Cornwall mayor’s re-election bid notice under investigation

In this August 2021, file photo, Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant takes part in an event at the Cornwall Community Museum. An email from Grant to members of the media on his re-election bid is under investigation for a possible violation of the Municipal Elections Act. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – An email by Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant on his re-election bid is under investigation for an alleged violation of the Municipal Elections Act.

The correspondence was sent Tuesday afternoon from Grant’s city email address to members of the media and included a PDF attachment. It included the mayor’s official signature, city logo and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn hyperlinks.

The City of Cornwall has formal guidelines for candidates on the use of city resources and communication in an election cycle, which is dictated by the Municipal Elections Act.

Among the rules, “corporate information technology assets, infrastructure or data” are not to be used including “computers…corporate email…social media links…or email systems.” Use of the city’s crest, logo or brand is also forbidden.

Weeks ago, Grant filed his nomination papers using his personal Hotmail address.

A screengrab of an email sent by Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 to members of the media. The email is under investigation for use of city resources by a candidate during an election cycle. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

“You’ve reported it and I will make an investigation into it,” Clerk and Returning Officer Manon Levesque told Cornwall Newswatch. “That is the procedure. It’s reported to the clerk and then the clerk will investigate and take appropriate action.”

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Grant says he wasn’t aware he had broken the rules and sent the news release out while at city hall after being encouraged to do so by Cornwall Seaway News Publisher Rick Shaver.

“No, I didn’t realize that. I could have sent it out in any way possible but I was at city hall and I just sent it out the way I normally do with correspondence. But if that’s against the Municipal (Elections) Act then I guess somebody will bring it to my attention and I’ll get chastised for it,” he told CNW.

Grant says he wrote the release himself with help from “a friend of mine, I’ll put it that way.” The mayor confirmed his administrative assistant did not write it.

He adds he has “never sent out a press release” before but would “research that” and “maybe submit an apology for that because I wasn’t aware of that.”

Grant justifies change of heart in running for mayor

After serving 14 years on council, Grant was selected by his council peers to succeed Bernadette Clement. At the time, he said he would be retiring. But after 11 months as mayor, he had a change of heart. Grant was asked how he justifies going back on his word.

“Most people know me is, what I say is what I do. The position of the mayor, you don’t realize as a city councillor what the role of the mayor is in the city until you sit in that seat. It’s really got me totally involved again or more involved in the city than I ever was,” he said.

“When I made that statement, I had no idea what I was really talking about because I had never worked in the mayor’s position before,” Grant explained, noting that he was asked by “a lot of people” to reconsider running for a four year term.

As for members of council who supported him to take the mayor’s position to close out the term, Grant says “at least five” have “openly come up” over the last few months, asking him to change his mind on running again.

There are two other people so far in the mayoral race: Justin Towndale and James Leroux. Cornwallites head to the polls Oct. 24.