Conservative MP Alex Nuttall claims ‘Toronto elites’ are hijacking Ontario PCs and ‘circumventing democracy’
A sitting Conservative MP is claiming the downfall of Patrick Brown was an “inside job” – and he’s blaming conservative “elites.”
Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives were thrown into disarray last week after two young women accused Brown of sexually assaulting them while he was an MP. After initially signalling he wanted to remain PC leader, Brown resigned hours later in the middle of the night.
Speaking to reporters before a caucus meeting at Parliament Hill, Conservative MP Alex Nuttall struck a conspiratorial tone tearing into his provincial counterparts.
“This in fact was an inside job that transpired over the past week,” Nuttall told reporters without providing any evidence.
“Within 48 hours of the events, we had 28 elites whose ridings represent less than 1% of the 200,000 members of the PC Party of Ontario, trying to appoint the next premier of the party of Ontario, circumventing democracy.”
— Alex Nuttall MP (@AlexNuttallMP) January 31, 2018
Buddy of Patrick Brown calls his ouster “an inside job,” says the “28 elites” in PC caucus tried to “subvert democracy” and appoint new leader & now “Toronto elites are seeking to expel tens of thousands of paid members” from the party. Just another morning for the Ontario PCs. https://t.co/8oTebGZWnW
— Mike Crawley (@CBCQueensPark) January 31, 2018
Nuttall also alleged party “elites” are now rigging the upcoming PC leadership race by purging members on the basis of their “race” and “faith”:
“Now today we’ve seen they’ve doubled down, seeking to expel tens of thousands of paid memberships of the PC Party of Ontario. Well folks, I have a message for the Toronto elites and it is this: That the conservative movement should never and can never define people by their race, by their faith, and by what region of the world they come from, by their first or last name.”
Alex Nuttall not running for PC leader; angry that “28 elites” (Ontario PC MPPs)removed Brown and that party is reviewing membership lists, suggests targeting based on race.
— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) January 31, 2018
On Tuesday, interim PC leader Vic Fideli ordered an investigation into the legitimacy of tens of thousands of new party memberships added during Brown’s time as party leader, vowing to “root out the rot” in the PC party.
During the 2015 Ontario PC leadership race, Brown’s “ethnic outreach team” worked aggressively to recruit new party members in immigrant communities – the team later took credit for Brown winning the PC leadership.
In 2014, Brown endorsed Nuttall’s nomination for the riding of Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte, calling him a “a close friend, supporter, and adviser to me for 11 years.”
Asked in a 2016 questionnaire “who were your political role model(s) growing up?,” Nuttall replied: “Patrick Brown.”
Grassroots anger has been building within the ranks of Ontario’s PCs for some time.
During the final year or so of Brown’s leadership, rejected candidates, riding association members and grassroots members repeatedly accused party insiders of cheating, ballot-stuffing and the outright rigging of local nomination contests.
Two months ago, Hamilton police announced they were investigating allegations of voter fraud at a nomination meeting chaired by former PC party president Rick Dykstra. Last week, Dykstra also resigned after Maclean’s reported allegations that he sexually assaulted a Conservative Party staffer when he was an MP in 2014.
A long list of PC riding nomination scandals
As PressProgress previously reported in August, more than a dozen PC riding associations across Ontario have been rocked by controversial nomination meetings:
- Burlington: Local riding membership chair alleges voting irregularities at a nomination meeting personally chaired by Ontario PC president Rick Dykstra, claiming people not on the party’s membership list were allowed to cast votes without identifying who they were.
- Carleton: Lisa Macleod, the incumbent PC MPP in a neighbouring suburban Ottawa riding, says volunteers have quit the party and makes vague allusions to a “shady” nomination in a private e-mail leaked to the Ottawa Citizen.
- Durham: Regional Councillor Joe Neal is blocked from seeking the Tory nomination (after initially receiving approval from party bosses) due to his involvement with the Liberals in the 1980s. PC leader Patrick Brown later apologizes for making false statements attacking Neal.
- Flamborough–Glanbrook: Several prospective candidates say party officials told them PC leader Patrick Brown would refuse to sign their nomination papers even if they won.
- Guelph: Prospective candidate Thomas Mooney withdraws from nomination, declaring what he’s seen during his campaign has led him to lose “faith with the current leadership to continue in good conscience.”
- Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas: Hamilton police launch voter fraud investigation after two candidates alleged party officials swayed the outcome of the vote by stuffing ballot boxes.
- Kanata–Carleton: A month after Brown booted the local MPP from the Tory caucus, the entire riding executive tenders its resignation accusing the party officials of creating a “toxic and destructive” culture.
- King–Vaughan: Police intervene at a wild nomination meeting after prospective candidate Konstantin Toubis was blocked by party officials, leading Toubis to denouce Patrick Brown as a “dictator” and accuse party officials of behaving like “North Korea.” Stephen Harper’s former director of media relations would go on to secure the nomination.
- Milton: Party members allege supporters of candidate Parm Gill intimidated and “bullied members” during a nomination vote while volunteers stationed at ballot boxes openly promoted Gill.
- Mississauga–Erin–Mills: Former Conservative MP Bob Dechert withdraws from nomination race and pens letter declaring he’s “lost confidence in the integrity of the party’s nomination process.”
- Newmarket–Aurora: Riding executive resigns en masse after alleging the party’s nomination rules were breached by “illegal memberships.”
- Ottawa West–Nepean: Another riding executive resigns after the local riding association president pens letter to PC leader Patrick Brown alleging ballot-stuffing at the local nomination meeting influenced the outcome of the vote.
- Richmond Hill: Party members allege “irregularities” in the nomination process after groups of new members said they told “they might lose their status as Canadians” if they didn’t sign PC memberships and cast votes.
- Scarborough Centre: Police intervene at an out-of-control nomination meeting marred by allegations of voting irregularities.