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Canada election: PC Kingston and the Islands candidate steps down, cites ‘inadequate party system’

Just a day after the Liberals won another minority government in the federal election, the provincial Progressive Conservative candidate for Kingston steps away from the party. Source: Ontario PC Party

The Progressive Conservative candidate for Kingston and the Islands has officially taken his name out of the race for the next provincial election.

In a letter posted to his Facebook page, Ryan Boehme said he no longer wanted to participate in what he called an “inadequate party system.”

“It has become clear to me that, as a representative of the people at the provincial or federal level, we do not truly get to be a voice for the people who elect us. Instead, we are expected, forced, and even coerced to follow our party’s narrative over that of the people,” Boehme said.

This comes just a day after the federal election which saw the Liberals pull off another minority government, all the while not winning the popular vote, which was won by the Conservative Party.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 to dismantle the first past the post system, but then reneged on that promise after he was elected. Still, Trudeau has expressed public interest in electoral reform in the form of a ranked ballot system.

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On Monday, federal Liberal incumbent Mark Gerretsen for Kingston and the Islands won a third term, while Conservative candidate Gary Oosterhof came in third. Boehme and Oosterhof both serve as sitting Kingston city councillors.

In his letter released Tuesday, Boehme said he does not believe the current party system allows elected officials to truly represent the needs and wants of their constituents.

“This is not a one-party issue, though — this is an all-party issue. It occurs in any party that is ‘whipped’; whether at the federal level where orders come from the Prime Minister’s Office or at the provincial level where orders come from the Premier’s office,” he said.

Boehme thanked his supporters but said he could not in good conscience participate in a system he considers “broken.”

He then urged change in Canada’s electoral system.

Click to play video: 'Canadian voters hand Justin Trudeau another Liberal minority government'
Canadian voters hand Justin Trudeau another Liberal minority government

“To truly create change, a political party would have to willingly reduce their own power when elected in order to empower the people they represent. It seems unlikely that would happen without immense public pressure,” he said.

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Boehme ended by saying that he intends to find a way to inspire change, and hopes that his choice to step down from the party system might help nudge others to push for some type of electoral reform.

Boehme was not immediately available to comment further on the matter.

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