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Doug Ford’s Tories: record setting sleaze

By: 
John Bell

June 11, 2018

Ontario voters should be used to governments pulled down by scandals. Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party are different. They aren’t even waiting to form a government before reaching new heights of corruption and sleaze. According to Press Progress, fully one quarter of Ford’s candidates were facing some sort of legal challenge, police investigation or law suit.

Ford

Doug Ford set the tone. Early in the campaign he was caught on tape selling bogus membership for an Etobicoke PC candidate. He then attended a $250 a head fundraising dinner that appears to have violated election rules banning cash-for-access events. One of Ford’s organizers took the fall and was fired, but he still faces a formal Elections Ontario complaint.

Ford was caught on tape promising a bunch of real estate developers to change regulations protecting the green belt surrounding the GTA. After the back room dealing went public Ford changed his tune and promised to protect the environmentally sensitive spaces. We’ll see if he honours is promise.

Then in the final week of the campaign Ford was slapped with a $16.5 million lawsuit brought by Renata Ford, Rob Ford’s widow. It alleges that Doug, as executor of Rob’s will, siphoned off money meant to support her and her children. Doug Ford was literally accused of stealing from a widow and orphans. What’s more the suit alleges the money was used to cover losses created by mismanagement of the family business. This from a man who touts his business acumen as his biggest asset.

As for his crop of candidates, here are some of the more egregious:

MPP scandals

Incumbent MPP Michael Harris resigned suddenly from the campaign “for health reasons”. Those reasons were soon revealed to be sexting to an intern in 2013. Tory insiders say they knew about the affair and didn’t consider it serious enough to turf Harris. But he was fired by Ford, and replaced by a Ford favourite, Mike Harris Jr.

Even before Ford took the reins, the taint of scandal was left by ousted leader Patrick Brown. Brown was forced out because of accusations about sexual advances on under-aged women. Rick Dykstra, Brown’s pal and hand-picked OPC president was forced to resign when he was caught buying drinks for under-aged women, and then trying to bribe them into silence. Many Tories could live with Brown’s sexual impropriety. It was his interference in local riding democracy that upset them. He overthrew local elections in several locations and appointed his own loyalists. As a result, he was facing at least one lawsuit when he was finally tossed out.

In May, Brampton Tory candidate Simmer Sandu resigned after he was fired from his job with the company overseeing the toll highway 407. Turns out he is being investigated by police for stealing the identity data of commuters, and recruiting international students to pose as those people and buy fake Tory memberships. The investigation of fraud and conspiracy, including whether he shared stolen identities with 29 other Tory candidates to win their nominations, is ongoing.

Parm Gill, a sitting MPP running for re-election, was taped trying to bribe a local riding opponent to sit it out in return for a Queen’s Park job. You may recall the Tories righteously attacking Kathleen Wynne and Liberal Party insiders for doing the same thing in a Sudbury by-election in 2015. Two Liberal bigwigs were charged with bribery but cleared for lack of evidence, while Wynne herself shrugged it off as just back room politics that everybody practiced. Seems she was right.

Early in June one of Ford’s “star” candidates in Scarborough, Roshan Nallaratnam, was caught uttering threats—in writing no less—against voters complaining that he was skipping public debates. Nallaratnam is being investigated by police; he is also facing a professional review, since he’s a cop himself. He lost to a Liberal by about 80 votes.

On the other side of the GTA, Brampton North candidate Ripudaman Dhillon faces four lawsuits for defrauding clients in his job as immigration consultant. Dhillon narrowly lost the seat to the NDP on election day.

Bigots

Those are just the Tories who actually ran afoul of the law. Then there is a whole other category of racists, misogynists and creeps whose ideas and actions were revealed to be hateful if not illegal. Ford removed Tanya Granic Allen, supposedly for her homophobic and islamophobic comments.

But in London West, Ford summarily turfed a local candidate who had spent years sinking local roots, and appointed a “star” candidate. Andrew Lawton was a radio shock jock with deep roots in Rebel Media; his campaign was dogged by revelation after revelation of racist, sexist and homophobic comments made throughout his miserable career. Lawton claimed mental health issues and begged forgiveness, and Ford stuck with him. Perhaps Granic Allen was dumped, not because of what she said, but because she was not a Ford loyalist.

And finally, on the day before the election, veteran Toronto councillor Raymond Cho was caught improperly distributing PR material at a Scarborough middle school, where he got into a physical tussle with a grade 7 student who had the good sense to tear up his flyer. Just why he was campaigning among minors has yet to be explained. But he won his seat by a wide margin.

Just wait until this gang of crooks and creeps gets in positions of power and influence. Scandals—we ain’t seen nothing yet.

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