Friday, March 28, 2014

Sue their butts off!

Conservative Party of Canada fires Butts as Regional Director

By Monte Somenberg
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The president of the Conservative Party of Canada’s riding association in Haldimand and Norfolk is consulting a lawyer after losing his position as a CPC Regional Director.

Wally Butts of St. Williams has been Regional Director for Hamilton-Niagara District for the past 10 years. Thursday, Butts said he was recently fired because of a disagreement with party executives in Ottawa over an incident last week in the newly-formed riding of Oakville-North Burlington.

“It’s all over a bunch of stupidity,” Butts said. “I’m not able to talk about it. It’s in the hands of the lawyers right now. It’s a ridiculous thing that’s happened.”

The story begins March 19 when Mississauga-Brampton South MP Eve Adams made an unscheduled appearance at a meeting of the CPC Executive in the new riding of Oakville-North Burlington.

Adams recently moved to Oakville with her fiancé Dimitri Soudas, Executive Director of the CPC and Butts’ boss as a Regional Director. Adams attended the closed-door meeting of the executive and reportedly attempted to participate.

After investigating the incident, Butts was of the opinion that Adams acted contrary to the Constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada Electoral District Associations.

Butts confirmed reports saying the Oakville-North Burlington Executive told Adams they had a full agenda and that she should come back another time. Adams reportedly did not take kindly to this and there was an argument.

The Riding Executive referred the incident to Butts. Following his investigation, Butts criticized Adams’ behaviour in an e-mail to party headquarters.

“This kind of conduct is totally unjustified, in my opinion, and serves only to sully the party,” Butts said in the e-mail. “Also, making personal attacks on Board Members is definitely not warranted. When this situation originally arose, it was made clear to me that Dimitri (Soudas) would not be involved, and Eve was to be treated just like any other candidate seeking nomination. I am in a totally untenable position in this matter as Dimitri is my ultimate boss.”

The day after sending the e-mail, Butts was called to a meeting and relieved of his directorship.

Butts says he was concerned because Adams’ alleged behaviour contravened Section 11, article 3 of the CPC constitution for electoral district associations. It says:

“All approved nomination contestants (as listed by the nominations committee) shall be invited to attend meetings of the Board of Directors; however, nomination contestants shall not be permitted to participate in any discussions or deliberations regarding the nominations.”

“I was trying to ensure a level playing field, that’s all,” Butts said. “I was trying to prevent them from stealing an unfair advantage. And I got my ass canned for it.”

Butts would not specify how much the director’s position paid. He described the wage as “a median income.” He also doesn’t know whether this situation will cost him the presidency of the Haldimand-Norfolk riding association.

Butts feels the firing makes him look “stupid.” He is exploring the possibility of legal action with Simcoe lawyer Paul Hosack. Butts added his email is backing up with messages of support from party members across the country.

Butts doubts that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was consulted before the firing. Butts said Harper was out of the country when the events leading up to his dismissal transpired.

The Reformer reached out to Adams and Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa for comment. There was no reply as of press time.

The office of local MP Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works in the Harper cabinet, was also contacted.

Assistant Alyson Queen said Finley is aware of the matter and is monitoring the situation with interest.

“Wally has always served our local electoral district association extremely well, particularly as president,” Finley said in a statement. “In fact, just last week, his term as president was renewed. I have every confidence in Wally and his abilities.”

Monte Sonnenberg
519-426-3528 ext. 150


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