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Sudbury councillor’s comments broke code of conduct, integrity commissioner rules

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Greater Sudbury’s new integrity commissioner says Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc violated the code of conduct last spring, the fourth local politician to do so since the commissioner’s office was established in 2018.

David G. Boghosian issued his first report Sept. 11 since taking over the role in July.

He inherited the complaint about Leduc, which was filed in June around the time Boghosian was preparing to take over in Sudbury. The complaint was connected to a media interview Leduc gave on April 25.

During the interview, Leduc commented on complaints made about him to the city’s election compliance audit committee. He was accused of holding an improper fundraiser at a city event during the municipal election campaign in the summer of 2022.

“He said that the evidence of noncompliance brought before the committee was ‘tampered evidence’ that ‘did not reflect the event properly.’ ” Boghosian said in his report.

“He further asserted that the individuals ‘admitted that they tampered with the video they supplied.’”

On April 27, the committee ordered a compliance audit of Leduc’s campaign finances and appointed KPMG to conduct the audit. The results have not yet been released.

A second request for a compliance audit was heard by the committee May 25, but was rejected because an audit was already being done.

But at the May 25 meeting, Leduc made “threatening and denigrating statements toward members of the public involved in a public process,” Boghosian said.

Leduc is quoted as making this remark to the committee:

“All I want to make clear is to this posse and this political group that I’ve been targeted, they’ve come straight out and said ‘posse stands for hunting.’ OK? Guess what folks, the tables have turned on you, OK? And I’m no longer going to be hunted by your little group. Thank you.”

In regard to the April 25 interview, the integrity commissioner said Leduc had not provided any evidence that the video in question was tampered with.

 “Based on the evidence before me, there is nothing to suggest that the video presented to the committee was edited such as to create a misleading impression,” Boghosian said.

“Comments such as Mr. Leduc’s—vague assertions of misdeeds against members of the public with no evidence to support them—are not in keeping with a councillor’s responsibilities under the code.”

However, he found nothing wrong with Leduc’s comments at the May 25 meeting. If taken out of context, some of the words could be construed as threating. But in the context of the committee meeting, it’s clear that they are not.

“The last sentence of the statement simply indicates that Coun. Leduc is no longer going to be hunted, suggesting that the previous sentence was not intended to be a threat of corresponding consequences,” Boghosian said.

While finding Leduc did violate the code of conduct, he said it wasn’t serious enough to require a penalty.

Leduc now joins Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier and former Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan as local politicians who have run afoul of the integrity commissioner.

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