Bitter back and forth between Kelowna Conservative party candidates continues | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bitter back and forth between Kelowna Conservative party candidates continues

Renee Wasylyk (left) and Tracy Gray, candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the riding of Kelowna-Lake Country.
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March 25, 2019 - 1:45 PM

KELOWNA - One of the two candidates vieing for the federal Conservative party nomination in the riding of Kelowna-Lake Country claims an upcoming campaign event violates Election Canada rules.

Tracy Gray says in a media release today, March 25, she won’t attend a debate with rival Renee Wasylyk because the event is going to be sponsored by a corporation, which she claims is in violation of Elections Canada rules.

“It’s not illegal to have a forum as long as the money is given personally,” Wasylyk told today in response to the allegation. “Elections Canada doesn’t care who hosts it, they care where the money comes from. If you follow the money, which we have to give full disclosure of, there’s absolutely nothing illegal about this. Any assertion there is, is patently false.”

Last week, Wasylyk challenged Gray to the March 29 debate. Gray declined that invitation because of possible illegalities and has further explained her position today’s media release.

“It seems that Ms. Wasylyk is unaware that Elections Canada publishes a Political Financing Handbook for Nomination Contestants and Financial Agents," Gray wrote. “It clearly states on page 22 that corporations cannot make contributions in nomination contests.”

On page 22 of that handbook there is a note stating: “Corporations, trade unions, associations and groups cannot make contributions.”

Gray also released a copy of the March 19 letter she received from Wasylyk inviting her to the debate in which it states that "JDS Mining has generously offered to sponsor the event.”

Wasylyk sent a media release that same day that also states JDS Energy & Mining is led by Jeff Stibbard. She told today that its Stibbard who is personally donating the money to rent the meeting room. She also said that both the local and national party associations sent letters to Gray saying there is nothing illegal about the event.

“Any attempt to create scandal is just an excuse,” Wasylyk said. “There is nothing scandalous, there is nothing illegal about this. She just doesn’t want to come out and be heard, which I don’t understand why.”

Wasylyk is going ahead with the event, which will follow a town hall format.

She has invited all party members to the event but it’s also open to the public. It’s scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 29 at the Ramada Inn in Kelowna.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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