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48 Comments

politics

Scarborough-Guildwood NDP Runner-Up Abandons Legal Challenge

Runner up for the NDP nomination says she's run out of time to get answers regarding reportedly unregistered voters.

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Amarjeet Kaur Chhabra poses at Pride festivities earlier this year Photo by Jay Yerex.

After meeting with Ontario NDP party officials today, Amarjeet Kaur Chhabra has decided to drop any legal action against the party for alleged irregularities in the Scarborough-Guildwood nomination. Former Toronto city councillor Adam Giambrone was declared the winner of the contest, and is the party’s candidate in the August 1 provincial by-election. In a statement obtained by Torontoist, Chhabra said the limited time to file her grievance forced her hand: the deadline to get on the ballot for the August 1 provincial by-election is today.


The local riding association and Chhabra had both contacted the provincial party secretary in order to verify the identities of 12 voters at the Scarborough-Guildwood nomination—voters who, according to Chhabra and the riding association, were not eligible to take part in the nomination.

Viresh Raghubeer, the president of the Scarborough-Guildwood NDP riding association, told us in a phone interview that the local chapter has not received a satisfactory response from the ONDP or Giambrone about the alleged irregularities. “At this point, the concerns we sent are still on the table,” Raghubeer said.”

Here is Chhabra’s full statement:

My legal counsel has had a full and frank discussion with the NDP’s lawyers about the events that took place at the Scarborough-Guildwood NDP nomination meeting on July 7, 2013. I continue to have concerns about the process followed at that nomination meeting. However, in light of the circumstances, including the limited time before the by-election, I will not be pursuing legal action at this time.

I remain disappointed in the party. On the positive side, many people have reached out to me sharing similar experiences which will lead to change. I thank all my supporters, including members of the executive of the Scarborough-Guildwood NDP Riding Association, for their continuing support and encouragement.

Comments

  • PabloYYZ

    It just goes to show that the NDP are no better than the Liberals or PCs when it comes to political games.

    By the way, I think that this is just an attempt to get Giambrone’s name the media. He’ll be running in another more NDP-friendly riding at the earliest opportunity to get back on the couch. Sorry, that should have read “back to the trough”.

  • dsmithhfx

    Giambrone should have relocated to another province where his sordid baggage would be of less interest, and started over. Now he’s gone and smeared the NDP with it. Once upon a time I respected Andrea Horwath.

    • torontothegreat

      Worked for Glen Murrey

  • Kind_of_Blue

    By all accounts, this vote happened fairly. Smacks of sour grapes.

    I understand why but I don’t get all the grandstanding.

    • OgtheDim

      “By all accounts”…

      Do you even know what that phrase means?

      Gosh sometimes I loathe what the internet has done to rhetoric.

      People use phrases because they saw them once and it looked authoritative. K of B, at least TRY to sound literate.

    • OgtheDim

      Oh, and I would answer the point you raised but everything in it points to somebody who has not even read the article but is just hoping, somehow, desperately, that their favourite guy doesn’t come off as a bounder and a cad.

  • Whitebox

    This is disappointing. I get the feeling that Giambrone is being parachuted into this riding because they hope he can win.

  • LiberalTroll

    Hi Gary, you sound so reasonable, but as a Liberal troll it’s my job to ensure this story gets as much attention as possible.

    If I do a good job I’ll get a job on Bay Street!

    • dsmithhfx

      And here’s me thinking you are a party hack of some persuasion, but not likely liberal.

  • andrew97

    Even assuming there was no vote-rigging, it was shady of Giambrone to recruit Chhabra and then run against her. So what’s more likely? That Giambrone would just happen to win a fair nomination far from his political base after a last-minute decision to run? Or that, having pulled a fast one to get into the race, he pulls further shenanigans to ensure that he wins? See also Razor, Occam’s.

    • blearghhh

      Well, since Occam’s razor talks about the possibility with the fewest assumptions being likely the truth, then by that, ‘would happen to win a fair nomination’ is more likely than ‘ pulling a fast one to get into the race’ and ‘pulls further shenanigans’

      • andrew97

        But “pulling a fast one to get into the race” is not an assumption. It’s an undisputed fact that Giambrone ran against a woman who he selected as a candidate.

