DeWit wins PC Nomination for Lacombe-Ponoka

PC Party voters sat with bated breath Saturday, March 28 for the results of the PC Nomination for Lacombe-Ponoka.

Peter DeWit spoke at the Progressive Conservative Party candidates’ forum

Peter DeWit spoke at the Progressive Conservative Party candidates’ forum

PC Party voters sat with bated breath Saturday, March 28 for the results of the PC Nomination for Lacombe-Ponoka.

A total of 914 votes were cast with Lacombe’s Peter DeWit winning over former Wildrose MLA Rod Fox, Larry Henkelman and Wayne Rempel. While full voting results were not released DeWit says it went into a second count of ballots.

It was stated that when the first count of the votes failed to produce a clear winner with simple majority, in line with the PC party regulations, a second count of the votes was taken with the exclusion of the votes cast for the candidate who received the lowest number of votes.

“It was nerve-wracking for sure,” said DeWit.

He says now is when the work begins. DeWit is preparing his campaign for the upcoming provincial election. “The real work is still to be done.”

As for vote counts, DeWit says all the candidates were provided with the actual voting results but were not allowed to divulge that information.

Full voting results not provided

Executive director for the PC Party, Kelley Charlebois, says the system they have is to destroy ballots once candidates have signed off on the results. Rather than make the information public, it stays private.

“I like the system we’ve got. I think it’s a unifying system rather than a dividing system,” said Charlebois.

He feels with lots of scrutiny during the nomination period, voters and candidates can feel secure in the process of selection. If there are any issues with ballots, a candidate can always call for an arbitration process.

Yet, in his last three years as executive director, Charlebois does not recall where someone has made that request.

Since the PC Party is not necessarily a public body, Charlebois says the courts have deemed that political parties are like a private club, providing the results is not a priority.

“We create the rules for the process we want,” he said.

His job is to ensure those rules are followed. Despite his assurances, there have been misgivings about the PC Party process and the lack of transparency with providing results.

Former Wildrose MLA Bruce McAllister was acclaimed as the PC nominee for Chertermere-Rocky View after the party blocked opponent Jamie Lall, CEO of the Calgary Housing and Employment Services, from running. No reason was provided by the party as to why Lall was blocked.

On Twitter, user Christina Pilarski voiced her thoughts: “Either allow open contests or appoint outright. Last minute, unjustified disqualifications only hurt party morale.”