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Councillor Ana Bailão Responds to Impaired-Driving Charges

A shaken-looking Bailão says she will plead not guilty, will keep focusing on her work.

Today Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport) provided a more detailed responded to news that she faces impaired-driving charges. Bailão was pulled over at about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday morning, after an officer noticed her driving without headlights near Bathurst and Harbord.

Voice wavering, Bailão started by saying: “Today I want to be absolutely clear: these charges will in no way affect my ability to do the job I was elected to do. I intend to plead not guilty.” She then contined: “I assure you that I am taking these charges very seriously and I will continue to cooperate with the legal process.”

Declining to comment on the specifics of the case on the advice of her lawyer, Bailão thanked her colleagues and constituents for their support, and reiterated that her focus would continue to be on the files she’s been working on since elected. Key among those is community housing—councillors will debate a report she’s prepared on dealing with a major repair backlog in a few weeks.

Indeed, her colleagues came out in force to support her: Bailão was flanked by everyone from Ford favourite Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston) to longstanding left-leaning councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) at the press conference today. Nunziata took the mic for a moment to say that Bailão “is an amazing councillor; she works hard for her constituents” and Doug Ford later told reporters: “we’ve all had a bad night. She regrets it; she’s apologized.”

That isn’t quite accurate: Bailão hasn’t actually apologized, presumably also on the advice of her lawyer—an apology can be interpreted in court as an admission of liability. Many of her constituents and many in Toronto more generally are calling on her to do just that, however.

Bailão is scheduled to appear in court on December 3.

Comments

  • James

    If one of my co-workers was charged with drunk driving and failed two breathalysers, there’d be no way I’d appear at a press conference to offer my support. And if I was a councillor, I’d ask for her resignation…but that’s not how politics is played.

    P.S. That statement would hold true for any member of council from Vaughan to Ford.

    • Canadianskeezix

      I’m not sure it is the place of the other councillors to be asking for Bailão’s resignation at this stage. Bailão has not yet been sentenced of any crime.

      Having said that, it is completely inapproriate for the other councillors to be offering excuses like “she works hard for her constituents” and “she regrets it; she’s apologized”. Last time I checked, being a hard worker and being sorry are not legitimate excuses/explanations for driving drunk.

      • James

        You’re right, I jumped the gun with my comment. I’ll add that if she’s convicted then I’d ask for her resignation.

      • Anonymous

        “Bailão has not yet been sentenced of any crime.”

        She may not have been sentenced, but she failed a breathalyzer. It’s like getting caught red-handed in someone else’s house with their stereo in your hand and the other person says they don’t know you.

    • Anonymous

      In no way am I condoning (alleged) impaired driving, but asking for someone’s resignation above and beyond whatever punishment might follow a guilty verdict is ridiculous, reactionary, and smacks of a need for revenge and humiliation. Assuming no jail time is involved, I don’t expect anything the judge decides will interfere with her job, so there’s no reason she can’t carry out her duties as councillor.

      • Canadianskeezix

        Rek, that’s almost as hysterical an overreaction as demanding her resignation today before all the facts are even known.

        *If* she is convicted, I think it is perfectly fair comment for anyone to suggest that someone lacking the good judgment not to get behind the wheel after a few drinks is not fit to represent the constituents of Ward 18. I wouldn’t necessarily agree, and I am sure that Bailão would disregard any such calls for her resignation, but I hardly think anyone making such a call is a ridiculous reactionary seeking revenge and humiliation (although perhaps that depends on the nature of the commentary). Drunk driving destroys lives and families, and it is fair comment to suggest that members of City Council should be held to a high standard. It’s also fair comment to suggest that a Councillor’s entire performance should not be distilled down to one DUI.

        As for carrying out her duties as a Councillor, that’s a red herring. Obviously, unless she is drunk at work, a DUI is not going to stop her from doing her job (unless she gets one heck of a long jail sentence). That’s not the issue. I doubt people would say “Councillor X was convicted of spousal abuse, but (s)he can still do her job, so anyone calling for his/her resignation is simply in need or revenge and humiliation”, and I don’t see DUI as any different.

        • Anonymous

          Where does “someone lacking the good judgment not to get behind the wheel after a few drinks is not fit to…” end? It’s a contradictory and therefore meaningless accusation: someone who is impaired is incapable of good judgement. There’s a reason impaired driving is alarmingly common. One might argue that good judgement begins before the first drink is poured, but it follows that anyone who engages in anything potentially impairing is unfit to do anything. But her (alleged) crime isn’t having poor judgement, which would be grounds for a resignation call given that judgement is fairly critical for her job, it’s impaired driving, which everyone is capable of.

          For the moment though let’s pretend she’s convicted and does resign. What does she do for the rest of her life? What career would you allow her to pursue with a DUI on her résumé? Should she be allowed to run for – and win – re-election? If so, what does the resignation accomplish? (And who else should resign for getting a DUI?)

          “Drunk driving destroys lives and families…”

          Talk about an overreaction. She was pulled over for driving without lights, not for careening off a hydrant and stapling someone to a wall with her bumper. Calling for her resignation is one thing, but now you’ve convicted her of vehicular homicide.

          (Fucking hell Disqus, stop reloading and eating my post before it’s finished!)

  • Canadianskeezix

    It’s sad that the only thing that seems to be able to bring that diverse group of Councillors together is a show of support for drunk driving.

  • Anonymous

    How does the defense in a case like this usually address the issue of the accused blowing over the legal limit in the breathalyser test?

    • Anonymous

      Subpoena records of the particular device maintenance and calibration. Present stats showing the device model has proven unreliable. Find possible mistakes in administering the breathalyzer test, and/or any follow-up blood work. Challenge arresting officer’s reason(s) for administering the test. These methods rarely, but occassionally work. Then there’s backroom stuff.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Dikant/100000226885376 Bill Dikant

        Here in the U.S., all records of the Breath testing devices produced.They do challeange the Officer for probable cause @ a trial, these methods do work.Driving without “LIGHT’s” @ 1a.m. is kinda dangerous ,dont ya think, I guess you dont.
        Bill Dikant,D.W.I. Victim Advocate,
        Castleton, N.Y. 12033—–U.S.A.

  • manfredglory

    You can debate this all you want but the sad truth is: elected public officials should shell out for a taxi if they have had more than one drink. Elected public officials are paid, by the public purse, to show sound judgment. Elected public officials are as entitled as any of us to have a drink…or two…or ten. But when it comes to deciding NOT to take that taxi and NOT to leave the car in the (no doubt publicly subsidized) parking spot, and instead to careen home through our streets with headlights off…then, I’m sorry y’all, but if that’s not a firing offense then I don’t know what is.