“You’re not a suspect.”
Those were the reassuring words from lead investigator Detective Constable John Armit with the Ontario Provincial Police’s anti-rackets branch when he contacted me.
Armit was reaching out to me in the course of their investigation looking into Beacon-Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney and a conversation he had with his now opponent Michael Schurter.
More specifically, he and Constable Josh Gluck, wanted to talk to me about a phone call I made to Tierney minutes before Elections Ottawa closed its doors to anyone hoping to register to run in the October municipal election.
Schurter, Tierney’s only challenger in the Beacon Hill-Cyrville ward, has said he filed a complaint to police regarding a call he received from Tierney on July 27, the last day to register for the Oct. 22 municipal election. The OPP anti-rackets branch is investigating the municipal elections complaint.
The Sun’s Jon Willing broke the story. According to Willing, Schurter says while filing his nomination at the Elections Ottawa office, he received a call from Tierney allegedly offering to make a donation to a food bank if Schurter didn’t register to run in Beacon Hill-Cyrville.
Tierney isn’t talking now, other than to say he hasn’t done anything wrong. Perhaps a little late to keep his mouth shut, but that’s another story.
After Schurter told media gathered at the Elections Ottawa office, he was registering to run in Beacon Hill-Cyrville, I went outside to phone Tierney to get his reaction to having an opponent. And I mentioned that call during an on-air radio chat with CFRA’s Evan Solomon.
Hence the visit from Armit and Gluck. A broken wrist had the officers visit my home, rather than heading to their office. Once again, I was assured I wasn’t a suspect – and then the questions began – many of them clearly standard.
Had I been threatened to cooperate? No, adding if I had, that would have been a story I’d already have written! Was I alright being recorded? What was my relationship with Tierney, how long have I known him and how did he sound when I told him he had an opponent? Well, according to Tierney, he and his family had just begun an early celebration to mark his acclamation – so understandably – he was disappointed. What was the time of the call, where did I make it, did I know Schurter, had I been in touch with Tierney since news of the investigation was made public?
The pair arrived in suits, not uniforms and didn’t drive an OPP car. So much for spicing up my reputation in the suburbs!
The interview, which was less than an hour, was clearly quite routine. There was no white light beaming into my eyes and no harsh interrogation. In fact, when I asked – only out of interest – what would happen if I didn’t want to answer a particular question, turns out – that would be fine!
We chit-chatted, laughed a bit and then it was over.