235 Glebeholme Blvd
Toronto, ON, M4J 1T1
Ph: 416-466-0406 (r), 416-778-4109 (w)
April 8, 2003
Mr. Bruck Easton, National President
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
Suite 806, 141 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J3
FAX 519 973-0255
I am writing this as a formal complaint of harassment against myself and the executive of the Toronto-Danforth Riding Association by the National Director of the party. Attached please find copies of the correspondence which are self-explanatory.
We are in the middle of a leadership race in which my brother David is a contender. I head up his campaign. I don't believe these actions by the National Director are coincidental. For the record, this is only the latest in a long string of incidents. My brother's campaign has been subjected to an ongoing, systematic and escalating campaign of harassment by party officials, much of what appears to be emanating from the office of the National Director.
In riding after riding, we have experienced hostile, rude, heavy-handed and repeated attempts to obstruct, overturn or even reverse the expression of the will of the members if that will appears even remotely to support my brother.
From one end of the country to the other, we have watched, and protested, the party's constitution being trampled to thwart expression of member choice: rules have been bent or abandoned to accommodate our opponents, while the letter of the law is enforced without fail, and new rules invented on the spot, against my brother and his supporters.
In case after case, legitimate paid-up members of the Progressive Conservative Party have been denied a vote at their riding association meetings. Even when forced to recognize the will of the members at the local level, upper level party officials have acted to overturn declared results.
Across Canada, our people are forced at the height of the campaign to turn aside from the pressing work of organizing to deal with harassment and obstruction from within our party establishment itself.
Instead of campaigning, or preparing for crucial public appearances, my brother is tied to his desk for days on end dealing with a mounting onslaught of attacks against our campaign emanating from the party management.
Even though we are still paying down debt from our 1998 campaign, the party has informed us it is refusing to issue tax credits for all the donations we received in the year 2002. (Other campaigns received three years worth of tax credits, we are being denied equal treatment.) We are receiving a rising chorus of complaints from misled and irate donors, and instead of a correction, party officials at the highest rank have suggested our campaign phone all of our 2002 donors, offer to refund their donation and ask if they will re-issue their cheques in the year 2003! Not only has this cut our chances of repeat donations in 2003 by 2002 donors, the credibility of the party is in play. The effect on our fundraising efforts and impact on our donor base is devastating and can only be assumed to be calculated to be so.
Envelopes arrive at reporters' desks carrying requests to Revenue Canada to trigger an audit and investigation of the David Orchard Foundation for Canada, anonymous information reportedly coming from a high-ranking party official.
Furthermore, names of prominent donors who have given to the David Orchard campaign are being leaked by party officials to the press in violation of all commitments of confidentiality. The press has followed up with telephone calls to the offices of these donors. Most recently, headquarters leaked to the public the fact that the Orchard campaign credit card had at one point reached its limit - a story prominently displayed on the front page of Torydraft.com today.
Even credit card donations carefully processed by our office according to the party rules (Leadership Selection Process -2002-2003, Rules and Procedures for Leadership Candidates, Section 2.10) are rejected and returned by party headquarters as not tax creditable.
In spite of the fact that David Orchard is the only candidate with previous leadership race experience, he was systematically excluded from the leadership rule-making process. This, after having been expressly assured that his input as a candidate with previous experience, would be solicited along with that of the other candidates to ensure fairness. Not only was he not approached for input, his telephone calls to request input into the process were ignored.
Thus we have a situation where my brother, who has never belonged to any other political party, who has consistently defended the Progressive Conservative party and its historical roots for the past five years, bringing in thousands of new members and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and donations, who was runner-up to Joe Clark in 1998 and a loyal and steadfast supporter of the leader ever since, is now forced to defend himself in the face of a campaign of hatred, vilification and corruption from certain elements of the party management.
A card-holding member of another party is participating in the leadership race, and even sitting MPs of other parties are offered a vote at our party's leadership convention, while my brother is locked out of normal participation in his own party. In the face of all this, David has remained unfailingly polite and considerate. He has refused repeated media requests to go public with what is being done to him by party management.
As simply one example which speaks to many more, to the last minute my brother was threatened, in the crudest manner, by certain party officials that he would not be accredited as a candidate without filing proof of an insurance requirement which was already in place but not yet formally submitted because our agent was on holiday in Mexico. Extraordinary efforts were made by my brother, our team and the insurance company involved to comply with the stern demands of Mr. Scrymgeour and Mr. Dodds. Only weeks later do we find that none of the other accredited leadership campaigns were even required to have their insurance, that only my brother was forced to comply with this Leadership Selection rule, under threat of non-certification.
Is this the party, Bruck, that we are asking people to trust in the next election?
What exactly is the party intending to do about the string of instant "presidents" being imposed upon unsuspecting and unnotified members in Quebec and elsewhere, complete with a vote at the coming leadership convention in May? How can we build on this kind of foundation a force capable of defeating the Liberals? New members who have been recruited at great effort, attracted by our promise of a new day for the PC Party are witnessing old time corruption and turning away in disgust. The public today is not prepared to take a "boys will be boys" attitude to political dirty tricks.
In 1998, our campaign absorbed all the attacks and discrimination, feeling that as a newcomers perhaps we had to pay our dues. We are no longer newcomers. We do not intend to let this race, or the party itself, be stolen from us, not in the province of Quebec, not in Saskatchewan, nor anywhere else as a result of unchallenged corruption and fraud on the part of a handful of party officials.
To date even fair-minded members of the party management have refused to put a stop to what is going on and have turned a blind eye to the openly discriminatory and hostile actions of David Scrymgeour, Chris Montgomery and others. They have refused to step in on the issue of the tax credits or the corruption and abuse of process going on in the ridings. One party official of the highest rank has called my brother "the most civilized person" he has ever met. I think it's fair to say that he brings a whole new element of integrity, fair play and decency into the political process, which is being abused. I could cite many other examples of blatant and ongoing discrimination, damaging not only to our campaign but to the whole party. Suffice it to say that speaking strictly for myself, I believe there comes an end to everything and this includes patience. Although my brother has a famous adherence to civility, I don't believe anyone has accused him of being a fool. We have prepared a dossier of actions taken by party officials against our campaign and we are adding to it on an ongoing basis.
We need to know, and given the timelines we are all under, within a short frame of time, that the party will implement a zero-tolerance policy for fraud, that a clear stop will be made to the discriminatory and harassing actions against my brother's leadership campaign, and that he and others on our team will henceforth be treated with the respect due equal and senior members of the party, who have paid their dues, in more ways than one.
Toronto-Danforth Riding Association
David Orchard Campaign
Grant Orchard was the manager of David Orchard's campaign for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Pary of Canada in 2003. He can be reached at
Ph: 416-466-0406 (r), 416-778-4109 (w), Fax: 416-778-6348