Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive nom­i­na­tion for An­caster steeped in con­tro­versy

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - The Hamilton Spec­ta­tor cfragomeni@thes­pec.com 905-526-3392 | @Car­matTheSpec CARMELA FRAGOMENI

Two of the four nom­i­nees who sought to be­come the next Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date in Hamilton West-An­caster-Dun­das are con­test­ing the re­sults.

Jeff Peller and Vikram Singh are ap­peal­ing the May 7 vote won by Ben Le­vitt, 25, a staff mem­ber of Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MP David Sweet’s of­fice.

Singh is work­ing through the courts while Peller is ap­peal­ing di­rectly to the party.

Job­son Ea­sow was the fourth man in the con­test.

Peller wants a new nom­i­na­tion meet­ing su­per­vised by au­di­tors Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers now that party leader Pa­trick Brown has hired the firm to over­see all fu­ture nom­i­na­tions.

That is, “in my opinion, an ad­mis­sion of not run­ning them right in the first place,” Peller said.

Two other PC party nom­i­na­tions are be­ing con­tested in New­mar­ketAurora and Ottawa West-Ne­pean.

Peller’s ap­peal al­leges of­fi­cials did not fol­low party rules and “reck­lessly dis­re­garded bal­lots as ‘spoiled’ that were oth­er­wise le­git­i­mate.”

The bal­lot count was not demo­cratic, open and un­bi­ased — and of­fi­cials didn’t ad­dress com­plaints that the vote “was tainted by bal­lot box stuff­ing,” he al­leged.

“I would love noth­ing more than to call Ben Le­vitt and say you won it fair and square. He’s a good kid, but it was any­thing but fair and square,” Peller said.

He and Singh con­tend Le­vitt won the nom­i­na­tion at the cre­den­tial table where vot­ers’ iden­ti­ties were sup­posed to be ver­i­fied, but was so prob­lem­atic, it pre­vented a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of mem­bers from reg­is­ter­ing to vote.

PC party pres­i­dent Rick Dyk­stra would not com­ment on the meet­ing. The pro­vin­cial nom­i­na­tions com­mit­tee will de­cide if the ap­peals will be heard, and if so, will de­cide from whom they want to hear, Dyk­stra said.

A de­ci­sion on Peller’s ap­peal will be made in less than two weeks, he said. The party has al­ready agreed to hear the Ottawa West-Ne­pean ap­peal.

Calls to Brown were not re­turned.

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