#GlobalNews: “Update expected in Ontario PC Party leadership election amid hours-long delay” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada


MARKHAM, Ont. – The caucus chair of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party has asked hundreds of members to wait a half hour for an update on the party’s leadership race, in which a winner was to be announced this afternoon.

Lisa Thompson says Hartley Lefton, who heads up the Progressive Conservative party’s leadership election organizing committee, will address the crowd later in the evening.

The winner of the race was to be announced at a convention centre in Markham, Ont., shortly after 3 p.m., but party officials have remained huddled behind closed doors for hours.

Thompson’s announcement was greeted with audible groans from the crowd, which has been waiting for an explanation on the delay for hours.

Sources tell Global News that ballots are being recounted by hand for the leadership vote and that there is an issue with 1,300 ballots.

It’s unclear which riding they belong to because voting was done by postal code and some ridings have overlapping codes.

Four candidates — former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, Toronto lawyer and businesswoman Caroline Mulroney and parental rights advocate Tanya Granic Allen — are competing to lead the Progressive Conservatives.

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The Elliott campaign is officially telling reporters it does not know the results, but multiple sources in both the Elliott and Mulroney camp say the vote is very close.

Members of the Ford team have been celebrating on the campaign floor of the convention centre in Markham, Ont., but there has yet to be any official update from the party on the delay.

The Tories were plunged into turmoil when Patrick Brown stepped down in late January amid allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has consistently denied.

His abrupt departure uncovered issues with the party’s structure, problems with its nomination processes, and discrepancies in its membership numbers, leading the Tories’ interim leader Vic Fedeli to declare he would “root out the rot” before handing over the reins to a new leader.

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The party has since reopened two nominations in contested ridings and abandoned a legal battle with a former party member who clashed with Brown over the nominations and other issues.

The Tories have also upgraded their IT system in response to a cyberattack last fall and cut undisclosed contracts in their effort to move past the wave of controversies that has drawn national attention in recent weeks.

All four candidates have also raised the alarm over possible membership fraud and delays in member registration. The party said it was aware of those concerns and twice pushed back the deadline for party members to register for the vote.

Ford, Mulroney and Granic Allen pushed for the party to extend the race by a week to allow votes from those who received key documents late, but the leadership election organizing committee said doing so would contravene the party’s constitution.

A lawyer representing one disenfranchised party member sought a court order Friday to have the voting period for the race extended for a week. A judge ruled Friday evening to reject the application.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, 71,402 party members had been verified and the party confirmed that 64,053 members had voted when balloting closed at noon Friday.

The provincial election is set for June 7.

–With files from Jessica Patton and Alan Carter

Note: “Previously Published on: 10 March 2018 | 11:02 pm, as ‘Update expected in Ontario PC Party leadership election amid hours-long delay’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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