Simcoe-Grey Progressive Conservative challenge will go to court in October

·2 min read

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario nomination candidate Stella Ambler will get her day in court when her case will be heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto on October 29.

Ms. Ambler is seeing to overturn the Progressive Conservative Party’s appointment of Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson to be the party’s candidate for the 2022 provincial election.

The provincial seat for Simcoe-Grey is currently held by Jim Wilson, who resigned from the PC caucus in 2018 and has announced he will not be running for reelection.

Ms. Ambler, a former Member of Parliament representing Mississauga South, announced in November 2020, that she would be seeking the provincial nomination in Simcoe-Grey.

She was one of four party-approved candidates running for the nomination in the riding.

The PC party announced on June 4, 2021, that Mr. Saunderson has been named as the candidate for the riding of Simcoe-Grey for the upcoming election. There was no party member vote in the riding.

“The PC Party claims to have the power to appoint the candidate in Simcoe-Grey,” Ms. Ambler said in a statement after the appointment. “My position is that they do not have that power, and this is what we will be arguing in court. The PC Party has no authority to circumvent the democratic process in this riding,” adding that “under our party’s constitution, the PC party members in Simcoe-Grey are the only ones who are entitled to select their PC Party candidate for the next election.”

For their part, PC Party officials are relying on a rule that the PC Party Executive passed in January 2020.

Section 6.5 of the Rules Governing Candidate Nominations purportedly allows the PC Party’s Provincial Nomination Committee, under instructions from the Leader, to “appoint” up to ten candidates for the upcoming Ontario election.

When contacted regarding the upcoming case, Ms. Ambler said, “At this time, regarding my expectations, I can tell you that my lawyer is vigorously moving my case forward on an expedited timeline.”

Ms. Ambler did clarify in her issued statement why she has chosen to take this case to the courts.

“Deciding to take the legal route was not an easy choice and, although I wish it had not come to this, I feel I was left with no option but legal action,” the statement said. “This is about more than my right to have my name on the ballot at a nomination meeting. It is equally about the right of every PC member here in Simcoe-Grey to elect their own candidate.”

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times

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