Court gives Conservative leadership candidate crack at entering race

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OTTAWA — An Ontario court says Jim Karahalios could once again be a candidate in the Conservative leadership race if he can meet certain criteria laid out by the party earlier this year.

The party set conditions in March for Karahalios, a well-known Ontario conservative activist, to remain in the race after complaints were filed over comments he made about rival Erin O’Toole’s campaign manager.

Karahalios had appealed those conditions, was subsequently kicked out of the contest and then took the party to court, arguing its decision to disqualify him was procedurally unfair and in bad faith.

In a ruling released early today, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell disagreed but also said the rules of the contest didn’t allow for Karahalios to be kicked out as he was.

Karahalios says he’s reviewing the ruling to assess how he can best re-enter the race in a way that respects the decision, the rules of the contest and the will of party members within the 14-day deadline set by the court.

The Conservative party says it is reviewing the decision and implementing its guidance as quickly as possible.