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Ward 18 defeated cry foul

December 15th, 2010 · No Comments

By Rebecca Payne

Multiple campaign managers of Ward 18 (Davenport) candidates claim questionable tactics were used in the race, and are pointing their fingers at newly elected Councillor Ana Bailao’s campaign.

Bailao edged out Adam Giambrone’s former executive assistant Kevin Beaulieu by 1,366 votes.

Beaulieu’s campaign manager, as well as fellow Ward 18 contender Kirk Russell, allege that the election was marred by the presence of phoney city translators, proxy forms being sent to people who never requested them, and campaign office lines being tied up by calls about an offer for free pizza. In all but the last case, the allegations are directed at Bailao’s campaign, or it is insinuated that she was involved.

Bailao denies all accusations of wrongdoing.

An article written by Roger Brook, a volunteer for Beaulieu’s campaign, published in Now Magazine raised questions as to a possible link between Senso Magazine, a Portuguese publication, and Bailao’s campaign. In response to the article, Bailao said, “Well, that magazine published an article on me like many other Portuguese-Canadian newspapers and magazines. I was on the cover of a couple other newspapers.

“I’m somebody that the community knows. When you’re in an ethnic community they tend to talk about what their people are doing. That’s what happened. That’s all I have to say.”

Bailao was also quick to point out that the writer of the article neglected to mention that he was working on Mr. Beaulieu’s campaign when he called her, and others quoted in the article, for comments. She also added, “After I won, I was on the cover of another three community newspapers.”

A later article Brook wrote, also published in NOW, says there were reports of phoney volunteers on election day, and refers to “Bailão’s campaign tricks.”

“We had several reports of volunteer translators working inside polling stations,” wrote Michal Hay, co-manager of Beaulieu’s campaign, in an email. “City staff told our scrutineers that they had been sent by the city to help translate and a few of them had shirts that read “I speak Portuguese” in Portuguese. Given that the translators were not wearing credentials we asked the elections staff to call their supervisor, who confirmed that the translators were not sent by the city, but were impostors,” said Hay.

Although the translators were asked to leave, Hay said that many continued speaking to voters. “One had even been sitting with the clerk who was signing in voters and simply moved to the front entrance and continued addressing voters.”

Elizabeth Pereira, campaign manager for Kirk Russell, said that on election day she received a phone call from Beaulieu’s campaign manager, telling her to “get down to Poll 22 immediately.” Pereira said that the Russell campaign team were in contact with Beaulieu’s team all day long.

“People were there trying to claim they were translators … they were asked to leave. Then these two gentlemen [who] were trying to go in as translators, once they left, they went to Poll One and registered as scrutineers for Ana Bailao. Apparently there was a lot of that going on; going from poll to poll to poll,” said Pereira.

When asked about this issue, Bailao said, “All our volunteers had my forms to sign in as scrutineers, so that’s the people that signed in as scrutineers. Whoever was working for the city I don’t know, whoever was working for me. I mean, I have my volunteers and they were scrutineering and pulling out the vote like any other campaign.”

There are other, more serious allegations that some are making against Bailao. According to Russell, a few days before the election he received a call from an elderly woman who was distraught because she had received a proxy form she had not requested. “She said Ana’s campaign had given it to her. They called her and told her it was in the mailbox.” The woman, who is housebound, was under the impression that she would be able to vote from home, as she had done in previous federal and provincial elections—not that she would receive a proxy. “[She said] she was told by Ana’s camp that ‘Everybody else had received their forms.’ [They] didn’t use the word proxy,” said Russell. The police were called, but since the woman had not signed the proxy, charges could not be pressed, although a complaint was filed.

According to Bailao, “If she got it in the mail, that’s all she got, right? Whatever she does with it it’s up to her … I can’t comment, I don’t know who that person is.”

Proxies were a contentious issue in this election. At Poll 12 (St. Anthony’s Catholic School), police were called on election day. Vince Demasi, a scrutineer for Russell’s campaign, was there.

“There was a high volume of people there, usually at a poll you get 300 to 400 people, I just thought the volume was too high. [Someone] had a proxy mailed to someone who lived at Ana Bailao’s house.” This set off alarm bells for Demasi, and he challenged the proxy. “Why would you, as a candidate, have someone mail a proxy to you? I just thought that smelled.” Despite police questioning, the person with the proxy was allowed to vote.

When asked about this proxy, Bailao said, “I’m not the only person who lives in my house. There’s some people that live here, and people vote where they live and people receive mail where they live.”
As for the police being called, Bailao said it was her understanding that the police were called because “[the person making the complaint] intimidated to city official so much that the city official felt like they had to call the police.”

Demasi’s response to this accusation was, “She’s out to lunch!”

Demasi said that police were called because of the possibility of election fraud. “Do you honestly think an election official who has the power to shut down a poll would be intimidated by a scrutineer challenging a proxy? No. She’s lying.”

“We know that her [Bailao’s] camp had a tremendous amount of proxies,” said Pereira.

Pereira also filed a complaint on election day, regarding a poll clerk at Poll 12. “As I was coming in to St. Anthony’s, one of the ballot clerks was conversing with Ana Bailao’s people. When they saw me, they quickly dispersed.”

Bailao’s response to this account was: “I have no idea what that is. I did not come across any information like that.”

This same poll clerk also had an encounter with Demasi. While on duty as a scrutineer, an elderly woman, a neighbour of Demasi, was told that she had already voted. “She said ‘Can you help me? They say I’ve voted already.’ I went to the DRO, and said ‘She said she never voted.’ Then the poll clerk says, ‘I’m the one that took the vote.’ I said, “She’s 80 years old! She’s not coming down here [to vote] twice.” The woman was eventually issued a ballot.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns, this one just didn’t go right,” said Demasi.

Russell echoed this sentiment: “We all worked together because we wanted a fair election, and unfortunately, I don’t think we had one.”

YouTube videos that aim to damage both Bailao and Beaulieu surfaced leading up to the election.

In one, a volunteer canvassing for Beaulieu is caught with a bag that the creator of the video alleges contains Ana Bailao literature, with the implication that it was stolen.

Another is a video spliced with footage of Bailao at a debate and footage of an interview, conducted by Kirk Russell, with a bakery owner. This video attempts to discredit Bailao’s comments at the debate, but it is obviously cut in an amateurish attempt to discredit Bailao.

Another questionable event on election day—which on any other day would have been benign—was someone was distributing flyers at Yonge and Eglington offering free pizza.

It turns out that the phone number on the flyer was not for a pizzeria, but for Beaulieu’s campaign office. “We had seven phone lines in our office and a full phone bank of volunteers calling voters reminding them to vote. In the final hours of election night phone calls starting pouring in, tying up our lines, preventing us from calling voters,” said Hay. According to Hay, the name of the pizzeria “didn’t exist.”

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