Just one day after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was hit with a defamation lawsuit by thwarted Trinity–Spadina byelection candidate Christine Innes, the Liberals are getting ready to acclaim Toronto Centre MP Chrystia Freeland as their 2015 candidate in the newly-created riding of University Rosedale.
Innes is suing Trudeau over comments he made in explaining his decision to block her from the Trinity-Spadina nomination race.
The Liberals maintain she was barred due to allegations that her team, including her husband, former MP Tony Ianno, had been bullying local Liberals. Innes has repeatedly said the Liberal move was actually to prevent her from eventually challenging Freeland in University–Rosedale.
Under federal redistribution, Trinity–Spadina will be divvied up between the new ridings of University–Rosedale and Spadina–Fort York, which is viewed as likely to be a far tougher fight against the New Democrats than University–Rosedale, which also includes a good-sized chunk of Toronto Centre.
Currently, two Liberal candidates have officially joined the race for the Trinity–Spadina byelection nomination: Christine Tabbert, who finished a lacklustre fourth in Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke in 2011, and Ryan Davey, an investment banker who has also served on the riding association executive.
Innes supporters point out the notice for the University–Rosedale nomination meeting, which will be held on May 2, was sent out an hour after the April 11 deadline to file nomination papers for a race that hadn't even been officially declared.
As a result, Freeland's name will be the only one on the ballot.
Liberal Party spokeswoman Andrée-Lyne told CBC News that nomination papers for University–Rosedale, like all ridings, has been available since Jan. 10.
"Anybody could have taken out paperwork and returned a completed package since then," she explained.
"Ms. Freeland is the only candidate who has done so, and will consequently be acclaimed on May 2."
Other races uncontested
As for the lack of notice, she said, "the party been clear since nominations opened in January that interested contestants should not delay in submitting their papers, since nominations could be called for any time after the party’s convention in February."
Freeland isn't the only federal Liberal hopeful who won't have to put a nomination candidacy to a vote.
According to the list of nomination meetings posted on the Liberal website, the following candidates have been or will be acclaimed:
- Kristy Duncan (Etobicoke North)
- Judy Sgro (York West)
- David McGuinty (Ottawa South)
- Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's)
- Navdeep Bains (Mississauga–Malton)
- John McKay (Scarborough–Guildwood)
- John McCallum (Markham–Thornhill)
- Mauril Belanger (Ottawa–Vanier)
- Jane Philpott (Markham–Stouffville)
The following ridings are slated to choose their candidates in the next few weeks: Mississauga Centre (April 27), Northumberland–Pine Ridge (April 27), Calgary Confederation (April 29), Saint Leonard–Saint Michel (April 29), Lemoyne (May 1), Bourassa (May 4), Lévis–Lotbinière (May 6), Lac Saint–Louis (May 8), Beausejour (May 10).
In most of those ridings, the nomination deadline hasn't passed, which means it's not yet known which races, if any, will be contested.
It seems safe to say that few nomination contests will spark the sort of sustained bitterness that continues to swirl around the party — and the process — in downtown Toronto.
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Liberal Candidate Chrystia Freeland (right) stands with Bob Rae as she celebrates after winning the Toronto Centre Federal byelection in Toronto on Monday November 25, 2013 .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Liberal Candidate Chrystia Freeland celebrates with her daughter Halynka after winning the Toronto Centre Federal byelection in Toronto on Monday November 25, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (left) along with Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett (right) escort recently elected Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland, of the Toronto centre riding, into the House of Commons in Ottawa, Monday January 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Toronto Centre candidate Chrystia Freeland hold a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Are Stephen Harper's Conservatives on the ropes over the Senate expenses scandal? And, if they are, to which opposition party — Tom Mulcair's NDP or Trudeau's Liberals — will Canadians turn to replace them? THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, and newly-elected MP Chrystia Freeland are welcomed by the Liberal caucus on Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chrystia Freeland, new Liberal candidate for Toronto Centre, attends a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Freeland, a high-profile federal Liberal candidate campaigning in Toronto on a platform of restoring the middle class, oversaw the decision to move two dozen full-time media jobs from that city to India. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (right) applauds byelection candidate Chrystia Freeland during her speech at campaign rally at a Toronto Centre campaign office on Wednesday October 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (right) prompts byelection candidate Chrystia Freeland during her speech at campaign rally at a Toronto Centre campaign office on Wednesday October 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
UP NEXT: Memorable Trudeau Photos
Coming For MacKay
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (left) is chased by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a motorized wheelchair during a wheelchair race relay on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Twenty-five MPs and senators used a wheelchair for the day in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association's Spinal Cord Injury and CPA awareness month.
Come At Me, Bro
Justin Trudeau trains at Pan Am Boxing Club in Winnipeg on Friday Feb. 1, 2013.
Justin Trudeau & co. making faces.
Justin Trudeau splits his pants while pushing the "scrum machine" in support of Prostate Cancer Canada in Toronto Thursday, July 21, 2011.
Justin Trudeau gets his geek on at Montreal Comiccon in September 2012.
