Voting slip putting a cross in a box

The Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday dismissed with costs an appeal of an election compliance audit committee decision related to the 2018 campaign of Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.

Chatham-Kent officials say unsuccessful mayoral candidate Robert Salvatore Powers filed the appeal after the audit committee rejected his claim in July.

Municipla officials said in a media release Powers claimed that Canniff incurred an expense by registering a website before the beginning of the election period, contravening the Municipal Elections Act.

In his submission to the audit committee, Canniff had agreed that the website was registered before the election period but said there was no cost in relation to that action.

Powers had filed eleven applications before the election compliance audit committee in relation to various aspects of last year’s election.

All were rejected.

Justice John Desotti ordered Powers, who represented himself, to pay $6,000 to the municipality within 90 days to defray legal costs.

Chatham-Kent Chief Legal Officer John Norton said although the municipality was on solid legal ground, it still took Powers’ appeal seriously and devoted appropriate time and resources to the case.

“When our municipality’s handling of elections is called into question, we owe it to the public to ensure that we maintain the high standards expected of us,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to be fully prepared and we were.”