Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks at the InvestWindsorEssex AGM at Caesars Windsor, May 26, 2022. Photo by Mark Brown/ Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks at the InvestWindsorEssex AGM at Caesars Windsor, May 26, 2022. Photo by Mark Brown/

Petition drive calls for mayor to reimburse City for inserts

A Windsor resident wants Mayor Drew Dilkens to pay back the money used to include what critics have called "promotional material" in residents' tax bills.

A petition was started this week on, asking that should Dilkens decide to run for re-election this fall, his campaign must reimburse the cost of the inserts, which some have claimed resemble campaign literature.

The petition was started by resident T.J. Bondy.

"When opening my final tax notice from the city of Windsor, I gasped and said, 'It can't be legal to include campaign lit in my tax bill,'" read a post on Bondy's Facebook page. "I have created a petition to hold Mr. Mayor to account for this unethical use of tax dollars. Upon filing for his candidacy for mayor in the upcoming October elections, I call on the Mayor and his campaign to reimburse the taxpayers for this blatant self-promotion."

The inserts include a photo of the mayor alongside a list of recent accomplishments made by the City, which include investments in parks and playgrounds, along with roads and trails.

The petition calls for the cost of creating, printing, and posting the inserts to be reimbursed. The cost was estimated on the petition at an estimated $25,000, but the actual price may be more or less.

"Candidates in campaigns must use their own campaign funds. This is the law," read the petition. "Drew Dilkens, however, is circumventing this by pointing out that he is not (yet) a candidate in the election. He is doing so knowing that, if he runs, he has a clear advantage in the election by using taxpayer funds to promote himself."

The leaflet in question does not mention Dilkens' name, only his photograph. However, there is also no mention on the insert of the City Council or the City's administration.

Dilkens defended the use of inserts in residents' tax bills. He told reporters earlier this week that he is not doing anything different than what other elected officials have done to let constituents know what is happening in their communities.

"I’m not running a campaign. I am the mayor of the City and I’m communicating with the residents of the City," Dilkens said on Monday. "The campaign, the election is not until October. I am not a candidate for that election. I am worried about governing and I’m communicating with my residents and I don’t apologize for it."

The mayor also said that anyone who may have an issue with the inserts is more than welcome to address their concerns with the City's integrity commissioner. However, the petition pointed out that Ontario law does not allow for an integrity commissioner to operate during an election period.

"There can be no requests made to an Integrity Commissioner for an inquiry about whether a member has contravened the applicable code of conduct starting on nomination day and ending on voting day in a regular election," read the province's municipal councillor's guide.

The deadline for filing for election is August 19, with the vote on October 24.

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