“What they have told me is that they will air it all out (presumably at the Saturday meeting), but that I have nothing to worry about.”
by John Devine
So, one statement could be reasonable made about the little imbroglio in which the local PC family has landed. The brass down at headquarters can’t be happy.
Reportedly, a meeting was planned for today (Saturday) to sort things out, but this kind of family feud can’t be good for business. What are the neighbours going to think?
The familial dispute erupted earlier in the week when the local PC nomination committee called for Ward 10 councillor Alex Nuttall to drop out of the race to become the Barrie PC candidate for the next provincial election, or risk being disqualified. A deadline of last Wednesday was issued. Well, the deadline came and went with Nuttall making it clear he had no intention of withdrawing from the race.
Not only did he not voluntarily fall on his sword, he questioned the legitimacy of the committee, saying that based on the party’s own rules, the local group had no authority to issue such demands.
And, he says, the party has his back.
The messy affair results from a leaked report that questions Nuttall’s membership-recruiting techniques, including the legitimacy of some of the membership forms and the use of new $10 bills in sequential order to pay for the memberships.
Nuttall says there was nothing out of order with his recruiting drive, and as for the bills in sequence, he says there’s nothing sinister about that. The bills were obtained from a bank for the purpose of attaching a single $10 bill to a membership form, he says.
“Every (new) member has to pay $10. So we had about 65 or 70 people out there signing people up. They went out, got the memberships, got them signed, got the $10 – sometimes it would be $20, sometimes it would be $50, sometimes it would even be $100.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure they don’t pay $100 for a $10 membership. We have to give them all change. We have to act as a cashier, if you will. So that’s what we did. If the person gives us a $20 bill, we give them $10 and put $10 on the form, and then we move on to the next one.”
In reality, the nomination process seems to be little more than a numbers game. Candidates go out and sign up members, who, presumably, will vote for them at the nomination meeting. That’s not certain, and there’s no requirement to vote for the candidate who signed you up, but that’s usually how it plays out.
Nuttall says his team submitted about 680 memberships, far ahead, he says, of the number of memberships submitted by the other candidates, Rod Jackson, Greer Hermiston-Campbell and Wayne McCallum, making him the frontrunner in the numbers game.
The nomination meeting to select the candidate is apparently scheduled for next Friday, Dec. 17. But events are evolving fast on this file, so stay tuned.
It seems a simple enough process. Candidates declare their intention to seek the nomination to run in the election. There is a deadline when memberships have to be filed. Candidates go out and try to sign up supporters. Then, at a set time, members vote for a candidate – and, as said, presumably the candidate with the most supporters wins.
As for the report, Nuttall says he’s not sure where it came from, but he expects to hear from the party.
“What the party does is … they take that (information) and they say, ‘ok, let’s do an investigation.’ And that’s what they are going to allow us to see, what the actual investigation has come up with.”
He reiterates he has no intention of stepping aside, or listening to the local group. He also says he is considering legal options.
Likely, this affair won’t be too costly for local provincial PCs, but it is a tantalizing peak behind doors normally closed, into the inner workings of the nomination process.