        • Gary Dale

          Everything you’ve just said is incorrect. Giambrone didn’t “pull a fast one to get into the race”. He simply put his name forward. He didn’t select Amarjeet as a candidate. He just encouraged her to run. It would have been wrong for him to discourage her, or even to not try to encourage her to run, when he was a member of the provincial committee. However, there was nothing wrong with him putting his name forward.

          • andrew97

            “It would have been wrong for him to discourage her, or even to not try
            to encourage her to run, when he was a member of the provincial
            committee.”

            Why didn’t he make it clear to the committee that he was interested in running?

            You seem to be saying that there is nothing wrong with beating a candidate that you helped to recruit, particularly when you haven’t disclosed your own intention to run. At the very minimum there is a perception problem here. One could argue that he encouraged Chhabra to run, knowing that he could easily beat her and secure the nomination for himself.

          • Gary Dale

            The key issue would be “when did he decide to run?” Certainly his efforts to recruit Amarjeet demonstrate that he wasn’t thinking of running at that point.

            As a high-profile NDPer, he was probably pressured to run in the by-election but then so are a lot of people. He resigned from the committee before announcing his decision to contest the nomination. This indicates a late decision.

            As for being easy to beat, the allegations are that Amarjeet would have won the nomination except for electoral fraud. So what is it? Did Adam push Amarjeet to run believing he could easily beat her, or was the election rigged to allow Adam to beat a strong opponent?
            If Amarjeet was going to be a pushover, rigging the election would not only be unnecessary but also dangerous. A scandal would severely hurt the campaign. If Amarjeet would have won if the election had been held properly, then why would Adam have pushed her to run if he wanted to run in Scarborough Guildwood?

            At most there is only one potential scandal and that is the allegation of allowing ineligible people to vote. I don’t think the riding association will let this one rest until it is resolved. Until then, it’s just speculation.

          • arn

            I agree. Gary dale seems to be doing some contortionist debating here to justify Adam’s actions. If he wanted to run for the office himself, he should have disclosed this and not been on the committee.

  • dsmithhfx

    Nobody is being executed, but points for histrionics.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Can the crack Torontoist investigativist team check the demographics of Scarborough–Guildwood to determine if the NDP is parachuting a (sky-high) Italian into a neighbourhood that is predominantly Indic? I’m guessing – I emphasize guessing – that this might be happening because of the nongiambronist names in this piece.

    Of course, the NDP [waves palm up and down in front of face] does not see race.

    • Testu

      Well, it’s rough, but if the language profile for Guildwood is any indication then it doesn’t appear there’s a significant South Asian population there. (http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/cns_profiles/2011/pdf2/cpa140.pdf ).

    • OgtheDim

      Guessing instead of doing a 15 second google search bit of fact checking….Joe how could you?

      • Testu

        Well, if he had fact-checked he’d have a slightly harder time implying that the issue here is due to racism on the part of the constituents.

        As long as he doesn’t know, it’s fair game.

  • Matt Patterson

    A womanizing white male with strong political ties parachuting into take a job away from a minority female? What else would we expect from the Conservatives? Oh wait, this is the NDP?

    • Gary Dale

      A minority women with a disability! Let’s keep the debate clear. However he wasn’t parachuted in. He put his name forward and was selected by the members of the riding association in an election.

      The real question that needs to be answered is “was the election held properly, with only riding members voting?” So far that has not been determined.

      • OgtheDim

        No

        Society decides the questions it has. It is up to involved parties to address those.

        The real question here for many is what has happened to a party that supposedly champions the downtrodden that it can not countenance active disappointment with one of its star candidates and active criticism of its hierarchy.

        The ONDP has shown itself to be like the rest.

        The fact that theyfeel the need to obfuscate indicates how worried the ONDP is about its image as the champion of the underdog.

        And how fine a balance it has been trying to remain the party of morality and the party of getting things done.

        Frankly, I’m still not sure why the NDP don’t just embrace the ambiguity they actually all live in. Maybe its because the NDP have this utter terror, deep down inside, that really they are just as likely to be morally unpure and lacking in steadfastness as the Liberals (which is still the party the NDP despises above all else).

        Yeah, that’s likely it.

        Don’t want to be seen to be like the big bad Liberals.

        Well…guess what?

        In the eyes of the informed, the ONDP, the Ont Liberals, and the OPC’s are not all that different when it comes to machinations and doing what it takes to get into power.