So Long 'Stache
Justin Trudeau has his moustache shaved off to raise money for the Judy LaMarsh Fund, that supports female candidates, at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
All For One, One For All
Justin Trudeau all dressed up for the Montreal Movember Gala in 2010.
Pierre Trudeau's sons, Sacha, left, and Justin, tackle their mother's paperboy in Ottawa in this undated photo.
'Family... And A Cow.'
He Can Certainly Take A Punch
Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau.
Be Honest With Me, Who's Cuter?
Justin Trudeau strikes a pose with an adorable baby.
A Very Furry Christmas
Justin Trudeau poses with his family on his 2010 Christmas card.
Former Liberal MP Ken Dryden, left, and Justin Trudeau play table hockey as they visit Sun Youth, a community organization, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 in Montreal.
Yanking Their Chain
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
Justin Trudeau in Muskoka, Ont.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, centre, has his cowbay taken by his son Xavier, 4 years-old, while his wife Sophie Gregoire, second from left, holds daughet Ella-Grace, 3 years-old, while they attend the party's annual Stampede breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 7, 2012. This is the 100th anniversary of the Stampede.
Like Mother, Like Son
Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.
Cutting A Rug
Justin Trudeau dances with wife Sophie Grégoire before his speech at the Liberal showcase on April 6, 2013.
Next: What Is Pierre Trudeau Doing?
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing what someone called his "Mandrake the Magician outfit," walks down the grandstand steps to present the Grey Cup trophy to the victorious Montreal Alouettes in this Nov. 28, 1970 photo.
Hey, It Was The '70s
Pierre Trudeau leans over to kiss an unidentified young lady to the seeming surprise of his recent bride Margaret. Trudeau and Margaret spent Saturday March 27, 1971 at maple tree farm here near Montreal at a sugaring out party.
Fur Wasn't Always Controversial
Pierre Trudeau accompanies Margaret Sinclair, at the annual Governor General's skating party for members of Parliament in Ottawa Jan. 14, 1970.
Ditto For Seal Hunting
Pierre Trudeau looks through the scope of his rifle while on a seal hunting trip in Baffin Island's Clear Water Fjord, July 29, 1968.
A Leg Up
Pierre Trudeau shoes off his frisbee catching style while waiting to board his plane in Vancouver May 16, 1979.
Calisthenics Were Still Cool
Pierre Trudeau had no trouble keeping himself occupied during a break from a boat trip down the Northwest Territories, Nahanni River, Monday Aug. 4, 1970.
Pierre Trudeau takes a wary look at an ice crevice, decides to chance it and makes the leap successfully during a midnight seal- hunting expedition at Clearwater Fjord in Canada's Arctic, July 29, 1968.
When in France...
Pierre Trudeau receives a kiss from his wife Margaret during a tour of St. Pierre, France, Aug. 1971.
Pierre Trudeau in Guayana 1974.
Friendlier With Reporters Than You Know Who
Pierre Trudeau sticks his tongue out to Canadian Press Photographer Peter Bregg during the 1972 election campaign. This photo was taken aboard the campaign plane where such antics were considered off the record. The photo was not made available until after the death of the prime minister
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dances in Montreal Oct. 21, 1979.
Acting like a Beatle
Pierre Trudeau sprints away from a crowd of female admirers in Ottawa April 22, 1968. They surrounded him outside the Parliament Buildings on his third day in office.
Posing with a Beatle
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, meet with Pierre Trudeau Dec. 24, 1969 in Ottawa.
'I See Cigars And Rum In Our Future'
Pierre Trudeau looks on as Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures during a visit to a Havana housing project in this Jan. 27, 1976 photo.
Acting Out A Tory Fantasy?
Pierre Trudeau pretending to strangle himself with a tie given to him as he was presented with honorary membership in the National Press Club in Ottawa Sept. 17, 1968.
Pierre Trudeau amuses a group of people in Fortune while on tour through Newfoundland, Aug. 3, 1971.
Oh Captain! My Captain!
Pierre Trudeau takes a ride on the Bluenose, Aug. 1972.
Nice Form Pierre
Pierre Trudeau works out at an Oshawa health club during a break in his 1968 election campaign.
Are The Flowers Too Much?
Pierre Trudeau, with a garland around his neck and a Hindu greeting symbol in paste on his forhead, rides a camel Jan 12, 1971 in the village of Benares, India, where he dedicated a water well.
I Do Love Flowers
Pierre Trudeau kids around with a carnation while waiting for voting results at the Liberal convention in this April 7, 1968 photo.
Indiana Jones Of The Great White North
Pierre Trudeau tries cracking a dog sled whip while visiting Baker Lake in the Arctic, March 10, 1970.
Never Afraid To Dance
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheik Yamani, left, and Pierre Trudeau, right, dance a traditional Arabian dance while camping out in the desert in Madein Saleh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 1980.
Or Rock A Skirt
Pierre Trudeau, seen here taking part in Maori ceremonial dance in Wellington, New Zealand May 13, 1970.