There are a LOT of questions being asked about Liberal-connected Ana Bailao and the company she keeps. It's not just the questionable financing from outside the ward which may be mostly the construction-developer industry that Scott Dobson has uncovered ( see his comments on the Junction Triangle website: http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/441?page=1#comment-1931 ).
It's also whether she has subverted any supposed journalistic integrity amongst Portugese- only newspapers. AND perhaps is skirting Toronto Elections campaign limit laws?
NOW Magazine has uncovered another questionable tactic by Ms Bailao alleging that she herself is writing 'news stories' that appear in supposedly separate, hopefully neutral publications. http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=177246
"SENSO was founded by its current editor-in-chief Jack Prazeres, a co-owner of Trican Masonry and a director of the Masonry Contractors' Association of Toronto. Although he's donated to multiple campaigns, including Bailao's, he also declines to speak saying "I don't get involved in politics"
Troubling as well is that many members of SENSO seem to also be key volunteers on Ana's campaign - and - were also part of a company Ana used to design her signs, flyers and website: a company called Creative7 (C7).
Toronto City Council had passed motions that prohibited corporations and unions from directly funding election campaigns to level the field for candidates and make the process more transparent. Ms. Bailao it seems has found a lot of ways to do an end run around those laws.
Some questions it raises in my mind about Ana:
- Can we trust her? If she is so willing to use at the very least questionable tactics and at the worst, possibly illegal tactics, now during a campaign - what kind of councillor will she be?
- Is she saying one thing to Portugese-speaking only residents and another to the rest of the ward? (This has always been a Liberal trick when dealing with French in Quebec)
- The big construction and developer ties she obviously seems to have must mean that she is heavily indebted to them. In 2003 she raised about $70,000 to run a campaign. Limits this year are supposed to be $28,747.30 per candidate, and she has raised twice the limit. If she gets in power will ward18 be ignored as she votes to pay back her big development buddies?
- Just how much might Ana be hiding from Toronto Elections in regard to what is spent on her campaign? She is indeed supposed to diligently track the 'goods and services' that might be donated to her campaign, giving them a reasonable market fair value as part of that campaign limit. When she deals in a language most of the ward cannot understand, what other 'free help' might she be getting?
If this kind of behaviour were to happen with Ana as Councillor, she'd no doubt be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner. In an election campaign, does she just get away with it?
*Update: Other blogs writing about this: http://marcio9.wordpress.com/
*Update: Letter by local resident and well know activist:
" As a resident of Ward 18, I am very distressed that Ana Bailao has been allowed to publish an article in the Potugese magazine, Senso, and distribute it, just before the election. It is not a secret that the Liberal Party supports heavy real estate development, and that Ana has a potential conflict of interest between construction firms, developers and the best interests of a priority Ward, which is truggling with a massive diesel rail expension by Metrolinx, and the closing of Ward 18 schools. There are two conflict of interests in Ana Bailao's campaign - the first between party and municipal politics, and the second, between the best interests of citizens and business lobbyists. Both are significant and legitimate problems and her campaign costs are much higher than permissible levels as well.
As a citizen who has been trying to protect the health and welfare of Ward 18, and its parks and schools, I believe this must be investigated legally. "
We need attentive minds and investigative approaches with Ana Bailao it seems... Can we really trust her? Questions need answers because...