What was it about Jane McKenna that was worth breaking all the accepted political party nomination rules? It wasn't about McKenna.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2016



What would have made the Ontario Provincial Progressive Conservative Party Organization and Election Readiness committee ignore some very compelling evidence when they chose to confirm the nomination of Jane McKenna over that of Jane Michael without releasing critical data on how many votes were cast and how many each candidate got?

The political party clearly wanted McKenna.


There are some reasons that the Catholic community isn’t going to like; nor will those opposed to the current sex education curriculum that is now in effect

The Niagara constituency elected Sam Oosterhoff, a home-schooled social conservative on hiatus from first-year political science studies at Brock University who will become the youngest MPP in Ontario history. With support from parishioners at his church, the teen beat Brown’s close friend, PC party president and former St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, for the Niagara seat that had been previously held by PC party leader Tim Hudak.

While Patrick Brown, leader of the provincial Conservatives has said in the past that he was a pro-life supporter that position seems to have changed. In a letter to the Gazette one PC party member said she attended a meeting “with about 11 other people in Burlington just prior to your election. Mr. Brown, you made three statements that resonated with the group. You emphatically stated that you are pro-life, pro-family and that you would change the sex-education curriculum that the Liberal Party had established.”

Brown is realizing that those views are not going to propel him into office. There just aren’t enough people who want a government that will take a strong pro-life position and most parents are comfortable with the sex education curriculum. The Muslim community has strong view against the new sex education program there aren’t enough of them to make the kind of difference Patrick Brown needs.

The Progressive Conservative party organization in Burlington is in a shambles – with a very small (reported at 200) membership, some money in the bank and a candidate that was basically given the nomination back in 2011 when the party wasn’t prepared to go with Rene Papin and couldn’t stomach Brian Heagle.

The December nomination of McKenna was a little like one of those wrestling matches where eveything goes wrong.  The video makes the political process look badly flawed.

The senior who was threatened in the video, Roy Cummings, wrote the Gazette to provide some background: “I am a 77-year-old cancer survivor (this year). I challenged the chair to release the vote count. Mr. Zeiss told me to sit down and shut up. Then in a rage, he came charging over, as seen on the video, and challenged me to step outside and settle the matter. He also threatened me and my friend and his wife.

 I am the “older gentleman” concerned. I was asking that the vote count be announced. The younger man rushing me was a former Party President, Ken Zeiss, and now chair of the Ontario-wide nomination process.

This out-of-control man challenged me to step outside to settle the matter. Very manly challenging a 77-year-old recent cancer survivor to step outside. I would say what a coward. And this is what represents the CPO?

Both the Chairman of the meeting and a PCO Board member came to me afterwards and apologized. I was also given the vote count.

Insert video



Jane McKenna, provincial Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington

Jane McKenna was someone’s idea and they nominated her in 2011 in one of the shortest nomination meetings this reporter has seen. McKenna had nothing in the way of practical political experience. However she was a quick study and she learned where the political power was and went straight for it.

As a member of the opposition she wasn’t in a position to do very much for the people of Burlington and rather than learn the ropes she chose to ingratiate herself with the party leadership. There wasn’t one speech she made in the legislature that is memorable.

The Progressive Conservatives see a government that is on the ropes and they think they can take power from the provincial Liberals. Premier Wynne certainly has her hands full – she is going to have to do something with hydro rates. But notice how she has managed to basically bury the cash for access problem she had?

Also, in Eleanor McMahon, Wynne has a first class Minister who is an incredible campaigner. She is genuine, thoughtful and connects with people. Not everyone – but most. She is a better debater than McKenna and on the campaign trail – when we get to it – she will prove to be even better than she was in 2014.

Is this partisan boasting? Some will say that is what the Gazette is doing.  We think we are being realistic and looking at the political playing field and have come to the conclusion that the Progressive Conservatives in Burlington couldn’t live with a candidate that would have her Bishop beside her at events. The party already has one very social conservative in Niagara – having another in Burlington was just not in the cards.

They needed to ensure that they had a candidate who could hit the ground running and regain a riding they had held for 70 years.

And that Jane McKenna will do – but it won’t make a difference.

McMahon will win the seat even if the government loses office.

In the meantime McKenna has to overcome the smell of a nomination process that was deeply flawed and with a membership that is as deeply divided.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 comments to What was it about Jane McKenna that was worth breaking all the accepted political party nomination rules? It wasn’t about McKenna.

  • Susan L.

    Is that Mike Wallace at :10 walking away? .. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

  • Fred Crockett

    So, who was the insipid little weasel that challenged the 77 year old cancer survivor. Does he have the guts to let his name be known? I’m only 67, but would look forward to pitching the disgraceful punk off the pier.

    Burlington is a wonderful city, with great citizens. We don’t need this embarrassment from an incompetent local Conservative administration that has given the riding, once again, to the Liberals, unnecessarily….

    Ms. McKenna has finished 5th before; she’ll do it again.

  • Stephen White

    Sad commentary when the choice for Burlington voters comes down to electing: (a) a capable MPP who, regrettably, is linked to a discredited provincial government with an appalling track record of financial mismanagement and incompetence; or (b) a less than spectacular PC candidate with a bizarre leader, dubious policies, and who likely won’t do much for Burlington if elected.

    Waiting with baited breath to see who the Libertarian and NDP candidates are. Even the Greens would be an improvement over this.

  • Phillip

    The PC’s continue to prove that they are Kathleen Wynne’s greatest asset in her bid for reelection in 2018. God help us!!!

  • Wendy

    The only way to overcome the situation of a membership that is deeply divided is to have an investigation and then a re-election. If an election process has one or two mishaps it would be understandable because things happen. The amount of issues that can be proved (and were in the documents that were sent to the Party President, Rick Dykstra) are a total of 42 irregularities. I have heard of other irregularities but these were not listed because the individuals were either afraid to be quoted or it they were not primary sources. How can these 42 irregularities be denied or excused?