Robert Benzie - June 27, 2017
Another one bites the dust.
A third Progressive Conservative riding association executive committee has resigned en masse.
The Newmarket-Aurora Provincial Progressive Conservative Association board of directors has quit in protest of the party’s nomination process.
Riding association president Derek Murray informed PC executive director Bob Stanley of the executive’s decision in an email June 15.
Volunteers on the Ottawa West-Nepean board abandoned the party last Friday amid allegations of ballot-stuffing in their May 6 nomination.
The Kanata-Carleton Progressive Conservative riding association stepped down June 11 over ideological differences with Tory Leader Patrick Brown, who is trying to steer the party to the political centre.
In Newmarket-Aurora, activists had formally challenged the controversial April 8 nomination of candidate Charity McGrath Di Paolo.
“The nomination process and election has been tainted by a blatant breach of the nomination rules,” Murray and other executive members said in an April 27 letter to Brown.
They alleged supporters of rival candidates Tom Vegh and Bill Hogg “were physically blocked from approaching or speaking with” Tories being bussed in for the meeting.
But the party rejected their appeal and Brown personally signed off on all 64 nominated Tory candidates — after hiring private-sector auditors PwC to oversee all selection meetings moving forward.
The 14 Newmarket-Aurora volunteers cited “the blatant disregard for the democratic rights of the people of this riding to choose their local candidate in a fair, open and transparent process” in their letter of resignation.
Warning the same thing “is being allowed to openly occur across numerous other ridings,” they said they could no longer serve the party locally.
“In the circumstances and environment, it has become impossible to carry out in good conscience that fiduciary responsibility.”
Murray, who was riding president for eight years and a volunteer for nearly two decades, said Tuesday the executive board was “disillusioned and annoyed” by what happened in Newmarket-Aurora.
“They’ve got nothing if they don’t have volunteers. We’re the people who do the work and we don’t get paid for it,” said the life-long Tory.
Still, he vowed to stay involved with the party by helping the campaign of Tory candidate Michael Parsa in the newly created riding of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, next door to Newmarket-Aurora.