Ottawa: Deepak Obhrai has sent an email to his party’s MPs and senators challenging Michael Chong’s Reform Act 2013. In his letter Obhrai, called the bill an attack on the party’s grassroots. “Under this bill, Elections Canada would have the power to become involved in the caucus of a political party,” Obhrai warned.

Obhrai wrote that, “The bill would give Elections Canada the mandate to force by-laws on parties to allow just 15 per cent of the caucus to launch a leadership review; it would allow Members of Parliament to kick out a leader who was voted in by large numbers of the party’s membership; and it would completely ignore the views of the loyal membership.”

In his letter he goes on to write, “Based on my own experience in my first Reform nomination, this provision would have prevented me from running. At the time, the local association wanted their “preferred white candidate” to win and, as such, barred me from running. It was the national office that ensured the nomination was open and transparent, and that it was the membership who decided who their candidate would be. Of the seven candidates that ran, I was chosen by the grassroots despite the fact that the association urged I not be considered.

This bill tries to correct a perceived flaw but it should not be at the expense of disenfranchising the membership. They must have a say in how their party is to be run. Colleague, there is always room for improvement and, with wide input, especially from membership, ideas can come forward that will strengthen democracy. Therefore, I suggest that all EDAs be consulted and their views sought – my EDA has informed me that they oppose this bill”.

It seems that Tories not only have to answer and negotiate with the opposition, but they have a task to convince their own members of the relevance of the Election Act reforms.