Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s attempt to expel Ontario MP Derek Sloan from the party’s caucus was motivated by worries his social conservative followers were planning to “hijack” the looming Tory convention, says a source tells Western Standard.
The source is a high-ranking Tory, who served on the party’s Leadership Organizing Committee, who spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity.
According to the source, Campaign Life Coalition – a pro-life political action committee – has been working with Sloan to elect enough delegates to support socially conservative policies, and elect members of the party’s National Council.
Sloan is an ardent pro-lifer, has landed in hot water in the past for his comments on gay rights.
Just one day before O’Toole announced that he wanted Sloan out of the party’s caucus, he issued a statement emphasizing he is pro-choice and that there was no place for the “far-right” in his party.
“This is not about Sloan – this is about the people who go to the convention as voting delegates and get to decide future policy of the party,” said the source, who added he has spoken to many MPs who are furious with their leader’s actions.
The Tories are set to hold a virtual convention in March. Each constituency across the country is allowed to send ten voting delegates. But some ridings have more than 10 people who want to go and local members will soon vote on who will make the cut.
“The Campaign Life people are very well organized and have been recruiting people to try and get them to go to the convention,” said the senior Tory source.
“O’Toole is worried they will elect a National Council of people with socially conservatives values.”
“This is a total set-up. They think if they get rid of Sloan, the other people they have been trying to recruit will just go home. The problem being, it may just have the opposite effect.”
“Some MPs are very upset. They think there’s little chance of winning the next election if the party starts to get rid of MPs.”
O’Toole is asking his MPs to expel Sloan out of the Tory caucus after he accepted a $131 leadership donation from what he says is a “well-known” Canadian neo-Nazi.
Paul Fromm made the donation to Sloan’s leadership campaign in August under the name ‘Frederick P Fromm’. The donation constituted approximately 0.01 per cent of the total raised by Sloan during the campaign.
“Derek Sloan’s acceptance of a donation from a well-known white supremacist is far worse than a gross error of judgment or failure of due diligence,” O’Toole said in a statement issued Monday evening.
“In accordance with the Reform Act, I have initiated the process to remove Mr. Sloan from the Conservative Party of Canada caucus. I expect this to be done as quickly as possible. Moreover, as leader of Canada’s Conservatives, I will not allow Mr. Sloan to run as a candidate for our party.”
But Sloan noted the national Conservative party took their 10 per cent cut from the donation as they processed it.
However, most candidates do not know who most of their smaller donors are.
In a post to Twitter, Sloan said he had no idea where the donation came from.
Fromm is a founder of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform, has appeared at far-right protests and has been the subject of police investigations.
Sloan, the MP for Hastings—Lennox and Addington, came in fourth place in the Tory leadership campaign.
He was eliminated after the first round of voting in the four-person race getting 27,278 votes, almost 16 per cent of the total.
There have been calls in the past to remove him from caucus over his comments on gay rights.
On Sunday, O’Toole had taken to Twitter to say there is no room for ‘far-right’ ideology in his party.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard