© Justin Crann
Fraser Tolmie, a nominee hopeful for the newly-formed Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan riding, has been working with the party to resolve grievances he has stemming from the riding's founding meeting last November.
Nominee hopeful contesting riding acclamation
Fraser Tolmie asserts his objection to the acclamation of Tom Lukiwski as Conservative nominee for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan is "nothing personal."
"I am a party member and a party supporter, and I have the ability and authority to exercise my rights within this process," he told the Times-Herald on Friday.
Tolmie said his complaint stems from a founding meeting held for the newly-formed riding last November.
He alleged(VIDEO) the Conservative Party's constitution was breached numerous times during the formation of an Electoral District Association (EDA) board at that meeting.
Though he submitted a series of complaints and met with party officials on numerous occasions over approximately six months (CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE TIMELINE), Tolmie's concerns were not addressed to his satisfaction.
As a result, Tolmie said that, following the advice of a former Party organizer, he e-mailed his grievance to the Party's Chair of the Secretariat Committee on May 27.
He noted that the response of the Secretariat was also unsatisfactory.
In particular, he said, "a proper investigation was not conducted," because it "included a phone call to the party officials who chaired the founding meeting" from which the complaints stemmed.
As a result, when the party put out calls for nominations, Tolmie did not recognize the EDA as legitimate and so did not follow through with party procedure by submitting a copy of his nomination papers to the board.
That, according to a source within the Conservative Party who has knowledge of the situation, was what resulted in his exclusion from the process.
"All members were informed … if they wanted to be a candidate, they needed to submit their application to Party Headquarters and to the local (EDA)," said the source. "(Mr. Tolmie) did not do that. Only one person properly followed the rules and procedures, and as such Mr. Lukiwski was acclaimed the candidate."
Further, the source added, Tolmie's concerns first came before the Secretariat six months after the meeting and as a result, "the Secretariat found there were no issues with the meeting that happened over six months ago and dismissed his complaint."
Though Lukiwski has now been acclaimed, Tolmie said he is still "optimistic" that the party will address his complaints appropriately.
"My concern is that we have a board that is legitimate, that will be able to represent the constituents of this riding, that has been fairly elected according to the policies of the party, and that can work together (with the nominee) in winning the next election," Tolmie said. "I believe that it's an extremely important part in the upcoming election to have a strong board that supports the candidate.
"Our hope and our intent is for the party to realize the validity of our concerns, critically assess the situation and realize the best option is to hit the reset button and return to the founding meeting," he added.
But the Conservative source suggested a reset is unlikely to occur.
"What is being asked here is for the Conservative Party to change the rules to help one person who did not follow a clearly laid out process," said the source.
"The Party is committed to fair and open nominations, which means not changing the rules to help one person over another. It would not have been fair to Mr. Lukiwski or any other potential candidate who followed the process properly to disregard the rules to Mr. Tolmie's benefit."
In the event that stance remains the Party line, Tolmie said, "we are seeking legal counsel with regard to future options … (and) a letter has been sent to the Party."
He added that he hoped further action wouldn't be required.
"We're all on the same team. We all have core, fundamental beliefs that we share," said Tolmie. "What we're looking for is to have the best candidate to represent this riding based on an open, fair and transparent process."
When asked if he would remain on that team if his concerns went unaddressed, Tolmie declined to comment.
The full, unedited text of Fraser Tolmie's speech (not the Times-Herald's question-and-answer period) can be seen here.
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