Ottawa·ELECTION 2018

Tierney, Schurter talk ward issues, not OPP investigation

During a recent debate, the two Ottawa city council candidates running in Beacon Hill-Cyrville stayed mum on details of the OPP investigation that's overshadowed their race.

Beacon Hill-Cyrville candidates face off during debate

Beacon Hill-Cyrville candidates Michael Schurter and Tim Tierney faced off in a recorded debate for Rogers Television on Sept. 21, 2018. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Coun. Tim Tierney's challenger in the Beacon Hill-Cyrville ward says he's sorry a police investigation is overshadowing issues that matter to the ward's residents this election.

Michael Schurter filed a complaint against Tierney after a conversation that allegedly happened moments before nominations closed on July 27, and Tierney is now being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police's anti-rackets branch.

Several sources had earlier confirmed to CBC News the conversation involved Tierney trying to convince Schurter not to run against him.

The two men declined to wade into the issue during a debate recorded for Rogers Television on Friday afternoon, just hours before a pair of devastating tornadoes touched down in Ottawa-Gatineau.​

Tierney was asked at the debate how he explains the investigation to residents while out campaigning.

He related his answer to CBC afterward, saying residents know who he is as a person. They also know his family, Tierney said, because they're at rinks and soccer fields in the ward all the time.

"I think people look at this and go, 'Hmmm. There's a lot more to this story.' And they certainly would be correct in that. But I'm not going to, at my lawyer's advice, add anything further to this story."

Testy exchanges 

The two candidates took aim at one other for other reasons during the ward debate — which was intended to be the first of 23 wards recorded by Rogers but ended up being the last after Tierney rescheduled.

Schurter suggested Tierney enjoys posing for photos at community events and openings more than tackling issues and reading city contracts.

"That's a cheap shot. I think people know how hard I work in our community," Tierney told CBC News after the debate.

He described how the community has helped refugees from Syria settle in the Donald Street area, and how the community has been tackling violence on Jasmine Crescent

Tierney, on the other hand, brought up how Schurter does not live in Beacon Hill-Cyrville but in neighbouring Innes ward.

East end issues

"That's all he has, because he doesn't have new ideas," Schurter said.

"He's not bringing forward creative legislation. What he's bringing forward is my address."

Schurter told CBC that residents want to talk about parking issues in the neighbourhoods that surround huge security agency compounds near Blair and Ogilvie roads. 

Residents are frustrated by federal employees who block driveways and don't obey time limits for parking, he said.

Schurter also wants to propose an ombudsman for small businesses, who could champion their needs, and discuss the merits of a smaller city council.

Tierney, meanwhile, is seeking a third term.

It's a critical one, he said, because the new council is set to discuss the city's transportation vision, review its ward boundaries, open the new central library and launch the second phase of light rail.

The two candidates are scheduled to debate again, just days before the election, at an event on Oct. 17 at Colonel By High School organized by three community associations.