Today I received a tip from a couple of sources that describe discord among Liberal EDA board members in Ottawa West Nepean and their leader as the board is complaining that former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli has asked Liberal leader Stephane Dion to forego the nomination process and appoint him as the candidate in that riding to face-off against Conservative Environment Minister John Baird. This is obviously undemocratic as former Martin Defense Minister David Pratt is known to want the candidacy.
Pratt would make only the second Liberal to make his intentions officially known. Ottawa University professor Nour El-Khadri also has made it known that he seeks to contest a nomination, however, Chiarelli is trying to enter in through the backdoor, according to sources.
Pratt and El-Khadri aren’t late comers to the work required to win the nomination either. El-Khadri is believed to have sold about 500 memberships in the riding as far back as April 2007. A source on Pratt’s team said “selling memberships and fighting a fair contest will not be a problem for…people like David”
Sources on the OWN Liberal executive say that an emergency meeting has been called for September 2nd. Each of the three men will have to make a case before a special nominating committee as to why they believe they are the best candidate to take on Baird. The recommendation will then be made to Stephane Dion who has the power to appoint the candidate directly. This “beauty contest” approach (as one board member put it) is in direct contravention of the OWN Liberal Party constitution and will cause a great deal of grief with supporters of El-Kadri and Pratt. As the same board member put it, “the fix is in” for Chiarelli.
John Baird fought his own nomination for the Conservative Party candidacy and one may speculate that expediency is being pushed for given an accelerated timetable for an election call that many expect this week. However, it is unknown why a former Ottawa mayor without experience in the federal government would be favoured over a former Defence Minister. Pratt fought under Martin’s banner of “fighting the democratic deficit”. We’ll see if he’s still up for the job against Stephane Dion and Bob Chiarelli.