‘Secret Political Party Nominations’

“…Increasingly, the party leadership wants to be able to control who the candidate is, as opposed to having the local party members making that decision.”

“…There’s a mostly secretive process going on in the background that will determine who is going to speak for the residents of the five Thompson and Okanagan ridings in the region in the next federal parliament and most voters will have no part in that process. Constituents can only vote for the candidate the Party has chosen.

Secretive is the appropriate word because efforts by iNFOnews.ca to find out how the nomination process is running, deadlines for signing up new members and election times have come up mostly with no responses from the three major political parties, or formulaic emails such as this one:

While we don’t comment on the specifics of individual nominations, we’re ready to elect even more talented, diverse, and hardworking community leaders as part of our ‘Liberal’ team, including in riding name and across B.C.

“That’s a line in an email response from one of three regional ‘Liberal’ {Party} riding association presidents with the same form letter. The other two riding association presidents did take the time to include the name of their ridings.

“But many of these nomination races actually determine who will be the MP for the riding.

That’s especially true in ridings that have historically leaned one way or another”,

Sean Holman, associate professor of journalism at Mt. Royal University in Calgary, told iNFOnews.ca.

The real race actually happens during the nomination meeting for whatever party is favoured in that riding so these can be very consequential contests. That’s why it’s in the public’s interest that the public knows what’s happening during those contests.”

“So, why are the parties not calling for candidates to join in the races and sign up new members to the party, which is a requirement to vote?

What we’ve seen is that these nomination races can be very contentious and, increasingly, the party leadership wants to be able to control who the candidate is, as opposed to having the local party members making that decision”,

Holman said.

“It also stems from the long-standing Canadian political tradition of decisions on legislation being made in closed cabinet sessions, the adherence to cabinet and caucus solidarity and confidentiality {A ‘tradition’ that undermines our representative democracy}. Canadians, therefore, have accepted that political decisions and candidate selections are largely done in secret.

{WE haven’t “accepted” anything! WE’VE BEEN GIVEN NO CHOICE!!}

“The NDP’s Kelowna-Lake Country riding association recently sent an email to members saying there is “chatter in the news that there will probably be a federal election called sometime this year”.

“It says the association is “in the process of getting a candidate nominated” and, therefore, is asking for donations. There is nothing in the email about the nomination process itself or asking candidates to come forward.

“The NDP did acclaim Bill Sundhu in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and Sarah Eves in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola in early April, with little or no pre-appointment publicity…

This is just speculation but, it could simply be that no one really cares about the riding because they’re going to lose it anyway so it doesn’t matter who it is”,

Holman said.

That kind of early selection and discounting the riding can be problematic because, depending on what happens on a national level, some ridings can become far more competitive than were originally anticipated.”

“That may not be the case in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola with ‘Conservative’ {Party} Dan Albas holding it since 2011. Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo has been held by ‘Conservatives’ since it was created in 2004.

“The NDP also acclaimed their sitting MP in South Okanagan-West Kootenay, Richard Cannings, in January.

“The one real and fairly-public race happening is in Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola where Cathy McLeod has been the ‘Conservative’ {Party} MP since 2015. On Feb. 4, she announced she would retire at the end of her term, whenever that may be (the next mandated federal election isn’t until October 2023 but, as the ‘Liberals’ {the ‘Liberal’ Party} are in a minority situation, in theory it could happen any time).

“Less than 10 days later, on Feb. 13, Tourism Kamloops CEO Beverley DeSantis was the first of four candidates to throw her hat in the ring. She was followed nine days later by Michael Grenier, developer and founder of the Tobiano resort community. A short while later Frank Caputo, the president of the riding association joined in, followed by Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer.

While all those nominations are public, there is no information available to the general public on when the nominations close, the deadline for signing up new members or when the election will be held.

“Efforts to get that information from various sources, including McLeod’s constituency office, didn’t result in any answers by publication time.

I wish we knew”, {?}

one woman working in the office said.

“The reality is, the general public does not really seem to care, inured as they are to this culture of secrecy, Holman said.

{‘Caring’ requires education and information, both of which are in short order in Canada today…}

Many Canadians don’t actually pay that much attention to what’s going on their own country”,

he said.

That’s because, I think, a lot of Canadians are under the impression that Canada is boring, especially in comparison to the United States. The fact of the matter is, that’s just not true. Canada is actually an infinitely fascinating place. It’s just very secretive, so it creates the impression of boring.”

–‘Why you should care about secret federal nominations in Kamloops and the Okanagan’,

Rob Munro, Kelowna News, May 23, 2021


COMMENT: “That is the main problem with the party system – it is not the country that matters but the party.”

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

From 2017:

Our political parties are often aggressively involved in circumventing the rules.”

A former ‘Liberal’ {Party} MP is accusing his party and current government members of being involved in illegal nomination practices in the run-up to the last federal election.

