One of two would-be Hamilton PC election candidates taking the party to court over its handling of a local nomination meeting has dropped his court challenge — echoing the party's earlier words that it can nominate whoever it wants.
Jeff Peller, who ran for the provincial nomination in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, withdrew his court application late last week. He and the party also issued a joint statement.
"After consideration of his application on its merits, Jeff Peller acknowledges the PC party's power to control their internal candidate selection process," reads the statement, issued by the party on Oct. 20.
"On this basis, Mr. Peller has withdrawn his earlier court application."
It has echoes of the party's assertion this year that leader Patrick Brown can choose whoever he wants as a candidate — even if local party members nominate someone else.
Peller and Vikram Singh asked for judicial reviews after they say the party stuffed ballot boxes at a May 7 nomination meeting.
Ben Levitt, 25, won the nomination. Both Peller and Singh claim the party fixed the vote.
In an affidavit this year, president Rick Dykstra said Brown can choose whoever he wants as a candidate. This is true regardless of what happens at a nomination meeting.
"The nomination meeting is not determinative of who will ultimately be listed on the ballot," Dykstra said.
Singh called that a "cavalier approach" to potential vote tampering. The Liberals — who have had their own nomination challenges – issued a statement about it.
Brown, it said in July, "is unable to even manage nominations without making a complete disaster of the proceedings."
As for Peller, grandson of wine entrepreneur Andrew Peller, he appeared undeterred until last week. "They have no idea who they're messing with," Peller said in September.
In the statement, Peller "offers his endorsement and support" for Brown and the party, and its fight against "Liberal waste and mismanagement."
With Singh, the party pursued $136,315 in legal fees, which it initially won. A judicial panel stayed that decision until Singh's case is heard in early 2018.
This isn't Hamilton's only PC nomination drama. This month, the Flamborough-Glanbrook association appointed Donna Skelly. Would-be candidate Dan Sadler said the nomination process wasn't fair, open or transparent, and likened the experience to the political drama House of Cards.
Elsewhere in Ontario, riding association executives have quit to protest some nominations.