Skelly, rookie councillor, wants to run for PCs in Flamborough-Glanbrook

Donna Skelly, elected to city council last year, will make her third run for a provincial seat. Another candidate has been working toward the nomination for a year.

'Disappointed' would-be candidate has been working toward the nomination for a year

Donna Skelly was elected to Ward 7 on the central Mountain last March. Next June, she'll take her third provincial run for the Ontario PC party, this time in the newly drawn riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Donna Skelly, who won a Ward 7 council seat by fewer than 100 votes in a byelection last year, wants to run for the Ontario PC party in Flamborough-Glanbrook.

To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement.- Nick Lauwers, who had hoped to win the nomination

And that makes her the second Hamilton city councillor to announce plans to make a run for a provincial seat.

Skelly would face off against self described "blue Liberal" Judi Partridge, councillor for Ward 15 in Flamborough. Partridge said in July that the Progressive Conservatives courted her to run for the Tories too.

Skelly says she wants to make what will be her third run at provincial politics in the June 7 election. Last March, Skelly won a central Mountain council seat by 92 votes. She was first in a slate of 22 contenders.

Nick Lauwers, shown at a Flamborough Chamber of Commerce all-candidates debate in 2014, spent a year selling memberships and rounding up supporters in the hope of winning the Flamborough-Glanbrook nomination. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The municipal election is next October, which means both she and Partidge can run for council again if they don't win the provincial seat.

Skelly, a former CHCH personality, announced her intentions Monday after weeks of speculation. The newly drawn riding encompasses parts of the former Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale riding, where she has run twice before. The NDP haven't selected a candidate for the riding yet.

In a statement, Skelly touted her fiscal conservatism and money saving at the council table.

"Everyday people across Flamborough-Glanbrook tell me they want a government they trust," she said, mentioning small business and hydro rates.

Skelly isn't the only one who wants the chance. But the other contender said Thursday that the party will hand pick the candidate.

Nick Lauwers, a mental health therapist, said in a statement that he spent a year making phone calls, knocking on doors and selling party memberships.

But he expects the Oct. 5 nomination will be uncontested.

"I will not be given an opportunity to represent you as the PC candidate for Flamborough-Glanbrook," said Lauwers, who also ran for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in 2014 and lost by 11 votes. "That opportunity is being given to someone else."

"To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement."

Lauwers's website includes endorsements from Flamborough-Glanbrook MP David Sweet and Niagara West MP Dean Allison.

Coun. Judi Partridge, with Ted McMeekin, will run for the Liberals in Flamborough-Glanbrook. McMeekin, a Liberal incumbent, will run in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The PC party has been dogged by contentious nominations leading up to an election some polls show they have a good chance at winning. Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas (HWAD) is one of them.

Ben Levitt, a 25-year-old staffer in Sweet's office, won the HWAD nomination at a meeting earlier this year. His two main challengers, Vikram Singh and Jeff Peller, both allege the party tampered with votes and stuffed ballot boxes.

Peller and Singh both filed complaints with the party for a formal review, but leader Patrick Brown declared Levitt the candidate. Then both filed requests for judicial reviews in Ontario court. A panel of judges will hear those cases in the coming months.

Singh's case is particularly interesting. The Dundas lawyer tried to introduce a recorded conversation with party insiders as evidence. The party fought it, and a judge said Singh had to pay the party $136,315 in legal fees.

On Sept. 15, a panel of three judges stayed that decision. They said the issue of the conversation and the costs should be heard by the same panel of judges conducting the judicial review.

In an affidavit in Singh's case, party president Rick Dykstra also said that Brown can appoint whoever he wants as a candidate regardless of what happens at a nomination meeting. He also said that Singh, 31, didn't fit the same "specific element of diversity" Levitt did.

That case appears again in Toronto divisional court on Sept. 29.

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


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