“In a four-page letter sent to parliamentarians Wednesday, Paul Szabo alleges the ‘Liberal’ Party condoned several breaches of Canadian election law leading to Sven Spengemann’s nomination as candidate in the Toronto-area riding of Mississauga-Lakeshore, including signing people up as members of the Party without their knowledge, benefitting from corporate discounts, and filing a false campaign return.

“The ‘Liberal’ Party insists it ensures “integrity and fairness” in its process, however, and says the Commissioner of ‘Canada Elections’ has investigated the matter, which is now closed.

“Szabo believes Canada has a problem with widespread, “undemocratic” cherry-picking of candidates, though, especially in so-called “safe” ridings, those which a party believes it is certain to win.

Our political parties are often aggressively involved in circumventing the rules”,

he writes in the letter.

I’m a little bit apprehensive, because it’s stepping a little bit outside the box. I’m focusing in on a particular case that I was very much involved in”,

Szabo told the Post in an interview Wednesday.

I’m pretty sure that there are some people out there who aren’t going to be happy with me.”

“In 2011, Szabo lost his 17-year grip on Mississauga South to a ‘Conservative’, Stella Ambler. A few years into the ‘Conservative majority’, he said it began to seem clear that in 2015 the ‘Liberals’ would win back the seat, renamed Mississauga-Lakeshore.

“In ridings a party believes it will win,

the nomination meeting is more aggressive than the election campaign”,

Szabo said, because whoever wins is expected to automatically vault into Parliament.

“Spengemann was interested in the seat and had contacted Szabo twice for help, Szabo told the Post. Ultimately, Szabo backed a different candidate, Julie Desjardins, and became her financial agent for the 2014 nomination race.

By this time, (Spengemann) was dating (now-Science Minister) Kirsty Duncan, he was spending a lot of time with (now-Innovation Minister) Navdeep Bains and with (now-Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs) Omar Alghabra and, as a matter of fact, he helped them run Justin (Trudeau)’s campaign in downtown Toronto. He was there every day”,

Szabo said.

So he was earning stripes with people who were closer to the machinery of the ‘Liberal’ Party.”

“During the nomination campaign, Szabo noticed alleged irregularities he details in the letter to MPs and Senators. None of his allegations have been proven in court.

“From a list of people eligible to vote on the nominees, Szabo describes identifying 349 memberships submitted by Spengemann’s campaign that appeared invalid, most of them from specific apartment complexes. About half of those people said they were never asked for a membership fee, Szabo alleges they told him when he went door-to-door to speak with them, while others never signed a membership and some didn’t live in the riding.

“Szabo informed Bains, then-chair of the ‘Liberal’ Party’s Ontario nominations committee, and the party itself of problems with the memberships, the letter says.

There was no explanation or corrective action taken”,

Szabo writes.

“He alleges the party then barred challenges to memberships from being accepted at the nomination meeting {!!!}.

“Speaking with the Post, Szabo elaborated further. He said he decided to send letters to people whose memberships appeared fraudulent, explaining why the law wouldn’t permit their participation in the vote. Then, the party phoned Desjardins asking her to

fire Szabo immediately or we’re going to drop you from the campaign”,

Szabo alleged, so he resigned. Desjardins ended up losing by 19 votes.

“Szabo spent time analyzing the Spengemann campaign’s expenses after it was all over. A campaign return appeared to have been submitted late and only contained five expenses, none of which appeared to cover signage, posters or a school bus that brought voters from the aforementioned apartment complexes to the nomination meeting, Szabo says. He also alleges a campaign manager was being paid under the table.

“Three expenses Szabo discovered for a school bus, mailing services and life-size posters were incurred by Veena Bhullar and Jamie Kippen, on behalf of “The Parkhill Group”, which is not a registered corporation but which helped the campaign benefit from corporate discounts, Szabo alleges. He provided receipts to the Post.

Bhullar and Kippen now both work in the Prime Minister’s office. The Post made several attempts to reach them but received no reply.

Once they do their grunge work, as it were, they can move up in the system”,

Szabo said of the two. He described a “clique” mentality where partisans will do whatever it takes to win, instead of doing the “right” thing.

This has been going on forever. I have seen a lot of things since my first nomination”,

Szabo said.

“The Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Côté, had investigated the Spengemann campaign and published a compliance agreement that notes Spengemann exceeded his own contribution limit for the campaign.

“Communications manager Michelle Laliberté said the Commissioner

has a number of different tools at his disposal if he feels that an offence has been committed.”

Although the Commissioner has the power to ban people from running for office, or stop elected members from sitting or voting in the House of Commons, the agreement was the only measure used in this case.

“The Commissioner identified five $10 membership fees that were not from individuals’ own funds, according to the ‘Liberal’ Party, so the party reimbursed $50 to the Receiver General of Canada “earlier this year”. (Last year, the party passed a policy to make all memberships free.)

