By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A former federal NDP candidate and notable union boss has blasted the party over its handling of the local nomination process leading to the federal election.
Sid Ryan, former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, posted a scathing letter to leader Jagmeet Singh on Facebook, declaring he was dropping out of the Oshawa race due to “grossly unprofessional and unfair” conditions.
The party is set to choose its local candidate on Sept. 6, but Ryan says those looking for the position have been “waiting to be vetted and left hanging by the party.” He noted the local riding executive set this week’s meeting “unilaterally” because NDP officials “could not get their act together.”
Ryan went on to claim he had repeatedly brought his concerns to local party officials.
“But their hands are tied by the lack of a response from Ottawa. To be fair, the entire process is [in] shambles, and has all the hallmarks of an unfair and rigged nomination meeting,” he says in the post.
Ryan said he would reconsider his withdrawal if the party assured “a fair process” in Oshawa.
However, in a follow up Facebook post, Ryan shared a letter sent to him by Melissa Bruno, national director of the federal NDP.
In her letter, Bruno states Ryan’s application was received on Aug. 15, the final day potential candidates could bring their name forward.
“The NDP makes every effort to process applications as quickly as possible,” she wrote.
In Ryan’s reply to Bruno, which he also posted on Facebook, he says he was promised his application would be processed by Aug. 22.
Ryan launched another tirade against the party, blasting them for scheduling a nomination meeting “despite the fact five of the six prospective candidates hadnot been vetted nor did the party have a plan in place to do so.”
Calling the situation an “affront to democracy,” Ryan accused the party of attempting to “influence the outcomes of a nomination election” by slowing down the confirmation of potential candidates.
The former long-time CUPE president says he knows “for a fact” Singh has been contacted by party MPs and MPPs “to express their disgust at what is taking place in Oshawa.”
“He needs to break his radio silence and give every prospective candidate across the country his unequivocal commitment to fixing this broken and unfair nomination process. He should begin with Oshawa,” he says.
Ryan previously ran as the federal NDP candidate in Oshawa in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections. He finished second both times to incumbent Conservative MP Colin Carrie.