Brampton MPP quits NDP over nomination controversy

The first Black MPP in Peel Region has stop with the NDP amid claims the party threw him out in a contentious nomination race for the June 2 provincial election.

Kevin Yarde (Brampton North) said Friday he would sit down as an Independent after learning that the local New Democrats had shut down party membership sales before he knew he faced an internal challenge which he subsequently lost.

The former TV weather forecaster told the Star that he was not informed by the party until March 17 that there was a challenger to the nomination — nine days after the March 8 deadline for registering new members eligible to vote in the match.

“It was way too late to sign up any more people,” Yarde said in an interview on Friday. “You can’t do anything.”

The race and the right to join the party on June 2 was won by challenger Sandeep Singh on April 7, after three days of online voting, with the result that the party’s Black caucus was outraged and several members were ringing alarm bells. social media.

“When we are a team, we support and lift each other. If we don’t, there is a deep systemic and structural problem,” new Democrat MPP Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches-East York) tweeted at the time.

Yarde said on Friday that he decided to leave the NDP “in principle” with less than two weeks until the provincial campaign officially begins and has not yet determined whether he will act as an independent — a move that will draw support from the new Democrats in line. he won in 2018 by less than 500 votes.

“I was disappointed with how everything went and surprised by the way things have turned out,” he added.

A New Democrat insider told the Star on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations that Yarde and the NDP driver of the driving association would have chosen the voting dates knowing they would have put a limit on sales of memberships by March 8. Membership is required to vote on the nomination.

But Yarde said that once he got membership lists, it was clear that some of the new members who signed up on his opponent’s behalf had bought their memberships in February, raising the question of why he wasn’t notified sooner.

Horwath’s office declined to comment on the controversy on Friday, although the leader earlier this month acknowledged “some concerns” about party policies that could challenge incumbent members for the right to participate in elections. She promised to review it.

“We wish Kevin Yarde the best and want absolutely nothing but the best for him in the future,” Lucy Watson, provincial director of the Ontario NDP, said in a statement Friday.

Yarde won the previously Liberal victory over a progressive Conservative candidate in Prime Minister Doug Ford’s victory four years ago. The former MPP, Harinder Malhi, is active again this time.

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