Randy Hillier was right to blow the whistle against Brown-style centralization of power under Ford
Randy Hillier took a brave step in speaking truth to power last month. Mr. Hillier’s letter outlining his ethical and legal concerns surrounding Premier Ford’s key advisors is quite revealing. Now it turns out that the OPP “anti-rackets squad” is investigating suggestions of “unregistered lobbying” at the very highest levels.
I am sure every honest and law-abiding member of the Ontario PC Party looks forward to the results of this investigation, and expects any wrong-doing to be dealt with appropriately.
As for the drama between Mr. Hillier and Team Ford, it appears that Ford removed Mr. Hillier from the PC caucus because the long time MPP simply asked too many questions – too many questions that, it seems, have now led to a police investigation.
One can well imagine why Ford’s team leaders wouldn’t be pleased with Randy Hillier. Too many questions! My own experience with Team Ford’s Dean French and Chris Froggatt is quite similar to that of Mr. Hillier. I too asked “too many questions”, and for this reason, I believe, Team Ford turned against me and orchestrated the (possibly illegal) overturning of my democratically won nomination.
My story with Ford’s confidantes goes back exactly one year, to March 2018, right after Ford won the PC leadership. Both Ford and I campaigned on platforms to have a clean, honest and democratic nomination process for PC candidates, as our PC party attempted to move on from the Patrick Brown era controversies. To his discredit, Ford’s lack of action on cleaning up the party’s nomination mess is one of his biggest failures to date.
To my knowledge, neither the Premier’s office nor the PC Party office have properly addressed the issues raised by the thorough investigative reporting by the Globe and Mail reporters, which brought to light nomination scandals from the Patrick Brown era, and the failure of the Ford-led PC Party to clean them up.
Among the disturbing findings of the Globe’s investigation: that an undisclosed number of current PC MPPs “had ties to a political operative convicted of fraud”, namely, Snover Dhillon; that Ford’s campaign team actually had a list of PC candidates who, it seems, had paid operative Snover Dhillon tens of thousands of dollars for their nomination victories, with some of these nominations involving “stolen data, alleged fraud and forgery”; and, despite having all of this information, Team Ford, once in charge of the PC campaign “did not pursue formal investigations.”
Add to this the disclosure by the Globe & Mail on April 23, 2019 of this additional and sordid aspect from the Brown era: “Then-Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown asked donor to give funds to girlfriend.” Different rumours of a large “donation” via a cheque, payable to Brown’s girlfriend, have been circulating among PC insiders since Brown was still leader, but the evidence for this is now coming to the public’s attention. That Brown approved the candidacy of that “donor’s” favoured nomination candidate on the very same day is something that I am only hearing about now.
This is the sort of thing to which I was referring when, as a candidate for the PC leadership, I repeatedly condemned Brown for his “political crimes”.
In March 2018, during my campaign for the PC nomination in Mississauga Centre, I heard firsthand accounts from various local PC party members of the some of the fraud and corruption that had afflicted local nominations in the Brown era.
Perhaps the most notorious case occurred in Mississauga East-Cooksville, where Brown had disqualified all but one of the nomination candidates a mere day or so before the scheduled meeting. The survivor, Khaleed Rasheed (now MPP) was Brown’s favourite, and, to my surprise, remained the PC candidate under Ford.
This nomination was allowed to stand, despite Ford’s description of the unfairness of what happened in that exact riding. Indeed, on March 24, I was standing beside Doug when our new leader told one of the nomination victims from this riding that it was not up to him to rule on such matters but it was entirely in the hands of the party’s Provincial Nominations Committee (PNC).
After Brown’s resignation, the Vic Fedeli-era PNC had the courage to overturn two of the worst cases of voter fraud: Ottawa West-Nepean and Scarborough Centre. After Ford’s victory, Doug Ford appointed a number of his key people to this powerful committee, including former MPP Frank Klees and Ford’s newly-minted Campaign Chair, Dean French.
In its first week, this new Ford-era PNC overturned four more meetings, including Patrick Brown’s own nomination in Barrie. Knowing more work was needed to clean up the remaining corrupt PC nominations, I felt that these new PNC members would be interested to afford me the opportunity to discuss, from a grassroots perspective, the concerns of the party membership. The situation was urgent, as time was running out to both overturn the questionable nominations and hold new meetings before the looming June election.
Not wanting to cause controversy for the party, but wanting to be true to my campaign promise to do something about the Brown-era corruption, I wrote to the PNC members, seeking a private meeting. After heaping praise on the PNC for overturning a half a dozen meetings thus far, I requested the opportunity for a frank discussion on the need for more to be done. I never received a reply from the PNC.
Several days later, though, I did receive a call from Doug’s campaign. Chris Froggatt (who was not on the PNC, but was now the #2 to Dean French in terms of the management of the campaign) phoned me, furious that I had sent that letter to the PNC. He resorted to crazed yelling in what was, for him, a rather emotional confrontation.
This was not the only time that he would aggressively berate me for having the temerity to broach the topic of these nomination controversies. My driving concern was that the longer the party delayed in addressing the rot and corruption of the Brown era, the worse things could get.
