Linda Jackson (politician)

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Linda D. Jackson
Mayor of Vaughan, Ontario
In office
2006–2010
Preceded by Michael Di Biase
Succeeded by Maurizio Bevilacqua

Linda D. Jackson is a Canadian politician and former mayor of Vaughan, Ontario. Jackson was elected mayor on November 14, 2006. Jackson’s election displaced well known incumbent Michael Di Biase, which she won by only 90 votes.[1] She was later defeated by Maurizio Bevilacqua in the 2010 Vaughan municipal election.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Jackson grew up in the Woodbridge neighbourhood of Pine Grove, and attended Woodbridge High School and Thornhill Secondary School. Her father and brothers were active in local hockey, and Jackson was a founding member of the Pine Wood Angels in the early 1970s, the first girls’ hockey team in Vaughan, and later coached boys’ hockey.[3]

Jackson is the daughter of the late Lorna Jackson, also a former mayor of the city. Lorna Jackson was first elected to Vaughan Council in 1974. Lorna Jackson later became Vaughan’s longest-serving mayor, holding the office from 1982 until her death in office in April 2002. According to Jackson’s official bio, she often discussed municipal politics with her family. Jackson “credits her mother with teaching her the importance of public service and how to effect change in the community”.[3]

Before running for public office, Jackson worked in human resources and security management for corporations in the city of Vaughan.[citation needed]

Jackson has served on the Vaughan Health Care Foundation, volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of York Region, and is the past chair of the York Region Abuse Program.[citation needed] Jackson is an avid gardener.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Councillor[edit]

Jackson was first elected to the position of ward councillor in 2002 in a by-election. Jackson was then elected as regional councillor in the 2003 municipal election, serving as York Region councillor from Vaughan from 2003 to 2006.

Mayor of Vaughan[edit]

In 2006, Jackson was elected the mayor of Vaughan by only 90 votes.[2] Jackson was elected on a platform to clean up City Hall after reports of irregularities under the former Mayor Di Biase.[4] The subsequent controversy over her election campaign led to years of fighting with city council, lasting throughout the entirety of her term in office.

Conflict with Council[edit]

On December 15, 2008 all eight city councilors held a press conference to demand Jackson's resignation.[5] Their request came after a lengthy public debate over Jackson's expenses. An audit by Ernst and Young released December 3 found she had not violated any rules.[6] The report also found “there were no personal expenditures of the mayor that were claimed as business expenses.”[7]

Jackson rejected calls for her resignation and launched the “Working Together for Vaughan” campaign on January 11, 2009. She said the goal of her campaign was to “to restore professionalism and accountability and transparency at City Hall.”[8] Jackson also presented Council with suggested reforms to the City Expenditure Policy.[9]

Election expenses controversy[edit]

On June 18, 2008, an audit ordered by a provincial court judge of Jackson's 2006 campaign finances found that she had exceeded her legal spending limit of $120,419 by at least $12,356, or 10 per cent.[10] The auditors, LECG Canada Ltd., said that amount could almost double if what they believed to be unreported contributions in kind at various election events – but couldn't prove – are later verified.

They also found other apparent contraventions of the elections act, including at least five instances where associated companies made donations that exceeded the normal $750 donation limit per company.[11][12] On April 23, 2009, 68 charges were laid related to how much was spent on her 2006 campaign.[13] In March 2011, all chargers were dropped by a special prosecutor because of a lack of evidence.[14]

It was also discovered that Jackson used taxpayer funds to have her Mayoral office swept for 'bugs', or surveillance devices, costing nearly $3,000 "Through a Freedom of Information request, residents Gino and Mary Ruffolo, former supporters turned Jackson critics, uncovered an invoice showing the mayor's office paid Protech Consult Services $2,730 for equipment and labour for "manual and electronic counter surveillance."[15] Later that year, her husband was arrested and charged by police after a disturbance at a nightclub in Vaughan.[16]

Election defeat[edit]

Maurizio Bevilacqua, resigned from his seat as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Vaughan, to run against Jackson in the 2010 election. Bevilacqua easily defeated Jackson in the election, receiving over 63% of the vote to Jackson's 14.3%.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Jackson is married to Mario Campese, with a blended family of three adult daughters, a son and a grandson. Linda and her family live in the Vaughan community of Vellore Village.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ CityNews.ca Staff, "DiBiase Rejects Recount Results After Linda Jackson Declared Winner In Vaughan Mayor's Race", CityNews.ca, November 30, 2006 http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_5727.aspx
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-MP Bevilacqua new Vaughan mayor". CBC News. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b City of Vaughan, Mayors Official Biography http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/vaughan/council/mayor/mayor_profile.cfm
  4. ^ Luigi De Biase, "Linda Jackson sworn in as mayor of Vaughan Tense relations in Council, between accusations and reconciliation", tandem.ca, December 12, 2006 http://www.corrieretandem.com/viewstory.php?storyid=6855
  5. ^ Phinjo Gombu, "Defiant Vaughan mayor staying", The Toronto Star, December 16, 2008 http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/554400
  6. ^ Phinjo Gombu, "Vaughan mayor cleared in audit", The Toronto Star, December 5, 2008 http://www.thestar.com/article/548833
  7. ^ Brett Clarkson, "Vaughan mayor vows: 'I'm staying'", The Toronto Sun, December 15, 2008 http://www.torontosun.com/news/2008/12/15/7756511.html
  8. ^ Linda Jackson on her personal blog Working Together for Vaughan http://mayorlindajackson.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-we-need-to-raise-bar.html
  9. ^ Working Together For Vaughan Backgrounder, Release by the City of Vaughan on January 11, 2009 http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dfttxz7k_1g88m9hhg
  10. ^ Rusk, James (20 June 2008). "Audit of Vaughan mayor's campaign expenses finds more than two dozen possible violations". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Vaughan mayor to face election-financing charges 25 June 2008
  12. ^ Vaughan’s Linda Jackson to fight charges 30 August 2008
  13. ^ Vaughan's mayor faces 68 charges, conviction could lead to her removal from office
  14. ^ "Former Vaughan mayor Jackson cleared of election charges". Canadian Press. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Mayor's office swept for 'bugs'
  16. ^ "Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson's husband arrested in nightclub". Toronto Star. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2014.