Progressive Conservative nomination for Ancaster steeped in controversy
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.