Conservative MPs could vote to expel Eastern Ontario MP Derek Sloan from the party caucus as early as this week in response to news that the backbencher accepted a donation from a notorious white nationalist during his bid to lead the party.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said yesterday he had initiated the process to remove Sloan after it was revealed that Paul Fromm contributed $131 to Sloan’s leadership campaign.
Fromm has been a fixture in Canadian hard-right politics for decades and has participated in events with the neo-Nazi Heritage Front. He is is widely regarded as a white supremacist, although he has personally rejected the “neo-Nazi” label.
Sloan said he plans to fight back against the effort to eject him and accused O’Toole and the party of hypocrisy.
Sloan said Fromm was accepted as a member of the party and voted in its 2020 leadership election without raising red flags with party officials or the other candidates — O’Toole included.
“If I am guilty of something, they are guilty of something,” Sloan said in a video posted to Facebook late Monday.
“I’m not going to go down without a fight.”
O’Toole justified his move by saying there is no place for racism in the Conservative Party.
WATCH | O’Toole moves to kick Derek Sloan out of caucus after donation from white nationalist
The party leader doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally remove an MP from caucus. Under the Reform Act, an MP can only be expelled from caucus after 20 per cent of caucus members sign a letter requesting a membership review, and after a majority vote in favour of removal via secret ballot.
O’Toole does, however, have the authority to prevent Sloan from running under the Conservative banner in future elections — a power he has said he’ll invoke.
The party is expected to hold an emergency virtual meeting over the next few days on the subject of Sloan’s membership. The party previously was scheduled to hold a virtual caucus meeting on Thursday and Friday ahead of the return of Parliament on Jan. 25.
Sloan, who represents the riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, is a polarizing figure who attracted controversy during the leadership campaign with his social conservative views on such topics as sexual orientation and conversation therapy. He came under fire from his own colleagues in April after he questioned whether Canada’s chief public health officer was working for China.
WATCH| Trudeau is asked about controversial Conservative MP Derek Sloan
Speaking to reporters earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Liberal Party has called on the Conservatives to remove Sloan from its caucus for months due to “unacceptable comments” he has made in the past.
“Political parties need to remain vigilant — particularly in the wake of what we see in the United States — from the infiltration or the active presence of fringe or extremist, or violent or unacceptable or intolerant elements, ” Trudeau said.
“We are pleased that Erin O’Toole has finally decided to take leadership. We’ll see how that unfolds.”
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