Mayor’s campaign manager knew spending limit: clerk

In this October 2018, file photo, Bernadette Clement enters the salons of the Cornwall Civic Complex after winning the mayoral contest with nearly 54 per cent of the vote. Clement spent too much of her own money on her election campaign which she says was an honest mistake due to a miscommunication between her campaign and the clerk's office. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The city’s clerk says Mayor Bernadette Clement’s campaign manager knew of the election campaign personal spending limits over two months before Election Day.

In a memo to the Election Audit Compliance Committee before this afternoon’s meeting, Manon Levesque says Etienne Saint-Aubin had emailed her on Aug. 7, 2018 requesting information on the spending limits.

Levesque says she provided the information the next day in an email reply, which included laying out the criteria for personal spending – $7,500 plus 20 cents per elector.

The mayor has said that her overspending by $4,154 was an “inadvertent” error. Her limit was $14,203.20 and she spent $18,357.

Levesque also details other times where the spending limits were outlined for the Bernadette Clement Campaign, including the Candidates’ Package which Saint-Aubin had been told was available to him at city hall. The information was also available on a Candidates’ Portal on the election database.

The previous council, where Clement was a city councillor, also had two information sessions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs where the calculations were also laid out.

In her memo, the clerk admits that a certificate of maximum campaign expenses was to be issued and had been drawn up but was never sent out. “Upon investigation and conducting an audit of my outgoing emails, I realized that, although I had prepared the “Certificate of Maximum Campaign Expenses,” I had not sent it to the candidates,” she wrote.

The three-member audit committee will hear from two complainants and the mayor before the meeting goes behind closed doors to make a decision.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at city hall.