Ex-Liberal MP says she won't run in 2015, after all
Published Sunday, October 5, 2014 7:18PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 6, 2014 6:27AM EDT
One day after promoting a "special announcement" and hinting that she will be running for the Liberal Party again in next year’s federal election, former MP Ruby Dhalla says she has decided not to run after all.
In a bizarre turn of events, Dhalla showed up for her scheduled news conference in Brampton, Ont., Sunday only to announce that she won’t be running in the 2015 federal election.
“After much thought and much reflection, I will not be running in the next federal election,” she told a crowd of about 60 people.
“I am sure that this is going to come as a very big surprise to all of you because when I called yesterday, so many of you poured your hearts out.”
As she spoke, Dhalla was surrounded by posters which had the Liberal Party name blacked out.
When Dhalla finished speaking, the event emcee took the microphone and said: “That’s not the announcement we were expecting.”
Asked whether the Liberal Party stepped in at the last minute, Dhalla replied in an email to CTV’s Richard Madan: “Yes to convince me not to do it!”
She said it was a “difficult” decision because she had the support of local Liberals and Brampton residents.
“Even my opponents showed up today thinking I was launching my campaign,” she wrote in the email.
In a subsequent phone interview, however, Dhalla told CTV News that the Liberal Party did want her to run, but she decided at the last minute that she couldn’t commit to serving as an MP again. A spokesperson for the Liberal Party could not be immediately reached for comment.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has promised open nominations, even though he blocked one would-be contender from running earlier this year over what he described as aggressive tactics and infighting. Christine Innes, who wanted to run for the Liberals in a Toronto riding byelection, subsequently filed a lawsuit against Trudeau and the co-chair of his Ontario campaign team.
Although Dhalla insists she hadn’t even filed her nomination paperwork before Sunday’s announcement, Liberal Party rules prohibit non-candidates from using the party logo.
Dhalla represented the Brampton-Springdale riding from 2004 to 2011, when she lost her seat to Conservative Parm Gill.
In 2009, she was accused of illegally employing and mistreating two caregivers hired to look after her mother. The caregivers alleged that Dhalla took their passports and forced them to perform duties outside of their job description.
Dhalla denied any wrongdoing and said she was the victim of a smear campaign. She was never charged with any crimes in connection with the caregivers’ allegations.