What I’m about to write here doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to put together. But since nobody has yet – at least publicly – let me connect some very clear dots.
On the evening of January 18, federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announced that he was “asking” his MPs to kick fellow Ontario Tory MP Derek Sloan out of the party’s caucus.
Far-left gotcha-propaganda website Press Progress said that they have proof that Sloan accepted a $131 donation from a man named Paul Fromm.
Who the hell is Paul Fromm? Until a few hours ago, I – and probably 98 per cent of Canada – had never heard of the guy. Turns out that he’s a particularly loathsome white supremacist.
The Press Progress hit piece was complete with lots of colourful pictures of Fromm doing his best impression of a Nürnberg rally. The intention was clearly to link Fromm with Sloan.
Doing their best Pravda knock-off, Press Progress has done this before, libelling mainstream – even moderate – conservative politicians in Alberta as a 21st century sturmabteilung. It’s what they do best.
O’Toole did his best surprised face and tweeted furiously.
“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.”
Conservative MPs tell me that they all learned about it in the press.
Now you don’t need to be on Team Sloan to smell a rat here. You just need two eyes and half a brain. Let’s examine the evidence.
One: Almost no candidate is aware of every – or even most – of the donations that they receive. It is processed by the campaign’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). For small campaigns like Sloan’s, that position is often a volunteer, or at the least, not a professional. I could have accidentally accepted blood diamond money while I was in politics for all I know.
Two: No candidate – and I repeat no candidate – is aware of the details of donations the size of Paul Fromm’s: $131. It’s a rounding error. I only ever ran to be an Alberta MLA in my time in politics, and I did not know who was giving me $131. I knew if someone was giving me $1,000. Maybe even $500. Never, ever, $131.
Three: I have never heard of Paul Fromm before. Unless you’re a full-time Nazi hunter, you probably have never heard of Paul Fromm either. I’m doubtful that Press Progress had heard of him until they had this gently brought to their attention.
Four: Paul Fromm’s big $131 donation was processed not just by the Sloan campaign, but by the Conservative Party of Canada itself. Had the CPC had recognized this name, they would have flagged it. They didn’t. They do apparently expect Derek Sloan’s CFO to however.
Five: If the Conservative Party of Canada – with its legendary resources – could not flag this $131 donation, then it is not reasonable to expect a fourth-place also-ran campaign to have the resources to do it.
Six: The only two entities that likely would have had any awareness of Fromm’s donation are: Derek Sloan, and the Conservative Party of Canada’s staffers.
Seven: According to a statement Sloan posted online Fromm had joined the Conservative party under the name Frederick P Fromm and had voted in the leadership election. His ballot was accepted by the party without the scrutineers from the other campaigns objecting.
“Therefore the Party, and the O’Toole campaign, failed to uphold the same standard to which they are now applying to me,” he wrote.
Sloan is not a centrist Tory in the mould of O’Toole, and has a reputation as a bit of a maverick. Leaders do not like mavericks in their caucus.
And Sloan is the only rival that O’Toole faced for the Conservative leadership that currently has a seat in the House of Commons.
Multiple Alberta and Ontario Conservative MPs the Western Standard has spoken to tell us that they and Sloan found out about this in the media. They also tell us that they believe that this was entirely an inside-hit job by O’Toole via the Leader’s Office or party HQ.
One veteran Conservative with inside knowledge of the matter says that several MPs intend to vote against O’Toole’s demand to expel Sloan…if they get a secret ballot.
The Reform Act legally requires that they do, but I’m sure smart people in Ottawa can find a way around that.
And even if his caucus showed some spine, O’Toole has unilaterally declared that Sloan will not be allowed to seek the CPC nomination in his constituency again, even if his local members want him. Grassroots stuff.
From the MPs we have spoken to at least, the Conservative Caucus is bitterly divided. While Sloan has his share of enemies in the party, they see – without much need for a tinfoil hat – that this is clearly instigated at the behest of their own leader. And they tell us that they are afraid that O’Toole could come for them next on trumped-up charges (no pun intended).
What could O’Toole possibly be thinking? There are other ways for leaders to purge troublesome underlings. They can bring forward better false charges of impropriety. They can do a better job of covering their tracks. They can just go the route of Andrew Scheer via Brad Troast, and rig the nomination against him.
This is amateur hour House of Cards.
Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.