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Nominated on Monday, Tory candidate booted on Thursday

Even before the federal election is called, the Conservative Party has lost one of its candidates.

Dale Saip, nominated just Monday night to replace retiring Tory MP John Cummins, said party brass sent him a notice on Thursday that he was no longer the Conservative candidate for Delta-Richmond East.

The decision followed an article in the Vancouver Sun that detailed a number of past financial problems Mr. Saip encountered in several failed business ventures.

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Mr. Saip, chairman of the Delta School Board and vice-president of the Vancouver Giants junior hockey team, said he believed he had disclosed all pertinent information in his nomination form.

But party officials called him after the article appeared. "They gave me the option to resign," Mr. Saip recounted. "I chose not to resign, and then I was told that I was not going to be running."

He insisted he no longer owes money to anybody "but they decided I was too big a distraction, and I get that."

Mr. Saip said he understood that politics is a blood sport. "I just didn't expect to get bloodied so quick."

The Tories' rush to nominate candidates on a mere week's notice in three B.C. ridings, including Delta Richmond-East, have brought numerous complaints.

Menno Froese, B.C. representative on the party's national council, said a decision would be made quickly on whether to hold another nomination meeting, or hand the candidacy to runner-up Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

"The whole situation is unfortunate for all concerned, but we will have a good candidate in Delta-Richmond East. Absolutely."

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Mr. Froese declined to detail what the party asked Mr. Saip. "We don't discuss the personal, but a discussion was obviously held with him. ... We asked him to explain some information that came to the party after his nomination."

Asked if the new information was contained in the Vancouver Sun story, Mr. Froese replied: "That speculation is probably correct."

He said Mr. Saip, like other candidates, had to fill out forms outlining credit records, references, and criminal record, if any.

These were then vetted and approved by local and national committees, Mr. Froese explained.

"Unfortunately, there was some additional information that members of the local committee wished they had known."

The Sun reported that Mr. Saip had twice sought protection in the past from creditors under the B.C. Supreme Court's bankruptcy court rules.

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At Monday's hastily organized nominating meeting, Mr. Saip defeated Ms. Findlay, 78-66, on the fourth round of counting preferential ballots cast for the five candidates vying to carry the Conservative standard in Delta-Richmond East.

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