Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brian Heagle exits nomination race as the Ontario PC Party candidate in Burlington

In a stunning announcement, local lawyer and 2009 Citizen of the Year, Brian Heagle formally withdrew from the Burlington Progressive Conservative (PC) nomination race today. For his media release, Mr. Heagle said:

“When I stepped forward as a candidate earlier this year, and after Rene Papin withdrew from the race in early May, I never expected the nomination process would still be going on nine weeks later in July.”

To date, a nomination meeting has yet to be scheduled by the Burlington PC Riding Association executive—or, if it has, it’s a closely guarded secret. Though, one can never know for sure with that group. Their Internet home page still features an invitation to a reception (fundraiser) held on May 24. Only about three months before the general election, and an old ad for a fundraiser held one and a half months ago is the best they can do on their website.

Mr. Heagle obviously wanted to represent Burlington PCs, but couldn’t wait indefinitely for a nomination meeting that could have been held several weeks ago. One can sense his disappointment when he says:

“I would love the privilege and opportunity to be the Ontario PC Party candidate and represent Burlington as its next MPP. Regrettably, timing and circumstances have changed.

“I have to make firm commitments now to my family, partners and clients which no longer fit with this political process, including the short lead up to the October 6 election.”

In my view, Mr. Heagle has been treated shabbily by the Burlington PC Riding Association and/or by the executive of the PC Party of Ontario. He entered the nomination race as one of two approved candidates in March 2011—that’s over three months ago. Sure, the federal election did delay things, but that vote took place May 2, some six weeks ago.

Mr. Heagle’s is the third withdrawal from the nomination race. What’s going on and why have two previously approved candidates withdrawn from the race? René Papin, a former president of the riding association was an approved candidate but withdrew some week ago, saying:

“I have been advised that my candidacy, at this time, does not fit the strategic direction of the party, and that it would be in the best interests of the party if I were to withdraw.”

Will the Burlington PC Riding Association’s board of directors or the PC Party executive continue to delay holding a nomination meeting until someone of their choosing puts their name up?

This sort of thing sours many old-time PC supporters who have helped keep Burlington riding Tory-blue for decades. Continued behind-the-scenes maneuvering might just be enough to keep us at home on October 6. Just saying.

I met Brian Heagle for the first time after he announced he’d be running for the nomination. I took and instant liking for the man—he came across as sincere, personable and capable. It’s just too darn bad he never got a chance to showcase himself to the voters of Burlington—I think he would have won.

Good luck with future endeavors, Brian.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.


  1. That is news. Agree that Brian is/was a GOOD candidate. Maybe 'the plan' is to bring back Cam Jackson - ??? That would be a mistake.

  2. Margaret Lindsay Holton,

    Doubt if plan is to "bring back Cam Jackson," but one can never tell. The decks do seem to be cleared for someone, though, don't they?

  3. is it just me or is voting for the PCs about as helpful as voting for Mcfly for a third term? i am hardly being convinced. wanted to believe that hudak was harris-reincarnate but........

  4. Russ: Quite right. Brian Heagle (and others) have been treated poorly. What is happening to my party? What is the Burlington PC Riding Association’s criteria for an acceptable candidate? Looks to me that the Burlington PC Association is directing a process and agenda meant to exclude PC’s not to their particular liking. An open and democratic process - not really, is it? Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t like this back room stuff and I don’t think other PC supporters like me like it either. Meanwhile, we continue to sit in limbo. The PC’s have driven away a very electable candidate, and the election clock is ticking…...


  5. It’s time for the central PC party nomination committee to explain their actions to the constituents of Burlington.
    Did you know that Jane McKenna was previously Mr. Rene Papin’s (male) election campaign manager? Rene was the PC nominee candidate back in May who also withdrew and explained “I have been advised that my candidacy, at this time, does not fit the strategic direction of the party, and that it would be in the best interests of the party if I were to withdraw.” Fellow candidate Mr. Brad Reaume (male) also withdrew from the race in early April claiming that his “circumstances have changed”. Burlington MPP Mike Wallace has stated Jane was “ask to run” as a nominee. It seems that the ‘fix was in’ in this nomination process and Burlington’s constituency was to be given no choice about who would represent them in the upcoming provincial election. While we all expect collusion in politics, this kind of undemocratic action at the grass roots level erodes our basic democratic freedoms and liberties.

  6. Our democracy has been high-jacked by self-serving undemocratic political parties that no longer represent their constituency.

    Our government continues to degrade into a state of non-transparency and unresponsiveness because of increasing power concentration in the executive branch. They enact laws and public policy without public consultation and engage in actions that are increasingly undermining public trust and confidence in the government. They feel emboldened to do so because of public apathy and because the system panders to lobbyists and special interest groups. Voting and electing any representatives to government and hoping they respond to the specific needs of their local constituency is a hopelessly antiquated system that no longer works. The central Progressive Conservative Party nomination committee has subverted the democratic process because it has applied unreasonable restrictions on candidates seeking to become your PC representative resulting in a non-contested nomination process and an unchallengeable lone appointee that was acclaimed by default and without a vote.