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Committee orders audit of Sudbury city councillor’s election finances

Greater Sudbury’s new integrity commissioner says Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc violated the code of conduct last spring. (File) Greater Sudbury’s new integrity commissioner says Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc violated the code of conduct last spring. (File)
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Following a complaint from a resident, the city’s election compliance audit committee voted unanimously Thursday to order an audit of Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc’s campaign finances and expenses.

At issue are prizes Leduc paid for that were handed out during an event weeks before the October 2022 municipal election.

In her complaint to the committee, Ward 11 resident Anastasia Rioux said Leduc used a ‘Grandparents Day’ event in September 2022 to “shore up support and violate city election guidelines.”

“Leduc’s poster that comes straight from his own personal Facebook page indicates that city services like ambulances and police cars would be on hand,” Rioux wrote.

Rioux said the event was clearly to promote Leduc’s re-election. His campaign vehicle was present and “he and his entourage were yelling ‘Team Leduc’ at vehicles and pedestrians passing by.”

Included in her letter were pictures of Leduc talking to city employees at the event wearing a ‘Team Leduc’ jacket.

“This was clearly a campaign event,” she wrote.

After presentations by Rioux and Leduc, committee chair Peter McMullen focused on the prizes given out at the Grandparent’s Day event.

“Did you pay for these prizes that were given out at the event?” McMullen asked.

“Did I personally pay?” Leduc said. “Yes.”

“Did you include the costs of those prizes in your financial statements?” McMullen then asked.

“I don’t believe so,” Leduc replied.

McMullen said in a video of the event, he heard the emcee say “the food and prizes were provided by Team Leduc, not by the Ward 11 CAN, not by the Lion’s Club or anyone else.”

“I am allowed to donate prizes,” Leduc responded. “I did not donate food.”

But McMullen said the question is whether the cost of the prizes should have been included in his campaign financial statement.

Following a lengthy, closed-door debate, the committee returned to open session and unanimously passed a resolution to have KPMG conduct a compliance audit of Leduc’s campaign finances.

“It was the committee’s opinion that there was an identified matter in the application from the applicant that there was campaigning on the applicant’s personal Facebook page with respect to prizes that were going to be presented at this event,” McMullen said.

They are not pre-supposing the result of the audit, he said, but under these circumstances, they are appointing an auditor “to do the investigation.”

“The auditor has been appointed,” McMullen said.

“Upon receipt of the auditor’s report, (we will) come back as a committee to consider the report we receive and whether the matter is to proceed forward for prosecution under the Municipal Election Finance Act.”

The full video of the four-hour meeting can be found here.

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