Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 22, 2021
Conservatives have voted to expel Derek Sloan from caucus
Conservative MPs today voted to expel Derek Sloan from caucus after the eastern Ontario MP accepted a donation from a notorious white nationalist.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole initiated the ouster earlier this week after news emerged that Paul Fromm — whose ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi causes have long been documented — had contributed $131 to Sloan’s leadership campaign.
Sloan fought against the vote, saying he was unaware of the source of the donation because Fromm used his full name, Frederick P. Fromm.
Conservatives voted by secret ballot today, with the majority of MPs voting to remove Sloan from their benches.
In a statement issued this afternoon, O’Toole called the donation the “last straw.”
“The Conservative caucus voted to remove Derek Sloan not because of one specific event, but because of a pattern of destructive behaviour involving multiple incidents and disrespect towards the Conservative team for over a year,” he said.
“These actions have been a consistent distraction from our efforts to grow the party and focus on the work we need to do. Events of the past week were simply the last straw and led to our caucus making the decision it did today.”
News of Fromm’s contribution was first reported by PressProgress, a non-profit news website funded by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute.
Sloan, who was elected in 2019 to represent the riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, argued his team couldn’t vet every donation to his leadership campaign last year. (CBC)
Oh, for a viable alternative to the Liberals
Merely by the celebrity of the Trudeau family, potential conflicts of interest are going to arise, as one did last week when the federal ethics commissioner opened yet another investigation over Justin Trudeau’s role in awarding a $19.5 million sole-source contract to the WE charity to administer the $912 million Canada Student Service Grant program.
The WE organization hires all kinds of speakers, performers and leaders for events intended to inspire youth to take local action for global change. Two of those speakers over the past four years were Trudeau’s mother Margaret and brother Alexandre (Sacha) who were paid $250,000 and $32,500 respectively.
His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is an ambassador for the organization.
On top of that, finance minister Bill Morneau is also drawing criticism because one of his daughters works with WE.
I’m not convinced anything overtly nefarious happened here. There is a big difference between corruption and conflict of interest. The public service has said it was their recommendation to award the contract.
But good gracious, the cabinet still had to rubber-stamp it and at the very least two seasoned public figures should know, at the very least, to recuse themselves, especially after being sanctioned twice by the ethics commissioner.
What happened to transparency and doing politics differently?
I find it extremely discouraging that we can’t get beyond these kinds of simple ethics issues. We’ve had 153 years of political scandals from both of the seesawing governing parties. Can we ever expect something different? Is human nature really that intractable?
I have lots of friends who despise Trudeau. They believe he is only prime minister because of his celebrity. There’s some truth to that. There were better candidates in the Liberal leadership race, but it’s doubtful any of them could have won the election in 2015, or at least a majority government.
My Trudeau-despising friends think he is entitled, narcissistic, incompetent and insincere.
It’s getting pretty hard to argue with that, not that I have ever whole-heartedly defended him, my only real defence being that the Liberals as a whole are the lesser of evils.
Of course, all the opposition calls for criminal investigations and for Trudeau to resign are political posturing. Ultimately, he will get his knuckles rapped for a third time and his fate will be in the hands of public opinion when the next federal election rolls around.
Unfortunately, at this point, I still don’t see a viable alternative emerging. (The Interior News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 23, 2020
Tory Leadership Debates Spotlights Bad French, Social Conservative Issues
The contenders for the federal Conservative leadership traded fewer pointed barbs during the English-language debate in Toronto on Thursday, appealing for more party unity to defeat Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
After the presumed front-runners, Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, had several heated exchanges during a bumpy debate in French the night earlier, neither showed the same chippiness on stage Thursday, making only the odd jab.
The two-hour debate also gave the social conservatives in the race, Ontario MP Derek Sloan and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, plenty of runway to share their perspectives. (I(n the French debate, Ontario MP Derek Sloan and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis were left to watch on the sidelines, especially during the open debate format. Both were hampered by their inability to speak French. MacKay and O’Toole’s abilities are passable but would likely be deemed inadmissible if they were debating in English.)
The candidates criticized the Trudeau government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and its unsuccessful bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council — something both MacKay and O’Toole called a “vanity project” for the prime minister.
But they were also asked to weigh in on another issue that is top of mind for many Canadians: systemic racism.
Here are some of the highlights from the last official debate of the race, which will wrap up in August.
Although MacKay repeatedly challenged O’Toole during Wednesday’s French debate to state whether he is pro-choice or anti-abortion — a throwback to the pressure outgoing Tory Leader Andrew Scheer faced during the fall election campaign — there were no such fireworks Thursday.
Likewise, the two men did not debate each other’s record on LGBTQ issues, including support for same-sex marriage and transgender rights.
At one point, Sloan said MacKay and O’Toole would agree with him that it’s “not right Canada doesn’t have any laws when it comes to abortion.” Sloan asserted that Canada’s position is “out of whack with most of the developed world.” Neither man responded to that charge.
Although MacKay and O’Toole have said they oppose conversion therapy, neither objected when Sloan said the Liberals are “radically far to the left” for seeking to ban the practice.
Sloan, who has accused the Liberal government of “effectively putting into law child abuse” with its proposed legislation to ban conversion therapy, said he would repeal such a law as prime minister. Both he and Lewis have also pledged to repeal the transgender rights law enacted by the Liberals in 2016. That law added new rights protections to prevent discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or expression.
MacKay and O’Toole may have had strategic imperatives for not challenging Sloan or Lewis on social issues. The next leader of the Conservatives will be chosen according to a ranked ballot, where members list candidates by order of preference. The support of the last place candidate in each round will be redistributed to the second choices of their supporters.
In the 2017 Tory leadership race, support from social conservatives was seen as crucial in helping Scheer best front-runner Maxime Bernier.
Derek Sloan predicted Donald Trump will be re-elected for a second term: “Under this next government, which will be a Conservative government, I know our relationship with the United States will be restored. And I’ll go so far as to say, I am confident that Donald Trump will defy the odds again and be the next administration and when I am leader of the Conservative party, I will give him a call and congratulate him.” (Huffington Post)