PC Leadership Election Fiasco

Although the PC leadership race is not strictly a Cobourg issue, it is of interest to Cobourg citizens, so I’ll try to bring everyone up to date.  During the campaign, local PC candidate David Piccini supported Christine Elliott and said that a strong majority of PC members in the Riding also supported her. As the votes from Party membership were being counted last night, it emerged that there was a problem: the result was scheduled to be announced around 3:00pm but by 7:30 pm, everyone at the Convention was sent home with no result being announced.  The rumour on the floor was that Doug Ford had won.  At around 10:00pm, Doug Ford was declared the winner because “the conclusion of the electoral officer was that the identified issue would not statistically lead to a change in the outcome.”

So what was the issue?  First one has to understand the voting process:

  1. It’s online only – voters were first verified with a Canada Post mail to their registered address – that allowed registration online which then resulted in actual voting instructions being sent by email.  As a result, there were 64,053 votes out of approx. 130,000 members.
  2. It was preferential – that is, ranked ballots, so that if your preferred candidate did not win, your vote would be transferred to your next choice.  In the initial total vote count, Christine Elliott was first, then Rob Ford, then Caroline Mulroney, then Tanya Granic Allen.
  3. It was riding-centric; that is, each riding had up to 100 points to allocate based on how their members voted.  This meant that ridings had an equal say and strong PC ridings with (e.g.) 1000 members would not outweigh those with fewer (e.g. 100).  If Riding membership is less than 100, then there are as many points as members. With 124 ridings, that means there would be up to 12,400 points available.

So knowing the riding for each voter is important in determining the winner.

Christine Elliott and Doug Ford
Christine Elliott and Doug Ford

After it was announced that Rob Ford was the winner, Christine Elliott issued the following statement:

This evening our campaign was made aware of serious irregularities with respect to this leadership race.

What we do know is:

1. Christine Elliott has won the popular vote;
2. Christine Elliott has won the majority of ridings;
3. Of the approximately 12,000 points that are included in the final calculations, there are fewer than 150 points difference between the two candidates;

Most importantly, thousands of members have been assigned to incorrect ridings; for example, Mount Hope, inside of Hamilton, had its members assigned to Chatham-Kent, several hundred kilometres away.

Our scrutineers identified entire towns voting in the wrong riding. In a race this close, largely determined by geography, someone needs to stand up for these members.

I will stand up for these members and plan to investigate the extent of this discrepancy.

This morning, Northumberland Peterborough South PC candidate David Piccini issued a statement congratulating Doug on his victory and that he looks “forward to working with Doug as he leads our united party into the upcoming election”.

Christine has not yet conceded so the Party is in fact not yet “united”.  However, the other two candidates have conceded.  

Some members have even called Doug Ford, “Trump north” albeit “Trump light”.

A comment by Tom Blackwell at the National Post is probably a good summary of how the electorate view Doug:

Assuming it stands, Ford’s win likely signals a move to the right for the Ontario Tories. He reached out to fiscal and social conservatives during the campaign, promising to rewrite a controversial sex-education curriculum, and appearing open to exploring restrictions on abortion for underage girls.

Stay tuned to Cobourg News blog for updates – this development makes the coming election even more interesting.

Update Around 9:00pm March 11

Christine Elliott issued a new statement that included:

After completing my review, I am confident in the results.
I extend my congratulations to Doug Ford on a hard-fought campaign.
I have been a proud Progressive Conservative for over 25 years and my commitment remains steadfast.
As I have been saying every day during this campaign, Ontario needs us.
That is why I entered this race.
Ontario needs a Progressive Conservative government to finally defeat Kathleen Wynne.
I look forward to running as a candidate on the team that will form that government on June 7th.

There were reports that she met with Doug during the day. That means we still have Doug Ford as leader of the PCs and potential Premier, the leader election process still was a fiasco and still chose the wrong candidate in the minds of many.

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Kyle

I think the Federal NDP leadership is doing a good job at focusing the public’s attention towards real leadership concerns.

Dubious

Do you mean real leadership concerns such as establishing a Sikh “homeland”?

gerinator

Getting local for the moment. It occurs to me that we here in Cobourg have our own ‘voter’ procedural issues. Voter lists are wrong and out of date. I thought the Town was in the midst of correcting this situation. Anyone know anything more??

cornbread

Hey folks…Let it play out…for the past 14 years the liberal government of Ontario has not done a great job in running this province. Perhaps it’s time for a change and we may get more honest government. The people of Ontario will decide…Let it happen.

Bryan

I think you have it right.
The people of Ontario will vote and we will get the government that we deserve.
Let the chips fall where they may!

Ewok

Keep your eye on the ball ladies and gentlemen. The Province has reached the bottom and Wynne has been digging for a few years now….I’m not a fan Doug Ford however we need a change and it can’t come soon enough.

A Voter

Tnx John for a comprehensive but succinct summary of the fiasco… The party certainly seems totally incapable of running a party much less the Province. As to Ford… God help us if he is premier!!

Ben

John, I received this news with the same dread I had when I had heard That Donald Trump had won the Presidency. Not because they had won but because it seems that by winning the dogs had been let loose. The norms of political behaviour were overturned and as pundits ask – “What would have Republicans have done if Trump’s behaviour had been instead Obama’s?”

I fear that the visceral hatred, often seen on FaceBook and aimed at Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau, will become the political norm of public discourse.

Tribalism will be the name of the game in this next election. With the NDP hardly emerging from the rabbitholes they are in now the overwhelming choices will be to vote for the recipient of public anger – Ford, or just not vote.