        The ONDP want power again.

        Badly.

        Might be for good reasons.

        But they still want it.

        And when they countenance the actions of a Giambrone, and what has occurred out in Scarborough, they show themselves to be just like the Liberals and the Tories.

  • OgtheDim

    Umm….so what you are saying is there is now wrong doing if its an “innocent mistake”?

    That’s not quite as bad as saying “I didn’t read the manual” but darn close.

    • Gary Dale

      Intention is important. If someone’s name was on the list incorrectly then issuing them a ballot would be an innocent mistake. However if the issuer knew the person was wrongly on the list then issuing them a ballot would be wrongdoing.

      • OgtheDim

        Intention?

        Follow the rules.

        If they are not on the list (as alleged) then don’t give them a ballot.

  • andrew97

    This makes absolutely no sense! You’re suggesting that Giambrone did not want to take the riding, so he encouraged Chhabra to run, but then he ran against her and somehow won anyway against his will.

    As you illustrate, there’s no reasonable explanation for Giambrone’s actions.

    • Gary Dale

      No, I’m saying that as chair of the provincial nominations committee, he did his job – finding a credible candidate for Scarborough Guildwood. I don’t know when he decided to run but he resigned from the committee before putting his name forward.

      For you to assert wrongdoing on his part, you would have to demonstrate that he failed in his job on the committee. However, it should be obvious that he didn’t since Amarjeet was an excellent candidate.

      In fact, she was so good that Giambrone’s detractors are alleging that it took election fraud to beat her! We don’t know if that is true or not, but it certainly makes it hard to say he wanted to take the riding so badly that he didn’t perform his committee duties properly.

      • OgtheDim

        Your use of the word wrongdoing is curious.

        You seem to be suggesting Giambrone is OK because he followed the rules, and we don’t know enough about the other stuff so, its OK.

        There used to be a time when the MORAL thing to do was how the NDP did things.

        Not anymore I guess.

        Its is a bad moral choice to lead the committee to find a candidate, choose a candidate, have a byelection called in that riding, see an opportunity for self-agrandizement in that riding, accept a nomination, have that nomination contested, not comment

        and rely upon shills and bureaucracy to muddy the waters.

        Gary you are an apologist for some bad moral choices.

        Giambrone and the ONDP are coming across as slimey in all this.

        You and the other apologists are not helping.

        • Gary Dale

          No, I’m saying that until the evidence is presented, we’re simply speculating. If it turns out that the people who voted were all members in good standing then most of the outrage people have expressed will look pretty silly.

          Alleging that Giambrone ran simply for self-agrandizement is a pretty strong charge that is devoid of evidence. No one runs for the NDP for that purpose because you rarely expect to win. Certainly Giambrone faced an uphill battle even without this tempest.

          And again, the committee didn’t choose the candidate. They found a candidate. The riding association members chose the candidate (unless there was vote rigging).

          For your allegations to make any sense, you’d have to have Giambrone finding a weak candidate that he could easily beat. That didn’t happen.

          And BTW the committee persuaded Amarjeet to run after the by-election had been called. The compressed timeline around a by-election is really at the heart of this particular issue. The committee and candidate search get thrown together pretty quickly based on who’s available. It would be ludicrous to believe that Adam intended to run when he joined the committee.

          • OgtheDim

            You kind ignored the whole morality thing.

            As for self-aggrandizement, its Scarborough Guildwood.

            And, its Giambrone.

            Past history meets opportunity.

  • OgtheDim

    LOL

    He left just hours before running.

    You really are not helping him here.

    • Gary Dale

      Let’s look at how this may have happened. Adam gets asked to run by someone within the party who he respects. He discusses it with his wife that evening and they come to a decision. He turns in his resignation the next day and later announces his intention to seek the nomination. I don’t see any wrongdoing.

      Let’s look at another scenario: Adam is thinking of running and uses his position to ensure that Scarborough Guildwood doesn’t get a strong candidate so he can win the nomination. This would be wrong but there is no evidence to support it. In fact, the presence of a strong candidate like Amarjeet suggests that it didn’t happen.

      If Adam had secretly wanted to run all along, it simply doesn’t show in the public record of his actions. He was the person who convinced Amarjeet to run, after all. The evidence is that the decision to seek the nomination was made at the last-minute.

