Osgoode ward councillor George Darouze (left) and former candidate, Jay Tysick (right, photo copyright of CC Squared Photography).
OSGOODE WARD – News of political games has come into the public eye from the small municipal councillor race in Osgoode ward recently.
Both current Osgoode ward councillor George Darouze and former candidate, Jay Tysick, were neck-in-neck during the election, agreeing on very little during their campaigns. However, the one thing they can agree on is how convoluted the election was.
On Sept. 17, a website, WhoisJay.ca, was created as an illegal smear campaign against Tysick. The site was a violation of the Municipal Act which prohibits third-party advertisers influencing the result of the election without registering with the clerk first. The site, according to Tysick, was filled with false information about his campaign and previous employments.
“They claimed that I was kicked out of the PC party, which I never was, in fact, I still get fundraising letters from them,” said Tysick. “I publicly tore up my membership card in protest, which was in the news, you can actually see that. I went and accosted Patrick Brown, verbally, for what he had done along with a group of supporters and we all tore up our membership cards. But that’s a symbolic gesture and doesn’t not make us members of the party. They never kicked me out as evidenced in them still sending me letters and I still voted in a nomination race.”
Tysick added: “They also said that I was kicked out of the Alliance Party which is another blatant lie because I founded it. When certain members of the board went a little bit nuts, we broke away but I have all the board meeting minutes from that, so you can see exactly what happened. We voted as a board to walk away from the party.”
Another alleged lie on the website stated that if Tysick was elected, he was going to close the Metcalfe ward office and only work from downtown, to which he stated was completely ridiculous.
“This is an absurd lie because, first of all, the quote-on-quote evidence of this is that some people said that I said this at people’s doors,” he said. “I campaigned being more involved in the ward than George [Darouze]. I said that I would hold town halls in every community, I would be more active and have more time listening to the community than George did. If I were planning on closing down the ward office, which I wasn’t, why would I campaign for votes saying that at doors? It just doesn’t make any sense.”
One of the facts that turned out to be true was that Tysick does not live within the ward, but Tysick stated he never tried to hide that fact.
“I was very clear about that throughout my campaign, I live right on the border. The community in which I live, Manotick, half of that community is in the ward, so decisions made in the ward do affect my community directly.”
As of Oct. 20, the website was taken down after Tysick made a formal complaint to the Ottawa clerk, stating that he speculates Darouze and his team were behind the website’s creation.
Darouze responded, denying any involvement with the website’s creation.
“We don’t know anything about the website,” he said. “Me and my team had no involvement with the website. A complaint has been filed with the clerk, I expect their opinion and outcome soon.”
Darouze added, “I was busy running a campaign. I was knocking on doors, talking to the community, going to events and, on top of that, maintaining my job. I do not have time for stuff like that. This is not me or my team, we are being accused but we maintain that we had nothing to do with it.”
Within the complaint filed by Tysick, he gathered evidence linking the councillor to the website’s creation including Greely Association president, Adam Sooley, who runs a web hosting business on the side, hosted the server that the site was on.
When Tysick’s team confronted Sooley about this through Facebook chats, he was quick to defend himself despite admitting hosting the website while also denigrating the intelligence of Tysick’s tech team. The only other websites on this server include Sooley’s own personal website, his wife, Jodi’s, personal website, a photography site, a small business site and Darouze’s re-election website.
Darouze continued to deny any involvement with the website, saying that Sooley was not a member of his campaign because that would be a breach in the rules.
“Just because I purchased his services to host my re-election website, does not mean that he’s on my campaign,” he said. “[Sooley] was paid for it, my brother built my website for me. You’ll be able to see in March, when you see the campaign expenses, people can see it for themselves.”
Despite this, the hosting of Darouze’s re-election site that is hosting a defamatory attack site is a violation of the MEA third party advertising rules.
Tysick, seperate from the filed complaint, also provided information involving Bruce Brayman, a previous Greely Association president, distributing the website over social media. Screenshots were made available to the Villager, showing Brayman sharing the website to his personal profile and the Greely Business Association page on Facebook.
Tysick claimed that the website reached at least 500 people over social media but no evidence of this amount was made available at press time.
More evidence in the complaint through Facebook messages also showed that Sooley, Brayman and Darouze are connected as friends on the social media platform who talk and get together often.
Darouze and Tysick were the biggest contenders for the councillor position this election and we’re constantly neck-in-neck, which showed in the polls.
Both Darouze and Tysick were very critical of how the other handled their campaign when speaking with the Villager. Darouze claimed that Tysick had his supporters go door-to-door for him but Joël Charbonneau, a long-time supporter of Tysick, denied the statement.
“I was with him, by his side, going to door-to-door, I can attest to that,” he said. “I witnessed him knocking on each door and asking residents about their concerns within the community. He was out from 9 a.m to 7 p.m just knocking on doors and talking with people.”
Both of them also said that they were the victim of vicious and personal attacks on the opposite side, mostly involving over-zealous supporters.
Darouze claimed that Tysick supporters slandered him online numerous times but that screenshots of the attacks were not available to share with the Villager. Meanwhile Tysick claimed that on more than one occasion, he found the tires of his vehicle popped.
The most concerning development came from Doug Thompson, a former councillor of the ward, when it was revealed that he had been hassled by Darouze supporters for jumping on Tysick’s campaign. One incident going as far as intimidating through collar-grabbing at a veterinarian office.
“I got a couple phone calls, asking me why I’m not supporting George [Darouze] this time, calling me a no-good SOB, if you don’t support him, you know,” he said. “Nobody punched me in the mouth or anything like that, people just getting in my face and asking why I’m not supporting George [Darouze] this time around. This happened about two or maybe three times. I wasn’t beat up but it was meant as intimidation.”
Despite this, Thompson admits that he does not believe the harassments were the work of Darouze, but of just overly-passionate supporters.
“I think it’s just people getting caught up in the election and being overly-passionate,” he said.
On the other side, Tysick claimed that Darouze has taken credit for other people’s work. A source, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their identity and prevent further harassments to them, confirmed that fact.
The source gave the example of the Rideau Carleton Raceway casino license. “Doug Thompson was the one who worked very hard in 2012 to ensure that the casino license would come to Rideau Carleton,” they said. “Darouze is saying that without him, the casino wouldn’t be. I’m not saying he hasn’t worked hard at it, but it was certainly after the fact.”
Darouze took a lot of grief from the community after he voted yes on a stormwater tax despite the source saying Darouze promised to vote against. Large numbers of ward residents, including former councillor Thompson, advised Darouze not to vote for this tax in 2016.
In the end, Darouze voted in favour of the tax, stating, “It was going to pass anyway,” according to the anonymous source.
As of this week, Tysick has decided to file libel lawsuits against Darouze, Sooley, Brayman, and a currently unknown polling officer.
These lawsuits are due to the slander that each of the individuals allegedly spread about Tysick during the municipal election, not only involving the website but also a separate incident where Tysick was falsely accused of campaigning at the polls, which is against the rules.
“I went to one of the polling stations and candidates are allowed at these stations and I was there to speak with my scrutineer about a matter and a polling officer just stops me,” said Tysick.
After a lot of back and forth, Tysick maintained his right to enter and was able to speak with his scrutineer. Shortly after, the allegations that Tysick was campaigning at the polling officer were made by candidate Kim Sheldrick on the Osgoode – Around the Village Facebook page after receiving a tip from a “reliable source”. The information Tysicks believes, came from the polling officer.
As of Mon., Nov. 5, Tysick has put the motion in for libel lawsuits against both Brayman and Sooley. The Villager will be keeping an eye out for anymore details pertaining to this story.