Ontario Conservative Party repeals democracy

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by Brian Lonergan

I am writing this note before the election for the new Ontario Conservative leader is confirmed by that party’s membership. In this case, the term “election” is spurious, as this exercise cannot be viewed as a democratic vote. According to what I have read, over 200,000 members were eligible to vote and only one third received that confirmation right, due to a complicated online voting system.

Three of the four candidates proposed waiting another week, so that a greater number of eligible voters would be permitted to cast their ballots. Unfortunately, a judge rejected an injunction that would have permitted that. The Party argued that delaying having a new leader would impact every member of the party. I agree – it would especially impact Conservative party members who would not have the opportunity to select their leader. The Party also claimed that such a delay went against the Party’s Constitution. Rules dictated that the leader had to be nominated by a fixed March 10 date. The expenses of renting another hall and rescheduling the vote made a delay impractical and would cost $250,000. Expediency and money became more important than the democratic process.

In sum, the judge ruled in the Party’s favor, frustrating two thirds of the party membership who were waiting for a secret number to arrive by mail that would have allowed them to cast their ballet. Online rules to vote were totally mismanaged and somehow, I get the feeling that mismanagement will become the Conservative Party’s mandate should they get elected.

Really folks, you can’t make this up !

Since when do “rules” have precedence over doing what’s right ? Since when are “rules” more important than democracy ? This sets a very dangerous precedent when “rules” and money become the excuse for disallowing a democratic process. As a voter in the next Ontario election, I wonder if more “rules” will be broken should this party get into power.

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