Raj Saini's name stays on the Kitchener-Centre ballot after scandal ends his bid for re-election
The end of Raj Saini's campaign comes after the deadline to file nomination forms
When voters in Kitchener-Centre cast their ballot in the upcoming federal election on September 20, they will see the name of former Liberal candidate and incumbent Raj Saini.
That's despite the fact that Saini stepped down from the race after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him. Saini has denied all the allegations as "unequivocally false."
However, his campaign ended after the deadline to file nomination forms with Elections Canada, which means the Liberals will not be able to field another candidate in the riding.
Since his name is on the ballot people could still vote for him, according to Ryan Maloney with CBC's parliamentary bureau, and Saini could theoretically receive enough votes to be re-elected as an MP.
"He could, in theory, sit as an independent in the House, having been duly elected," said Maloney.
"But I think the most likely result in that case would be that he would immediately resign, and that would mean the good people of Kitchener Centre would be heading back to the polls."
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has already said that he would not welcome back Saini in his caucus, and he would not be able to sit as a liberal in the House of Commons.
Elections Canada rules state a by-election must be called within six months after a seat is officially vacated.
CBC News reported the allegations against Saini on Aug. 31, after seven sources with knowledge of the complaints spoke out about four different instances of Saini allegedly making unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate comments toward Liberal staffers.
Saini, the Liberal candidate for Kitchener Centre, officially ended his campaign for re-election on Saturday.
Saini denied all the allegations in a statement, but said he would no longer be running to win his seat.
"I am very proud of my work for Kitchener Centre, work to which I committed myself wholly, gladly, and effectively," the statement said.
"However, continuing my campaign no longer serves the best interests of my family, staff members, campaign team, and constituents."
'Unusual it happened to an incumbent'
Maloney said political parties have dropped candidates ahead of an election, but he noted Saini's case is different.
"It's really unusual that this happened with an incumbent because the thinking around these people is that they're already vetted, that they're already part of the team and you know what they're all about," said Maloney.
"And usually when things have gone south, when leaders move to kick an MP out of their caucus, that's done well in advance of an election. So for this to blow up as it did during the campaign when it was too late to make any kind of switch is a real mess."
The end of Saini's campaign comes after the deadline to file nomination forms with Elections Canada, meaning the Liberals will not be able to field another candidate in the riding. Saini won the seat in 2019 by almost 6,000 votes ahead of Green Party candidate Mike Morrice.