A few weeks later, and the day after I successfully won a first-ballot victory in my nomination for Mississauga Centre, I was part of a rather tense conference call with Dean French and with Doug Ford himself. In what was supposed to be a “Congratulations, Tanya!” call, French started yelling at me- which also shocked my husband who was sitting three feet away.
French was hostile, nervous, and emotional (Ms. Caesar-Chavannes: we should grab a coffee sometime and compare notes of “important” men tantrumming at “difficult” women in politics). French renewed Froggatt’s complaint about my request of a month earlier to speak to the PNC about the controversial nominations.
For his part, Ford seemed confused about the subject matter and, uncomfortable with the way the conversation was heading, Ford abruptly ended it. Frankly, I don’t think that French and Froggatt were keeping Ford informed about the lack of “clean-up” action with respect to these various corrupt nominations.
But why would French and Froggatt insist on retaining so many of the Patrick Brown corrupt nomination results? Especially the numerous Brown/Snover Dhillon tainted nominations? Why would they so bitterly resist efforts to pursue the issue of nomination meeting corruption that Ford and I both championed during the leadership race?
Little did I know the scale of the fraud that had been conducted in the Brown era. Nor did I suspect what the Globe’s reporters would uncover months later: that, allegedly, Ford’s team, led by French and Froggatt, were fully aware of the fraud that had occurred, but were covering up the problem.
If Dean French and Christ Froggatt are guilty of incompetence on this matter, Doug should fire them immediately (French as Chief of Staff, Froggatt as Campaign Chair) and show them the door. If, however, there was some darker motive in the cover-up, then perhaps there should be yet another police investigation. Patrick Brown’s legacy haunts us still. A pity – it didn’t have to be this way.
As for Randy Hillier, it seems that his main offence against the political class is truth-telling. Mr. Hillier was the most effective whistle-blower when it came to the now-proven ethics violations of disgraced former leader Patrick Brown. If only we had more MPPs like him who were willing to call out “corruption” when they saw it, the political arena in this province would, in the long term, be a more respectable place. If Randy Hillier is now saying that he has witnessed “possible illegal and unregistered lobbying”, then I believe him. Mr. Hillier was right, after all, about Patrick Brown.
On Monday, two children in Montreal were found killed by their father, who later committed suicide. The children, one girl and on boy, aged five and seven respectively, were found by their mother at 9 p.m. on Tuesday when she returned from work to her house on Curatteau St. at Pierre-De Coubertin Ave. in the Tétreaultville district, reports the Montreal Gazette. The father was found dead in the next room, and police ruled that it was a suicide.
Police report that neighbours had seen the father outside at roughly 3 p.m., only hours before the bodies were discovered.
“The father had his head down and didn’t say hello,” said another neighbour.
One woman, whose son was friends with one of the children, said the boy had come over to play just last Saturday, and that he will be missed by her son.
“They played in the basement for two hours,” said Mayela Sandoval. “They met this year and my son really liked him, they played together every day.”
Neighbour Manoj Chandarana told reporters that he saw four police cruisers and two ambulances hurrying to the scene and knew something was terribly wrong.
“There are suicides, we know that, but to take the lives of children is not acceptable,” he said. “Just think, if they were here today, they would be at school or daycare. Children look to their parents for protection.”
Police are still investigating the circumstances which led the 40-year-old man to commit such a terrible act.
On Wednesday, October 23, Essex Police discovered a transport truck containing the dead bodies of 39 people believed to be from Bulgaria. 38 have been identified as adults, while one was a teen. All 39 were pronounced dead on site.
According to police, one 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, the driver of the vehicle, has been arrested and remains in custody on suspicion of murder.
“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria and entered the country at Holyhead on Saturday 19 October and we are working closely with our partners to investigate,” says Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills in a press release.
“We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue. I appreciate this cordon is going to disrupt the activity of local businesses in the area and we will work to ensure that disruption is kept as short as possible. We are working with Thurrock Council to mitigate against any impact our investigation scene will have locally.”
Police say they were alerted to the existence of the truck shortly before 1.40 am Wednesday morning. They received reports that a number of people had been found inside a lorry’s container at the Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays.
A full murder investigation into the tragedy and role the driver played is now underway. Police say that they have so far been unable to identify any of the victims and anticipate that it will be a lengthy process.
The circumstances surrounding the truck and the transport of so many people remain unknown to the public.
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” says Mills.
“We are in the process of identifying the victims, however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.”
Today, the BC Human Rights Tribunal released their bombshell ruling in favour of all of the defendants Jessica “Jonathan” Yaniv had brought suits against for declining to provide services to her male genitals. In three of the cases, Yaniv was ordered to pay $2,000 in damages each to Sandeep Banipal, Marcia DaSilva, and Sukhdip Hehar for “improper conduct.”
The details of the ruling, released in a 60-page document, includes stunning detail of the Tribunal’s decision, with Yaniv being described as “engaging in extortionate behaviour,” and “being untruthful” with details, as well as “offering evidence calculated to mislead the Tribunal.”
