Coun. Moe Gill’s allegation that Mayor Henry Braun’s friends have had unique access to city hall over the last four years is an explosive claim that deserves scrutiny.
The accusation is extremely serious, going to the heart of public service. It was immediately, and fiercely, denied by Braun, who ran in 2014 on a platform of openness and transparency.
It’s unclear if Gill appreciates the seriousness of the claims, which were made in a press release announcing his candidacy.
For a week now, The News has been attempting to reach the longtime councillor to discuss the claims, to no avail.
The allegation came out of the blue: Gill has sat immediately next to Braun at council meetings for nearly four years without raising the concerns. And on Aug. 4, four days before the release, he used Facebook to thank Braun for attending an event at Agrifair.
The release also hasn’t been widely distributed. Gill’s fellow councillors have said they don’t support the allegations, and have suggested the accusations are part of an election strategy.
But the claims should not be written off as simple campaign rhetoric.
Political corruption is not a light matter. It strikes at the heart of our democracy, and we must do everything possible to root it out.
If Gill has actual evidence, he must turn it over immediately.
If he does not, he must publicly renounce his claims.
His allegation contributes to a public distrust of politicians, which, in turn, erodes confidence in the rule of law, and our democracy.
When those in power act dishonestly, a dwindling of confidence is justified.
But our democratic institutions should not be put in question because a candidate employs rumour and innuendo to gain politically.
It’s time for Gill to step up and back up his remarks. If he cannot, he should consider what he really wants to accomplish by running for mayor.