Gregory Hartnell calls Conflict of Interest, Ombudsman offices to investigate Dean Fortin’s conflicted 3 day pre-election campaign at City-owned Athletic Park: Victoria Mayor used unwitting Folkwest volunteers to distribute thousands of free programmes with ‘RE-ELECT MAYOR DEAN FORTIN’ full colour political campaign propaganda on back page

The ladies at Elections BC said they were not responsible, nor did they know which ministry governs such dirty tricks.

I finally figured out that none other than Ida Chong is the current lady responsible for the Community, Sport and Social Development Ministry, which purports to administer the Local Government Act.

Much to my surprise, I was told by one helpful bureaucrat (after going down an annoying rabbit hole) that the Act does indeed allow the Mayor of Victoria or any ‘candidate’ to advertise long before the formal election campaign period starts.

The public servant hastened to add that he must buy those ads, and produce receipts for them after the election campaign is over, to be disclosed with all his other campaign expenses.

There is no limit on the amount of money a candidate can spend, apparently, nor is there a time period limiting such campaign advertising.

But she did emphasize that it was important for all candidates to actually buy and purchase all ads used in an election campaign, even those purchased, as apparently was the case  here, long in advance of the formal election campaign period.

I thought that that didn’t quite sound right, as surely there must be instances when a transference of cash in certain illicit or conflicted circumstances must constitute an infraction of the law, and become a police matter.

In other words, spend all you want, but produce receipts, no matter what?  That’s it?

What if the music festival in question is put on by a new group that was apparently subsidized by the City of Victoria, as the City’s logo on the front of the Folkwest programme suggests?

What if the venue where the electioneering was going on was used for three days, and is a facility owned and operated by the City of Victoria?

What if the Mayor voted to subsidize the Folkwest Festival, placed the ad without being billed, no payment was made, and yet thousands of programmes carrying the ad on the back cover were distributed by unwitting civic-minded volunteers?

Would that be a matter for the Victoria Police Department to investigate?

I am expecting to hear back from the Conflict of Interest office and the Ombudsman’s office tomorrow, and will report what I am told.

In the meantime, perhaps articling lawyers or off-duty or retired police or lawyers can chime in here, and help provide us with some guidance.

After all, we wouldn’t want Dean Fortin to be caught doing anything illegal, would we?

Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, Historian

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



7 Responses to Gregory Hartnell calls Conflict of Interest, Ombudsman offices to investigate Dean Fortin’s conflicted 3 day pre-election campaign at City-owned Athletic Park: Victoria Mayor used unwitting Folkwest volunteers to distribute thousands of free programmes with ‘RE-ELECT MAYOR DEAN FORTIN’ full colour political campaign propaganda on back page

  1. Diane Dillon says:

    Has anyone checked the mayors reference letters lately , maybe a background check is needed. If he is found in conflict what will that mena in real terms , a slap on the wrist. what are the actual penalties for this anyway

  2. goyodelarosa says:

    Thanks for your query, Diane. That is a good question, for which I have yet to find the answer.

    The Conflict of Interest office apparently only rules occasionally, if at all, on the bad behaviour of provincial MLAs.

    The Ombudsperson’s office only concerns itself with the occasional administrative misbehaviour of municipal politicians, according to a phone conversation I had this morning with an officious bureaucrat, but will not act until a complaint letter has been sent to City Hall.

    In this case that would mean a letter would have to be sent to Robert Woodland, a City Hall bureaucrat who has actually threatened me with legal action in the past.

    A letter to Mr. Woodland from my email account would very likely not be addressed in any fair-minded manner, judging by my past experience with this man.

    I am presently patiently awaiting a supervisor’s call to explain the parameters of the Ombudsperson’s powers, as I was not satisfied with the paltry information I received from the first lady I spoke with from the Ombudsperson’s office.

    Frankly, I have no confidence that municipal politicians’ monkey business is controlled in any appreciable way by this office.

    Gregory Hartnell, President
    Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

  3. goyodelarosa says:

    I have had no satisfaction with either Elections BC, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s office, nor the ‘Ombudsperson,’ although I am still awaiting another call from a senior person at the latter office.

    The Chief Electoral Officer in the City of Victoria every election time is Robert Woodland, with whom I have had a number of unhappy encounters over the years, as he serves the rest of the time in an apparently important administrative capacity at City Hall as a career bureaucrat.

    He is deferred to by the whole Council when they are in public session, which is quite a bizarre sight to behold, and I have beheld that unseemly spectacle as many times as I could stomach.

    His job during the upcoming election will be the same as it ever was, and that is to act as the gatekeeper for the City of Victoria’s Establishment politicians, to ensure that all the incumbents are protected behind a haze of secrecy and non-accountability (allowing them to be easily re-elected), and to filter out undesirable so-called ‘fringe candidates’ such as yours truly.

    Needless to say, I won’t waste my time complaining to Mr. Woodland.

    To properly determine whether Dean Fortin abused his office by campaigning at the City of Victoria subsidized Folkwest festival, at the City of Victoria-owned Royal Athletic Park, for three days, using a cadre of unwitting public-spirited volunteers, to spread thousands of pieces of full colour pre-election campaign advertising for his own as-yet undeclared candidacy, all this must be determined impartially by an agency which is itself accountable, transparent and empowered with real power for the people’s sake.

    I believe that the Victoria City Police Department should already be investigating this matter of its own accord, and don’t really think I should have to tell them what to do.

    But first, I will try to exhaust all the other usual suspects, so to speak.

    Governments in the City of Victoria, this province and in Ottawa all seem to be overrun with corruption, ignorance, irresponsibility and non-accountability.

    Real crimes are happening in these governments’ offices every day, and these elitist politicians, brutish armed- to- the- teeth police and redundant bureaucrats are colluding to concentrate more power to themselves, all at the expense of the concerned citizens everywhere.

    Gregory Hartnell

  4. goyodelarosa says:

    Diane and Cheryl:

    Ladies, I have had quite enough of this personal debate between yourselves on another matter, which frankly I do not understand, and which I find is generally irrelevant to the posting here, so I am trashing all of your comments that are not relevant to it.

    I have asked Diane in the past not to bombard the comments section at our CCC blog, and she has disregarded my request.

    I have general sympathy with Diane’s concerns as she pits herself against the forces of corruption in society, the police, governments everywhere.

    However, in order to be fair, and to help her make her case more clearly, I have asked her on a number of occasions to carefully lay out her concerns on this particular matter in a coherent narrative, which would be easily understood by a novice reader coming into these issues for the first time.

    She has not done that, and frankly, Cheryl, your comment above doesn’t really help clarify much either, as it is poorly written, and almost as incoherent as hers usually are.

    Therefor, in the interests of my readers who might still be trying to figure out what this is all about, I am letting these comments stand for the time being, but will delete any further comments from either of you on this issue, which is more properly handled in private correspondence between yourselves.

    If either of you has relevant comments to make on the subject of this post or other posts, I will consider them for moderation and possible publication here, in the public interest.

    These other issues seem to me to be driven by mutual personal antipathy that is frankly not likely to be of much interest to most of our readers.

    May I also kindly suggest that both of you carefully edit yourselves for clarity, grammar, punctuation, etc., before posting any other comments here?

    Thanks for your interest in the Concerned Citizens.

    Gregory Hartnell, President
    Concerned Citizens

  5. Cheryl says:

    Hello Greg ,
    Thankyou for your comment . I’m happy you have decided to stop the nonsense !

  6. Catharina says:

    Show some respect everyone before things turn into a literal gongshow.

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