The voters I sympathise with are the people such as yourself, social progressive but fiscally conservative – they have no known home now. As you say the coming election will be very interesting.

Wally Keeler

“…the visceral hatred, often seen on FaceBook and aimed at Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau, will become the political norm of public discourse.” It always has been, Ben. Good satire slices thru the neck leaving the head in place. The purpose of politicians is public mockery. In 1984 I attended the NYC Library for a large exhibition, CENSORSHIP: 500 Years of Conflict. (https://www.nypl.org/node/29629) Public discourse was always skirting the slanderous throughout the history of the printed word. The powers that be are always in conflict with their portrayal in the media, whether it be in the newsprint screeds of yesteryear or social media currently. When did anyone ever think politics was a dainty daisy walk rather than a good down and dirty slugout mud wrestle for power. There are too many dictatorshits on the planet that could use a good throttling of democracy in action, the rigorous campaigns for power. Finally things get said in the public domain, venting what has been pressed down by evolving social conventions. The S.O.R.E. virus is loose in the blandscape. (Suppression, Oppression, Repression of Expression) . I remember the 50s full of forbidden books, photos, films, and then the 60s took hold and the… Read more »

Ben

Wally
Censorshit or the breaking down of it doesn’t excuse profanity, lies and outright demeaning nasty stuff; not to mention the rudeness disguised as “blunt and frank” discourse.

Kim McArthur-Jackson

I find it disturbing how many people seem to be unable to discern between satire (the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.), and outright vindictiveness and cruelty. I can completely understand people having an issue with a political party or leader – I have many such issues with many politicians or parties. But the sheer disgust and contempt that I’ve seen so many self-professed Conservatives showing towards not just Liberals or New Democrats, but literally anyone who dares question any of the Conservatives ideas or sound bites, is distressing and appalling. It’s showing an extremely malicious resentment that quite honestly, seems very superfluous.

Dubious

But the sheer disgust and contempt that I’ve seen so many self-professed Conservatives showing towards not just Liberals or New Democrats, but literally anyone who dares question any of the Conservatives ideas or sound bites, is distressing and appalling.

I assume that you have never noticed the portrayal of Mr. Trump on the CBC but as an exemplar of the right thinking and caring class it is to be expected.

gerinator

Dubious I concur. Trolls are Trolls regardless of political strips and / or cause.

Wally Keeler

I am old enough to recall the moral piety of the Ontario Censorship Board and its mission to protect the public from profane images, preventing “moral decay”, “social decay” etc. I was 18 working as a court reporter for the Cobourg Sentinal Star. I recall during the 60s when many youths appeared in court charged with “disturbing the public“. More often than not, the basis of the charge was that profane words were exchanged. When the judge asked the officer in the witness stand to state what the perp had said, the officer choked up and asked the judge if he could write it down on a piece of paper. It was done and passed to the judge who read it silently, then passed it to the stenographer. All to avoid voicing in open court the dreaded profane words. People really feared the hearing of those assorted profane words and others of power who stood to protect those fearful people from loose lips. Then along came Henry Miller, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Allen Ginsberg, etc. Some of the text contained “outright demeaning nasty stuff” that made the literature authentic and rich with real life, not the clean… Read more »

Ben

Wally I am not concerned what people say but how they say it. If you want to be known as the most hateful person in the world because of the way you express your opinions go right ahead but don’t expect to be respected, heard or even listened to by the people you offend by the way you said it.

Wally Keeler

If you want to be known as the most boring person in the world because of the mild and mediocre way you express your bland opinions go right ahead, but don’t expect to be interesting, read or even listened to by the people you bore with the flaccid prose you post. Censorious is censorious. You are being censorious, not political. My grammar teacher is rightly concerned with how I say things, not political wannabees. You can pander to the political. I will pander to the poetical. I believe in free speech, not controlled speech.

Rusty Brown

If the number one rule of expressing your opinion is “keep it nice” then we are in deep trouble. Getting the message across is priority no. 1, otherwise why bother trying to say anything in the first place. I, too, am old enough to remember the bad old days when the standard for self-expression was: “oh, don’t say that!”.

Ben

Vulgarity Profanity and just plain rudeness is ok for you then? Look for Fbombs and bad behaviour as the norm in the future!

Wally Keeler

Oh gosh, Ben, now you posture as a prophet, predicting the future. Such a simplistic social formula. Your prediction happened decades ago, when the Ontario Censorship Board was dissolved, when the written pornography laws were abolished, when free speech began to be free in the 60s. When police no longer arrested people to be convicted of saying the fbomb in public. Jailed and or fined for saying the fbomb in public and damaging delicate sensibilities.

Some individuals found it vulgar and profane when hundreds of thousands of Western women wore p***y hats and marched in public with placards depicting female genitalia. It was political expression. Lots of female politicians felt quite comfortable with this demographic expression.

Jordan Peterson answered the prissy censorious posturing of Cathy Newman very well about “offensive” speech; https://youtu.be/cp-pKo80-4c

Frenchy

What’s vulgar about a party hat?

Wally Keeler

I was hoping to not have to spell it out — poopy hats.

Frenchy

Ironic.
A little censorship was applied to your post about free speech and freedom of expression. Was that John or you?
What’s wrong with talking about the PussyHat Project?

Ben

I know you will appreciate this comment it is full of free speech and if John leaves it alone uncensored – “F*** off Wally!”

Wally Keeler

That’s the spirit Ben. I knew you had it in ya.