Widespread 'abuse' of nomination process in provincial Mississauga riding: Former MP

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown and former Mississauga MP Bob Dechert served together in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative caucus for years.


It looked like Dechert might be reunited with his former Ottawa colleague since he had thrown his hat into the ring to run for the Tory nomination in Mississauga Erin-Mills.

He was a potential candidate in the 2018 provincial election until Saturday when he dropped a political bomb, calling for an investigation into the party’s nomination process and membership registration legitimacy.

“I have lost confidence in the integrity of the party’s nomination process,” Dechert informed the party. “I have determined to withdraw from the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate selection process” set for Jan. 22.

Dechert was up against declared candidates Sheref Sabawy, Mohammad Latif, Nadeem Shaikh and Jaspreet Bassi.

But Dechert says he’s dropping out to protest the allowance of “out of riding candidates” who have “worked with the Liberals” as well as signing up “instant members” who have no background with the party.

Brown, who is leading in opinion polls and has vowed to modernize his party, has so far not commented on Dechert’s assertions.

Dechert said the party’s decision to overrule the local riding committee’s recommendation to disqualify some candidates was the final straw.

“As a former Member of Parliament and active member of the party for more than 40 years, I have become deeply concerned that the party’s recent nomination process in Mississauga Erin-Mills and in multiple other electoral districts, is failing to respect the requirements of the party’s constitution to ensure an open and fair nomination process,” Dechert said in a statement.

“I have come to this decision based upon my observation of widespread abuse of the process in Mississauga Erin-Mills by multiple persons and a failure by the party to enforce its own rules.”

Dechert said he “would recommend that the party immediately investigate and audit, in an open and publicly transparent manner, all party memberships submitted by candidates” meet certain standards.

He wants to ensure each applicant paid their respective membership fees from their own funds and that every bulk payment be disclosed.

Dechert’s says he wants the party to look to see that applicants are “ordinarily” residents at provided addresses and that they sign their application forms.

Dechert also took aim at complaints of people joining the party who have been affiliated with other parties.

He’s calling for PC party’s constitution to be “amended to prohibit the use of cash to pay for membership fees and accept only payment by personal cheque drawn upon the applicant’s own account or by credit card or debit card transactions verified to a payment card issued by a Canadian financial institution to the specific individual applicant.”

Concerns of Liberal Party trojan horse candidates surfacing is behind his call for a requirement that “a member must be a member for one year prior to the date of the nomination meeting in order to be eligible to vote at the nomination meeting” to “reduce the vulnerability of the party’s candidate selection process to abuse.”

Dechert added: “If the only qualification for the job is how many bogus and fraudulent instant members one can round up and cram into a room, then there is no need for any candidate approval process at all.”

Despite his strong stand, Dechert said: “I encourage my supporters to remain actively involved in the democratic process and work hard to elect Progressive Conservative candidates and help Hon. Patrick Brown, form the next Government of Ontario..”

But it will have to be without his former parliament colleague.

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