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Another CPC nomination hopeful alleges ‘irregularities’ in process

Another CPC nomination hopeful alleges ‘irregularities’ in process

‘If the party is interested in a certain candidate, they should just appoint that candidate,’ said Rachel Gilliland

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OTTAWA — Another Conservative hopeful is alleging irregularities in the nomination process in a Greater Toronto Area riding claiming, as another candidate in the same riding also recently did, that she was targeted by at least one mass email attacking her record.

Rachel Gilliland, a municipal councillor in the town of Aurora, Ont., told National Post that she had been campaigning to become the next Conservative nominee of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill since last summer and had sold over 580 memberships.

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However, the Conservative Party of Canada recently rejected her application, and then her subsequent appeal of the decision. Earlier this month, Sabrina Maddeaux suspended her campaign for the Conservative nomination in the same riding making similar allegations.

“To say I am confused and perplexed right now is an understatement, as I was not given a reason as to why,” Gilliland wrote on the social media site X on Wednesday evening.

“I have since provided (to the party) evidence of suspected interference, unjust favoritism, and concerns that appear to be in contravention of nomination rules to the party for investigation.”

Conservative Party spokesperson Sarah Fischer said that Gilliland was rejected because she was in “clear violation” of rules outlined in the party’s rules and procedures for nominations.

With Gilliland and Maddeaux out of the nomination race, that leaves only former Conservative MP Costas Menegakis and former deputy mayor of Richmond Hill Carmine Perrelli running to become the next Tory candidate. The riding nomination vote is set to happen on May 28.

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Maddeaux, who previously wrote columns for National Post, was green-lit as a nomination candidate but announced two weeks ago that she was suspending her campaign because she had lost faith in the election’s integrity. The party disputed her version of events.

Maddeaux said at the time that she had been the target of “smear attacks” in an email sent by a certain “Norman McDaniel” on April 27 and again on April 29 with an updated membership list which other competitors were not supposed to have access to yet.

The email accused her of showing “little to no pride in the accomplishments of the Conservative Party” because of her past Post columns and mocked her for old blog posts she wrote, including one where she tried the “vajazzling” trend for Pride Week.

It went on to say that Maddeaux had showed a “lack of judgement and professionalism” and that she would “embarrass” Conservatives should she make it to Parliament.

On Wednesday, Gilliland alleged that new members she had signed up received no less than three different emails either attacking her or Maddeaux in the month of April.

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A first email was sent on April 12 by Shelley Wister, who sits on the riding’s electoral district association and has been campaigning with Menegakis, blasting Maddeaux for being too “woke” while promoting Menegakis as a “true conservative with integrity.”

In the email, Wister said she would soon be sending information about Gilliland, which she considered to be the “other flawed nominee hopeful.”

The next email, sent on April 14, slammed Gilliland for having passed a unanimous motion at the Aurora city council for all town activities to be looked at through a “climate lens” and for having voted for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategic town plan.

“DEI is based on Marxism and in practice divides people into oppressors (if white males) and victims … All of these ideas are not good for society,” read the email.

Wister and a representative for the Menegakis campaign were not immediately available for comment.

Gilliland said she was also concerned about the strategic door-knocking that followed at some of her members’ doors, as well as the president of the electoral district association and other board members actively campaigning in favour of Menegakis.

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She said she provided all evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” to the Conservative Party of Canada but never heard back from them.

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In an interview, Gilliland said she put her life on hold for many months and made many sacrifices, including rescheduling a vacation several times, to attempt to win the nomination. In the end, she felt that her efforts were dismissed.

“My time is a great investment to the community that could have been better spent if the intent was not to have a nomination,” she said.

“If the party is interested in a certain candidate, they should just appoint that candidate.”

A senior Conservative source, speaking on background, said that Gilliland had used the Aurora city website to sell memberships, which is not allowed under election rules.

Gilliland denied the allegation, and said the town offered to have a link in its directory in 2022 to her personal website, which she personally funds and manages. Her personal website then has a link to a separate website for her nomination candidacy.

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“If this is really the big bone of contention to not let me run because my personal website happens to be listed in the (town) directory, it’s just, in my opinion, a reach,” she said.

Gilliland said she has the original paper proof of everybody who she signed up at the door, and said she did not direct anybody from the town website to buy a membership.

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