NORTH BAY - The ride is over before it even started for Mark King after his nomination to represent Nipissing-Timiskaming as the Conservative Party candidate in the upcoming federal election was revoked.
Jordy Carr who lost to King at the nomination meeting is now the federal Conservative candidate for the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding.
King held a news conference Thursday outside his business to explain his side of events that he believes led up to the decision.
The former federal Conservative candidate says following his speech at the nomination meeting he was told by the regional organizer for northeastern Ontario that he was unable to vote.
“Bill Greenberg was the individual that told me I couldn’t vote because they indicated I had used a corporate card to purchase the membership,” said King.
“In my mind at that particular moment when they said my membership was invalid, I was obviously no longer a candidate inside the nomination. But we had been vetted properly, through an excruciating vetting process at the federal level to get to that point. So, what they did is pull the rug right out from underneath myself, our family and our full team at the 9th hour. “
King said in understanding the process, “what we’re talking about here is a $15 membership in the (Conservative) party.”
King even disputes those claims that a corporate card had been used.
“The card that I had was in my personal name. It has Mark King on it. I want to make it perfectly clear that I did not purchase my membership with a corporate card. I proceeded at that particular point to go back to vote because I didn’t feel he (Greenberg) had the proper right to stop me from voting when I had been properly vetted by the federal party,” said King.
“I honestly won the nomination. It was done in a fair and equal process. I never, nor did any of my team ever do anything at all to circumvent the process. This is what is so discerning when we look at how our communities operate and what democracy looks like. This is the sad part of what has transpired with a mainstream federal party.”
He read from an email regarding the party’s decision,
‘As you may already be aware, following the closure of the nomination process in your riding, the candidacy of Mark King was disallowed. After a national council review, that decision was upheld.’
King called the entire situation “undemocratic”.
“This is not democracy. There’s no question. It appears that a couple of people have overruled democracy inside the party. And we feel this will have a major impact not only on the election here in the riding of Nipissing-Timiscaming, but there will be waves felt we believe probably in the province and across the country with this,” said King.
“In my mind it was deceitful, it was underhanded, it was dishonourable, it was unscrupulous, and it was improper. My gut feeling at this point is that I want nothing to do with the PC party in any way shape or form. As a matter of fact, after we finish this press conference, I will go and cancel my memberships because they’re not valid in their mind. I will also be asking for the $1,000 back that I had to give to the party in order to go through the vetting process because they have deemed this whole process invalid.”
King says he has full legal support
“We provided pictures of the card that was supposed to be corporate. We also provided all the background information from the bank which indicated it wasn’t a corporate card. We also talked about sole proprietorship. The feeling now is internally, inside the federal executive, they just don’t understand how business actually operates, the difference between the personal card for business and a corporate card for business.”
King says the card in question was also used to purchase a number of memberships which he says he was entitled to do.
“Under the purchase policy of the federal PC party, you’re allowed to buy a family membership; my membership, my wife’s membership, my daughter’s membership and my wife’s mother. Those memberships were purchased with that particular card. They actually refused to even let my wife vote,” said King.
“This had been extremely hard for me to swallow. I know that the local party is totally splintered. I’ve had countless emails, phone calls from people right across the region and the general feeling is disbelief at what has transpired here.”
The situation has left King with mixed emotions.
“Once they’ve made this decision through their national organization, I have no recourse,” said King.
“Although I feel let down, I feel a huge relief. During the nomination process I told the head office, the people involved, I told them based on what I would consider their total inability to organize, that I felt at that particular point I wasn’t sure whether I even wanted to be involved with this party.”
Although talked about, he says it is too early to give any consideration to running as an independent.
“I had phone calls already this morning about other options, there are two, maybe three other options out there that could happen. But you need to realize at this particular point my campaign team, my family, we’ve been really beaten up here by this process. I think I need a couple of days to recoup. I wouldn’t do anything until I’ve actually talked to my full campaign team.”
King has already told Jordy Carr that she will not be getting his support.
“I called her at 2:30 yesterday, about 8 minutes after the official release came from the federal party, and I advised her that I will be withdrawing all support personally for the party, that I would not support Jordy Carr in any way, shape or form.”
When asked by a reporter if Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota, a Liberal, is now a shoo-in to win the riding, King responded by saying,
“I’m going to congratulate him right now.”