‘We are going to court’: Jim Karahalios after Conservative leadership disqualification

By CityNews Kitchener Staff

Jim Karahalios of Cambridge is crying foul. 

It comes after he was disqualified from the federal Conservative leadership race: a move he is calling 'invalid'.

According to Karahalios, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved an urgent request to consider a notice of application on Tuesday. 

“Five appointed and unelected individuals, have attempted to hijack democracy by removing my name from the ballot in the Conservative Leadership Race.  Under the Party's Constitution and the Leadership Rules, these individuals neither had the grounds nor the authority to disqualify me.  Their decision was politically motivated as my candidacy was increasingly becoming a threat to Stop the Red Tory Coronation of Erin O'Toole or Peter MacKay,” said Karahalios in a release. 

You can read the rest of his statement, courtesy of his campaign's office, below. 

The Application argues the relief should be granted for three reasons: 1. the disqualification was done in bad faith; 2. The disqualification was unlawful because Karahalios did not violate any of the Leadership Rules and the Party officials who ordered the disqualification had no authority to sanction candidates who have not violated the Rules or to disqualify any candidate in any circumstance; and 3. The disqualification offended the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Karahalios added, “Our campaign was the third to hit the ballot requirements of $300,000 in donations and 3,000 verified signatures.  We are the best option for conservatives who want to stop establishment Red Tories Erin O'Toole and Peter MacKay.  First, the Red Tory establishment attempted to derail my candidacy by attacking my character and reputation in the media and then by depriving us of the ability to campaign with the Party's membership list.  When that failed, their only other option was to unlawfully and undemocratically remove my name from the ballot.”

As a distinct issue, the Application alleges that more than $300,000 in donations paid to the Conservative Fund with a direction to be applied to Karahalios's campaign, have been misappropriated.  It also alleges that Party officials have ignored Karahalios's requests to transfer the contributions to Karahalios's campaign, thus depriving him the ability to pay campaign expenses in accordance with federal campaign finance law.  As an alternative remedy request, the Application asks that in the event the Court decides not to overturn Karahalios's disqualification, that the Party and Fund be ordered to immediately transfer all contributions to Karahalios's campaign account so he can proceed with paying off his expenses.  The Application reads, “the Party keeping any portion of the Directed Contributions in addition to Mr. Karahalios being disqualified would result in a double penalty being applied to Mr. Karahalios's candidacy …”

Karahalios concluded, “On Sunday, during a meeting of National Council, attempts to discuss the status of my candidacy were deemed as 'out of order.'  Our only other option was to go to Court.  We expect a hard-fought battle but legal precedents have shown the Courts will not allow violations of Party Constitutions and Leadership Rules, bad faith Party decisions, or unfair processes to stand. We are hoping the Court will order party officials to follow their own Leadership Rules and ensure a free, fair, and democratic election takes place.  Anything short of this will result in a fixed election and represent a travesty of Canada's democratic system.”

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