Hold a new Flamborough-Glanbrook PC nomination, would-be candidate says

Two people were campaigning for the Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination when they learned Donna Skelly would be acclaimed. Now one of them wants the party to hold the nomination vote that never happened.

2 people were campaigning for the Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination when they learned Donna Skelly would get it

Dan Sadler spent a year selling memberships and fundraising, hoping to be Flamborough-Glanbrook's Ontario PC nominee. Instead, the association was told Donna Skelly would be the nominee. Now Sadler is asking the party to hold a nomination meeting. (dansadler.ca)

One of the Ontario PC faithful who wanted the Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination the party handed to Donna Skelly is calling for a new contest.

Dan Sadler sent a letter to party president Jag Badwal on Thursday asking for a nomination vote. Sadler spent a year fundraising and gathering memberships to vie for the nomination, he said, only to learn then-party leader Patrick Brown was giving the nomination to Donna Skelly.

"There is a clear history of poor judgment and bad decisions displayed by former leader Patrick Brown, former president Rick Dykstra and former executive director Bob Stanley," Sadler said in his letter.

Democracy, he said, shouldn't be "embraced only when it is convenient."

Sadler is a long-time Tory and was once president of the Flamborough-Glanbrook riding association. He and Nick Lauwers campaigned for about a year. Skelly, a city councillor and three-time PC candidate, was acclaimed in October.

The move created divisions in the riding, and made victory difficult "in what should be a safe seat for us," John Demik, then-president of the riding association, told Stanley in a letter.

Donna Skelly, a Ward 7 city councillor, was acclaimed as Flamborough-Glanbrook provincial PC candidate in October. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The association was waiting for the party to set a date for the nomination meeting, Demik said, when it learned Skelly would be acclaimed. Skelly had never even met with the association board.

Skelly has since tried to build bridges, Demik said. Meanwhile, her municipal campaign manager, Grant MacLean, has become the association's chief financial officer.

As for Lauwers, he said interim party leader Vic Fedeli has made "significant moves" to clean up "internal party corruption," but he's not sure how much has changed.

"I'm not very confident in a fair, transparent and democratic nomination," he said.

This is just one case in a long list of nomination troubles for the party.

In Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, for example, police are investigating allegations of fraud and ballot-box stuffing at a nomination meeting last May.

Vikram Singh and Jeff Peller both launched and later dropped court challenges. Winner Ben Levitt also asked for a new nomination, but that was declined last month.

"We reviewed the request from Ben Levitt and his riding president concerning a new nomination meeting in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas," said Ken Zeise, co-chair of the provincial nominating committee, this week. 

"While we appreciated his concerns and commended him for putting the riding and party before himself, we declined."

Brown himself resigned from the leadership amid sexual misconduct allegations (which he denies), before launching and later dropping an attempt to run for the leadership again. Ontario's integrity commissioner is also investigating a complaint against him. The party is holding two nomination races again.

Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, Doug Ford and Tanya Granic Allen are running for the leadership. Voting closes on March 8.

The provincial election is June 7.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca