Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Doug Ford was confirmed as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on Saturday after official results were delayed due to a ballot dispute at the party convention near Toronto, but Christine Elliott did not initially concede.

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In the final results, Mr. Ford was only 150 votes ahead of candidate Christine Elliott and won in the third ballot of preferential voting, a result that was reported earlier by CBC News.

Ms. Elliott challenged the election outcome and it went before the PC Party’s board of appeals before being rejected.

Elliott was first place in the first of the ranked ballot rounds, with Ford stealing the title in the second round when Tanya Grenic Allen dropped, and held the spot for the third to take the election victory.

Elliott, who was not present at Ford’s statement following the victory announcement, released a statement shortly before midnight saying she would investigate “serious irregularities” with the voting.

In the statement released to media, she claimed she won the popular vote and the majority of ridings.

Elliott, who has now lost three Progressive Conservative leadership races, also cited the 150 point difference between herself and Ford out of some 12,000 available.

“I will stand up for these members and plan to investigate the extent of this discrepancy,” she wrote.

Convention with no winner

The Ontario PC Party was set to choose a leader on Saturday afternoon, with an announcement planned for around 3:15 p.m. at the convention centre.

Chair of the leadership election committee Hartley Lefton asked attendees of the leadership convention to “go home” after over three hours of waiting.

Mr. Lefton told a crowd of booing PC Party members that results would come “as soon as practically possible” without going into specifics of when.

Reporters said did they did not expect results to be announced Saturday evening.

The event location, the Hilton Conference Centre in Markham, was set to hold a fashion show the next day and so the party had to give up the hall so building staff could set up it.

The only leadership candidate who talked to media following the announcement, Tanya Grenic Allen, said that the party will “unite beyond the leader” and that, no matter who wins, there is “only one loser and that is Kathleen Wynne.”

Caroline Mulroney called for the PC party to unite behind a new leader so it could focus on winning the provincial election in June, saying she is looking forward to “hearing the party announce the official results.”

Multiple sources told Mike Crawley of CBC News earlier on Saturday afternoon that Doug Ford had won the election, but officials from Christine Elliott’s campaign denied that a final result has been reached at the convention.

The delay came over confusion over which riding a number of votes came from, as the election is based on points from riding’s, and not simply a popular vote.

CBC News sources had said earlier it was due to a technical problem with one of the ballot counting machines, but it was found to be inaccurate.

Elliott’s campaign demanded a manual recount of at least some of the ballots, according to Mike Crawley of CBC News, who reported that the process was completed, and Ford was still the winner, citing multiple sources.

More details to follow. Image of the candidates from previous files. 

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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