Ward 1 can­di­date calls link un­fair

Thurs­day, Au­gust 31, 2017 Suther­land says glitch to cam­paign site has been fixed Calgary

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An in­ter­net glitch had a Ward 1 op­po­nent call­ing the ethics com­mis­sioner over what he be­lieves is an un­fair use of city re­sources.

Christo­pher Blatch, who is run­ning against Ward Suther­land, has con­cerns the in­cum­bent coun­cil­lor is us­ing his priv­i­leges on the cam­paign trail. His is­sue lies with Suther­land’s Ward 1 an­nual re­port, which con­tains a di­rect link to his cam­paign web­site.

“It’s an abuse,” said Blatch. “It’s an abuse of tax­payer dol­lars.”

Blatch said neigh­bours knocked on his door to ask him if the pub­li­ca­tion they’d found at their lo­cal li­brary was above board. He didn’t think much of it at first, but then his cam­paign team no­ticed the link to Suther­land’s cam­paign.

Cam­paign­ing coun­cil­lors are sup­posed to fully sep­a­rate their ward bud­gets and ex­penses from their cam­paign op­er­a­tions. They aren’t sup­posed to post elec­tion ma­te­rial to their city-run web­sites and have to fully sep­a­rate their du­ties as elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives from their cam­paigns to be re-elected ac­cord­ing to the city’s Eth­i­cal Con­duct Pol­icy for Coun­cil­lors.

On Suther­land’s city-run web­site, he pub­lished an an- nual re­port for 2017, the first ever an­nual re­port he’s made as a coun­cil­lor, which he said is a sum­ma­tion of his monthly news­let­ters this year. It’s posted on his news­let­ter page with a link to his per­sonal web­site: ward­suther­land.com, which is now his cam­paign web page.

But Suther­land told Metro his web page that di­rects users to his cam­paign on the city’s site was a glitch that he’s get­ting fixed.

“Thanks for bring­ing it to my at­ten­tion,” said Suther­land. “This is the first time any­one has ever told us it’s linked any­where else. It was sup­posed to sim­ply link back to the news­let­ter sub­scrip­tion like it used to do, it’s be­ing reme­died right away.”

Ethics ad­viser Alice Wool­ley said she was un­able to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion, as it would im­pede on her abil­ity to give coun­cil­lors and those run­ning in­de­pen­dent, con­fi­den­tial ad­vice.

Blatch said he did file a re­port

i don’t see what the is­sue is show­ing what my record is. it’s dis­ap­point­ing. Maybe the in­di­vid­ual can cam­paign on his at­tributes, not bash­ing. Ward suther­land, Ward 1 coun­cil­lor, vy­ing for re-elec­tion

through the city’s whistle­blower of­fice, and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in their hands.

Suther­land said he con­sulted Wool­ley be­fore putting a link to his monthly re­ports on his web­site and was cleared to do so.

On his cam­paign web­site, pas­sages from his an­nual re­port and his bio are sim­i­lar, but the texts aren’t a di­rect mir­ror.

“I don’t see what the is­sue is show­ing what my record is,” said Suther­land. “It’s dis­ap­point­ing, maybe the in­di­vid­ual can cam­paign on his at­tributes, not bash­ing.”

Suther­land said in 2013 he didn’t talk about other can­di­dates at all and gave his vol­un­teers a strict code of con­duct for how they would act at the door. His cam­paign is about at­tributes and re­sults.

“It’s abuse of pub­lic re­sources, it’s in­dica­tive for a lot of peo­ple of the ar­ro­gance and sense of en­ti­tle­ment that we’re see­ing at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment,” said Blatch. “This just shows how will­ing he is to blur the lines be­tween what’s eth­i­cal and un­eth­i­cal.”

Jen­nifer friesen/for metro

chris Blatch, a can­di­date for Ward 1, stands out­side the Bow­ness li­brary, where his friends dis­cov­ered a doc­u­ment cre­ated by Ward suther­land that links to suther­land’s cam­paign web­site.

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