Candidate hopefuls drop out of NDP nomination race due to vetting delays
As the 2019 federal election campaign nears, a long-time labour leader and five-time NDP candidate has dropped out of the nomination race over delays in the vetting process.
Sid Ryan, former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, has stepped out of the NDP nomination race in Oshawa, saying "the entire process is a shambles and has all the hallmarks of an unfair and rigged nomination meeting."
Ryan says he submitted his paperwork by the deadline set out by the party, but by the time the nomination vote was scheduled for Sept. 6, he still hadn't heard back about whether his candidacy was approved. He says this put him at a disadvantage when it comes to running an effective campaign.
"You cannot get access to the membership list unless you've been tested. So they start the process, run the clock down, and I don't have access to the membership list," Ryan told CTV News Toronto.
He said he complained for weeks about the delay in the vetting process and was repeatedly told it would happen soon.
"I felt I was just being disrespected, by the party, ignored, and essentially insulted by their performance."
Ryan has run for the New Democratic Party five times in federal and provincial elections, coming a close seconds several times.
A local NDP Riding Association representative, who did not want to be named, told CTV News Toronto on Friday there are now two candidates who have been vetted in Oshawa.
"Vetting process and delays are the responsibility of the federal party, so it's not any one riding association that is responsible," the representative said. "It's certainly not an ideal circumstance, and I know the party is working as quickly as we can to vet candidates."
She added that it's unfortunate Ryan has withdrawn.
The federal NDP party says they have 178 candidates running in the upcoming election to date, which means nearly half of the 338 ridings in the country do not yet have a confirmed candidate. The number puts them well behind that of the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Green Party and the People's Party.
"When it comes to candidate nominations, the rules are the same for everyone, and they are in place to ensure the process is fair to everyone," said NDP's National Director Melissa Bruno in a statement. "The vetting process takes different lengths of time for different candidates depending on things like their past public profile. Mr. Ryan submitted his paperwork on August 15th, 12 business days ago."
The vetting delay has caused at least one other candidate to withdraw from the nomination race. Janet-Lynne Durnford, who was seeking the NDP nomination in the riding of Simcoe North, said she was dropping out because "the party's delay in conducting and approving my vetting has made it impossible to run an effective campaign."
"I cannot, and will not, run a half-hearted campaign that does both the party and myself a disservice,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
Despite the NDP's promise to run "an NDP candidate in every riding, coast to coast to coast," Durnford believes Simcoe North will be without an NDP candidate. She tells CTV News Toronto she was the only prospective nominee in that riding when she dropped out of the race.