Derek Duval, who was in the running to be Glengarry-Prescott Russell’s next Progressive Conservative candidate, says his candidacy was “disallowed” by the party at the last minute, in part because he was accused by a party employee of filming a man eating a hamster off of a hockey stick. Two nomination meetings scheduled for Saturday, December 3 were cancelled and Amanda Simard was acclaimed as the nominee.
In an email sent out just after midnight on December 1, Duval said he had only been informed of the decision earlier in the evening. “I am obviously very disappointed at how unfair this process has been, and how the local members of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell will be robbed of the opportunity of choosing their candidate, and instead having one nominated for them from Toronto,” he wrote.
Duval says he had known “from the beginning of the process” that the party officials preferred his competitor, candidate Simard, a Russell Township councillor from Embrun. “Local party members informed me that the party’s regional organizer and a member of the Leader’s office were personally making calls on behalf of Ms. Simard and bullying them to supporting her,” he claims in his email. The Review has reached out to Derek Duval, Amanda Simard and riding president Marilissa Gosselin for comments, but did not hear back immediately.
Duval also claims it was only after “pressure from local members of the party, including elected officials at the municipal level” a nomination meeting was scheduled in Vankleek Hill as well as Embrun. Duval says he signed up 1,200 new party members, and party officials saw “no other outcome than me winning the nomination” and so disqualified him. Two separate nomination meetings were scheduled for Saturday, December 3, and as of Thursday afternoon both were still listed as events on the party’s website.
Duval’s email goes on to say a party official questioned him about a video filmed at a Pond Rocket Tournament in 2012 in Vankleek Hill. “I was grilled by party employee Garfield Dunlop, no stranger to controversy these days, who accused me of filming someone eating a hamster off of a hockey stick. I informed Mr. Dunlop that the guy was eating poutine off of a hockey stick. Those facts didn’t matter,” wrote Duval. He shared the jokey 35-minute documentary on Facebook. The video features hockey players and fans who appear to have been drinking heavily, including one who vomits into a garbage can. The email apparently refers to a part of the video beginning approximately at minute 27, where a man in a dressing room eats what appears to be poutine off of a hockey stick. Eddy Earwigg, who directed and edited the video with Duval, said in an email that “it is not a hamster. It is a poutine.”
Those supporters who responded to the news on Facebook were unfazed by the video. Hawkesbury Mayor Jeanne Charlebois wrote: “Derek, you win hands down, a wonderful wife, beautiful daughter, very supportive family, loyal friends, this is what counts. Leader Brown lost big time.”
Jason Chenier, one of the founders of Sacha’s Park, a universally-accessible park in L’Orignal, expressed his disappointment: “The PC party of Ontario should be ashamed. Sounds like the fix was in and you never had a chance. Their loss, as you are a hard working member of our community who has tirelessly given of your time towards many projects, including Sacha’s Park, that will have a lasting impact for years to come. You would have been a great candidate to represent us.”
Jason Jackson, who was also listed as one of the makers of the video, and organizer of the annual Pond Rocket Tournament in Vankleek Hill, said “anyone who purchased an Ontario PC Party membership in hopes of voting for Derek Duval in Saturday’s leadership vote” should call the party and ask for a refund. “Derek Duval and his team sold over 1200 memberships and then had his candidacy removed four days before the election,” he wrote.