audit testimony before the election, so that you and Mary Lee can prove this honour and integrity of which you speak. I have a really good idea about why you do not want any of that testimony made public. Here’s your chance to prove me wrong by letting me hear what you deposed. I’m not afraid to release my recording to the public. The auditor’s findings were far more interesting that day than the fictitious version council got.

While you are at it, why don’t you reveal the truth about Mr. Boutin. I’ve learned his project isn’t ready to start in December, and most of what he says does not stand up to scrutiny. It seems he never finished anything like the Boardwalk contrary to his comments to the media. Did you do any research to make sure he has a valid business plan, and the resources and track record to see such a grand project to completion, or should we be worried about another election stunt that might cost taxpayers way more than the Capitol Theatre? What is it that only you can do for Mr. Boutin?

One more question. Who paid for your trip to Korea in 2006 – you personally as testified to the auditor, or the Korean business interests like you told to the public? Which story isn’t true?

Since I’ve put ethics on the election agenda, I would very much appreciate hearing your answers right away, in case these topics come up again during the campaign. We need to know your true position on integrity.

Austin Wright