I welcome the news that criminal charges have been laid against and an arrest warrant issued for Sean Baird, a third-party advertiser that targeted my mayoral campaign in the 2018 municipal election.
Details of the charges are in the Ontario Provincial Police media release included at the bottom of this statement.
I want to thank the investigators for their work and look forward to the legal process unfolding.
Burlington is not the only municipality where election matters are under investigation. When municipal elections can be won by slim margins, it is that much more important we ensure elections are fair, transparent and accountable for all levels of government. We must be vigilant in safeguarding our elections, which are at the heart of our democracy.
I’m grateful for the community’s support during my 2018 campaign, and for sending a very clear message that our democratic election process must be protected from unlawful interference at all costs.
I am honoured every day by the trust Burlington citizens placed in me by choosing me as your mayor. My council colleagues and I have had a great year with numerous accomplishments already and we look forward to the work we have planned in 2020 with excitement.
This investigation will not distract me from the work of the city and serving our community.
Thank you all for your support.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Ontario Provincial Police Media Release
WARRANT ISSUED FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS ACT AND CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES
OPP-led Investigation of the 2018 Mayoral Election (Burlington)
(ORILLIA, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch (ARB) has issued a warrant for the arrest of a Burlington resident, following an investigation into expense violations under the Municipal Elections Act. During the course of the investigation, evidence was uncovered which identified the accused as being responsible for several criminal offences.
In December 2018, the OPP received a request for assistance from the Halton Regional Police Service. The request was made in relation to allegations of improprieties during the 2018 Mayoral Election in the City of Burlington.
As a result of the investigation, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, with the assistance of investigators from Halton Regional Police, have charged Sean BAIRD, 47. The accused has no affiliation to the Mayor’s office and has been charged with the following offences:
- Uttering a Forged Document – Contrary to section 368(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada
- Fraud over $5000 – Contrary to section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada
- Corrupt Practice (four counts) – Contrary to the Municipal Elections Act.
Any person with information regarding the whereabouts of this person is requested to contact the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2000.
- UPDATE: Third-Party Advertiser Who Targeted Burlington Mayor’s 2018 Election Campaign Arrested, Court Appearance Jan. 21
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist