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Ottawa Coun. Tim Tierney charged with corrupt practices under municipal elections law

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson along with city councillors George Darouze (left), Tim Tierney (second from left) and Stephen Blais (right) officially kick off the construction of the new Amazon fulfillment facility in the east end on Monday. Christopher Whan / Global News

Recently re-elected Ottawa Coun. Tim Tierney has been charged with corrupt practices under the Municipal Elections Act, the OPP said on Friday.

This comes after Michael Schurter, who ran against Tierney in the 2018 municipal election, filed a complaint with authorities based on Tierney’s alleged conduct during a phone call on July 27, the deadline to sign up or drop out of the municipal election race.

READ MORE: Ottawa election results 2018

The OPP’s anti-rackets branch launched an investigation into the complaint in August.

Tierney released a statement via Twitter saying he will “vigorously defend” himself against the allegations and will continue his work as councillor for Beacon Hill-Cyrville.

Tierney’s statement said OPP are alleging he offered to make a donation to a charity for Schurter so he would refrain from registering as a candidate.

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Section 90(3) of the Municipal Elections Act forbids anyone from offering, giving, lending or promising “any valuable consideration in order to induce a person to become a candidate, refrain from becoming a candidate or withdraw his or her candidacy.”

“This allegation, while not criminal in nature … is nevertheless taken very seriously by Mr. Tierney,” the councillor’s statement said. “He is prepared to defend himself fully in this matter. Councillor Tierney is committed to participating in the process and looks forward to clearing his name.”

Tierney is scheduled to appear at the provincial offences court office in Ottawa on Dec. 13.

In a statement, Rick O’Connor, Ottawa’s city clerk and solicitor, said the charge laid against Tierney does not limit the councillor’s “ability” to sit on council because it relates to Tierney’s “alleged activities as a candidate, and not to his activities as a member of council.”

If convicted though, the Municipal Elections Act states that Tierney would have to vacate his seat on city council. He would also be prohibited from running in the following two elections.

READ MORE: Ethics watchdog probing Ottawa MP’s endorsement of husband’s election bid

O’Connor went on to say the city will provide no further comment on the charge.

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A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Watson said the mayor is unable to provide comment on the charge as the matter is before the courts.

Tierney was re-elected as councillor for Beacon Hill-Cyrville on Oct. 22 with more than 80 per cent of the vote.

— With files from Christopher Whan

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