Who is behind those Third Party Advertising numbered corproations - and why did they suddenly get removed from the list city hall maintains?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018



First there was one – then there were seven – then there were just three.

When an individual or a corporation wants to be a Third Party Advertiser they are required to register with the City Clerk who is the Returning Officer for the Municipal election.

Hudak third party ad

The provider of this ad is clearly displayed – you know who is paying for the ad.

With candidates not permitted to take donations or in kind benefits a donour can create a Third Party Advertiser account and run advertising for a candidate.

Six were set up on the same day. All were numbered corporations.

This is public information – takes a bit of research and fees for the searches. One search indicated that Sean Baird of the Ampersand Group, operators of a number of restaurants in the city, including Prime and The Dickens was associated with one of the numbered companies. We won’t know what his role is until we see the full report.

The Gazette reached out to Mr. Baird asking if he was the person behind the numbered company. Baird asked why we were asking. We said we were doing an article on the Third Party Advertisers and wanted to confirm his involvement.

Mr. Baird asked us to send him the story and he would then comment.

Media doesn’t work that way.

We don’t have the reports yet on the searches we made – the company that provides the service doesn’t work on the weekends or holidays.

We should have something early next week.

What we found interesting was the moment our investigation was made public five of the numbered companies disappeared from the city web site that sets out who the Third Party Advertisers are.

Fire fighters McGuinty

The Ontario Liberals got tremendous support from Ontario fire fighters. Whenever Dalton McGuinty showed up ina municipality – there would be a guard of half a dozen beefy fire fighters serving as security. The Fire Fighters in Ontario rarely lose salary arbitration hearings.

It appears that the owners of some of the the numbered companies withdrew their desire to be Third Party Advertisers.

When a Third Party Advertiser registers the city sends out a notice but they don’t appear to send out a notice when one of them withdraws. Interesting.

The Gazette has the corporate names for all the Third Party advertisers – let’s see who had a change of heart.

In principle there is nothing wrong with being a Third Party Advertiser.  People opposed to termination of a pregnancy have the right to advocate for and support candidates who share their views.

Where it becomes a problem is when the people behind the advertising choose to hide behind a numbered company.


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4 comments to Who is behind those Third Party Advertising numbered corproations – and why did they suddenly get removed from the list city hall maintains?

  • Jim Young

    I agree with Stephen White on this one.
    Interesting that another definition of tat is: ” Rubbish or Second Rate” The perfect description of third party advertiser’s tactics.
    It will be interesting to see what else The Gazetfe uncovers.
    Valuable local journalism.

  • Collin

    Another problem in the growing mountain of dirty tricks in this election is fake social media accounts. One in particular is sending all kinds of hateful messages about Marianne Meed Ward and Lisa Kearns of Ward 2. The owner of this account claims to work in media in the GTA but if you Google “her,” you will find nothing — very odd for a media person.

  • Stephen White

    If a business registers as a third party advertiser there are also corresponding obligations as noted on the City of Burlington’s website. For instance, the ads must contain the name of the registered third party advertiser, the municipality where the third party advertiser is registered, the telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the registered third party advertiser may be contacted regarding the advertisement. Businesses failing to follow this protocol are in violation of the Municipal Elections Act.

    Assuming there is third party advertising pending I’d be interested to see if the City Clerk actually enforces this requirement or, as in the case of previous complaints, does pretty much nothing. Listing a numbered company without the requisite identifying information doesn’t meet the threshold of transparency and openness Burlington voters deserve.

    We have seen third party advertising before during provincial and federal elections. Invariably, these are faceless organizations dominated by political activists who skulk in the shadows and are nothing more than pathetic fronts for trade unions or special interest groups with an axe to grind. They treat voters like babbling idiots and have no respect for citizens’ intelligence. They claim to educate but, in fact, they offer nothing of substance except a rehashed diatribe of righteous pronouncements and fears that are intended to inflame and incite.

    While it is an organization’s prerogative to get involved and support their causes or candidates, let’s also be clear about one thing: it is residents’ prerogative to boycott businesses and organizations that engage in this type of stuff. What I patronize and what I buy is a reflection of what I value and support. I believe they call it “tit for tat”.

    • Fred Crockett

      In “days gone by”, the Dickens was a favourite pub. I guess my patronage will remain “from days gone by…..”