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An anti-abortion group says it will rally Conservative Party members to oust key officials who do not support the reinstatement of a candidate disqualified from an Ontario nomination race.

A spokesperson for RightNow detailed the plan Friday in the case of Gerrit Van Dorland, who was disqualified by the party this week from seeking the nomination in the southwestern Ontario riding of Oxford, which opened up after Conservative Dave MacKenzie retired in January.

Mr. MacKenzie had been the MP since 2004. In the 2021 federal election, he won the riding with 47 per cent of the vote compared with 20.5 per cent for the Liberal candidate.

RightNow, which says it is committed to nominating and electing pro-life political candidates, has declared its support for Mr. Van Dorland, citing his opposition to abortion.

Among those who have endorsed Mr. Van Dorland is Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis, a two-time candidate for the party’s leadership who is popular among social conservatives. In a letter posted on Mr. Van Dorland’s website, she said his strong work ethic, humility and courage are very much needed in Parliament.

On Friday, Scott Hayward, speaking for the organization, said that if Mr. Van Dorland does not win a weekend review of the matter with the party’s national council, the councillors will be targeted for defeat as they seek re-election at a party convention this fall in Quebec City.

He said the organization will inform anti-abortion delegates attending the biennial policy convention on how each national councillor voted.

“I am sure that the numerous pro-life delegates at the convention will not want to re-elect any national councillor who did not vote to reinstate Mr. Van Dorland as a candidate,” Mr. Hayward said in a statement.

“Beyond that, we will continue to find excellent pro-life candidates to run in federal and provincial nomination contests, including in the Conservative Party of Canada.”

The group has alleged in a statement earlier this week that federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has a preferred candidate for the nomination in the Ontario riding. The Conservative Party did not respond on Friday to a request for comment on the situation.

CBC reported that a Conservative Party spokesperson said that Mr. Van Dorland was disqualified because he failed to disclose required information during the candidate application process.

Mr. Van Dorland has worked as an executive assistant in the House of Commons. His website cites his commitment to the values of faith, family and freedom. Among his pledges to supporters is to “stand up for the dignity and sanctity of human life.”

Asked about the threat, the campaign for Mr. Van Dorland replied with a statement from Bas Sluijmers, the campaign manager.

It did not directly respond to questions about RightNow’s promised action, but said that Mr. Van Dorland’s campaign is disappointed with the notice it received saying the candidate had been disqualified.

“The Conservative Party maintains that they are a party of open and fair nominations, and as such, we have appealed the decision to the Conservative Party National Council,” said the statement.

“Gerrit remains optimistic that National Council will vote to respect the grassroots and allow his candidacy.”

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