Party brass back Nuttall

by John Devine

The road ahead for Alex Nuttall to seek the nomination to be the Barrie Progressive Conservative candidate for the provincial election next October is open, according to a senior party official who spoke with City Scene Barrie.
“There were some pretty serious allegations raised, and there was a very serious investigation. And the end result was that very few memberships were denied, and all four candidates have the party’s approval going forward,” said the official.
Last week a group calling itself the local nomination committee released information questioning Nuttall’s membership-raising tactics, and calling on him to remove himself from the race to be declared the party’s candidate for the Barrie riding. (Click here to read that story). Nuttall declined to step aside, instead questioning the legitimacy of the committee, saying it had no authority to issue such demands.

Ward 10 councillor Alex Nutall is seeking to become the local PC candidate.

The party official who spoke with City Scene Barrie backed Nuttall’s position. “That local nomination committee never had authority to rule on memberships or candidate eligibility.”
Along with Nuttall, municipal councillor for Ward 10, three other candidates are vying for the nomination: Rod Jackson, Greer Hermiston-Campbell and Wayne McCallum. The riding’s candidate for the provincial election will be chosen at a meeting scheduled for this Friday.
“The party will be sending, as is usual, a party-appointed credentials and elections chair. That is not unusual. We do that in pretty much all of the nomination meetings. In fact, our provincial nomination rules provide for the party doing just that,” said the party official.
“When people arrive they will be asked to verify that they did in fact pay for their own membership, they will be asked to provide photo ID to prove they are who they say they are, and they’ll be asked to provide ID that confirms they live in the riding of Barrie.
“None of these rules or procedures is different than what you would have found in Simcoe North, or Simcoe Grey. These are standard procedures.”
While the party has given Nuttall blessing to seek the nomination, the local committee is apparently not prepared to let the matter rest. City Scene Barrie was given a media release, dated Dec. 10, from the ‘Barrie Provincial Conservative Riding Association Nomination Committee,’ indicating its intention to appeal the party’s ruling.
In a further development, Fred Hamelink has confirmed he has resigned as president of the Barrie Provincial Progressive Conservative Riding Association. He declined to comment until a later date.

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