Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau Says Still Committed to Open Nominations, despite Blocking Candidate

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau Says Still Committed to Open Nominations, despite Blocking Candidate

Article excerpt

Trudeau still committed to open nominations

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OTTAWA - Justin Trudeau insists he's still committed to holding open nomination meetings, even though he last week blocked one would-be contender from running in any riding.

The Liberal leader says open nominations mean allowing party members in each riding to choose whom they want to carry the party's banner in the next election.

But he says it doesn't mean letting contenders employ whatever nasty, divisive tactics they choose in order to secure a nomination.

Trudeau's team last week informed Christine Innes, a two-time Liberal candidate and wife of ex-MP Tony Ianno, that she won't be allowed to seek the party's nomination for the coming byelection in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina or in any other riding for the general election in 2015.

Innes was blocked because her campaign team -- specifically, Ianno -- had allegedly tried to bully and intimidate young volunteers and had been bad mouthing both Trudeau and one of his star recruits, rookie Toronto Centre MP Chrystia Freeland.

Innes has adamantly denied the charge.

She maintains she was punished for refusing to guarantee she wouldn't run against Freeland for the nomination in University-Rosedale, one of three new downtown Toronto ridings created for the next election under redistribution.

In his first comments on the controversy, Trudeau suggested Tuesday that the nomination contest for the Trinity-Spadina byelection will be more open now that Innes is no longer involved.

"There were no other candidates willing to go near Trinity-Spadina given the approach that this particular team did," he said following a speech in Kingston, Ont.

"So, we're glad to see there's actually going to be an open nomination now in Trinity-Spadina."

An audio recording of Trudeau's remarks was made available by his office in Ottawa.

Trudeau denied the move to block Innes was aimed at protecting Freeland or clearing old guard Liberals out of the way for a new team with fresh blood. …

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