Categorized | Canadian Politics

Second would-be candidate takes Progressive Conservative party to court over nomination

Posted on 29 June 2017 by admin

A Durham regional councillor is taking the Tories to court because they won’t let him run.

Another spurned Progressive Conservative candidate is taking the party to court, the Star has learned.

Joe Neal, a Durham regional councillor and lawyer wants a judge to overturn a PC party decision to disqualify him as a candidate because he donated money to the Liberals in the past and ran for them in 1985.

“I was working at this for six months. I was fully approved (by the Tories). I don’t consider myself a Liberal, I consider myself a PC,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

“This process has been unfair. I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck and am looking for a job. I truly want to help the PC party make some changes in Ontario.”

Neal is hopeful Justice Bruce Glass will rule Friday in Oshawa that he be reinstated to contest the Durham nomination next week against rivals Lindsey Park and Dominic Morrissey.

His case is bolstered by a recent court ruling by Justice Ian Nordheimer that registered political parties, which are eligible for public subsidies, are not private clubs free to make their own membership arrangements.

“These types of decisions can the subject of judicial review because . . . parties are now in receipt of substantial public money. Justice Nordheimer’s decision was these aren’t just private clubs we’re dealing with that are immune,” said Neal, the second Tory hopeful to take the party to court.

Vikram Singh, a lawyer and a runner-up in the four-candidate PC contest in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, is seeking to overturn the nomination won by Ben Levitt on May 7.

Singh’s complaint is scheduled to be heard in court in Hamilton next Tuesday.

Mark Holmes, president of the Durham PC riding association and chair of the nomination committee, said local activists were “surprised” when the central party disqualified Neal.

“The decision was made outside of the riding association. We were not consulted,” said Holmes, who is neutral.

“We interviewed the candidates as part of our responsibility to the nomination process; we recommended that all the candidates proceed to the next stage,” he said.

In an email, PC party president Rick Dykstra said, because the matter is “before the courts . . . we won’t be commenting.”

The Tories’ rationale for disqualifying Neal, a local and regional councillor since 2010, is unusual because there are many former Liberals in the PC fold these days.

MPP Raymond Cho (Scarborough-Rouge River), who ran federally for the NDP in 1988 and as an independent in 2004, was unsuccessful in a 2005 bid to be a provincial Liberal byelection candidate.

Some newcomers to Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown’s slate are also former Liberals.

Mississauga-Erindale PC candidate Sheref El Sabawy lost the 2014 Liberal nomination in Mississauga-Erin Mills and failed to win the federal nomination in Halton in 2011.

Neal’s would-be rivals were decidedly split on his disqualification.

Morrissey, a district manager for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said “it’s unfortunate” and it changes the dynamic of the contest because there would only be one ballot.

Park, a lawyer and former federal Conservative staffer, said she “will not let Joe’s antics distract me from working hard to earn the trust of the people of Durham and ensuring they have strong Conservative representation in the next provincial election.”

The Durham debacle is the latest in slew of nomination problems for the Tories, who have hired private-sector auditors PwC to oversee their elections because of controversies.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here