Hal Jackman, the former lieutenant-governor of Ontario and a long-time Conservative supporter, fundraiser and sometime candidate, is outraged that the party has ousted Mark Warner as its next candidate in Toronto Centre.
Jackman called the Star yesterday to register his anger.
"I'm so mad at someone in Ottawa telling us, the party in Rosedale, who their candidate should or should not be," Jackman said.
"I think that is offensive, it's offensive to the constitution of the party, to the whole tradition of responsible government in Canada. We in a riding pick members of Parliament and the members of Parliament pick the prime minister."
Former PC federal cabinet minister in Guelph:
Barr, who told reporters he wouldn't rule out running locally as an independent in the next election, was accompanied at the news conference at the Holiday Inn by his wife Sheila and by William Winegard, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister and local MP who'd nominated Barr as the local candidate in March and was his senior adviser in the 2006 campaign.
Barr said Winegard sent letters to the party after Oct. 19 trying to resolve the situation, but party officials "didn't even have the courtesy to respond to a former cabinet minister."
Barr also said the local Conservative riding association had been sent copies of the exchanges of e-mails since Oct. 19, but it had been "surprisingly silent throughout this process." He said he didn't know why.
Winegard told reporters that "unknown people" had accused Barr of not doing enough for the party.
"How would they know?" he asked. "Is this the way the Conservative Party operates, by unknown people making an accusation that he hasn't been working hard enough
"So I think democracy has gone wrong in my Conservative Party," Winegard said. "Something has gone wrong."
The funniest part of the story, Stephen Harper distancing himself, as though we are all fools and really believe he has no say:
"Frankly, I'm not involved in those kind of decisions," Harper said. "The National Council is democratically elected and makes those decisions under the constitution of the party."
The biggest control freak in Canadian history, who micro-manages everything, has no input with the National Council. Yep, sure, okay. The interesting part, Harper references "democratically elected", which serves as a nice contrast to head office usurping the democratic wants of the locals. Surely, somewhere, there is an old Reformer shaking his head, as the new Conservative Party has morphed into the anti-thesis of a grassroots, bottom up organization. People in Ontario are seeing the fraud first hand, and these two minor stories are joining to form a distasteful theme, that resonates with people already weary of the Harper brand.