Singh se­cretly taped talk with PC of­fi­cial

In­for­ma­tion ob­tained by lawyer tossed from af­fi­davit seek­ing to nix May 7 nom­i­na­tion meet­ing

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - KEVIN WERNER

An On­tario Su­pe­rior Court judge has per­ma­nently re­moved con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion from Dun­das lawyer Vikram Singh’s af­fi­davit filed in a Hamil­ton court in June that seeks to over­turn the re­sults of the Hamil­ton West-An­caster-Dun­das pro­vin­cial Tory nom­i­na­tion in May.

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive of­fi­cials ar­gued in a Toronto court on June 27 and 28 that the in­for­ma­tion from a con­fi­den­tial meet­ing held May 24 be­tween Singh, his sup­port­ers and party of­fi­cial Walied Soli­man could cause the party and other re­spon­dents ir­repara­ble harm.

Prior to the meet­ing, which was held to re­solve the dis­pute be­tween the party and Singh, and af­ter Singh’s lawyer had been asked to leave the gath­er­ing, Singh turned on his tape recorder to se­cretly record the meet­ing with­out the knowl­edge of the party of­fi­cial or his sup­port­ers.

Bob Stan­ley, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the PC party, ar­gued the in­for­ma­tion from the meet­ing and con­tained in Singh’s af­fi­davit was pro­tected by set­tle­ment priv­i­lege and there­fore con­fi­den­tial.

Singh ar­gued he legally taped the meet­ing and is al­lowed to use the in­for­ma­tion to sup­port his le­gal ac­tion for a ju­di­cial re­view against the party.

Singh ar­gued the in­for­ma­tion should be part of his le­gal ac­tion “to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the ju­di­cial process and the court’s truth-seek­ing in­for­ma­tion.”

He ar­gued his al­le­ga­tions “go to the foun­da­tion of the demo­cratic process and pub­lic con­fi­dence in that process.”

How­ever, Jus­tice Peter J. Ca­vanagh wasn’t swayed by Singh’s ar­gu­ments. He stated in his 30-page de­ci­sion Singh “has not shown that, in this case, there is a com­pet­ing pub­lic in­ter­est that out­weighs the pub­lic in­ter­est in en­cour­ag­ing set­tle­ment.”

Ca­vanagh ruled the in­for­ma­tion about the meet­ing con­tained in Singh’s af­fi­davit be re­moved. In ad­di­tion, any per­son or or­ga­ni­za­tion that ob­tained the meet­ing in­for­ma­tion is pro­hib­ited from dis­clos­ing it.

Ca­vanagh stated Singh could keep for him­self the in­for­ma­tion from the meet­ing be­cause he did not vi­o­late the law when he taped the meet­ing.

Soon af­ter the Tories nom­i­nated Ben Le­vitt as the Hamil­ton West-An­caster-Dun­das can­di­date for the June 2018 pro­vin­cial elec­tion, Singh filed a no­tice of ap­peal to have the May 7 nom­i­na­tion over­turned.

In his ap­peal, he stated there was a “bla­tant dis­re­gard for due process” at the nom­i­na­tion meet­ing held at An­caster High School that re­sulted in “dis­crep­an­cies which se­ri­ously un­der­mine the in­tegrity of the nom­i­na­tion process.”

Can­di­date Jeff Peller has also ap­pealed the re­sults, al­leg­ing in an ap­peal to the PC party that of­fi­cials did not fol­low party rules and “reck­lessly dis­re­garded bal­lots as ‘spoiled’ that were oth­er­wise le­git­i­mate.”

Peller has sub­se­quently filed for a ju­di­cial re­view. A July 10 re­lease from Peller’s lawyer Paul In­gras­sia con­firms that the can­di­date-nom­i­nee has com­menced a court ap­pli­ca­tion al­leg­ing that the May 7 Nom­i­na­tion Meet­ing held in An­caster was “tainted and im­proper.”

Singh is sched­uled to be in Hamil­ton court Aug. 8 to hear his mo­tion to over­turn the lo­cal nom­i­na­tion and de­clare him the party’s can­di­date, or that the party holds an­other nom­i­na­tion meet­ing. On­tario Tory party of­fi­cials told Singh in a June 6 email that party leader Pa­trick Brown “will not un­der any cir­cum­stances” sign his en­dorse­ment pa­pers and that any le­gal ac­tion against the party will not see him be­come the party’s can­di­date.

AN­DREW MENDLER, METROLAND

The On­tario PCs say leader Pa­trick Brown will not sign Vikram Singh’s en­dorse­ment pa­pers.

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