Burlington businessman accused of targeting Mayor Meed Ward faces charges
Ontario Provincial Police has issued a warrant for the arrest of a Burlington resident who was accused by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward of targeting her during the 2018 municipal election.
Sean Baird, 47, is facing criminal charges of forging documents, fraud over $5,000, and four counts of corruption following an investigation of political expense violations by the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.
Baird is the longtime managing director of AMPERSAND, a graphic design and intellectual property company.
“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,” said Meed Ward. “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.”
Meed Ward was the target of several social media and “push poll” campaigns during the 2018 mayor election that used prior quotes out of context. At that time, Meed Ward said an unidentified party obtained the services of an outside research firm to conduct what she described as “a false and defamatory” phone survey about alleged past statements and her candidacy.
“Deep pockets and dirty politics by a Toronto firm, Campaign Research, are attempting to influence the outcome of the Burlington mayor’s race and must stop,” Meed Ward said an Aug 28, 2018 statement. “In the last few days, Burlington residents have reported to our campaign that they received an extremely disturbing telephone ‘election survey’ containing divisive and false statements attributed to me about domestic violence, the hijab, unemployment and more.”
Meed Ward also said that she was the only candidate in that survey that had questions asked about her; none of the other three candidates, incumbent Rick Goldring, former MP Mike Wallace and Greg Woodruff were mentioned.
Campaign Research is led by Richard Ciano, a former Ontario PC party president, and Nick Kouvalis, a veteran Conservative party campaign organizer and a former chief of staff to former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
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