The ‘Liberal’ Party of Canada continues to be committed to ensuring the integrity and fairness of our candidate nomination processes

{Complete B.S.} said spokesman Braeden Caley in an emailed statement. Spengemann and Bains’s offices both deferred to Caley’s response.

The nomination process in Mississauga Lakeshore and all nominations have followed ‘strict standards’ {Lol} established by the ‘Liberal’ Party’s National Candidate Selection rules. Nomination campaigns must also fully comply with all Elections Canada rules and regulations.”

“An online policy shows that in his decisions, the Commissioner can consider things such as how serious or prevalent an offence was, the

level of sophistication of the alleged offender


the prudent and optimal use of public resources”.

“It’s the latter that Szabo hopes the Commons procedure committee will examine. Although he opined the commissioner made a “terrible mistake” in not going further with Spengemann, he admitted it could’ve been a matter of whether enough resources were available.

“Notice of a motion to hear from Szabo, Spengemann, Bhullar, Kippen and “a representative of the Parkhill Group” was tabled at committee by ‘Conservative’ {Party} MP Blake Richards last November. The ‘Liberal’-majority committee hasn’t yet considered the matter {Of course not…}.

“Szabo said he hopes Senators will take up the fight, suggesting the fact they’re unelected puts them in an ideal position to scrutinize partisan nomination contests without bias or fear of repercussion.”

–‘Former Liberal MP accuses party of ‘undemocratic’ — and illegal — nomination practices’,

Marie-Danielle Smith, National Post, October 4, 2017


From New Brunswick:

Political parties have become self-serving internal dictatorships that put the Party’s interests ahead of the electors. This Party control — and manipulation of — both candidates and elected representatives has undermined the intent of our Constitution to provide elected representatives for geographical areas, NOT Party employees who vote the Party line rather than represent their constituents’ wishes. We need Constitutional limitations placed on ALL political parties to prevent this subversion of our representative democracy…

People keep forgetting that this is not about [the Party], this is about the voters, this is about the constituents who deserve to have great candidates put forward for them to vote for. They deserve to have representation and they’ve had none of that.

–‘St. Stephen woman wants to know why PC party quashed Saint Croix candidacy’,

Jacques Poitras, CBC News, Jan. 02, 2020



“PC riding association president Vernon Card resigned from his position on Monday. He said in an email that the disqualification was “concerning“, but it was “the overall environment” created by the party head office that led him to quit. He would not elaborate.”


Photo: Global News

British Columbia:

“Faced with a must-win byelection in Surrey South, B.C. ‘Liberal’ {Party} Leader Kevin Falcon has named a hand-picked candidate to run for the Party… In using his power as Party leader to designate Sturko as a candidate, Falcon short-circuited the party’s usual nomination process

“I’m guessing Falcon exercised the leader’s power to avoid a potentially messy nomination process…

{Yes, democracy can be messy, so let’s “short-circuit it”. Is that how you’d think and act once you’re elected Premier?}

“As for Falcon, his selection of Sturko explains how he intends to ‘diversify’ the B.C. ‘Liberal’ {Party} lineup of candidates without resort to a variation on the quota system the New ‘Democrats’ adopted.

“He’ll use the ‘leader’s prerogative’ to recruit and name candidates, even if it means imposing his selections on local riding associations…”

–‘Falcon picks star power for must-win Surrey riding’,

Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Province, May 05, 2022


See also:

Another Party Undermining Democracy{Oct.6, 2022}:

“Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad has been booted from the BC ‘Liberal’ {Party} caucus after he retweeted views that questioned climate ‘science’. In a statement, ‘Liberal’ {Party} leader Kevin Falcon said that politics is a “team sport” {Yes, and the team is supposed to be the MP/MLA and their constituents, NOT the MP/MLA and their Party}and Rustad was not operating from a “foundation of mutual respect and trust”.

{He means ‘not operating from a foundation of blind obedience’…}


The Undemocratic World of Canadian members of Parliament {Sept.2, 2020}:

“In the crazy, Leninist world of Canada’s leader-centric parliamentary politics, maybe the only proper role for any MP – other than the one who has been selected as leader – is to be silent and obedient – like a Victorian child, to be seen and not heard, except when they are reading a speech prepared for them by a staffer from the PMO or the Leader’s Office…”


The Root of Dysfunction in the Canadian Senate {March 22, 2018}:

“The problem is that Senators weren’t elected – or appointed by provincial governments – even though they’re supposed to represent provincial interests. The Senate has instead been used as a place for a Prime Minister to reward local supporters; hence, the Prime Ministerial impatience when the Senate actually tries to do their job. It’s particularly revealing in this case, considering the P.M.’s charade of supposedly appointing ‘independent’ Senators…”



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