Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

It is up to Conservative MPs to vote on whether Sloan ought to remain

Ontario Conservative MP Derek Sloan could be expelled from his party’s caucus as early as Tuesday for accepting a donation to his leadership campaign from a white supremacist.

But Sloan accused the party of hypocrisy, saying that Paul Fromm, who has been associated with Neo Nazis for years, was a party member and voted in last year’s leadership contest — a fact that would have been known to all candidates, including eventual winner Erin O’Toole, as well as the party itself.

“If I am guilty of something, they are guilty of something. This is ridiculous,” Sloan told supporters in a Facebook video late Monday night.

“I’m not going to go down without a fight.”

The party did not immediately return a request to confirm Fromm’s membership, though he noted himself on Twitter that he had registered to attend the upcoming policy convention, which only party members are allowed to do.

Several hours earlier, O’Toole had issued a statement saying he will seek to have Sloan expelled from the Conservative caucus and will bar him from running for the party in the next election.

He said accepting Fromm’s donation was “far worse than a gross error of judgment or failure of due diligence” by his former leadership rival.

“Racism is a disease of the soul, repugnant to our core values. It has no place in our country. It has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada. I won’t tolerate it,” O’Toole said in the statement, issued less than three hours after word of Sloan’s donation first emerged.

It is up to Conservative MPs to vote on whether Sloan ought to remain, and some MPs said Monday they expect that vote to happen as early as Tuesday.

Privately, several expressed concern with the way O’Toole had handled the issue, noting while many aren’t fans of Sloan’s hard-right social conservative views, booting him over a donation could set a dangerous precedent.

Some were also quick to point out that O’Toole opposed an effort to oust Sloan from caucus during the leadership race, when he was accused of racism for remarks he made about Canada’s chief public health officer.

Sloan said he was completely unaware that Fromm had donated to his campaign until a report surfaced in Press Progress late Monday afternoon, and no one from the party or O’Toole’s office reached out to him.

Fromm has been a fixture in right-wing politics for decades, including participating in events with the neo-Nazi Heritage Front.

He had tried to buy a membership for the 2017 Conservative leadership race via candidate Kellie Leitch’s campaign, but his money was returned.

Sloan said it’s absurd to believe that any leadership candidate, or any MP, should be familiar with the names of every single one of their donors.

Fromm’s total donation of $131 was made Aug. 7, just weeks before the contest ended. Of that, Sloan’s campaign received $117.90, with the party taking the rest.

Sloan said Fromm donated to his campaign using the name “Frederick P. Fromm,” further obscuring the source of the funds.

He said the party would have checked the name at the time, and never raised a red flag then, nor did anyone do so when Fromm’s mail-in ballot would have come in.

“They are now trying to kick me out of the party for not having some excessive standard of scrutiny that they don’t even have themselves,” Sloan said.

O’Toole ultimately won leadership of the party last year thanks to Sloan’s supporters, and those of social conservative Leslyn Lewis, who backed him instead of his main rival, Peter MacKay, on the last ballot.

Ever since, questions have dogged O’Toole about how he’d seek to ensure the views of social conservatives are respected but also win support among more moderate Canadians wary that those points of view would dominate the party’s agenda.

The issue became a live one again in recent weeks as O’Toole faced pressure to clearly draw a line between his party and the kind of extreme right wing politics that has flared up into violence in the U.S.

On Sunday, he issued a statement pledging that there would be no room in his party for the “far right,” a missive that his office insisted was in response to attacks from rival parties all week long on that score.

But it had prompted questions about how he intends to honour that pledge given that his caucus includes those who don’t share his support for LGBTQ rights and a woman’s right to choose, among other issues.

The issue was poised to also come to a head at the party’s upcoming policy convention.

Delegate registration ended this past Friday and, while O’Toole had said Sunday that he leads a ”moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party,” factions of the party’s right wing have been organizing to advance their causes at the virtual event in March.

“Sick of hearing Conservative politicians say they ‘won’t reopen the abortion debate?’ Then change it,” the anti-abortion group Right Now told its supporters.

“Register to become a delegate at the upcoming online policy convention and vote to remove that line from the policy handbook.”

Sloan himself had also been aggressively recruiting delegates to go to the convention, using his membership lists to blast emails and robocalls to party members saying he was their voice and their issues must be represented.

“We need as many truly ‘conservative’ delegates to participate as possible. The more ‘conservative’ delegates who participate, the more success we will have in making the (Conservative Party of Canada) into a truly conservative party,” Sloan wrote in an email to his supporters, obtained by The Canadian Press.

On Twitter, Fromm himself suggested he is registered to be a delegate at the convention thanks to Sloan’s outreach.

“I inadvertently got Derek Sloan into trouble when I responded to an appeal from his office to register for the party’s policy convention,” he wrote.

“Wasn’t O’Toole talking about building an inclusive party?”

Party leaders don’t normally have transparent control over what policy resolutions are put to debate at conventions.

It’s a complicated system that includes member votes, regional representation and the ultimate green-light by party officials.

But previous Conservative leaders have been accused of placing pressure on those officials to structure debates such that time runs out before certain ideas can be discussed.

Those allegations saw O’Toole promise during his leadership bid that all ideas that make it to the convention will have a chance to be heard and voted on.

“Let’s embrace our grassroots, not run from it,” he said in his platform.

Whether he stands by that pledge is unclear. His office directed questions on the subject to the party, which did not return a request for comment.

READ MORE: No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Conservative Party of Canada

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Isha Rai picked up her Coldest Night of the Year toque outside of the ACAWS office on Saturday. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nine-year-old raises $3K for Coldest Night of the Year

Port Alberni’s Isha Rai was highest-earning participant in annual fundraiser

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of Vancouver Island’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
Vancouver Island woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Views of Nanaimo, Newcastle Channel and the Strait of Georgia from the Nanaimo Parkway. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Editorial: Each resident has a say in how this city of 100,000 grows

City of Nanaimo wants to hear from residents as transition from small town to big city continues

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

The Township of Esquimalt will finalize its plastic bag ban in March, after receiving approval from the province for its proposed bylaw. (THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo/Paul Chiasson)
Plastic bag ban coming soon to Esquimalt

Municipality set to enact bylaw outlawing single-use bags in March

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

The Campbell River Rotary Community Fieldhouse solar installation is designed to offset the energy use of the fieldhouse and the turf lights surrounding the field. Photo contributed
Solar power charges up Campbell River fieldhouse

Robron turf field building eneergized thanks to community partnership

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Note left for Oak Bay resident ignites debate about on-street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Most Read