03/20/2014 12:32 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Justin Trudeau under fire from Trinity-Spadina Liberals

It appears that supporters of one-time Liberal candidate Christine Innes are ready to fight for her right to enter the nomination race for the still-undeclared byelection in Trinity-Spadina — and they've got the blessing of the local riding association executive to take their case straight to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. 

On Thursday, the Federal Trinity-Spadina Liberal Association announced, via press release, that the local executive has "voted to condemn both the process and the decision made by the Liberal Party to block its only known nominee in an imminent by-election."

The release claims the party "made unproven and malicious allegations against the candidate and her family" in an effort to "cover up its desire to control the nomination process" — specifically, they allege, in response to Innes's refusal to sign a written pledge to run for the nomination in Spadina-Fort York in 2015.

"There was absolutely no due or fair process," riding president Julia Melus is quoted as saying in the release.

"No one picked up the phone to contact me, there was no opportunity to discuss their concerns, and there was zero local involvement. This is contrary to everything the Liberal Party — new or otherwise — is supposed to stand for.”

The riding executive has requested a face-to-face meeting with Trudeau to review the decision "and return to fairness and due process."

'Open' nominations?

The riding-level rebellion is only the latest twist in what has become a running battle over just how open the nomination process will be.

Last week, Liberal hopeful Zach Paikin very publicly called off his own pre-campaign to get the Liberal nod in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas to protest the party's treatment of Innes.

In a statement posted to Facebook, he stated that he could not, "in good conscience, campaign to be a part of a team of candidates if others seeking to join that team are prevented from doing so if their ideas or ambitions run contrary to the party leader's interest."

Trudeau hinted earlier this week that the party would be soon be releasing more details on the nomination process, although it's by no means a sure thing that such retroactive transparency will quell the rising backlash over the party's handling of the Innes situation.

Still, with the clock ticking down on the three pending byelections, Team Trudeau would be wise to do whatever it takes to forge at least a temporary truce in Trinity-Spadina, or risk throwing the eventual Liberal banner-carrier out on the hustings without the all-important ground support.

Meanwhile, the Trinity-Spadina New Democrats will welcome their first — and, so far, only — declared nomination candidate on Friday evening, when Joe Cressy makes it official with a kickoff at a local pub.