Ontario’s NDP leader Andrea Horwath is being sued by a former PC candidate for $2.45 million on charges of libel and defamation.
Roshan Nallaratnam was a candidate for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives who narrowly lost the Scarborough-Guildwood riding in the last provincial election after an email surfaced allegedly containing threats made by Mr. Nallaratnam towards a voter.
The NDP disseminated the email three days before the provincial election took place. Mr. Nallaratnam’s lawyer, Ted Frankel, maintains that the email was created by a fake account claiming to be the affected candidate. Both the author of the email and a Liberal blogger are named in the lawsuit as well.
“…any reasonable political actor in this day and age would have done some kind of investigation, research or due diligence before going public with something that could be so damaging and could undermine not only someone’s political career but their life as well,” says Ted Frankel.
Roshan, who was employed by the Toronto Police Service at the time claims that the disinformation spread about him lead him to quit his job at the police force and has damaged his reputation in the community and his quality of life.
The NDP were crucial in spreading the allegations through a news release disseminated prior to the election.
“Doug Ford’s star candidate in Scarborough-Guildwood, Roshan Nallaratnam, called the Tamil community member a f–ker and threatened to “teach the lesson” following the election campaign” claims the NDP news release.
While at a campaign stop in Sarnia, Andrea Horwath also personally addressed the “disturbing” email by the former police officer propagating the claim even further.
Despite denying these claims, Roshan claims that his campaign fell apart after the allegations came to light and opponents spread the information throughout his riding in the form of newspaper clippings.
When the allegations came to light, the Toronto Police Services announced a professional standards investigation was underway which further added legitimacy to the claims. However, the Toronto Police Services now claims that no such investigation was ever launched.
Mr. Nallaratnam’s claims the NDP tactic was a “political hit job” and that “it changed the election outcome”.
Horwath and the NDP party have been served the lawsuit and intend on defending against the action.