LIBERAL RIDING ASSOCIATION THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND NDP
Last Updated Tue Jun 8 15:45:08 2004
BRAMPTON-- A Liberal riding association in Brampton, Ont., has rejected a candidate appointed by Paul Martin and thrown its support behind the riding's New Democratic Party challenger.
The Liberals in Brampton-Springdale, northwest of Toronto, were outraged when Martin cancelled their nomination vote by appointing Ruby Dhalla as the local candidate.
Their riding association executive responded on Sunday by withdrawing its support for Dhalla, and voting to back local NDP candidate Kathy Pounder.
Riding association vice-president Raj Jhajj said Martin's decision to override a nomination meeting has left many local Liberals bitter and disappointed.
"Saying something against Liberal party for me is like saying something against my religion," said Jhajj, who has been a Liberal since he settled in Canada 13 years ago.
However, "we had no choice," he said on Monday as he campaigned for Pounder. "If someone throws you out of the house, what you're going to do? You can sleep at the neighbour's house."
While the majority voted against supporting Dhalla, the riding association's president was among those in favour of backing Martin's handpicked candidate.
"It's bad," said Vicky Dhilon. "We are Liberal and, as a Liberal riding association, we should support the Liberal [candidate]."
Jhajj said the rebel executive members have not abandoned the party, but are merely expressing their unhappiness with Martin's decision.
"We are loyal to the Liberal party," he said. "We support the Liberal party in all the other ridings.
Written by CBC News Online staff