Elections watchdog announces charges against former leader of defunct Bridge party

OTTAWA — The former leader of the defunct Bridge Party of Canada and another individual are facing charges under both the Canada Elections Act and the Criminal Code, says Canada's elections commissioner.

"Two charges have been laid under the Canada Elections Act and a joint charge has been laid under the Criminal Code," Yves Côté said in a statement Thursday.

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Côté said David Berlin, who led the since-deregistered party, has been charged under the Canada Elections Act with causing an official agent to provide false or misleading information about expenses to the chief electoral officer.

Another individual, Daniel Berlin, is charged with obstructing the work of the elections commissioner by "knowingly making a false or misleading statement" during his investigation.

Both are also facing a joint criminal charge of fraud over $5,000 for submitting an electoral campaign return containing false documents.

The allegations, which have not been tested in court, stem from the 2015 election campaign for Karim Rizkallah, a candidate in the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections is the independent officer responsible for enforcing the Canada Elections Act and the federal Referendum Act.

David Berlin, who was the co-founder of The Walrus magazine, ran as a candidate for the Bridge party in the Toronto riding of University-Rosedale in 2015. The party was deregistered in 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020.

------ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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