MacDonald, clerk trade exchanges over Benson Centre space

MacDonald, clerk trade exchanges over Benson Centre space

CORNWALL, Ontario – Candidates for city council are meeting Tuesday night to plot strategy in the wake of a demand by a local business group looking to secure a pledge for lower taxes.

But even that meeting has set off controversy, with candidate Mark MacDonald and city clerk Helen Finn trading e-mails with each other, including some tense exchanges.

The Community Action Group (CAG) wants candidates for city hall to sign off on its demand to “do everything in their power” to lower taxes in Cornwall over the next term of office.

Candidate Mark MacDonald has organized an information session on the topic, which takes place Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Benson Centre.

MacDonald has accused the city of providing free space at the Benson Centre for a meeting in August of the Cornwall and District Labour Council, which gathered to collect information on the looming municipal election.

Finn was at that meeting.

“I filed a complaint with you regarding the City of Cornwall illegally funding the Cornwall and District Labour Council (CDLC) by providing them with FREE meeting room space for municipal election issues,” MacDonald asserts in an e-mail to Finn. “Therefore, take notice that the candidates are entitled to the same privileges that the you gave to the CDLC.

“It is important to make note – you attended the meeting on Aug. 12  – and I would like you to know that you are expected to be in attendance at the meeting on Tuesday.”

Finn, though, was having none of it.

“I responded to you quite a while ago to confirm that the candidates had paid regular price for their space rental. Therefore, any other group that uses‎ the space is of course entitled to the same rates, subject to availability,” she said. “I am sure you are aware that I do not deal with room reservations and that you will know who (to) contact.

“As to my presence at your meeting on Oct. 14, I am sure you are aware that there is a council meeting that same evening. I am surprised that unelected candidates running for Council would not want to view the meeting.  

Finn added she was at the August meeting at the Benson Centre to “provide information on the election process, maximize the number of candidates and generate public interest in the election, which is my role as City Clerk.”

MacDonald said he is also mulling an official complaint concerning what he feels is a contravention of the Municipal Act concerning a statement the city issued on the weekened related to CAG and its feelings on municipal taxes.

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