WHITBY – Greg Vezina, None of the Above Party candidate in the Whitby-Oshawa byelection, is threatening legal action after he was excluded from participating in an all candidates’ forum.
In an e-mail to Ontario Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa, Conflict of Interest Commissioner Sidney B. Linden and Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur, Mr. Vezina claims “illegal campaign contributions” by the Town of Whitby to candidates, and a conflict of interest of the Town and two local councillors.
The forum was hosted by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and held in Whitby council chambers on Jan. 26.
“Only the candidates of the Liberal, Progressive Conservative, New Democratic and Green parties were included, and two of these, Progressive Conservative Lorne Coe and Liberal Elizabeth Roy, are sitting councillors, who received a benefit others did not, which is clearly a conflict of interest,” he wrote. He also said should one of those candidates win the election, and his conflict issues have not been addressed, he will seek a court order challenging the legality of the election.
“The Whitby Town Council and these candidates knew others were not included and as such they have participated knowingly in a violation of the law and received an illegal contribution of substantial value that may also put them over the campaign expenses limit.”
Whitby Chamber CEO Tracy Hanson told This Week it was a decision by the Chamber’s advocacy committee to include candidates in the forum from parties that currently have representation in the House of Commons or in the Ontario legislature.
Mr. Vezina has cancelled a $5-million investment in a commercial demonstration of new engine technology he says his company, Hydrofuel Inc., planned to hold in Whitby. He demands that another debate including all registered candidates be scheduled or he will seek a court order challenging the legality of the election.