By: Laura Steiner
Milton Riding joins four other Ontario ridings where there are problems with the Progressive Conservative nomination process. The nomination meeting was held June 18, 2017 at the Milton Memorial arena between local councillor Mike Cluett, and former Conservative MP Parm Gill.
According to CityNews, allegations of intimidation circled around Gill’s supporters. They are accused of having “bullied members” and “attempted to block Cluett supporters from casting ballots, and that those registering members to vote and working the ballot boxes were wearing “Gill buttons and stickers.” The Milton Reporter attended the meeting, and witnessed one such incident.
Local Councillor Robert Duvall described the scene to CityNews. “Some were wearing stickers, and that definitely wouldn’t be allowed in a municipal, federal or provincial election,” he said. P.C. Party president Rick Dykstra says an audit was carried out by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC). The vote was held in a meeting room on the second floor of the arena. Cluett’s campaign was set-up outside, and Gill’s inside the doors. There was only one way in, and one out.
Questions over the nomination process have also been raised in the ridings of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Newmarket-Aurora, and Ottawa-West Nepean. According to the Toronto Star, the board of directors for three riding associations have resigned. The Ottawa-Napean association resigned over allegations of ballot-stuffing at the nomination meeting May 6.
The Kanata- Carleton riding association quit over ideological differences with Brown. Newmarket-Aurora P.C. Party Association has resigned over a decision to approve the candidate Charity McGrath Di Paolo following a meeting April 8. Activists challenged Di Paolo’s nomination, but were was rejected by the party.
Allegations of fraudulent memberships began circulating the week before Milton’s nomination. Local resident Fasial Elahi posted a picture of a letter indicating he had a membership, and could vote in the nomination process. Elahi serves on the executive of the local riding association for the Liberal Party of Canada.