Ottawa councillor apologizes after ‘inadvertently’ leaking confidential LRT memo

An Ottawa city councillor owned up to leaking a confidential memo at Wednesday's council meeting. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney has come forward to take the blame for leaking a confidential memo about Ottawa’s light-rail transit litigation to the media and has apologized to his council colleagues, seemingly ending any investigation into the matter.

Tierney made his admission towards the end of Wednesday’s city council meeting.

He said he “inadvertently” included the memo in a set of unrelated documents he was sending to a member of the media, calling it a case of “carelessness” on his part. He acknowledged the leak still represented a breach of city council’s code of conduct.

“For the inappropriate action I am truly sorry and sincerely apologize,” he said, promising to better uphold the code of conduct going forward.

The memo in question, dated May 10, contained details of the city’s litigation concerning the Rideau Street sinkhole, including LRT builder Rideau Transit Group and the project’s insurers. Staff have said the memo contained some of Ottawa’s legal arguments within and the leak put its position at risk, despite the city’s statement of claim being filed in court that same week.

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The document was labelled confidential and was sent to members of council and some city staff.

The Ottawa Citizen obtained a copy of the memo and published some of the details in a story on May 11, with the documents expected to be filed in court earlier that day. Global News has also seen and reported on the contents of the memo.

The leak sowed discord within city council’s ranks as West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry called for the integrity commissioner to investigate the matter — a move Tierney supported.

The councillor said he discovered he had been the source of the leak only after the request to get the integrity commissioner involved.

Following Tierney’s apology on Wednesday, both Mayor Jim Watson and El-Chantiry put forward a motion deeming the matter resolved and revoking the request for an investigation.

Watson later said in a press conference that there will be no formal punishment for Tierney’s transgression, as any penalties would have been derived from recommendations in the integrity commissioner’s report.

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