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Canada

Coun. Tim Tierney apologizes, brings corrupt practice case to an end

Tim Tierney, the Ottawa city councillor representing Beacon Hill-Cyrville ward, apologized in court Wednesday and agreed to give up two months of salary to resolve his municipal elections case.

Tierney appeared in front of a judge at the Elgin Street courthouse and read a written statement apologizing. The Crown then withdrew the charge.

The OPP anti-rackets branch started investigating Tierney in August 2018 during the municipal election campaign after taking over a complaint first received by the Ottawa Police Service.

The complaint was related to a phone call received by Michael Schurter at the elections office on Cyrville Road as he was registering at the eleventh hour on nomination day, July 27, 2018, to run against Tierney. Up until Schurter showed up, Tierney was the only candidate running in Beacon Hill-Cyrville and was on his way to easily re-capturing the seat.

Reporters who were at the elections office that day watched city staff lead Schurter into a room to sign his papers, and the door closed.

It was revealed later that Tierney was on the other end of the phone call.

When Schurter emerged from the room, he said he didn’t think a ward should go unchallenged in the election, which is why he decided to run against Tierney.

Tierney was a member of the police services board before the investigation started. He recused himself from the board when he found out about the probe.

This newspaper reported the OPP investigation into Tierney on Aug. 31, 2018.

Tierney easily won re-election on Oct. 22, 2018, taking 81 per cent of the votes in Beacon Hill-Cyrville compared to Schurter’s 19 per cent. The voter turnout for the ward was 38 per cent.

On Nov. 23, 2018, the OPP charged Tierney with corrupt practice under the Ontario Municipal Elections Act. The specific section says there’s an offence when someone offers “valuable consideration” in order to induce another person to refrain from being a candidate or withdrawing from a candidacy.

Tierney, 44, was first elected to council in 2010, knocking off longtime municipal councillor Michel Bellemare.

His legal case hasn’t scuttled his leadership opportunities at city hall this term. Tierney is currently the chair of the Ottawa Public Library board of directors, the vice-chair of the finance and economic development committee and the vice-chair of the planning committee. He’s also a member of the transit commission and the information and technology subcommittee.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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