A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how several people who voted for Marc Miller in the Liberal nomination riding of Ville-Marie hadn’t paid for their membership cards. While not strictly against Elections Canada rules, paying for someone else’s membership card is a violation of Liberal Party of Canada’s own rules. A number of people, Miller included, suggested I was doing the bidding of his opponent, Bernard Amyot. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amyot himself wouldn’t talk to me, and he has been conspicuously silent since the piece came out.
Here’s what I did: I called roughly a dozen people in the riding from a list I obtained independently of the Amyot campaign. No one I called had paid for their membership, and every person had voted for Marc Miller in the April 3 nomination vote. Last week, I contacted Quebec Liberal Party candidate, campaign co-chair and chief Quebec organizer Pablo Rodriguez for comment.
“It’s not legal, it’s not acceptable, and we don’t accept it,” Rodriguez told me. “I’m waiting to hear about what you raise in your article. We’re taking it very seriously. They’re investigating. It’s completely unacceptable. We’re very tough on this. If we know that a candidate was involved, this person would be disqualified on the spot.”
Both the Liberal party itself and the Quebec chapter are investigating the falsely obtained cards, Rodriguez tells me. Notably, newly appointed Liberal ombudsman (and former Liberal MP) Marlene Jennings isn’t involved. “We’re waiting for proof that something actually happened. I have to wait for the report,” he adds. While there is a zero-tolerance policy for falsely obtained cards, Rodriguez says the party won’t jump to conclusions as to whom was responsible for the fiasco. “I can kill a candidate by doing that. I can go see a candidate that I hate, tell him I’m going to sell cards for him, then sell them in the wrong way and then make sure he’s disqualified because of me.”
One other tidbit on the Liberal’s open nominations business. Someone posted the following comment on the Ville-Marie piece suggesting some of the open nominations process isn’t so open:
“In Scarborough-Agincourt, one Muraly Srinarayanathas was one who was seeking nomination. He had gone to the extent of opening an office on May 4 at 5 p.m. But meanwhile he received numerous phone calls from the so-called emissaries of Trudeau asking him to drop off from the nomination as they were no longer assured of the victory to the prefered candidate. Apparently after getting told that the candidate will be red-carded for future nominations, Muraly dropped out at 5 p.m. on May 4 in front of a crowd of over 100 people in his office.”
There would seem to be something to this, even though the person misspelled Srinarayanathas’s name in the original missive. According to this piece, Srinarayanathas did indeed open campaign office on May 4, only to withdraw from the race hours later. Srinarayanathas’s own website still says he is “seeking nomination in Scarborough-Agincourt.”
I asked Srinarayandas if the allegations in the comment were true. “I made my own decision to withdraw. I am pleased the members have chosen Arnold Chan as our representative. I believe he will be great for the community and wish him the best in the upcoming by-election,” he said via email.
Case closed, I guess.