Today, I asked one of the board members of the Dufferin-Caledon Liberal Association for their take on the situation. Although they have identified themselves as one of the 'pro-Garth' camp, this person had already been involved in D-C riding politics long before Garth Turner showed up.
With that in mind, here are a few of the things they told me:
"The DCFLA Candidate Search Committee did due diligence in their search of over 25 viable candidate-prospects up here & Garth was the only one who emerged from that search willing to stand - the Report was accepted unanimously by the DCFLA in August & by LPCO thereafter. Consequently, there was no spectral 'other candidate' in the wings at that time. If one has come to the forefront in the last two weeks or so, then that is news to everyone I know!
As it happens, that spectral 'other candidate' emerged today in the pages of the Orangeville Citizen - Alton businessman Bill Prout. My contact knew nothing of this, but has informed me that this person has "no profile in the Association & will be hard-pressed to garner anything more than the paltry 8,000 votes won by Rebecca Finch in 2008."
"Ms. Rosenstock gave us the number of 170 in June/09 after consultation with an unknown LPCO official - I took that to be gospel, perhaps naively. At the time, the issue was exactly how many "Laurier Club" members we have in the Membership. Under such designation, the FLA is actually allowed multiple- memberships based on some arcane formula that LPCO has (ie.) 1 Laurier Club Member = 5 virtual memberships for the Riding Association. Ms.. Rosenstock has never clarified for us how many of these mulitple-memberships we indeed have: I believe it to be 4; she has argued that we have only 2."
Ms. Rosenstock is either confused or misinformed. The number 170 happens to be exactly 2% of the Liberal votes from the previous election, which is the threshold required for a riding with a sitting Liberal Member of Parliament. However as a riding with NO current Liberal MP, they would only be required to meet the one and a half percent membership threshold.
Also, there is no minimum required number of Laurier Club Members (those who donate the maximum in a given year). There is, however, a minimum number of Victory Club Members (those who donate $10 a month or more). That number is equivalent to 10% of the minimum membership requirement. However, a Laurier Club Member does count as 5 Victory Club members.
The rules are quite clear on this. All anyone had to do was look them up.
"At the August meeting of the DCFLA, we had representatives from LPCO, who assured the association that we were 'close enough' to the 170 (using the Laurier Club factoring) to request a Nomination meeting date, which we did by motion, for August 28th. At that time, it was ambiguous as to how many members we actually had, since Ms. Rosenstock could never remember clearly when asked & there was always a reason why she could not get a clear update from downtown. Nevertheless, we took the LPCO officials at their word & requested the meeting for the 28th."
This focus on the Laurier Club numbers makes me wonder if the real issue was the number of Victory Club members and not the total members. I've emailed the relevant person at LPCO for clarification.
"Amidst all the innuendo I see on the blogs & in the newspapers, let me try to be clear.... the association never would have been permitted to request a Nomination meeting by motion if we were not 'close enough' to meet the membership threshold...whatever the number was! We were encouraged to request this meeting (a) because electoral urgency permitted it (b) we understood that we had the blessing of LPCO by virtue of their two reps. sitting there & (c) we had a candidate green-lit, approved by the DCFLA Search Committee & ready to go!
"If there is a reason for the reluctance to grant us a Nomination meeting, then I do not know it. What I can say is that some people (Ms. Rosenstock & Jeff May) have been opposed to a Garth Turner candidacy in this riding, for whatever reasons they may have. Until recently, I have had no reason to suspect their motives, but when I read things they have said on Steven Janke's blog or in the local papers, I am led to be suspicious."
This might all seem to be nothing more than a petty internal squabble over an admittedly controversial local candidate. But I'll leave you with this thought for now:
If it should turn out that this riding association really did follow all the rules and meet all the requirements to select the candidate of their choice, what does it say about the application of those rules that they were still prevented from doing so?