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(LifeSiteNews) – The Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) National Candidate Selection Committee in a majority vote chose to keep in place a ruling that disqualified pro-life Gerrit Van Dorland from running as a nomination candidate in an upcoming byelection in Oxford, Ontario.

LifeSiteNews has learned from a source close to the CPC that on Saturday the Committee upheld its exclusion of Van Dorland after its National Council voted 11-3 with one abstention to uphold his ban.

The National Council had first voted last week to ban Van Dorland from running as a nomination candidate in a 3-2 vote.

It also appears CPC leader Pierre Poilievre was in favor of keeping Van Dorland’s ban in place, according to information sent to LifeSiteNews.

“He (Poilievre) could’ve even expressed displeasure at the practice of discrimination against social conservatives, so as to send the message that he doesn’t want this sort of skullduggery to continue,” LifeSiteNews’ source said.

“Our intel says that the pressure from the Leader’s office was to uphold the disqualification.”

Van Dorland sent LifeSiteNews his statement regarding his unsuccessful appeal, which he also posted to Facebook over the weekend.

He told his supporters he is “disappointed” after his appeal was not successful but vowed to continue to fight for “life” and “truth.”

“As a lifelong Conservative supporter who has spent the past six years working for Conservative Members of Parliament, leadership campaigns, nominations, and general elections, I truly expected that my candidacy would have been treated with better faith,” Van Dorland wrote.

“But I am more disappointed for the 2,500 Conservative members of Oxford who are signed up to support my campaign for faith, family, and freedom.”

Van Dorland noted that he is disappointed for Conservatives who have been following his campaign from “across the country” as well.

“Thank you for raising your voices and asking National Council to support my appeal,” he wrote.

Poilievre is pro-abortion and has been given a failing grade by CLC for his pro-abortion voting record.

Poilievre said that as prime minister he would not introduce any pro-life legislation. However, he did claim he would allow his MPs to “speak their mind and offer their perspective,” and he has repeatedly promised to “remove the gatekeepers.”

Van Dorland’s disqualification a ‘disgusting betrayal of grassroots democracy in the Conservative Party,’ says pro-life group

Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s leading pro-life group, noted to LifeSiteNews that the results from Van Dorland’s Saturday appeal are “beyond disappointing” and show a “disgusting betrayal of grassroots democracy in the Conservative Party, and a slap in the fact to the party’s social conservative base.”

“We’d hoped that Poilievre would put an end to the rigging of nominations in which party ‘gatekeepers’ disqualify pro-life candidates just because of their beliefs on abortion, a common practice under the failed leaderships of Erin O’Toole and Andrew Scheer,” CLC president Jeff Gunnarson said.

Gunnarson said that the betrayal of grassroots pro-life Conservatives by party brass leads to the party losing elections.

“As an automatic member of National Council, Poilievre could have attended the National Council meeting and spoken in Van Dorland’s defence, just like every other National Council member has a right to do,” Gunnarson said.

CLC said in a statement sent to LifeSiteNews last week that Van Dorland was disqualified because he is pro-life.

Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews that CLC is closely monitoring how other pro-life candidates “get treated in future nominations.”

“If this continues, we’ll have no choice but to campaign for Poilievre’s removal as leader. Yes, we want Trudeau gone, but the reality is that if Poilievre continues down the path of alienating the CPC’s huge social conservative base, which represents at least 40% of the party’s support, Poilievre will hand Trudeau another election victory anyway by practically telling them to stay home on election day because they are not wanted.”

“It’s in the best interests of the CPC to have a leader who inspires the largest segments of the party base to get out and vote, to volunteer and to recruit others to vote. A leader who alienates and demotivates his own base cannot win.”

Van Dorland tells Conservatives to hold party to ‘account’

Van Dorland has asked his followers to continue to “hold the Conservative Party to account on their promise to stand for freedom, to remove gatekeepers, and to fight cancel culture.”

“We cannot be a party that holds Liberals to a standard we are unwilling to abide by ourselves,” he added.

Van Dorland noted that he ran a “respectful, honest, and grassroots-driven campaign over the last three months, never wavering from our convictions. We can hold our head high knowing that we fought the good fight.”

“To all my faithful supporters in Oxford: Thank you. Thank you for placing your trust in me as your candidate, for standing with me when things got difficult, and for keeping me in your prayers,” he said.

Van Dorland then said to his followers and pro-life Conservatives to “stay engaged and use your vote wisely next Saturday. I’ll have more to say on that in the coming days.”

“I hope and pray you will continue to stand with me as we press on in our defence of Life and Truth.
May God bless you, and may God bless Canada.”

The Oxford riding has been held by a CPC MP since 2004 and became vacant when Conservative MP Dave MacKenzie retired recently.

Van Dorland had the endorsement of pro-life CPC MP Leslyn Lewis, who twice ran for the leadership of the party.

He is a former Parliament Hill staffer who ran on a campaign on “faith, family and freedom.”

There are approximately 6,000 conservative members eligible to vote in the nomination race in Oxford. According to a True North report, a source told them about half are supporters of Van Dorland.

The rules state that the byelection must be called by July 29, 2023.