Conservative nomination race loses two contenders

The candidate in Cloverdale-Langley City will be picked Saturday, but Gurmant Grewal and Paul Brar will not be in the running.

Gurmant Grewal

Gurmant Grewal

The Conservative nomination meeting for the new Cloverdale-Langley City riding takes place Saturday, but there will be two fewer candidates than originally expected.

Black Press has learned that the Conservative party asked former MP Gurmant Grewal and Surrey businessman Paul Brar to withdraw from the race. Party members will have four candidates to choose from on Saturday — former Surrey-Tynehead Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, former Langley Township councillor Dean Drysdale, Cloverdale resident Mike Garisto and former Langley Conservative riding association president Tako van Popta, who only entered the race in September. Most of the other candidates have been signing up members for about a year.

Grewal served as an MP from 1997 to 2006, initially in the Surrey Central riding and later in Newton-North Delta. His wife Nina is MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells. The Grewals were the first married couple to serve as MPs at the same time.

The nomination meeting takes place over an eight-hour period, with votes to be cast at A.J. McLellan Elementary in Cloverdale. Results are expected to be released at some time over the weekend.

The Liberals have already nominated John Aldag, a manager at Fort Langley National Historic Park, as their candidate in the riding.

In a press release issued Thursday, Grewal said the party notified him that he was disqualified to seek the nomination, and gave no reason. This came after the party received the membership lists about a month ago. He and other candidates had been busy signing up new members, and sources indicate that there are close to 3,000 members who now belong to the Conservative Party association in the riding.

He said he had “attracted a significant number of new members for the party.”

“I am proud of my record, achievements, and contributions and hoped to bring meaningful solutions to the problems faced by all of us. I have dedicated the prime of my life to helping to build the Conservative Party and its legacy parties. Though my silence is not my weakness, I have supported my party and its leaders through thick and thin. I continue to support the Conservative Party of Canada and the leadership of the prime minister, and wish them success in the next election,” he said.

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