Disgruntled conservatives break away to form new party in Ontario
TORONTO, August 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — With ever increasing reports of angry Tories decamping from Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservative Party amid allegations of rigged nomination, ballot-stuffing, and “take no prisoners” party operatives pushing the leader’s agenda from the top down, the question must be asked.
What are all those ex-PC Party members doing?
Enter the soon-to-be registered Ontario Alliance Party, founded by Jay Tysick, the Ottawa-area political consultant whose public dismay at being disqualified as PC Party candidate for Carleton made him a lightning rod for similarly disaffected party members.
But Tysick, who agreed to be interim leader Wednesday so the party can be registered, is quick to point out that the Ontario Alliance Party has “gone beyond me by a long stretch.”
In the last eight months, the party has gathered 1,300 signatures, more than enough to register, and attracted a back office that includes executive director Joseph Ben-Ami, most recently campaign manager for MP Brad Trost’s federal Conservative leadership bid, and onetime policy director for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Joshua Erickson, previously head of the Reform Party of Ontario, is party president. Elizabeth de Viel Castel, a Stop the New Sex Ed Agenda Party candidate in the Ottawa-Vanier by-election last fall and daughter of former MP and Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux, is communications director.
“There’s a real opportunity here,” Tysick told LifeSiteNews. “We could actually make positive change for the province and we’ve got a shot … at making government. I’ve never seen so much dissatisfaction with the two major parties.”
Fury at Brown and party brass for “hacking” nominations
While Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s problems are another story, Brown has enraged both social conservatives by flip-flopping on sex-ed curriculum and fiscal conservatives by unilaterally adding a carbon tax to the party platform.
But the deal breaker for many was Brown and party brass controlling candidate nominations, says Tysick.
“In a party system, nominations are where people choose who represents them, that’s where the real democracy occurs,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“When you have the leader hacking the nominations, people get furious.”
Charges that Brown was using nominations to shut out social conservatives began in earnest in late 2016, with Tysick disqualified in November and Derek Duval in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in December.
The Toronto Star reported that month Brown had rejected five would-be candidates for their social conservative views.
In January, former Mississauga MP Bob Dechert, although no social conservative, dropped out of the Mississauga-Erin Mills nomination race, calling for an investigation into the party’s nomination process.
Around the same time, most of Carleton’s riding association board members resigned, including the president, Tysick says, after Goldie Ghamari’s November nomination victory amid allegations of procedural abuses.
Party environment ‘toxic and destructive’
In May, with several riding associations complaining of irregularities, Brown took the unprecedented step of hiring auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to oversee nomination elections.
But that didn’t stop an eruption of resignations in June.
Kanata Carleton’s riding association board quit June 11, citing a “toxic and destructive” environment, Ottawa West-Nepean riding association board followed suit days later, and the Newmarket-Aurora riding association board made it a triple by month’s end.
The same month, defeated PC nominee for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas Vikram Singh filed a lawsuit against the party, alleging fraud.
In July, the CBC reported on calls within the PC Party to disqualify Scarborough Centre candidate Thenusha Parani, who won a turbulent June 26 election in which hundreds of people showed up with allegedly questionable memberships.
The most recent dust-up concerns Flamborough-Glanbrook riding, with would-be candidate Nick Lauwers telling Hamilton Mountain News on Tuesday that he’s upset Brown is looking to appoint his own hand-picked candidate.
After selling “thousands” of memberships, “to say this is disappointing and devastating is an understatement,” Lauwers said, adding he’s pondering his political future.
‘Common sense’ party political home for pro-lifers?
For those also pondering or ready to make a change, the Ontario Alliance Party is “people-centric” and committed to allowing members to vote their conscience on moral issues, be involved in setting policy, and freely debate issues, however unpopular, says Tysick.
That’s why Campaign Life Coalition quietly sent out word about the fledgling party, with the result that more than 500 of its supporters signed up as members, says CLC senior political strategist Jack Fonseca.
Campaign Life hopes Ontario Alliance will not only provide a political home for pro-lifers but its emergence will push the PC Party to turf Brown, and to “stop careening towards left-wing liberalism, and return to its historical conservative principles,” added Fonseca.
“We are a grassroots movement, bringing together people who are looking for a common-sense approach to government,” says spokesperson de Viel Castel. “Ontario Alliance offers the alternative to the disastrous policies of Kathleen Wynne which Patrick Brown seems determined to copy.”
“People are joining Ontario Alliance because we speak to the values shared by the majority of Ontarians, such as fighting the carbon tax, protecting parental rights, responsible government, and true respect for democracy,” she added.
The party is about to send in paperwork to Election Ontario for official registration, and is planning a fall launch, including a website.
Most significantly, once registered, Ontario Alliance can accept donations, says Tysick, adding he has had to turn down “numerous” offers so far.
“I look forward to when we’re official, growing it and watching it explode.”