Ontario’s Official Opposition is calling on Premier Doug Ford to “come clean” with any information he has about alleged irregularities in Progressive Conservative Party nominations and campaign tactics.
NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in an e-mailed statement on Friday that the Premier “seems to believe that a change in party leadership will allow him to sweep these PC party scandals under the rug,” but concerns about the nomination and campaign processes cannot be ignored. If Mr. Ford has any relevant information, she said, he should hand it over to Elections Ontario and the police.
Ms. Singh was reacting to a Globe and Mail investigation published on Friday that revealed how the issue of nomination irregularities continues to cause concern for the PC Party even after winning the June election. Party campaign strategists and then transition teams drew up lists of PC candidates with suspected ties to Snover Dhillon, a political operative convicted of fraud. The possibility of links to Mr. Dhillon was brought up in private meetings to discuss cabinet appointments, the investigation found.
A spokesperson for the Premier’s Office declined to comment on the Globe investigation and referred questions about the nominations to the PC Party itself. The spokesperson did not address questions about whether Mr. Ford would consider giving Elections Ontario the ability to monitor party-nomination contests. A party spokesperson was not available for comment.
Mr. Dhillon has connections to a variety of allegedly questionable nomination and campaign practices. He set up a shell company that received thousands of dollars from one PC contestant – ostensibly for work on his nomination campaign, which was unsuccessful – and worked for two others in nomination races that would later be overturned because of irregularities.
The Globe investigation also found that then-PC leader Patrick Brown and his team crafted a plan to deal with allegations of fraud in nomination races but ultimately decided not to act. Six races were eventually overturned, but it remains unclear how many others were compromised. Mr. Brown did not respond to requests for comment.
The NDP previously called for the Ontario Provincial Police to probe the PC nominations and The Globe has reported that Elections Ontario is investigating whether PC Party nominees used allegedly stole data to further their campaigns.
The electoral watchdog said neither the Elections Act nor the Election Finances Act regulates nomination contests and it has no role in overseeing those races.