      • Susannah

        My biggest problem with (or is that ‘laugh at’) this argument is that you think he consulted his wife before doing anything.

      • arn

        “He turns in his resignation the next day and later announces his intention to seek the nomination. I don’t see any wrongdoing.”

        I do. It looks shady, and a party like the NDP claims to be should not be doing this.

  • amarjeet

    I’ve received tremendous support from both friends and strangers while pursuing recourse from the NDP over the flawed nomination process which unfolded in the Scarborough-Guildwood riding where I put my name forth as a candidate. I’ve received even more support from array of citizens and friends when on advice from my legal counsel I reluctantly decided not to pursue my grievance through the courts.

    Unfortunately, there were a few who suggested that I have no stomach for a fight or worse that I have somehow ceded to the NDP machine. Nothing can be further from the truth. To begin with, I took a lot of risks to even put my name forward as a candidate. There were party voices who tried to dissuade me from running. I had to consider that my own career could be at risk and many other factors that weighed in the decision to run.

    Once the nomination process was over, both the riding association executives and I raised our concerns to the party secretary and when not given satisfactory answers, the riding association raised those concerns publicly. Again, had there been any outside influence for me to accept the outcome, I wouldn’t have continued with my fight. Finally, when all other avenues of recourse were exhausted without satisfactory answers to my concerns about the process, I sought legal advice. My legal counsel had a full and frank discussion with the NDP’s lawyers about the events that took place at the Scarborough-Guildwood NDP nomination meeting on July 7, 2013. I continue to have concerns about the process followed at that nomination meeting. However, in light of the circumstances, including the limited time before the by-election, I will not be pursuing legal action.

    Those who know me know I’m a fighter. I will continue to fight flawed and unfair nomination process with all the means available to me, especially since I’ve been contacted by many others who experienced similar injustice in the past, with the hope of making this process more fair and transparent.

    Amarjeet Kaur Chhabra
    Candidate, Scarborough Guildwood by-election, 2013

  • OgtheDim

    Um…the allegation is they are not on the list provided to the candidate.

  • viresh

    Gary, how can and should we get the voters validated if we can’t get an answer?? NO communication from Adam or the party or leaders in the party to riding. I guess they are too busy…

  • Robert A. Wiseman

    I live in the riding. I have for the past 14 years. I have been a member of the NDP for 35 years. I have been told by the riding membership secretary that my membership is inactive. It isn’t. What list does she have? Why isn’t it accurate? I wasn’t at the nomination meeting but I don’t believe the allegations. In fact it appears that those complaining were Chhabra supporters, not least of those being the membership secretary. Why isn’t it at least as likely that this is sour grapes from those who lost? Many people who run in this riding both currently and in the past don’t live in it. I’m supporting Giambrone in this campaign.

  • Robert A. Wiseman

    Let’s note that the Liberal candidate in Scarborough-Guildwood doesn’t live in the riding either.

    • TorontoistEditors

      Approve.

  • arn

    I detest the Cons and the Libs with every fiber of my being, but I would vote for them before I would vote for Adam Giambrone. I’d rather see a Con win this election than Adam.

    The best thing that those in the NDP who care about democracy and transparency can do is to derail the careerist Giambrone by making sure that he loses this election.

    • dsmithhfx

      But he’s got the biggest signs!

    • EDMUNDOCONNOR

      For those wishing the NDP defeat, it gets a little awkward insofar as the likely victors from the NDP losing are parties who have behaved as badly (or worse) in the past. You can wish the party ill in the hopes of it learning a moral lesson, but you don’t have to be an apologist for the party to be aware of who the likely winners might well be.

      • arn

        One does indeed have to be an apologist for the NDP to even assert that this narcissistic shit would be any better than the Lib or Tory. At least you know what you are getting with those two. A Giambrone defeat would send a message to the NDP that they cannot run Liberal clones and expect success. Why should anyone vote NDP if their running the same type of neo-liberal sleaze?

        • dsmithhfx

          So he lost. Expect to see him parachuted into another riding for the next general election.

  • arn

    It may not be wrongdoing legally, but Giambrone has not conducted himself in an ethical or comradely fashion. He encouraged Amarjeet to run.

    Like I said above, the best thing that those NDPers who want democracy and transparency can do is sink GIambrone at the ballot box in this election and any other future election that he runs in. This will send a message that all nominations need t be done fairly.