7:30 a.m., Dec. 7)
Liberals crown federal nominee during emotionally-charged
By Fred Sherwin
Retired Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie will be carrying
the Liberal colours during the next federal
election after being acclaimed on Saturday.
official, retired Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie has been handed
the task of trying to unseat Conservative incumbent Royal
Galipeau in the next federal election.
was acclaimed during a raucous Liberal nomination meeting
at the Rendez-vous des aines seniors centre on Saturday
that at times threatened to get out of hand.
room was filled to over capacity before the meeting even
began and the Ottawa Fire Department had to be called
in to ensure no one else entered the building. As a result
about 20 Liberal party members were prevented from getting
three weeks ago the Liberal nomination was a hotly contested
battle between Leslie and Orléans lawyer David
Bertschi who ran against Galipeau in 2010 and was hoping
to get a second shot at the Conservative incumbent.
hopes were dashed, however, when Liberal party national
campaign co-chairs, Katie Telford and Dan Gagnier, revoked
his candidacy for failing to pay off the debt he incurred
during his failed bid for the party's leadership. Their
decision was upheld by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau after
Bertschi submitted an appeal to be reinstated last week.
surprisingly, Bertschi's supporters are livid over their
candidate being disqualified for what they believe is
little more than a convenient excuse to pave the way for
Leslie's acclamation. Those feelings came to a boiling
point at the nomination meeting.
meeting had barely been called to order when a scuffle
broke out between a member protesting the lack of a democratic
process and another individual who took exception to the
man demonstrating his displeasure by holding the Canadian
flag upside down.
altercation was quickly broken up by a police officer
who was at the meeting in case matters got out of hand.
Although the scuffle was little more than a shoving match
it set the tone for the rest of the meeting.
the moderator and Leslie were interrupted by pro-Bertschi
hecklers. One member tore her membership card in half
and threw it on the stage. Others vowed to never make
another donation to the Liberal party or volunteer during
the next election campaign, while still others said they
were seriously considering voting against Leslie.
his speech the newly-acclaimed candidate did his best
to extend an olive branch to the dissenters both inside
and outside the room.
I understand that emotions are running high,
he said. I extend a hand of friendship to every
citizen of Orléans, especially to all members of
the Liberal family.
Leslie's speech, the man at the centre of the controversy
listened attentively from the side of the room.
the meeting, Bertschi continued to express his disappointment
in the Liberal party's decision.
is not the Liberal party I have been part of my whole
life and Im disappointed, said Bertschi. I'm
disappointed for the volunteers and residents of Orléans
who had their democratic right to chose their candidate
taken away from them."
for what's next for the Orléans lawyer, Bertschi
said he plans to take his first vacation in five years
and consider his options.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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