(LifeSiteNews) – The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has stopped a pro-life and family candidate from running in the party nomination race for an upcoming by-election in an Ontario riding held by the conservatives for decades.
The Conservatives’ National Candidate Selection Committee in a 3-2 vote Tuesday disqualified pro-life nomination candidate Gerrit Van Dorland from running as CPC nomination candidate in the Oxford, Ontario riding.
This riding has been held by a CPC MP since 2004 and became vacant when Conservative MP Dave MacKenzie retired recently.
Van Dorland campaign manager Bas Sluijmers told LifeSiteNews in a statement via email today that they are extremely “disappointed” with the disqualification but said they will be appealing the decision.
“We were very disappointed with the notice we received from the Executive Director of the Conservative Party informing us with no reasoning that Gerrit has been disqualified from the nomination race,” Sluijmers said to LifeSiteNews.
“The Conservative Party maintains that they are a party of open and fair nominations, and as such, we will be appealing this decision to the Conservative Party National Council.”
Sluijmers added that they remain “optimistic” that the “National Council will vote to respect the grassroots and allow his candidacy.”
The CPC rules state that nomination candidates can appeal to the party’s elected National Council.
Of note is that Van Dorland had the endorsement of pro-life CPC MP Leslyn Lewis, who twice ran for the leadership of the party.
Van Dorland is a former Parliament Hill staffer who ran on a campaign on “faith, family and freedom.”
Canada’s leading pro-life group blasts Van Dorland’s disqualification as an attack on pro-life candidates
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s leading pro-life group, said in a statement sent to LifeSiteNews today that Van Dorland was disqualified because he is pro-life.
“We believe it was primarily because of Gerrit’s pro-life beliefs, and secondarily because Pierre Poilievre had his own preferred candidate in the race, a former staffer of his,” said Jeff Gunnarson, CLC’s national president.
“With Poilievre coming on as the new CPC leader, and his promises of open nominations, respect for democracy, and his pledge to ‘remove the gatekeepers,’ we thought things would be different than it was under Erin O’Toole and Andrew Scheer. Both of the latter men went on the warpath to disqualify pro-lifers and social conservatives.”
The CPC in a statement sent to the media claimed Van Dorland was disqualified because he did not fully disclose details about himself in the application. The CPC said all candidates must disclose all current and past social media accounts, even those deleted.
“Gerrit Van Dorland, a nomination applicant in Oxford, was disqualified from standing in a nomination race by the party’s National Candidate Selection Committee (NCSC) due to a failure to comply with the obligation to disclose required information during the candidate application process,” the CPC spokesperson said.
“The recommendation to disqualify this individual was first made by the local Candidate Nomination Committee.”
However, according to Sluijmers, Van Dorland had “fully disclosed all information requested as a part of the application process.”
CCP party leader Pierre Poilievre is pro-abortion and was given a failing grade by CLC for his pro-abortion voting record.
Poilievre said that as prime minister he would not introduce any pro-life legislation. However, he did claim he would allow his MPs to “speak their mind and offer their perspective.”
There are approximately 6,000 conservative members eligible to vote in the nomination race in Oxford. According to a True North report, a source told them about half are supporters of Van Dorland.
The rules state that the by-election must be called by July 29, 2023.
Gunnarson said that Poilievre is “blocking popular grassroots conservatives from being able to run,” and blasted what he said was the “type of discrimination against social conservative nomination candidates practiced by O’Toole and Scheer.”
“Under Poilievre, it appears the skullduggery has continued,” Gunnarson said.
He then blasted Poilievre for breaking party rules by appearing to endorse his own preferred candidate.
“The Leader is not supposed to take sides,” Gunnarson noted.
For now, CLC says it hopes to avoid having to “campaign for Poilievre’s removal as well” for now as another leadership race would not be good at this time, but “if we’re forced to, we’ll do it again.”
“The good news is there’s still time for the party to reverse this anti-democratic decision. There’s still time for the pall now spreading swiftly over Poilievre’s leadership, so early in his reign, to be pulled back, and confidence to be restored,” Gunnarson noted.
MP who previously held seat claims Poilievre wants his parachute candidate to win the nomination
MacKenzie, who was an MP in the riding since 2004, made an accusation that Poilievre was putting his support behind lawyer Arpan Khanna. Of note is that Khanna was Poilievre’s Ontario co-chair during the 2022 Conservative leadership race.
Khanna website lists an endorsement from Poilievre.
However, in a tweet yesterday, Khanna put out a statement saying that Van Dorland should be allowed to run and should be reinstated as a candidate.
“Gerrit Van Dorland has been disqualified from the Oxford nomination. The Conservative Party and the National Candidate Selection Committee need to do the right thing and allow Gerrit to be on the nomination ballot,” Khanna wrote.
As for Van Dorland, there will be a hearing for his appeal on Saturday, March 18, at which the full membership of the CPC’s National Council, the party’s governing body, which is made up of 20 elected national councillors, will be hearing his appeal.
Gunnarson urged all pro-life CPC members to contact the national councillors, who are listed here.
He also urged everyone to contact their CPC MPs as well.
Click here for a list of CPC MP’s including their emails and constituency office phone #s.
Email: [email protected].
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