Ted Chartrand: Member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Ottawa West-Nepean

November 24, 2010 12:39 ET

Candidate Withdraws from Ottawa West-Nepean Liberal Nomination Race

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2010) - Amid suspicions of bias on the part of the Ottawa West-Nepean Federal Liberal Association, Ted Chartrand, an authorized candidate in the Liberal nomination race for the riding, has withdrawn his candidacy. The withdrawal, communicated to the riding president and the Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) on November 18, followed hot on the heels of a personal attack on Chartrand by a member of the riding executive.

The withdrawal stems from a proposal to the riding executive in early October by two of the three candidates, Ted Chartrand and Nour El-Kadri, to hold an all candidate debate some time prior to the nomination meeting. While Larry Hill, president of the riding executive, supported the proposal, it was rejected by the riding executive.

"I couldn't believe the refusal to hold a debate," says Chartrand. "Debate is an essential part of politics and yet there was a refusal to give party members in the riding the opportunity to hear the candidates in debate so that they could be more fully informed prior to casting their votes in a nomination meeting. Debate should be encouraged, not avoided".

Believing strongly in giving voters the opportunity to question and observe candidates in a debate setting, Chartrand and El-Kadri decided to work collaboratively to plan for such a debate and invited the third candidate, Anita Vandenbeld, to participate, proceeding with plans while attempting to work with Vandenbeld to ensure that the debate format would be acceptable to all three candidates. However, rather than embracing the opportunity for debate, it appears that Vandenbeld marshalled her supporters on the executive to denounce the debate as "not legitimate."

In an email to Chartrand's Youth Campaign Coordinator, Alex Macdonell, Lee Farnworth, Secretary of the OWNFLA stated "The riding association is not involved [in this debate] and as such, this is not a legitimate event." The Farnworth email then went on the attack remarking that "He [Chartrand] certainly is not a team player, and would not make a good Liberal candidate". Vandenbeld and select members of the executive, who have publicly endorsed the Vandenbeld campaign, were part of the email string that lead to the Farnworth email, however, riding president Larry Hill, was excluded as was the remainder of the executive.

In an email to Chartrand, Hill commented on the Farnworth attack as follows: "I wasn't copied on this…In fact when I mentioned to executive about the lack of fairness issues from yours and Nour's [another candidate's] perspective, I got some very defensive responses. My personal take on this debate is that it is potentially very good for the party and us as an electoral district. While we cannot be organizers or facilitators for this, we certainly should step aside and let democracy take its course. I am growing more and more disenchanted with the process as it seems to be playing out here."

Faced with what he viewed as strong indications of bias in the process, Chartrand decided to withdraw from the race. "I was prepared to compete for the nomination against the other candidates in a fair and transparent race, but I was not prepared to battle the Party establishment". He further commented ""It is ironic that Ms. Vandenbeld has based her campaign on her self-proclaimed strength as an international expert in democratic development, yet, she was obviously opposed to allowing her own constituents the benefit of democratic debate. It's also noteworthy that the Party has called out Fantino for his absence at debates in the Vaughn by-election but attack one of their own for fostering debate".

Despite the allegations of bias, the Liberal Party is proceeding with the November 28 nomination meeting.

Contact Information

  • Ted Chartrand
    Former Liberal Party of Canada Nomination Candidate,
    Ottawa West-Nepean