Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination wasn't open, fair or transparent, says contender

Dan Sadler, who campaigned for months to be the PC candidate, says it was "a bit baffling" when Donna Skelly was appointed the candidate.

Latest Hamilton PC nomination continues controversies with grassroots

Party faithful Dan Sadler called the Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination process, which he'd been eying for months, was "a bit baffling." (dansadler.ca)

A would-be Flamborough-Glanbrook candidate for the Ontario PC party says the nomination wasn't open, fair or transparent, and warns the party not to alienate its roots.

Dan Sadler, who served as president of the new riding's board of directors, was one of at least two candidates who wanted the nomination.

But on Thursday, city councillor Donna Skelly was acclaimed to run in the June 5 provincial election.

Sadler, like Nick Lauwers, had been fundraising and signing up new members for nearly a year. Appointing a candidate despite that, Sadler wrote on his website, is "a bit baffling."

"From what I have seen during my campaign, politics is a healthy mix of the hit comedy show Veep, a garnish of West Wing and a whole lot of House of Cards," said Sadler, who helped local Conservative MP David Sweet get reelected.

This is just the latest incident in what appears to be growing discontentment around the PC nomination process.

Sadler, who founded the Mount Hope Residents Association, warned the party not to alienate its grassroots. 

In his website statement, he draws a parallel with the most recent U.S. presidential races. In the U.S. Democratic presidential primaries last year, he said, the party rigged the process so that Hillary Clinton was its candidate, when many wanted Bernie Sanders. As a result, he said, some of those Sanders supporters voted for Donald Trump. And Trump won.

"Don't bring that same failed approach to Flamborough-Glanbrook or the rest of Ontario," he said.

Lauwers has spoken out too. In a disappointed message on social media in September, Lauwers said he was still loyal to the party. But after months of campaigning, he said, he was informed that someone else would be the candidate.

In Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Vikram Singh and Jeff Peller have asked for a judicial review over that riding's nomination meeting. They say the party committed voter fraud and ballot box stuffing when Ben Levitt was nominated earlier this year.

The party is fighting that in court, and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

Elsewhere in Ontario, riding association executives have quit in protest of some nominations. Retired senator Marjory LeBreton has urged leader Patrick Brown to "do the right thing" when it comes to handling nominations.

Other former party faithful have spoken out too.

"We want to replace Kathleen Wynne, but he's just as bad — probably worse," said Carlos Naldinho, the founder of an online group for conservatives called I'm Out.

Emma McLennan, the former president of the Ottawa West-Nepean riding association, said she's heard of conservatives planning an incredible move in response to Brown's management of the party.

"There are people who are going to vote NDP," she said. "It's just amazing."

Brown has acknowledged there are "a few who are disgruntled." He downplays the infighting, and describes it as a natural consequence of growing and modernizing the party.

With files from Meagan Fitzpatrick