Former City of Brantford councillor Mark Littell says he is disappointed in the nomination process that cost him the chance to represent the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in Brant riding during the next provincial election.
“There is a lot of people who have expressed disappointment that I was not allowed to run and that the local riding did not have an impact on choosing the candidate,” Littell told Brant News.
Littell is “discouraged” that party officials gave him no feedback as to why he wasn’t able to challenge for the nomination, save for an announcement from party secretary Christopher Deans that Littell’s appeal of an earlier rejection of his candidacy “does not warrant a hearing.”
Littell said party leader Tim Hudak and party president Richard Ciano rebuffed his requests for meetings.
“Nobody spoke to me,” he said. “If (the party) has a problem with me or an issue, come and talk to me, tell me what it is. At no time did I have an interview with anybody.”
The decision clears the way for former Brantford MPP Phil Gillies to win the nomination uncontested.
“There is no other candidate – it’s a coronation,” Littell said. “I’m just very disappointed. There wasn’t a proper nomination process in the riding.”
In a letter to Ciano, former PC Brant riding association president Mike Quattrociocchi said he was “outraged that a fair, open and competitive nominations process has not been allowed to transpire here in the riding of Brant.”
“The decision from the party to not allow Mark Littell, a credible candidate, to seek the nomination is one that was, in my opinion, done in error,” Quattrociocchi wrote. “The optics are terrible. The decision if not reversed will continue to cause a great deal of strife from within the local conservative community and will certainly guarantee the loss of many conservative votes on election day.”
Progressive Conservative Party rules state that candidates can be rejected for “strategic” reasons.
Littell thought his experience in politics and as chair of organizations including the airport board and Habitat for Humanity made him a strong candidate. Littell said he sold 110 new memberships to the Progressive Conservative Party, plus another 30 online, in advance of a Dec. 4 Brant PC nomination meeting.
“What I’ve heard is that the party wanted Gillies,” Littell said. “That’s all I can say.”
Littell refused to speculate about what the public spat might do to the Conservatives’ chances at the ballot box, saying his focus is on why the party did not live up to its stated aim to encourage competition for local nominations.
“This is about Brant having a say,” Littell said.