Categorized | Canadian Politics

Brown apologizes to ousted would-be Tory for alleging he raised funds for Liberals

Posted on 26 July 2017 by admin

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has apologized for claiming Joe Neal had raised money to stop PC candidate Lorne Coe from winning the Whitby-Oshawa byelection last year.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has apologized for claiming an ousted Tory candidate was fundraising for the Liberals.

In a written apology to Joe Neal, Brown said he was incorrect when he told the Star that the Durham regional councillor had raised money to stop PC candidate Lorne Coe from winning the Whitby-Oshawa byelection last year.

“I appear to have misspoken,” he wrote in the signed letter to Neal dated Friday. The leader’s office shared the note with the Star to clear the air.

“There is no evidence that you engaged in fundraising against Lorne Coe in respect of the 2016 Whitby-Oshawa byelection. I regret any misunderstanding.”

Brown had made that statement on June 23 after Neal was disqualified as a Durham riding PC nomination candidate because of past ties to the Liberals.

With him out of the race, Lindsey Park last month won the right to carry the Tory banner against Liberal MPP Granville Anderson in the June 7, 2018 election.

In an interview Monday, Neal, who ran for the Grits in 1985, said he demanded the apology from Brown “to set the record straight.”

“I was upset with the untrue statements that were made . . . on top of everything else that had gone on,” he said.

The Clarington lawyer, who had actually helped Coe enlist members during last year’s byelection, said Brown’s mea culpa undermines the rationale for the Tories disqualifying his candidacy in the first place.

“I just question what kind of leader this guy’s going to be.”

Neal said he is still leaving the door open to running as an independent candidate next year.

“I’m taking the summer to talk to people and assess what I will do down the road. Whether (an independent run) is in the cards or not I don’t know,” he said.

Last month, Neal abandoned a legal challenge against the Tories for sidelining his nomination hopes.

He scrapped plans for a judicial review by Justice Bruce Glass in Oshawa after being advised Brown wouldn’t sign his nomination papers regardless of the outcome.

A recent court ruling by Justice Ian Nordheimer concluded that registered political parties, which receive public funding, are not private clubs free to make their own membership arrangements.

That means parties can be forced, through means of the law, to allow people to join and would-be candidates to run.

The Durham debacle was one of a series of nomination controversies that have plagued the Tories, who hired private-sector auditors PwC to oversee their elections due to the bad publicity.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here