Singh secretly taped talk with PC official
Information obtained by lawyer tossed from affidavit seeking to nix May 7 nomination meeting
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.
The Ontario PCs say leader Patrick Brown will not sign Vikram Singh’s endorsement papers.