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Judge rejects injunction, Ontario PC leader will be announced Saturday

10 March 2018

Radnoff represents Conservative member Christopher Arsenault, who filed a last-minute injunction request Thursday evening, arguing voting on the leadership had to be continued to avoid disenfranchising countless Tories. "If they want to drag it out for another week, I'm all in favour of it".

"Our measures to accommodate the needs of members during this period have included extending the verification period three times and extending voting once", said Hartley Lefton, the chair of the leadership election organizing committee, in an email to CBC News on Thursday.

He said he has received emails from dozens of party members who have been unable to vote.

The rules of the leadership race include provisions for filing complaints and appealing decisions, but those wishing to contest the results could also turn to the courts.

Ontario PC Party logo.

Lawyer Daniel Santoro, representing Tanya Granic Allen's campaign, told the court that "115 party members contacted her campaign yesterday (and more today) saying they were not being allowed to vote", Crawley tweeted.

Gina Brannon, the lawyer for the Ontario PC Party, said the turnout is something to celebrate - a record high due in large part to the first ever online ballot that meant people didn't have to drive great distances to vote.

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Gina Brannon, a lawyer representing the party, told the court Friday that there are several reasons the vote can not be extended, not least because of the need to pick a leader and start fighting the general election which must be called for a date no later than June 7.

About 190,000 Ontarians are paid-up members of the party, while just over 71,000 had registered at the deadline.

He believes a week's delay is reasonable.

With that in mind, Mainstreet did 1,000 simulations of the vote using all the responses and found Elliott winning 53 per cent of the time to Ford's 47 per cent.

"This is embarrassing to the party", Ford told reporters in Toronto on Thursday.

Michael Fenrick, partner at the law firm Paliare Roland, says Ford would have to first ask the party's executive for a review and that only after exhausting any internal processes could he mount a legal challenge.

Lawyer and former MP John Nunziata said his colleague, Radnoff, will argue the motion in court.

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"A court challenge could cast a shadow over the legitimacy of whoever ends up winning the race".

"We expect (Tanya) Granic Allen to come in fourth place and when she drops off overwhelmingly her supporters go to (Doug) Ford, so we will see some drama", Mainstreet Research President and CEO Quito Maggi told CP24 on Friday."Ford will pass Christine Elliott on the second ballot but we expect Christine to pass him again (on the third ballot)".

Caroline Mulroney during the PC leadership debate at TVO studios in Toronto on February 15, 2018.

"That's an important number", she said.

"If you have real proof that things are not working the way that all the rules say they should be or worse, actually rigged in some way, then it's much better to go before a judge now rather then put the judge in a position of overturning what thousands of people said they want on Saturday", said Conacher, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa.

He cited evidence that numerous members have still not received letters containing the secret code they need to register for the election by the registration deadline Thursday evening.

Christine Elliott acknowledges problems with the online voting system, but says her team has made helping member with registering and voting its priority. "This can't be the neverending story ... or we'll never pick a leader".

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Judge rejects injunction, Ontario PC leader will be announced Saturday