Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has broken his promise to hold open nominations to find Liberal candidates for the 2015 federal election, Zach Paikin said Monday as he ended his bid to become one of those candidates.
Paikin, 22, had announced just a month ago that he would run for the Liberal nomination in the newly created federal riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. Two years ago, Paikin ran to be the federal Liberal Party's policy chair. He's the son of TVO journalist Steve Paikin, who has moderated televised debates of the federal party leaders.
When he announced his plan to run for the nomination in Hamilton, Paikin said on Facebook that he believed Trudeau had what it takes to be the next prime minister.
On Monday, Paikin said he was withdrawing in protest because Trudeau broke a key promise by blocking potential candidate Christine Innes from running in Trinity-Spadina to replace Olivia Chow. Chow is running for mayor of Toronto.
Paikin hadn't yet submitted his nomination papers, the Liberals told CBC News.
"I cannot, in good conscience, campaign to be a part of a team of candidates if others seeking to join that team are prevented from doing so if their ideas or ambitions run contrary to the party leader's interest," Paikin said in a statement posted to Facebook.
"I am a strong believer in our country's founding democratic principles, including: Parliament as a place for dialogue, a government that is accountable to Parliament, and party leaders who remain accountable to their respective caucuses (not vice versa). I am particularly troubled by the fact that our leader has discarded some of those principles ultimately in order to protect a star candidate," Paikin said.
The federal Liberals say Innes's husband, former Liberal MP Tony Ianno, tried to bully Liberal members in Toronto into supporting Innes over new MP Chrystia Freeland.
In a statement sent to supporters last week, Innes said the allegations were baseless, and that the Liberal Party's leadership had told her she'd only be approved to run in a byelection if she agreed in writing to run in a pre-assigned riding in 2015.
"It was made clear to me that if I did not submit to their demands that they would still get their way," Innes said, referring to unelected backroom advisers. "I am now incredibly saddened that those same people have now not only manufactured allegations of apparent intimidation and bullying on young volunteers by my team, but made them public."
The party acknowledged to The Canadian Press that they have no evidence that Innes personally was involved.
The problems stem from the new electoral boundaries drawn for the October 2015 election. The riding of Trinity Spadina will be split between Fort York-Spadina and University-Rosedale, leaving whoever wins the byelection to replace Chow having to find a different riding in which to run next year.
"Stephen Harper is 'Exhibit A' of what happens when a leader compromises on his democratic principles in order to win power. I feel it important to speak up as forcefully as I can so that the party I care about doesn't go down the same road," Paikin said in his statement.
"Blocking nomination bids is what creates the party-wide toxicity we seek to avoid."