Conservative MPs today voted to expel Derek Sloan from caucus after the eastern Ontario MP accepted a donation from a notorious white nationalist, sources tell CBC News.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole initiated the process to remove Sloan on Monday shortly after news emerged that Paul Fromm — whose ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi causes have long been documented — had contributed $131 to Sloan’s leadership campaign.
Sloan fought against the vote, saying he was unaware of the source of the donation because Fromm used his full name, Frederick P. Fromm.
Conservatives voted by secret ballot today and sources — speaking on the condition of anonymity — said the majority of MPs voted to remove Sloan from their benches through the Reform Act.
News of Fromm’s contribution was first reported by PressProgress, a non-profit news website funded by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute.
Sloan, who was elected in 2019 to represent the riding of Hastings—Lennox and Addington, argued his team couldn’t vet every donation to his leadership campaign last year.
He also accused O’Toole of hypocrisy, pointing out that Fromm was accepted as a member of the party and voted in its 2020 leadership election without raising any red flags with party officials.
“By their own standards, they are more guilty than I am,” he said.
In a statement to CBC News, Conservative Party director of communications Cory Hann said it was Sloan’s campaign that sold the party membership to Fromm. He said the party would be revoking Fromm’s membership and remitting the funds.
Controversial player in party
Sloan pushed back on that argument, saying new members who signed up for memberships through a leadership campaign website like his were directed to the party’s main website.
Fromm, who founded the Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform, has appeared at far-right protests, has spoken regularly on the white nationalist radio show Stormfront and is the subject of a Hamilton police investigation into claims that he shared the New Zealand mosque shooter’s manifesto on his organization’s website.
Sloan has been polarizing figure in Canadian politics, generating controversy with his socially conservative views on LGBTQ rights. He alarmed members of his own party in April when he posted a message and video on Facebook and Twitter claiming Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam had “failed Canadians” during the pandemic and asking if she works “for Canada or for China.”
Today’s move marks a shift in position for O’Toole. During the leadership race, O’Toole told MPs that Sloan should not be kicked out of caucus over the remarks he made about Tam.
But in recent days, O’Toole has said he wants to build a more inclusive Conservative Party.
Just hours before the donation news broke, he released a lengthy statement saying there is “no place for the far right” in the party and pushing back at Liberal attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics.
In his statement, O’Toole asserted his own views on issues such as abortion, gay rights and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada, while insisting that his party is not beholden to right-wing extremists.
Sloan said Tuesday he will continue to fight for conservative values, no matter the results of the vote.
“I’m not going to go quietly into the night,” he said.