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Ontario PC Party VP calls upcoming policy convention a ‘glorified pep rally’

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WATCH ABOVE: Ontario MPPs return to Queen’s Park on Tuesday for the first time since Dec. 12. – Feb 18, 2020

The policy chair and third vice-president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) is criticizing party president Brian Patterson and the party’s upcoming policy convention, calling the event “nothing more than a glorified pep rally.”

In a six-page letter obtained by Global News, Bola Otaraki said the convention violates the PCPO rules and urged members to contact the executive “and ask them why they are choosing to violate the constitution with this event.”

“The process has been manipulated by President Brian Patterson, and by VP Patrick Harris,” Otaraki alleged in the letter, which was sent to other members of the executive along with select party members.

READ MORE: Ontario legislature returns from break amid escalating tensions with teachers

Among other alleged violations of the party’s processes, Otaraki claimed in the document that Patterson misled party members by leading them to believe they can vote on resolutions. However, she said there will be no delegates to do so.

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The letter and internal strife come at a time when Premier Doug Ford and the PCPO are trying to convey an image of unity in the face of a growing backlash to government policy.

During the first question period of the year on Tuesday, Ford and his cabinet faced pointed questions about public education, the Ontario Autism Program, new licence plates that many are raising concerns about, along with a number of other hot-button issues.

On Friday, the start of the convention in Niagara Falls will coincide with a provincewide strike that will be held by all four of Ontario’s major education unions. The government and the unions are currently locked in a bitter labour dispute.

READ MORE: Lawyer linked to Ontario education union attack ads went on government-led trade mission

Union officials said educators plan on travelling to Niagara Falls to protest the party convention.

“If you aren’t in Doug Ford’s inner circle and back rooms, you don’t get a say in Doug Ford’s Ontario,” NDP ethics critic Taras Natyshak said responding to the story.

When asked about Otaraki’s letter, the PC Party did not respond to Global News. Otaraki was also not available for comment.

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