By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
Barrhaven West council candidate David Hill is facing public scrutiny after a video surfaced of him removing opponent Taayo Simmonds’ campaign literature from a home mailbox.
In the video posted to Twitter by Simmonds, Hill is seen approaching the mailbox, where he then removed his opponents’ flyer and threw it on the ground. Hill can then be seen putting his own campaign material in the box.
“This is something residents of Barrhaven West need to know about,” Simmonds wrote on Twitter. “As you can see in the video below, Mr. Hill saw my hand delivered campaign material in a Barrhaven West resident’s door. This was not a volunteer; it was Mr. Hill himself. This is not right.”
About five hours after the video was released, Hill posted an apology to Twitter, saying his actions were a “lapse in judgment.”
“The other day when I was canvassing, I removed and dropped to the ground my opponent’s flyer,” he wrote. “This was wrong, I have already reached out to apologize to Taayo Simmonds.”
While Hill said the incident happened a few days ago, the video was dated Sept. 21.
Hill has been seen as the frontrunner to replace outgoing councillor Jan Harder. He has said many times that he is running a respectful campaign. Harder, who hasn’t endorsed any candidates publicly, filmed a video with Hill talking about Barrhaven’s growth and development.
“I have always strived to ensure that my entire campaign team and I remain focused on the needs of the residents of Barrhaven and that we refrain from engaging in any form of personal attacks or disinformation and conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity,” said Hill. “In this particular incident, I failed to live up to those standards, and I apologize unreservedly.”
The Barrhaven Independent reached out to Hill, but his campaign team said no further comment would be given.
Since being posted, the video has been viewed over 44,200 times and has received over 1,000 likes and 540 retweets.
Some voters called Hill’s actions “immature and pitiful” while others said he should drop out of the race.
Other residents who voted for Hill in the advance polls tweeted they now regret their decision.
“Honestly a disgusting move. This is the one thing that you are never supposed to do on a campaign…” Alyn Marsh commented. “Councillors are accountable to their constituents and the residents of Barrhaven deserve to know about this.”
“Who knew municipal politics could be so dirty?” tweeted Sharon Diamond. “Shame on Mr. Hill for not having enough confidence in his own platform that he has to undermine another candidate.”
Sadaf Ebrahim, who is also running as a candidate in Barrhaven West, called out Hill’s behavior.
“David Hill’s behavior is not appropriate,” she said. “As candidates for public office, we must behave to the highest ethical standards.”
Barrhaven West council candidate Jay Chadha said while candidates can disagree on platforms, everyone must remain respectful of each other’s campaigns.
“Campaigns cost a lot of money. Volunteers work tirelessly to put up election signs and hand out campaign literature. We must all remain respectful of each other,” Chadha said. “Voters expect respect from their elected officials. We have seen a turbulent few years at city hall. We need elected representatives who will change the culture and stop making things personal. Let’s get back to what’s important; representing the needs of voters.”
Police Report Filed
On Oct. 14, Barrhaven East council candidate Kathleen Caught said she filed a report with Ottawa Polie over Hill’s “self-addmited tampering” of Simmonds’ camapign materials.
“This morning, on the advice of City Clerk Rick O’Connor, I filed a police report against Ward 3 City Council candidate David Hill,” she wrote.
“While I am not a candidate in Ward 3, I felt compelled to raise my objection to Mr. Hill’s behavior to Mr. O’Connor, and now to the police,” Caught added. “Had Mr. Hill had a conscientious thought prior to being caught and apologized, no problem, we all make mistakes. Waiting to apologize once its public, its unacceptable behavior of a military employee with 25 years of service and an officer.”
Last Friday, Simmonds sent a complaint about Hill to City Clerk Rick O’Connors Office.