OTTAWA, April 11, 2018 /CNW/ - An Ontario judge has ruled that an application for judicial review of disciplinary action by the Conservative Party of Canada against former leadership candidate Brad Trost can proceed. Trost, who finished fourth in a field of fourteen in last year's Conservative Party leadership election, applied for the review after party officials accused his campaign of leaking a party membership list to the National Firearms Association and imposed a fine of $50,000. The Trost campaign vehemently denies the allegation, citing in the court application a lack of evidence and a sham process that failed to meet basic standards of procedural fairness and that violated several rules of the leadership contest.
"This ruling is a victory for rank and file members of all political parties in Canada," said Joseph Ben-Ami, a senior conservative strategist and manager of the Brad Trost Leadership Campaign. "It confirms that political parties have an obligation to conduct their affairs in accordance with the rules and procedures duly established by their members. When they don't, like all other associations in Canada, be they public or private, incorporated or unincorporated, the members can turn to the courts for relief."
"In short, this ruling confirms that no political party in Canada is above the law."
The Conservative Party had asked the Court to quash Trost's application, claiming in part that political parties, as unincorporated associations, cannot be a respondent in this type of judicial proceeding. Justice Markus Koehnen rejected this argument, writing in a judgment released April 9th that political parties can indeed "be parties to proceedings aimed at compelling enforcement of their own rules and the rules of natural justice." Justice Koehnen also dismissed the claim made by lawyers for the Conservative Party that it was "plain and obvious" that the Trost Campaign had not utilized the party's internal appeal procedure, making a judicial review application premature. The judge cited several instances where it was at least arguable that the Conservative Party had failed to follow its own rules.
Ben-Ami called on Andrew Scheer to step in, calling the actions of party officials divisive and a test of his leadership.
"This is a defining moment for Andrew Scheer's leadership," explained Ben-Ami. "He could fix this with one phone call to the party's president or executive director saying 'Look, we screwed up. Let's just admit it, give the money back and get on with the job of holding Justin Trudeau and the Liberals accountable.' "
SOURCE Brad Trost Campaign
For further information: or comment contact Joseph Ben-Ami, 613-505-0279