Former Ontario Liberal Party candidate Vonny Sweetland dropped out of the nomination race for the St. Paul's riding in Toronto after he says he was discouraged from running (despite believing he would win) because the party wanted an ‘establishment’ candidate.
“They wanted to have somebody in Toronto-St. Paul that is an individual who is probably older than I, that has an immense ability to fundraise [and] a huge educational background,” Sweetland told Rebel News.
Sweetland believes the Liberal Party, at both the provincial and federal levels, do not practice what they preach in terms of diversity and inclusion.
Sweetland said that comparison to the Democrats' disregard of popular candidates like Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang or Bernie Sanders in favour of a figure like Kamala Harris, who received very low voter turnout, is “a perfect example.”
“It's not real democracy,” he added.
“At the end of the day the party decides who runs, and instead of letting a democratic process take place, they make the decision.”
Sweetland's centre-left views don't seem to line up with a modern Liberal Party. On lockdowns and vaccines, he remarked: “We are well behind many under-developed countries in vaccine distribution, we need to do better than that. We need to focus on getting people back to work, what we are doing right now isn't sustainable.”
As for the future, Sweetland is considering the opportunities that are currently presenting themselves. "I've had a lot of time to think about my options the last few days," including, he says being a news contributor to Sirius XM Canada and work for blogTO.
Ontario Liberal Party leader Steven Del Duca released the following statement on Feb. 5, 2021, as per Queen's Park Today:
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said he was “disappointed” to learn that a 30-year-old Black LGBTQ candidate is no longer vying for his party's nomination in St. Paul's, in part because he felt the Liberals prefer another white woman candidate who doesn't currently live in Ontario. “I feel really badly to hear that,” Del Duca told Queen's Park Today.
He maintained the nomination process is “open, accessible, and fair,” and added that he held a call with riding association presidents this week to talk about candidate searches. Del Duca said party HQ's central candidate search team will work closely with local ridings to “blend both worlds” and recruit a 2022 slate that contains people under 30 with 50 per cent women.
“There is no preferred candidate in St. Paul's,” Del Duca stressed.
Sweetland says he is still weighing his options with regards to joining a new political party.