“All three contestants – Gerry Guimond, Jim Bélanger and Pablo Gil-Alfau – accept the decision supporting Marc Serré as the federal Liberal candidate for the riding of Nickel Belt,” Gingras said in a news release. “With the appeal process behind us, we now get the campaign started. We have a Liberal base of 2,000 members to help us start canvassing and promote the vision of the Liberal Party of Canada.”
Serré said in the release that he's excited to start his campaign.
“I want to knock on every door in the riding and meet the hard working people of Nickel Belt,” he said. “I want convince them that I have what it takes to represent them in Ottawa. The Liberal party has a renewed energy, we are committed to doing the hard work that is needed to get this great nation back on track.”
Party spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau said in an email from Ottawa that the decision to reject the appeal was made Thursday morning. In a previous statement, Duchesneau said no details of the appeal or reasons for the decision would be made public.
“No decision has been made yet by the permanent appeal committee,” Duchesneau said. “The permanent appeal committee is at arm’s length from the Liberal Party of Canada’s regular operations, so I cannot speculate on the timing of the decision.”
Marc Serré was declared winner of the February vote, selected among a field of four candidates. However, party officials said it was a tight, three-way race and the result was quickly appealed by an unidentified candidate.
In an earlier interview, riding association president Dan Gingras said he couldn't reveal which candidate launched the appeal.
“We've been told not to comment on the process because (the party is) handling it,” Gingras said.
In addition to Serré, Pablo Gil-Alfau, Jim Belanger and Gerry Guimond were also candidates for the nomination. A total of 1,009 riding association members voted at the February nomination meeting, representing an encouraging surge in party membership, officials said at the time.
Duchesneau said that when a decision is made, only the result will be made public.
“Decisions of the permanent appeal committee are binding, and the details of and motive for appeals are not disclosed,” he said. “In accordance with our procedures, no further comment will be made until a final decision has been made.”
The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 19, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper could call it sooner.
The NDP's Claude Gravelle has held the federal Nickel Belt seat since 2008, after the Liberals' Ray Bonin retired. Liberals in Sudbury nominated businessman Paul Lefebvre last month as their candidate for the seat left vacant when Glenn
Thibeault resigned from the NDP to run for the provincial Liberals in Sudbury.