TORONTO — The federal Liberal party is defending a contentious nomination meeting in Brampton, Ont., where a brawl allegedly occurred after hundreds of party members were denied the opportunity to vote.
Police were called to the Mississauga International Centre on Sunday evening after nearly 250 disgruntled Liberals were turned away.
They say party officials told them that their names hadn’t been included on official lists, causing confusing and frustration that ultimately sparked the confrontation outside.
But Liberal spokesman Olivier Duchesneau denied accusations that the party’s lists of eligible voters were erroneous.
“Nobody who had the right to vote was turned away,” said Mr. Duchesneau. “The Liberal party is confident in the accuracy of our lists.”
Brett Thalmann, another party spokesman, said 245 people were not eligible to vote because they failed to sign up in advance of the nomination meeting, which attracted 3,000 Liberals.
Mr. Thalmann stressed that while members of the riding association were present, the meeting was run by the party. He also denied that a brawl had transpired, a claim that runs contrary to reports from riding association members who told the Toronto Star that a tussle had erupted.
“There was not anything like that,” Mr. Thalmann said. “We had a huge turnout, large crowds and we did call the police to deal with the crowds.”
Peel Regional Police said they were called to “keep the peace.”
The nomination meeting was a first for Liberals in Brampton East, one of 15 ridings created by the Harper government last fall.
Raj Grewal, a business lawyer and recent graduate of Osgoode law school, won the right to represent the Liberals in the 2015 federal election. Many of those turned away supported a candidate who ultimately lost, said Kevin Singh, one of the members barred from voting, the Toronto Star reported.