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Lawyer for disenfranchised party member seeks Ont Tory leadership race extension

12 March 2018

Ontario PC Party leadership election committee chairman Hartley Lefton says a secure process was used to verify memberships, as well as another safe method to allow 64,053 members to vote individually anywhere in the province.

Results from the vote were expected by 3 p.m. Saturday, but that was pushed back to 5 p.m. before party officials stated a recount was being carried out after 7 p.m.

The new leader of Ontario's conservative party is the brother of late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who became famous for smoking crack cocaine.

It was also marked by an electronic balloting system full of snafus, with many Tories left unable to participate in the election.

Chief among these were a number of complaints about the complex rules for the online vote, including repeated claims that the necessary voting documents sent via regular mail were not reaching party members on time.

Elliott placed a close second, coming in 153 points behind Ford on the final ballot.

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"We have a lot to do in a very short amount of time", Mr. Ford said before declining to answer questions from reporters. Mulroney follows with 17.5 per cent and Granic Allen trails with 12 per cent support.

Also on the leadership ballot are Caroline Mulroney and Tayna Granic Allen.

Former MPP Frank Klees, the runner-up to Tim Hudak in the 2009 leadership contest, fumed on Saturday that "this is not a good night" for the party.

He quit after a little more than a week, citing in part the harassment he and his family and friends had faced.

The former Toronto city councillor made the comments just hours before news broke that an injunction to extend the voting deadline would be heard in court Friday morning.

But under the complicated voting process the leader is elected not by the total vote, but by points allocated to each riding.

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The party decided against prolonging the race late Wednesday, saying that doing so would contravene its constitution. During the conversation all four voice opposition to the Liberals' increase to the minimum wage and reject a proposed carbon tax that would have been the cornerstone of Brown's election platform had he remained as party leader.

"Do not let small differences that are inevitable in a leadership campaign distract us from our shared goal and our common cause".

Over the course of the campaign triggered by former Tory leader Patrick Brown's departure amid sexual misconduct allegations, Ford repeatedly vowed wrest control of the party from elites and give a voice to the grassroots members.

"You've been through a tough couple of months, perhaps the toughest in the history of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario", he said.

"Regardless of who took the helm, the bottom line is we have to stop settling for bad or worse in this province", she said.

Saturday's delay in announcing a victor was the latest in a long list of challenges that have plagued the party since Brown's departure.

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A senior party member said of the continued chaos, as well as the spectre of a Ford win: "I hope Kathleen Wynne is getting hammered tonight - she should be celebrating".

Lawyer for disenfranchised party member seeks Ont Tory leadership race extension