Drafting Of Policy On Using City Resources During Elections Tabled Indefinitely

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 15:06 PM

Disappointed is the reaction of a Saint John councillor over the indefinite tabling of his motion to have a policy drafted to stop election candidates from using City of Saint John resources for campaigning purposes.

At the first regular meeting of this Common Council on Monday evening, Ward 1 councillor Greg Norton told his fellow councillors, deputy mayor and mayor about his motion.

"The City has a responsibility to not provide unfair advantage to any candidate or political party and the City cannot make contributions, including money goods and services to any candidate or political party," said Norton. "I would also say the city of Saint John resources can't be used to promote one candidate, a political party or a supporter during any election campaign."

Norton tells us this motion he brought forward stems from a concern he had during the recent election where he says councillors had used city emails and phone numbers on election campaign pamphlets and materials. As well, he says, there were concerns about signage on city property.

"Anytime we use city assets, whether that's real or perceived, I think we can do the public a disservice," Norton tells us, saying that there was an opportunity to send a clear message here.

Ward 3 councillor Donna Reardon brought forward the idea to table this with her reasoning being that it would be more relevant closer to 2020, the year of the next election. The motion passed 7-2 with Norton and councillor-at-large Gary Sullivan voting against.