Most shockingly, the Tribunal recognized the reality that the majority of defendants in the case were racialized women, and documented a condemnation of Yaniv as being on a mission to “punish” certain racial groups for not “assimilating into Canadian culture.” According to the ruling documents, Yaniv allegedly attempted to explain away the volume of suits against racialized women as an unavoidable consequence of “these are the only people” who provide these aesthetic services.
The Tribunal didn’t buy it.
Speaking with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom’s Jay Cameron, one of the key lawyers who worked on behalf of the women pro bono, the excitement over the ruling rang through his voice.
“One of the clients I spoke with was crying. It was a very heavy weight off her shoulders—the stress, the loss of income. She was exceedingly relieved.”
Commending the Tribunal for their comprehensive ruling, Cameron discussed the details of the document released by the BCHRT.
“It became evident there was a [racial] pattern with the complaints once there was more information about them.” Cameron says, noting that the pattern wasn’t immediately clear due to the publication ban, which obscured the details from case to case. But once the individual respondents were named, all became clear. Cameron also stated that the comments made by Yaniv at the tribunal proceedings itself revealed a highly charged racial sentiment.
“Yaniv’s perception of why there was a refusal to provide a service—whether because of culture, religion, or failure to conform to Canadian social norms as Yaniv sees them.” Cameron says, “That became something obvious that we had to advance on behalf of the defendants—that there was an improper motivation for the complaints.”
The Tribunal ruling revealed that Yaniv had also used fake Facebook profiles and profile images to solicit services from the women in an attempt to present as either a biological female, or significantly more feminine and far along transition than Yaniv in fact was.
On this, Cameron says “Yaniv realized when using their ordinary physical presentation on Facebook, that the women were saying look, we don’t provide this service to men because we don’t service male genitalia,” continuing, “So to work around that, Yaniv thought to work around that I will present as something stereotypically female and then spring it on them later.”
Cameron adds that the Tribunal found it was improper and calculated to obtain sufficient evidence against a service provider to ground a human rights complaint.
While Cameron said he could not comment on whether or not he foresees Yaniv attempting to ground a complaint against him in the wake of his latest victory, he offered that the Justice Centre was a public constitutional firm that did pro bono work on public interest cases.
“The friction between self-identification and service providers, that’s of public interest. The theatrical aspects of some of the complainant’s behaviour, that’s of public interest. The Justice Centre exists by virtue of the fact that people make donations.”
While the Tribunal cases for the estheticians may have come to a close, Yaniv has already launched two additional suits… One in the BCHRT against anti-LGBT Christian activist Bill Whatcott for allegedly misgendering Yaniv, and one in the BC Civil Courts against a Vancouver-area physiotherapist after the table Yaniv had been lying on allegedly broke.
In both cases, Yaniv is seeking the maximum allowable claim of $35,000.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has made an announcement a few minutes ago, criticizing Trudeau on his damage towards Canadian confederation. He also spoke about his thoughts on last night’s federal election, stating that it was “the largest democratic mandate in Albertan history, voting for the CPC.”
Kenney spoke of his conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where he “told the PM that behind these [election] numbers lies a sense of alienation that must be taken seriously. Many Albertans feel betrayed… we are tired”
Kenney mentioned the strain that the federal government has placed on Alberta, “There have been suicides . . . we must give frustrated Albertans an opportunity to speak their minds. Moderates are now speaking to me about separation.”
Much of this ire owes itself to Ottawa’s equalization policy, which he deemed “fundamentally unfair.” Kenney demanded that complete reform to the equalization policy would be necessary to preserve the integrity of Canada’s economic union.
Last night, the Liberal Party failed to win a single seat in Alberta, as the Conservative Party swept the province. The only seat that wasn’t won by the Conservative Party was Edmonton-Strathcona, which was won by the NDP.
No federal party achieved any broad support from greater Canadian society. The Liberals relied solely upon Laurentian metropolitan centres, the Conservatives from rural and western Canada, and the Greens and NDP merely collecting a meagre number of seats from their strongholds. Overnight, it has become apparent that Canada is a deeply divided country.
No more so is this the case than in western Canada, whose frustration with the Liberal government was most starkly visible through the popular vote. Although the Liberal Party won the greatest number of seats, the Conservative Party collected the most votes; a testament to the first-past-the-post voting system. This phenomenon came as a result of the enormous majorities the Conservatives were able to muster in southern Alberta.
Despite some frustration with Andrew Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau, Kenney stated it would be a big mistake to force the Conservative leader out: “Andrew has earned the trust of Canadian Conservatives and certainly the right to contest the next election… he has my unequivocal support.”
Since Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, Alberta has long been frustrated by Ottawa’s implementation of the carbon tax and their handling of oil and gas resources within the province— so much so, that “Wexit,” or Western Exit of Canada, has been trending on Twitter.
At the end of Kenney’s press conference, he stated his intention to launch a full referendum on equalization. He stated that Alberta will force the issue of equalization “into the national agenda come hell or highwater.”
If Ottawa chooses to ignore Alberta’s pleas for fairness, Kenney sated that Justin Trudeau’s government “will pose a serious risk to national unity … I fear the alienation will go in a very serious direction.”