NDP file complaint over premature byelection announcement
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, August 5, 2016 10:31AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 5, 2016 1:54PM EDT
The NDP have filed a complaint with Elections Ontario after members of the Liberal campaign team in Scarborough-Rouge River announced the date of an upcoming byelection in the riding before it had officially been called.
Officials with the Liberal campaign in Scarborough-Rouge River put out a press release on Wednesday morning revealing that a byelection in the riding would be held on Sept. 1.
The release came minutes before Premier Kathleen Wynne officially announced the byelection during a press conference and the premature announcement is now the subject of a written complaint by NDP MPP Gilles Bisson.
Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa has yet to announce whether he will conduct a full investigation.
“I think it’s highly inappropriate and I look forward to a response from the Chief Electrical Officer,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told CP24 on Friday. “It is not right that the Liberals decided that they would give their campaign an advantage and the question still remains how much of an advantage did they give their campaign. Was it two minutes or was it two months?”
In a letter to Essena that was published by the Toronto Sun, Bisson called the early byelection announcement a clear example of “collusion” that gave the Liberal campaign in the riding an “unfair advantage.”
Party officials, however, have rejected that notion.
"We apologize,” Liberal spokesperson Patricia Favre told CP24 on Friday. “This was the case of an eager local campaign that should have waited two minutes until the government release was posted.”
Scarborough-Rouge River had been represented by Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon up until his sudden resignation last March.
Ward 42 Coun. Raymond Cho is running for the Tories in the Sept. 1 byelection while TDSB trustee Neethan Shan is running for the NDP and party volunteer Piragal Thiru is running for the Liberals.