Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Judge Says No To Extending Ontario PC Leadership Vote

Tory MPP Toby Barrett who represents Haldimand-Norfolk Tory MPP Toby Barrett who represents Haldimand-Norfolk
Ellis Copeland | 11 March, 2018, 03:29

After almost 15 years as the province's Official Opposition, the Tories hope their new leader will unite the party in time to defeat Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government.

"One more week without a leader impacts every member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario".

Members have complained to the party that they did not receive a required PIN code in the mail, making them unable to verify their identity and vote online.

As of the close of balloting at noon Friday, 64,053 members had voted, the party confirmed.

Four candidates - former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, lawyer Caroline Mulroney, former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, and parental rights advocate Tanya Granic Allen - are competing to helm Ontario's Tories following the departure of ousted former leader Patrick Brown.

The PC Party was thrust into a leadership contest on January 25 when Patrick Brown resigned a few hours after a hastily called press conference where he denied allegations of sexual misconduct from two women.

However, Ford said he is not meeting with Brown today.

About 1,000 party members will gather Saturday in Markham to learn who will lead them into the June election to try to topple Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberals.

Three of the four candidates (Elliott excluded) called on the leadership organizing committee to extend the voting deadline by one week to ensure all members could vote.

"I am honestly disappointed with the needless stress that this voting process has caused to Ontario PC Members", said Granic Allen in an emailed statement.

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Christine Elliott acknowledges problems with the online voting system, but says her team has made helping member with registering and voting its priority.

A lawyer for the party had raised questions about the timing of Radnoff's request, and said the party's own internal complaints process had not been exhausted.

"At some point you have to draw a line in sand", she said.

"We have been informed that to get around these rules, campaign activists are using untraceable prepaid credit cards to sign up fake members, possibly without these individuals even knowing about it", he said.

Prior to the announcement, Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney brought the audience to its feet by encouraging right-of-center voters to stay united because "history is on your side...when conservatives are divided, tax raisers and parties of the left always win; but when Conservatives are united we can bring common-sense politics to government".

The party decided against prolonging the race late Wednesday, saying that doing so would contravene its constitution.

"The convention would have to rescheduled and perhaps relocated if I were to extend the voting period".

Meanwhile, Mulroney - the only leadership hopeful already declared a candidate in a riding - has presented herself as a fresh face, and Granic Allen has emphasized her ties to the party's grassroots. The 62-year-old politician, from just east of Toronto, made two previous runs for the party's leadership and lost.

It's incredibly rare for the courts to overturn the results of an election, however, and it would be more effective to seek an injunction before the votes are tallied, he said.

"These numbers represent an all-time high for the PC party".

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