The PC Riding Association in Newmarket Aurora should put the MPP nomination process on hold until the police have completed their investigation into the alleged threats made to Stephen Somerville and his family which persuaded him to pull out of the race to succeed Frank Klees.

This is Canada not Albania, and the process for selecting a candidate for political office should never, ever, be polluted by threats and intimidation.

I read that Somerville has been in and around politics for many years and is, we must assume, not afraid of his own shadow. The threats must have been serious and believable for him to take the drastic action of withdrawing from the race.

The PCs choose their candidate on 20 March and nominations close on 6 March.

At the moment, there is, literally, one candidate still standing, Jane Twinney. How many other brave souls, if any, are going to step forward in this climate of fear?

Was the threat specific to Somerville and his family? And what was its precise nature?

Jane Twinney says she has not so far been threatened.

And she tells the Era Banner:

“My heart goes out to him and his family… I wish Stephen and his family all the best. A lot of people are very shocked.”

In striking contrast, Maddie Di Muccio, whose candidacy was blocked by Tim Hudak for reasons as yet unexplained, maintains radio silence on the Somerville threat.

I find this curious as she told the Era Banner

(a)   she did not know who was responsible for the YouTube ad that portrayed her as a scheming opportunist and

(b)   the press release she issued on 11 February in which she referred to “a fellow candidate” being responsible was misinterpreted. She explained the references to he “were in a general sense and not directed at a male”.

Perhaps I am doing her an injustice and she has expressed her concerns to Somerville privately. I certainly hope so.

In any event, it cannot be business as usual.

This is not a trivial matter where we all shrug our shoulders and get on with things. Threats and intimidation degrade and coarsen our politics and undermine our democracy.

The police have an obligation to complete their investigation quickly and, in the meantime, the Newmarket Aurora PCs should put their candidate selection on hold.

It beggars belief they would do otherwise.


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