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Statement from mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward – “We will stop deep pockets and dirty politics from influencing our election for mayor of Burlington”

I have released the following statement to the media, and our campaign is taking a series of actions outlined below to stop the false and defamatory telephone survey against me carried out by Campaign Research, at the behest of an as-yet unidentified client. You can help too, by filing a complaint with Market Research & Intelligence Agency and local and provincial municipal election authorities (details below). Do you have information about who is behind this? Email us at marianne4mayor@gmail.com

For immediate release, August 28, 2018: Statement from mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward

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.

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.

According to a number of residents who received the call and contacted us, residents are initially asked a series of questions, including “Do you support change ?” “Rate all 4 candidates on a scale of 1 to 10”. “Rate the following issues 1 to 10.”

Residents are then asked about several issues including downtown development and attracting business.

Then the questions change dramatically and are targeted exclusively on one mayoral candidate, Marianne Meed Ward. Residents are asked to rate their support for “statements she has made” on a scale of 1 to 10.

According to one of the residents who got this call, “There followed several outrageous allegations about what they claimed are statements by Marianne” including about abused women, the hijab, unemployment, capitalism, and development.

“I found the questions so ridiculous I stopped the interviewer and asked her if she was serious. The interviewer agreed the questions seemed outrageous but that her job is to ask and not analyse them,” stated the resident.

No questions are asked about any other candidate for mayor.

The caller gave the resident a phone number linked to Campaign Research, a Toronto firm run by Nick Kouvalis, Richard Ciano and Eli Youfest. https://www.campaignresearch.ca/our-team

This firm has been rebuked for their behaviour in a previous election (federal) by the Market Research and Intelligence Agency, which said their tactics “caused the Canadian public to lose confidence in marketing research” and have “tarnished” the profession.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/11/28/tory_pollster_rebuked_for_misleading_campaign_against_mp_irwin_cotler.html

This survey may also violate campaign finance rules. Only registered candidates and registered Third Party Advertisers are permitted to spend money to influence the outcome of an election. There are no Third Party Advertisers registered with the CIty of Burlington.

The firm says it aims to “shape public perceptions”, and has been contracted by someone with deep pockets who is clearly attempting to influence the Burlington mayor’s race against one candidate, and only one candidate, Marianne Meed Ward.

“Anonymous deep pockets are clearly trying to influence the outcome of the Burlington mayor’s race with lies and inflammatory statements. We don’t yet know who is behind this, but ask ‘Who benefits?’ and that’s where we’ll find our answer,” said mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward.

“We won’t stop until we expose the cowards who contracted Campaign Research to carry out this dirty tactic and stop them both in their tracks. Both the company and the client are complicit in this.

“We will do everything we can to ensure this election is decided on what is best for Burlington based on platform, policies and track record. Lies, personal attacks and defamation have no place in our city or in this election, and do nothing to help make our community better.”

The Marianne for Mayor Campaign has contacted Campaign Research and spoken directly to Eli Youfest, and left messages and emails for the other two principals, Nick Kouvalis and Richard Ciano to demand that this stop immediately.

We are filing a complaint against Campaign Research with the Market Research and Intelligence Agency and filing complaints with municipal and provincial election authorities, as this activity violates not only basic decency but potentially Third Party Advertising rules.

Residents and other campaigns can take the following steps:

Should you receive a call, document the nature of the questions, and the phone number.
File a formal complaint with the Market Research and Intelligence Agency against Campaign Research. https://mria-arim.ca
File a formal complaint to Campaign Research. https://www.campaignresearch.ca
Ask the other mayoral candidates if they know who is behind this, and to commit to finding and exposing who has paid for this telephone call.
Should this not be linked to a candidate’s campaign, file a formal complaint of a violation of Third Party Advertising by an unregistered entity with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing ( http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page219.aspx ) MMHA contact: ( http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page7030.aspx ) and the City of Burlington ( Elections@burlington.ca )

Media contact:
Marianne Meed Ward is available for telephone or on-camera interviews:
Marianne Meed Ward
Marianne4Mayor@gmail.com
905.335.1899

We also have a resident who received the call and is willing to speak to the media. Contact us for details.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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  1. It saddens me to think Burlington has come to this. I can’t remember anything like this ever happening before. Whoever is behind this inappropriate conduct, is not very bright. This has provided Marianne more exposure and free at that.
    Good luck Marianne with your campaign. You have my vote regardless of who says what.

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