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Controversy for Cambridge Liberal Nomination

February 12th, 2008

Cambridge Ontario has it’s federal Liberal candidate for the next federal election, but his nomination is controversial:

Gord Zeilstra has been named the Liberal candidate to represent Cambridge and North Dumfries in the next federal election, but the victory, like the nomination process, has been plagued by controversy.

The Cambridge Federal Liberal Association held its nomination meeting Sunday afternoon and Zeilstra came out on top, beating out Cambridge lawyer Rob Konduros by 24 votes. Waterloo Catholic District School Board trustee Judy Nairn and Jan Liggett followed in third and fourth spots, respectively.

Runner-up Konduros charges the results were skewed as Zeilstra’s winning votes represent votes by members who were illegally signed up.

Recently, the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) officials investigated and concluded that 262 signup forms – which cost candidates $1 each – were obtained for free from someone on the local riding association executive. Zeilstra was ordered to pay $262 in fines and to pay $1,000 collectively to the other three candidates for expenses lost as nomination meetings were cancelled due to investigations. Officials decided not to disqualify Zeilstra or his supporters signed up using the ill-gotten forms.

Konduros insists he is not bitter and will not challenge Zeilstra’s win but clearly stated that if illegal membership signups were disqualified as candidates requested, results would have been quite different.

“I lost by 24 votes, but if you exclude the 262 votes Gord obtained illegally, I was the clear winner by 238 votes,” he told the Times.

Zielstra was unshaken by the comments, admitting that people on his campaign did use signup forms that were not paid for, but emphasized other candidates were also given membership signup forms without having to dish out $1 each for them. Declining to name names or how many forms were not paid for, he said no one else was fined because he didn’t make a formal challenge.

It seems Gord Zeilstra will make a good Liberal. The Liberals have erred, in my opinion, choosing Zeilstra, because incumbent Gary Goodyear had his own controversy last month, and now it will be hard for the Liberals to use that as an issue in the upcoming election.

Silly Liberals

  1. Wilf Day
    February 12th, 2008 at 22:13 | #1

    Does any other party charge for membership forms? Memberships, yes, but the forms too? An odd concept: they don’t want to encourage new members?

  2. Brian
    February 13th, 2008 at 05:01 | #2

    Does $1 discourage membership?

    I hadn’t thought about it Wilf, but at a guess I would think it’s designed to stop somebody, say a candidate, from taking a pile of forms. A method of stopping fraudulently adding names.

  3. BBS
    February 13th, 2008 at 08:15 | #3

    Numbered forms and charging for memberships was something brought in by Martin’s people during his leadership run. Their control of the forms choked off anyone else from organizing at the local level. I think it was one of the biggest reasons the Liberals never had online signups until late last year. As far as I know, the Liberals are the only ones who charge for forms. All the other parties make them freely available for download or from your local EDA.

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