Pro-life organizers are blaming themselves for a narrow defeat at the hands of a high-profile Liberal at the Scarborough East nomination meting Sept.21
Doug Peters, who has been hand picked by the Liberal party and parachuted into the riding, squeaked by pro-life candidate Joe Bissonnette plans to appeal the results to the Liberal Party of Canada.
The voting saw bus loads of refugees and immigrants from the Tamil community shipped in to vote for Peters. Bissonnette relied chiefly on the pro-life vote which failed to show-up with its expected strength.
“Our people are loyal but they weren’t thinking in terms of votes,” he said.
Bissonnette came out swinging during his nomination speech vowing to fight to protect the unborn. “This child in the womb deserves the full protection of the laws of Canada.” he said.
Peters countered by saying Canadians live and work together “by not imposing their own religious or personal views on others.”
After his speech Peters refused to say anything more on abortion.
“it’s a very complex, difficult issue,” he admitted. “As a member I’m never going to be faced with that question.”
Peters campaign has been dogged by allegations of corruption and intimidation. Armed with numerous affidavits, Bissonnette is considering appealing the vote.
In a sworn affidavit, a former campaign worker for Peters alleges campaign chairman Yogi Thambipillai instructed workers not to collect membership fees from the people they signed up. The worker adds, “It became evident that the addresses on some of the membership forms had been falsified to show addresses within Scarborough East.”
One worker said he was promised landed immigrant status if he joined the Peters team and another man alleged he received threatening phone calls.
Peters denied any improprieties, calling them “silly allegations. Anybody can swear an affidavit.”
After the meeting Thambipillai refused to speak to the press, leaving the building surrounded by an entourage of his fellow Tamils. One of his workers called the allegations “all false. We have a completely clear conscience. We don’t want a smear campaign.”
During his speech, Bissonnette made a veiled reference to the allegations against the Peters team by referring to the situation in the country from which they fled.
During his speech, Bissonnette made a veiled reference to the allegations against the peters team by referring to the situation in the country from which they fled.
“In Sri Lanka votes are bought and people are bribed,” he said. “Democracy means your vote belongs to you.”
In spite of the frustrating loss, pro-life organizers have seen successes in other ridings. Liberal Candidate Pat O’Brien beat out two opponents in London-Middlesex after committing himself to working “to preserve and defend life from conception through to natural death.”
Pro-life Liberal tom Wappel was acclaimed in his riding of Scarborough West. Plans are under way to challenge in London west.
Other Ontario federal Liberal candidates who have expressed pro-life views and have been approved by the Liberal to run are: Evan Loughheed in Bruce-Grey, Mike Stinson in Perth-Wellington-Waterloo and Paul Szabo in Mississauga South.