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Photo via Brianfor Mayorptbo on Facebook.

Profile on Mayoral Candidate Brian Lumsden

Written by
Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay
and
and
October 14, 2022
Profile on Mayoral Candidate Brian Lumsden
Photo via Brianfor Mayorptbo on Facebook.


To his credit, Brian Lumsden was the first candidate to reach out to Arthur. On August 31st, Bethan and I returned to the office to find a campaign package tucked into the gap beside our door. We then spent a few confused minutes hunched over the documents, taking in the tale of Mr. Lumsden and his route to municipal politics.

Mr. Lumsden was inspired to run for mayor after encountering a woman named Mama Angel who lives in a bus stop on George Street. When I called Mr. Lumsden to ask more about this, he confirmed that this was indeed the case and told me the exact location of the bus stop on George. We have been unable to contact Mama Angel for comment, but Mr. Lumsden’s Facebook posts affirm his deep care for this woman who is experiencing homelessness.

In the original document drop at the Arthur offices, Mr. Lumsden reported that in the coming weeks he would be revealing a number of “lesser known facts” about his adopted city and noted the number of masonic symbols around town. While I had Mr. Lumsden on the phone, I asked if we might be able to set up an interview over the coming weeks to help him get the story out to the Peterborough community. He said he would be interested and we connected both over email. I proceeded to add him as a friend on Facebook, Brianfor Mayorptbo, as per his suggestion. This page, Mr. Lumsden told me, would be where all the details would be released.

Things seemed to be going well until about two weeks later when Bethan and I offered Mr. Lumsden the option of purchasing advertising space in an upcoming paper, as other candidates had. This, he wrote to us put him in a “conflict of interest” and that we should rely solely on his Facebook posts for our coverage of his campaign.

Arthur has since been following Mr. Lumsden from a respectful distance, keeping an eye on Brianfor Mayorptbo and doing some background research to confirm details of his campaign literature.

After a successful career in finance and real estate in Toronto and France, Mr. Lumsden fell into difficult circumstances approximately eleven years ago when his son, David Lumsden, was accused of undisclosed crimes by the Toronto Police. David was a minor at the time of the incident in 2011.

According to public court documents, the charges against David Lumsden were eventually dropped in 2013. However, the two men brought a civil action against the Toronto Police Services Board. Among the defendants in this case was former Toronto Police Chief and current Trudeau cabinet minister, Bill Blair. Mr. Lumsden writes that he and his son represented themselves against “four Bay Street lawyers.” David moved to France midway through the proceedings and so it is more accurate to suggest, as the court judgement shows, that Mr. Lumsden represented them both.

The final judgement, dated August 27th, 2019, shows that over the six years between then and the original action against the Toronto Police Services, Mr. Lumsden brought three separate motions for summary judgment forward with none being heard.

In April of 2019, Mr. Lumsden suggested during cross-examination that he and his son were planning to drop the claim arising from the 2011 incident involving David’s arrest. Less than a week later, Mr. Lumsden wrote via email to a representative for the defence, Douglas O. Smith, stating that he had been “forced to drop the claim” and went on to ask how the matter could be resolved prior to their next meeting with a judge. Email records go on to show that Mr. Smith would consult with his clients to see if they were in support of a “without-costs dismissal of this action” if that would be amenable to Mr. Lumsden.

Mr. Lumsden responded affirming this would suit him, and later the next morning David Lumsden wrote from France agreeing to this deal.

While his campaign literature claims that his case “set a precedent regarding an email being as binding as a signed document” is technically true (at the time of writing, his case has been cited all of three times) it is not for the heroic anti-corruption reasons Mr. Lumsden seems to want voters to think it is.

What the judgement ultimately to reveals is that Mr. Lumsden, who was representing himself, agreed in principle to a settlement agreement with the defendants and then attempted to re-neg on the deal citing concerns around his ability to adequately understand what he was agreeing to due to his experiences with anxiety and financial distress arising from these proceedings.

Ultimately the judge decided to close the deal based on the original April email exchange and found that Mr. Lumsden’s health and financial concerns in no way impacted his ability to legally agree to what had been proposed and accepted by the defendants.

A recent Examiner profile of Lumsden made no mention of this part of Lumsden’s past. The degree to which it impacts his mayoral chances has yet to be seen, and in all likelihood won’t affect the outcome of the vote. Voters could be compelled by Mr. Lumsden’s openness in discussing his past issues and ability to rise above them, or they could view it as a misguided and possibly dishonest attempt to demonstrate his anti-establishment credentials. Most, however, likely won’t think much of it at all.

Mr. Lumsden wants you to know that he is emphatically not allied with any Masonic temples, though he once came close; nor is he “associated with any club, society or church organization.” Bolstering the outsider image, Mr. Lumsden has written in campaign materials about his refusal to belong to any group which operates behind closed doors, including a city council which holds closed sessions.

Mr. Lumsden has reiterated his refusal to accept donations, calling them an “archaic practice” that corrupts politicians and forces them into subservience to particular interests and entities in the community. Mr. Lumsden has refused to utilize lawn signs as well, stating that they create a “popularity contest” and are wasteful and antithetical to green initiatives.

Mr. Lumsden has been vocal about his questioning of the Millroy Drive resurfacing and has also publicly called for answers regarding Peterborough’s Chief Administrative Officer, Sandra Clancy, and her large pay raise between 2020 and 2021.

These pillars of Mr. Lumsden’s campaign, in addition to his refusal to speak to the press and collect donations make him a difficult candidate to get to know. He seems interested in speaking directly to supporters through written responses to media inquiries that he posts directly to Facebook. At the time of writing, his Facebook page has just over 1200 “friends.”

In a Facebook post from September 14th, Mr. Lumsden finally posted some “lesser known facts” about a number of prominent individuals with ties to Peterborough. Among them was a section Peterborough-born author, lecturer, and mystic Manly P. Hall. Of Hall, Mr. Lumsden noted that “in 1990 when he died, he was a 33 degree mason. His cause of death is suspicious.” Hall was 89 years old when he died.

Shortly after posting this, he attempted to tag me in a comment below the post and asked Bethan and I to investigate the steps leading to the courthouse in Victoria Park. One night after work, I did indeed count the steps, and I can confirm for the Arthur readership that there are indeed 33 steps leading up the hill. Take that as you wish.

As it stands, Mr. Lumsden’s platform is a curiously mixed bag. It is based in an anti-authority ethic, and obsessed with transparency while also being completely conspiracy-laden and almost grandiose in its irreverent stances on the issues afflicting Council and our community. In all, he offers no solutions but is a natural at raising questions. Some of which are even valid, even if their relation to current issues remains cryptic.

Unfortunately for Mr. Lumsden, Peterborough is looking for answers. And the concerns of the average citizen extend beyond how many steps there are leading to a courthouse downtown. This campaign has been amusing, even baffling, to follow. But in the end Mr. Lumsden has waged a David v. Goliath campaign and demonstrated his ability to rise from difficult circumstances and getting one’s name on a ballot is more than most people do for their communities.

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