From The Gazette

Pierrefonds

Pierrefonds-Roxboro councillor Bert Ward staring down election-fraud charges

  • Bert Ward won't comment on the issue, but has pleaded not guilty and is contesting a $1,260 fine.
    Bert Ward won't comment on the issue, but has pleaded not guilty and is contesting a $1,260 fine.
    Photo credit: Gazette file photo

A longtime Pierrefonds municipal politician is fighting for his political future as he contests a violation notice issued by Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer regarding an alleged cash payment made to a campaign worker.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro city councillor Bert Ward is contesting a $1,260 fine. The accusation regards a $5,000 payment Ward is said to have made to René Leblanc to compensate him and cover costs for his work as a campaign manager for Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s Union Montreal party in the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough heading into the 2009 municipal election.

According to the statement of offence, Ward paid Leblanc $5,000 in December 2009 in a way that is not permitted under the Elections Act.

A person declared guilty of election fraud could be disqualified from holding public office and lose the right to be a candidate or even to vote for a five-year period.

Ward declined to comment when contacted by The Gazette, stating his not-guilty plea is still before the courts.

Leblanc said he asked and was told by Ward that the cash payment for his six months of work for the Union Party candidates in the local borough was legitimate. He added the lump sum payment he had received about a month after the 2009 election covered expenses incurred for preparing and directing the campaign for Union Montreal’s candidates in the borough.

As for the cash payment method, Leblanc said it will be up to Ward to explain it before a judge.

“I did ask if everything was legitimate and conforming to the law,” Leblanc recalled Monday. “He said, yes, everything came from the Union Party and it was done all right. So I said, ‘Thank you’ and that was it.

“Nobody from the party said this wasn’t how it’s supposed to be,” he later added.

As part of his claim for about six months of work, Leblanc said he did submit a financial statement attesting to his expenses but it wasn’t broken down to details such as daily mileage.

Leblanc, a former Pierrefonds city councillor before the municipal merger with Montreal who then ran unsuccessfully in the 2005 election as an independent, said an investigator from the office of the director general of elections interviewed him about the payment last year.

“I never heard anything after that meeting in my home,” Leblanc said. “As of today, I haven’t been called on for anything other than the one time meeting with the inspector. That was over a year ago.”

Ward informed Tremblay that he will now sit as an independent until the charge has been sorted out.

“I think he made the right decision. I wish him the best of luck and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again to advance priority issues for the citizens of his district,” Tremblay said in a statement.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough Mayor Monique Worth said Ward will continue with his current councillor duties on local advisory committees while he contests the electoral charges. Ward has been a member of three borough committees dealing with economic/urban planning, finance/administration and transportation/public works.

“He says he’s not guilty,” Worth said.

“I think I can’t say anything now as Mr. Ward is appealing this,” she told The Gazette on Monday.

As for possible cash payments, Worth said she was not aware of any.

“I don’t know how they worked it out,” she said.

This is not the first time provincial authorities presented Ward with financial questions. Last year, both Ward and Worth were reprimand by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for claiming certain unjustified expenses that were paid through borough coffers. Ward had been reimbursed for roaming fees and long distance calls made on his cellphone during his winter stays in Florida. Worth was cited for making claims charged to the borough, such as for meals, that should have been limited to her expense account.

5 comments

  1. By Hockeymom

    So how long are is winter stays inFlorida? I have heard residents complain he is not available for most of the winter due to his US residence yet he draws the full salary. Most residents aren’t aware that he is away living the retired life while earning a salary higher than the mayor.

  2. By Michael McGregor

    The whole lot of them are corrupt to no get out they are practising the same as Tremblay they didnt know anything

    we have to rid ourselves of these self satisfying pompous representatives and mayors and elect a less corrupt lot who will stay in power for a max of 4 years.

    meanwhile Pierrefonds for one is being robbed of its heritage and its integrity by these thieves of the people!

    Vote conciously the next time and get rid of this Group of I didnt know bums!

  3. Everyone in Pierrefonds is strongly encouraged to Google: Is something rotten in Pierrefonds and learn first hand about both Ward and Worth

  4. It’s time that people start asking/challenging “gov’t” whether they are indeed lawfully in place:
    http://truth-now.net/

    The solution is not more gov’t. The solution is LESS gov’t. Less gov’t means LESS taxes.
    It will come to the point that people will question why they are paying so much to the City of Montreal while living in Pierrefonds and for what reasons specifically? The cost of our taxes continue to go up while corruption is on the rise….

    Therefore, this will lead many people to the conclusion that gov’t is illegitimate and needs to be seriously questioned using the framework in the above-mentioned link.

    If gov’t refuses to provide proper documentation/evidence as their lawfulness, then the people have a right to refuse payment of taxes. Gov’ts will begin to pay attention when we COLLECTIVELY stand up and hold them financially ACCOUNTABLE.

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