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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

ONDP accused of being up to its old anti-democratic tricks

Members of the ONDP's Scarborough Centre riding association executive are alleging some serious shenanigans are going on with the nomination in their riding for the upcoming 2022 provincial election.

Neethan Shan and Andrea Horwath (2014) -- photo via Twitter

The NDP and ONDP both have a long history of using dubious and undemocratic tactics when it comes to nomination battles that range from ghosting candidates as they did federally to former union leader Sid Ryan and others in the lead up to the 2019 election, disallowing potential candidacies as they have many times including to Paul Manly who went on to be a Green Party MP and appearing to rig nomination fights as was alleged with the federal nomination in Parkdale in 2019 and Adam Giambrone in a 2013 by-election provincially in Ontario.

Now some members of the ONDP's Scarborough Centre riding association executive are alleging some serious shenanigans are going on with the nomination in their riding for the upcoming 2022 provincial election.

In an open letter they have posted they are calling out the party in very strong terms.

The letter begins:

We the undersigned, as members of the Scarborough Centre Ontario NDP (SCNDP) executive, community members, and members of the SCNDP Nomination team, are writing to express our deep concerns about the nomination process to elect our candidate for the upcoming provincial election. Specifically, we wish to address the apparent partiality towards a candidate, a lack of transparency, and the unwillingness for collaboration from the head office of the Ontario New Democratic Party.
First and foremost, this nomination has not been run by the Scarborough Centre Riding Association. In response to the Executive’s calls for transparency and accountability, this nomination was taken out of our hands and is being run exclusively by Lucy Watson and staff at the Ontario NDP head office.

It goes on to state:

We have been lobbying the party for a nomination meeting since the spring of 2021. With the Ontario election slated for next summer, we felt that it would be ideal to have our candidate spend the summer talking with the Scarborough community, to meaningfully build a connection with voters in the riding.
We had two candidates, D. Tyler Robinson and Zamir Nadeem, prepared for a spring nomination, but our requests were continually denied. In September, candidate Zamir Nadeem stepped down and candidate Neethan Shan announced his candidacy. Neethan Shan, being a member-at-large on the riding association executive committee, was aware of the planning and discussions about the nomination.

Shockingly they relate that:

We have had no part in the planning or running of this event. Our questions around transparency have gone unanswered. We sent a number of questions to head office, asking how they will ensure the residency of members given ballots for the nomination contest are legitimate, largely to no avail. Our questions around the structure of the nomination have gone unanswered.
We are aware that candidate D. Tyler Robinson was denied the opportunity to scrutinize over half of Neethan Shan’s list because the party did not enter his supporters into the system in due time and the party has been unwilling to accommodate an extension, despite the fact that they are accountable for half of the missing list.

To them this means:

To be frank, we believe the party has favoured candidate Neethan Shan over D. Tyler Robinson. With Neethan being a seasoned NDP politician, former party president, and having a spouse who works directly with Andrea Horwath, we would have hoped the party would have gone above and beyond to ensure that this nomination and all processes around it would be as impartial as possible to give both candidates a fair opportunity--but we strongly feel that this was not the case.

Among their demands are:

We are formally requesting that there be an investigation into the lack of transparency and accountability to the riding association and community. As well, we wish to clarify the safeguards that the party has or is planning to put in place to address the impartiality of the ONDP with respect to party insiders and past candidates. We would like the results of the candidacy nomination to be put on hold while this investigation is happening.

Read the full open letter at: Riding Association Letter.pdf - Google Drive

There have been other reactions and updates since the open letter was released.

At this point Neethan Shan has been announced as having won the nomination by the ONDP.

We will update as any new information becomes available.



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