POLITICS
08/05/2014 06:48 EDT | Updated 08/05/2014 06:59 EDT

Natalia Lishchyna Quits Burlington North – Oakville Tory Nomination Race

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Conservative MP Eve Adams’ former rival in a contentious Tory nomination battle has also decided to drop out of the race.

Oakville chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna made the announcement on Tuesday and released a letter claiming the campaign was “never fought on a level playing field.”

Lishchyna said in the interest of residents of the new federal riding of Oakville North – Burlington, the best way forward is to hit the reset button.

“After almost a year of one of the most high profile and controversial nomination campaigns in Canadian history, I believe it's best that the Party re-start the nomination process to allow the grassroots to decide,” she said.

Lishchyna’s announcement comes after months of campaigning against Adams in a race that was marred with claims of political misconduct on both sides.

Adams, currently the MP for Mississauga Brampton South, faced accusations from Lishchyna that her team paid for Conservative Party memberships for their supporters. In turn, Adams questioned the legitimacy of how Lishchyna’s team used research data to call party members.

Complaints filed by both sides eventually pushed Conservative Party brass to delay the nomination vote in May.

On Friday, Adams withdrew her nomination from the race, citing health issues related to a concussion she suffered in February.

Read Lishchyna's full letter below:

Dear Conservatives of Oakville North-Burlington,

In the Fall of 2013, I set out to become the first Conservative Candidate for the new riding of Oakville North-Burlington not because I moved here a few months back but because this has been my family's home for over a decade. With encouragement and support from local Conservatives, I was blessed with an amazing team of volunteers who have been instrumental in mounting an effective campaign. Most notably, I have enjoyed the endorsement and support of the vast majority of the local EDA Board of Directors.

As you know, we have been faced with a very challenging campaign that was never fought on a level playing field. Our Prime Minister promised that all nominations were to be open, fair, democratic and transparent, however with no fault of the Conservative Party or the PM, that is not what transpired. I am not going to rehash the long list of concerns we had or the allegations and evidence we provided the Party, but suffice to say that National Council took them seriously enough to postpone the nomination meeting and conduct a thorough investigation.

Last Friday my opponent sent an email indicating that she was withdrawing from the race for health reasons. While my team and I wish her a full recovery as she deals with her challenges, which can take many years, I cannot allow the misinformation that she continues to perpetuate to stand unchallenged or uncorrected for the record. We recruited more than 400 new members either ‎directly, through the local riding association, through the internet, or through party headquarters before the membership cut-off date. We are proud that we signed up hundreds of new and committed members without duress, misinformation or strong-arming. I am grateful for all their support and to those over 300 existing members who pledged their support for my campaign.

This nomination went from a race to a bitter contest of wills. With an election almost a year away the time that would be required to heal and bring everyone needed for a victory under the current circumstances is almost certainly not enough. It is often said that time heals all but I am not convinced that we have enough time to do the best in achieving unity before the next election under the current circumstances. Although Goliath was defeated by David, in modern times David could not walk away without a second thought. After consultation with my team and senior officials within the Party, I am saddened to advise you that I have withdrawn my name for candidacy for the Conservative nomination in Oakville North-Burlington. I believe strongly that it is not in the best interest of the Party's electoral prospects in our great new riding to proceed under the circumstances we ‎find ourselves today. After almost a year of one of the most high profile and controversial nomination campaigns in Canadian history, I believe it's best that the Party re-start the nomination process to allow the grassroots to decide.

I have the greatest respect for our Leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and our great Conservative Party and cannot in good conscience put my ambition above the interests of the Conservative Party and it's supporters.

My withdrawal does not end my commitment to our Party or to you. In the future I anticipate that I again will be a candidate and be elected to Parliament to work on your behalf and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

To my family, friends and supporters - a heartfelt thank you for believing in me and standing by me throughout this tough campaign. I will always remember your kindness and hope to be able to repay you in-kind in the future. Disappointing all of you is my greatest sadness in this withdrawal but I hope you will understand, support and continue to stand by me in this, the most difficult, aspect of the campaign.

Kind regards,

Natalia

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