Runner-up disputes Tory nomination vote
As originally published in: The Calgary Herald
September 12, 2008
An unsuccessful candidate for the Conservative party nomination in Calgary Northeast said he's filed a complaint with Elections Canada over the process that saw lawyer Devinder Shory win the battle.
Perry Cavanagh, who runs Hockey Calgary, narrowly lost to Shory in a nomination vote last February to replace long-time MP Art Hanger.
Cavanagh subsequently filed a complaint with the Conservative party, writing to president Don Plett, campaign chairman Doug Finley and then-executive director Susan Kehoe to request an investigation into the nomination process.
In the letter, obtained by Canwest News Service, he cited what he claimed were party membership sales violations, missing ballots and alleged breaches of a spending cap.
The party national council must address the dispute, he wrote, because "this type of illicit misconduct by a Conservative party nomination contestant is professionally and ethically deplorable."
The matter went to an internal arbitration process, but the party decided to uphold the nomination, Cavanagh said.
"I have reason to believe there were irregularities that took place during the event," he said. "I have filed a formal complaint with Elections Canada. I'm waiting for the results of that."
Cavanagh said the agency received his complaint in mid-August. It is not a case of sour grapes from a losing contestant, he added.
"I don't have a problem not finishing first," he said. "But what I do have a problem with is, when I play by the rules and others don't, how that can be deemed representative of the wishes of the public?"
Shory declined to comment on Cavanagh's allegations, saying that "anybody can say anything."
He referred questions to the party. A party spokesman said in an e-mail this week: "The Conservative party does not have spending limits for nomination races. If Elections Canada has a problem we do not know."
Elections Canada would neither confirm nor deny receiving the complaint.
The Feb. 23 nomination vote in the city's northeast riding saw about 6,000 ballots cast out of about 16,000 memberships sold.
Shory ran on a family-first platform focused on justice and tax reform, as well as improved day-care access. Cavanagh had also been committed to an improved justice system. His son, Adam, 18, was shot and killed last year. The case is still unsolved.
Cavanagh said he's been a card-carrying Conservative all his life and supports Tory Leader Stephen Harper.
However, he won't vote for Shory and said many of his supporters are having a tough time with the Oct. 14 vote.
"There's a lot of soul searching going on," Cavanagh said. "I will not support him."
Shory, though, isn't worried it will hurt his chances.
"Every single Conservative will vote for me," he said.