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Committee asks McCann for campaign donation documents

'This will get resolved and allow me to run for ward councillor (in 2026) supporting Mayor Alex Nuttall,' says former two-term councillor
Mike McCann's mayoral campaign office at the Kozlov Centre in Barrie is shown in a file photo.

Barrie’s election compliance audit committee has asked former city councillor Mike McCann, and campaign contributor Jeffrey Roher, to show Roher’s donation toward McCann’s run for mayor is on the up and up.

At its May 30 meeting, the committee — mandated by Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act to advise of any contributors that exceed their contribution limit — asked for sworn affidavits, proof of repayment, receipts, and a credit card statement from McCann and Roher, a Toronto resident who made a $6,000 contribution to McCann’s campaign.

McCann said Thursday he's confident this matter will be resolved.

“This was an administrative oversight and I am confident the committee will agree once the donor (Roher) and I provide them with the additional information they requested,” he told BarrieToday.

The maximum campaign contribution to each candidate was $1,200 in last fall's city election, with a maximum $5,000 contribution total if contributing to more than one candidate.

The committee said Roher’s apparent contribution of $6,000 to McCann’s campaign exceeded the maximum allowable contribution of $1,200 to any one candidate in an election.

Roher testified that five contributions were made separately, on his credit card, on behalf of himself, his spouse, daughter, and two sons at $1,200 each.

McCann explained his campaign staff erroneously reported the five separate donations as one lump contribution of $6,000 from Roher.

The committee requested documentation from McCann and Roher within 10 business days before making its decision.

The committee says it wants sworn affidavits from each family member, attesting to their contribution to McCann’s campaign; proof of repayment from each family member to Roher for their donations to McCann’s campaign; a copy of the receipts issued to Roher and/or his family members for their donation to McCann’s campaign, and a copy of  Roher’s credit card statement showing the contributions made to McCann’s campaign.

“This will get resolved and allow me to run for ward councillor (in 2026) supporting Mayor Alex Nuttall,” McCann said. “His team is doing great and I would like to bring some McCann texture into the mix. I’ll run in the ward where I’ll be most useful.”

McCann, a two-term Ward 10 councillor, received 1,700 of the 31,604 votes cast in the Barrie election, or 5.4 per cent, finishing fourth in the race that elected Mayor Alex Nuttall.

Roher is a partner in HIP Developments, the company behind the large residential project at the former Barrie Central Collegiate site on Bradford Street.

In April, Roher told BarrieToday the $6,000 contribution is really five $1,200 donations — from himself, his wife and three children.

“I’ve got the verification and the proof of the five donations,” he said at the time. “So if someone comes asking, I got it.”

The committee will make a decision on whether or not to proceed further, based on the information it receives. 

The compliance audit committee could decide to commence, or not to commence, a legal proceeding against Roher for the apparent contravention.

If the committee decides to commence legal action against Roher, the costs associated with securing the city’s legal representation will be borne by the municipality. The estimated cost at this time is not more than $15,000.

If the committee decides not to commence legal action, there are no financial implications for the city resulting from this decision.

The compliance audit committee also ruled May 30 on a second election contribution.

Don Pratt of Barrie contributed $1,200 each to five candidates — Nuttall, Bryn Hamilton, Craig Nixon, McCann, and Barry Ward — for a total of $6,000.

Pratt’s apparent contribution of funds in the amount of $6,000 to five candidates appears to have exceeded the maximum allowable contribution of $5,000 to two or more candidates for office on the same council or local board.

But the committee accepted Pratt’s explanation that the $1,200 contribution to Ward was from his spouse.

Nuttall won the mayor’s race, outdistancing Ward and McCann, while Hamilton was elected in Ward 10, Nixon in Ward 2.

The compliance audit committee is an investigative/adjudicative body created to enforce provincially enacted laws related to municipal election campaign funding.

Penalties for contravening these laws can include a maximum fine of $25,000, ineligibility to vote or run in the next general election, as many as six months in prison and forfeiture of elected office, if the judge finds the offence was committed knowingly.

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Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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