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

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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

October 22, 2010

Municipality Misled Me

Category: Page Menu,Rapid Response — Austin Wright @ 2:19 AM

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 him sitting at his desk looking at Victor Boutin’s Boardwalk plans.

Don’t count me out just yet. In addition to being false and biased reporting, this video clip has exposed a blatant attempt by the municipality to mislead me.

On October 4th, I submitted a formal freedom of information request to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent requesting to see all documents, plans, blueprints, and applications for Mr. Boutin’s projects. At first I was told nothing would be done until after the election, which I found disturbing.

When a partial response did arrive from the municipality, the email stated that no documents were available because Victor Boutin had not in fact submitted any applications yet, and nothing was on file.

They also said that Mr. Boutin did not submit a business plan, and they didn’t check his references. In other words, no safeguards are being followed to make sure the resources exist to complete the project without taxpayer intervention. After the Capitol Theatre experience, I think the failure to perform due diligence before jumping into politically opportunistic announcements is negligent.

According to the TV news, it seems that Randy Hope has a copy of exactly what I asked the municipality to produce for inspection. I want to know why I was told those drawings didn’t exist.

Mayor Hope is Head of municipal freedom of information, and had an obligation to disclose those drawings instead of hoarding them in his office for photo-ops.

When I spoke with municipal officials, I was told the drawings were private and did not have to be disclosed. This contravenes the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Mayor Hope is not entitled to flash “private” documents in his office on the 6 o’clock news to boost his campaign, and as a citizen and candidate, I’m entitled to see them. Instead, they told me nothing existed.

Furthermore, the plans displayed by Victor Boutin at the Duff Building on October 14th had the municipal logo on the bottom, yet none of those documents were disclosed to me either.Parking Lot Plans with Chatham-Kent Logo

After reviewing my video of the occasion, Mr. Boutin did not backtrack to the extent reported by the media. He still endorsed Randy Hope, and stated that we would see Hope’s grand vision “very soon,” presumably sometime after the election. He refused to answer what only mayor Hope could do for him, and would not describe Hope’s “vision.”

At the press conference, Mr. Boutin stated, “I went a little bit too strong. I should have said I ‘may’ postpone until I know more about the new people.” Hope’s signs are still up around Boutin’s church. That isn’t a retraction. The press conference was another campaign photo-op for the mayor. Municipal officials were not present.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but all we saw this campaign was Randy Hope reading his 2006 campaign flyer and sidestepping questions. Hope’s website lists eight items as his future focus spanning the next 4 years (which were already in my platform). We vote on Monday. Hope’s vision should have been made accessible to the public instead of withholding his plans and relying on media stunts.

I believe Victor Boutin backtracked due the the backlash his ultimatum presented for the mayor. He did not apologize to voters or the snubbed candidates, and admitted he never spoke to us. He blamed his comments on being caught off guard by a reporter’s bad question, but that question was asked in response to his own statement of support for Randy Hope’s campaign.

In my opinion, these press conferences’ sole purpose was to promote Hope’s campaign using taxpayer resources, and exempt him from presenting a platform because someone else with big money had “seen” it.

Mr. Boutin’s payload did its intended damage by hamstringing the other candidates from asking questions on behalf of taxpayers, and tempering media coverage.

I forwarded a copy of my FOI response to every media outlet, including Rick Walker of A-Channel. I personally handed Rick Walker my research on Victor Boutin and Everlast Group that raised many red flags. Instead of doing their own digging, A-Channel ignored the paradox right before their eyes and as much as endorsed Hope.

My campaign has been strong on ethics reform. Considering that mayor Randy Hope is currently under investigation for alleged Code of Conduct and privacy violations, and has a past history of exploiting a multimillion “vote Hope or the investment is gone” pre-election endorsement, I find it hard to believe this entire situation is above board.

I consider that the municipality misled me to deny access to those plans prior to the election, which is very serious. The need for ethics, transparency and accessibility has never been greater. A-Channel missed the story.


  1. Is there any chance of legal action as it does seem Mayor Hope is with holding documents which should be available through the freedom of information act. If it has a municipality of Chatham-Kent logo on it, it should be property of the Municipality and it’s citizens (speaking of which, who designed that horrible logo?)

    Comment by B. Masse — October 23, 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  2. The only real breech here is under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. There aren’t really any consequences under that law. I would have to make another complaint to the Privacy Commissioner. The municipality can be forced to disclose documents. None of that will help in time to get the truth out before the election. My position is that any privilege was lost when Randy Hope displayed the drawings to the TV camera.

    I already have 3 open files with the Privacy Commissioner. One is to obtain all the documents of the mayor’s Compliance Audit, which has been obstructed for over 2 years and is currently in Adjudication because he and Mary Lee refused to sign a consent to release their testimony. It’s a very time-consuming and lengthy process, requiring dozens of hours of work. The documents I did obtain through this process are explosive, so I’m not surprised they want the rest kept secret. The last Privacy Commissioner complaint #MC10-55 from August is so bad the municipality does not even want a copy.

    During the campaign, I requested several pieces of information from the municipality. Last time I ran for mayor, they provided timely answers to everything. This time, answers were delayed, incomplete, obfuscated, or ignored, which further hamstrung my efforts. These are just a few of the reasons I summed up the ethics situation as general “mischief” that needs to be cleaned up. It’s the only way to spin a positive campaign message from the circumstances.

    Comment by Austin Wright — October 23, 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  3. Sounds about right. This administration seems to be all about giving people the run around. The past two winters I have called the municipality to ask why there is a two tier city service level. They told me they didn’t know what I was talking about so I pointed out that, when it snows, our street is plowed only once and never salted but Prestancia and the Maples’ streets are cleared to the curb and salted within hours of snowfall. The same with street sweeping. We see a street sweeper maybe twice a year on our street but in Prestancia, it seems I see one at least once a month (I have to drive through Prestancia and the Maples every day for business.)

    The agents at the municipal service centre told me they would pass the word along to the managers of said departments and have them call me back. After a week I called back again asking why I was not called and was told that nothing was on file about my complaint. This went on for at least 5 weeks before I just gave up.

    Comment by B. Masse — October 23, 2010 @ 2:27 PM

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