The Conservative Party has postponed a bitter nomination battle in a Toronto-area riding, saying it needs time to sort out complaints of fraud and robocalls in the riding.
The nomination vote in Oakville North-Burlington had been set for May 24, but the party announced Thursday evening it would be delayed “in order to fully review complaints received” in recent days by both candidates’ campaigns, spokesman Cory Hann said in a statement.
“The Conservative Party believes in upholding the integrity of our nomination process, and apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause,” the statement said.
The party hasn’t yet announced a new voting date. Eve Adams, the current MP for the nearby riding of Mississauga-Brampton South, is seeking the nomination in the newly created riding and is being challenged by chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna. Allegations of interference in the riding already led Ms. Adams’s fiance, Dimitri Soudas, to resign his post as the Conservative Party’s executive director.
Ms. Lishchyna’s campaign has alleged they have found 38 cases where people were signed up by Ms. Adams’s supporters only to have problems revealed afterward – such as a family of five who was given Conservative Party memberships without paying for them.
Ms. Lishchyna’s campaign alleges they found the cases while calling 238 homes among the roughly 1,800 Conservative Party members in the riding.
Ms. Adams’s campaign, in turn, has alleged mysterious robocalls – made anonymously – in the riding violate federal law, and has filed complaints with Elections Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Mr. Soudas has dismissed the fraud allegations as part of a “desperate campaign.”
The nominations are taking place in advance of the 2015 federal election. It’s one of three Conservative races – of more than 100 completed – that have resulted in actual votes. The first saw incumbent MP Rob Anders defeated, while the second vote in the riding of incumbent David Tilson is set to take place Friday.
Ms. Adams has said she is running in the new riding because she and Mr. Soudas moved there last year, but the move pitted her against Ms. Lishchyna. Election results from 2011 indicate the newly drawn riding is a safer Conservative seat than the one formed largely out of Ms. Adams’s current riding.