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Two Conservative executives in a southwestern Ontario riding have resigned after they say local Tories were poorly treated by the party headquarters in a high-profile nomination race where one candidate was endorsed by former and current leaders Andrew Scheer and Pierre Poilievre.

The exits from the Electoral District Association in the riding of Oxford were announced Monday after Arpan Khanna, a Mississauga lawyer who served as Ontario campaign chair for Mr. Poilievre’s successful bid to lead the Conservatives and the party’s national outreach chair, won the riding nomination over the weekend.

Catherine Agar, the EDA president, and vice-president Brian Kaufman both left in the latest twist in a nomination fight that has turned the spotlight on tension between the party at the national level and local organizers.

“These past two months have been very troubling,” Ms. Agar wrote in a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail in which she announced her immediate resignation from the Oxford Conservative Electoral District Association.

“The nomination process is full of problems; the rules were repeatedly ignored and my concerns dismissed by the party.”

Dave MacKenzie held Oxford for the Tories from 2004 until he stood down in January, prompting the race to win the nomination in the riding Mr. MacKenzie won with 47 per cent of the vote in 2021.

Mr. Scheer endorsed Mr. Khanna for the nomination last month, saying in a tweet that he would be an excellent MP and work tirelessly to make Mr. Poilievre Canada’s next prime minister.

Mr. Khanna’s nomination campaign website also featured an endorsement from Mr. Poilievre reading, “Arpan is a hard worker, a great Canadian story, an entrepreneur, a successful lawyer and a family man who is leading the charge. I am so inspired by the story he brings.”

Ms. Agar said the process was tilted toward Mr. Khanna, and that she cannot support his candidacy as an Oxford Conservative in the coming by-election.

“The Party, through their action and inaction, showed favouritism towards Mr. Khanna as their preferred candidate and they delayed the approvals which only left the other two approved candidates one week with a membership list to campaign,” she wrote.

“The nomination race has caused deep divisions in the Oxford membership and I understand the frustration and anger. It is my personal opinion that the Oxford nomination was hijacked by people from Ottawa and Brampton who crafted a win for Mr. Khanna with a small sample of the Oxford Conservative membership.”

Ms. Agar said the “worst criticisms of nomination races were at play in Oxford,” citing membership sales to fill party coffers, “huge numbers of memberships” sold along cultural or religious lines and some question as to the residency of some of the memberships.

In an interview, Mr. Kaufman said he remains a Conservative, but is out of the Electoral District Association because of the way local party members were treated.

He noted that he was on the local candidate nominating committee and was told that the CNC would have to interview potential contestants and make a recommendation to national Conservatives on whether or not the candidates should stand.

Mr. Kaufman said the committee was told all discussions would remain confidential, and that the party would make a final decision.

But, he said, when the party said it would not approve prospective nominee Gerrit Van Dorland, “they immediately threw us under the bus,” and blamed local organizers for doing what the party had recommended.

Mr. Van Dorland, who was supported by the anti-abortion movement as well as MPs including former leadership contender Leslyn Lewis, was disqualified by local organizers, the party said, because of what it described as a failure to disclose required information during the candidate application process.

“That was not what we were told would happen,” Mr. Kaufman said. “There was a very large contingent of his voters that are very vocal and can be quite radical and it made us concerned [about] what are they going to do, in retribution, to us people who live here as opposed to people that are six hours away in Ottawa.”

The anti-abortion Campaign Life Coalition and the RightNow organization said the manner in which Mr. Van Dorland was treated raised questions about the Conservative party’s commitment to social-conservative voters.

Mr. Kaufman said he has been a Conservative all his life, and feels badly about having to quit the EDA. “I don’t like having to abandon local people who are wonderful and hardworking,” he said.

Asked whether there is a message for the party, in Ottawa, Mr. Kaufman said, “Listen to the grassroots or, at least, address their concerns. I do not believe that the concerns that were put forward by the EDA and CNC were properly addressed by the party.”

Sarah Fischer, the communications director for the Conservative Party of Canada, said Ms. Agar and Mr. Kaufman were offside from Conservative Party members based on the “very decisive vote” for Mr. Khanna, who won by a significant margin on the first ballot.

“The Party upheld all nomination process rules in accordance with the stipulations outlined in the Conservative Party of Canada Rules and Procedures for Candidate Nominations,” Ms. Fischer said in a statement.

Mr. Khanna did not reply to a request for comment.