Doug Ford has announced that not only will he not scrap the Wynne Government’s plan to subsidize hydro bills by borrowing billions in the future; but that he will further reduce hydro bills by 12 percent. This is dangerous territory for a man who wants to be seen as fiscally prudent. It is also eerily reminiscent of the kind of math that scuttled the campaign of Tim Hudak, who simultaneously boasted he would create a million jobs and eliminate 100,000 jobs at Queen’s park. It didn’t make sense to voters, who were otherwise looking to make a change in government and Hudak’s campaign was dead from that moment on. Just as today’s more sophisticated electorate knows the Wynne spending promises spree of the last few weeks is not sustainable; they also know that it is going to take time and a lot of common sense to get Ontario’s finances in order. We need to see a costed campaign platform from Mr. Ford soon.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

One Comment to: Danger of Déjà vu all over again

  1. Marshall

    May 19th, 2018

    A Globe analysis of the membership list found that more than two dozen fake members listed at one apartment building had the same names as people connected to Mr. Dhillon or his associates through social media. In interviews, two people said they had no idea how their names and Toronto-area phone numbers ended up on a list of party members in Ottawa.

    “I didn’t talk with anyone about this,” said Meghna Randhawa, a student who knows one of Mr. Dhillon’s associates. “I’m shocked. … I never heard of these elections.”

    In addition, sources allege Mr. Dhillon, who was working for Ms. Macgregor, bused people from the Greater Toronto Area to vote at the nomination meeting.

    After voting started, local party stalwarts began to notice an unfamiliar face – who they later learned was Mr. Dhillon – escorting groups of young people. Instead of directing them to vote at the standard alphabetical registration stations, Mr. Dhillon took them to the credentials table, which is normally where voters are sent after encountering snags such as problems with their identification. The credentials desk was staffed by two of Mr. Brown’s aides and overseen by Mr. Stanley.

    One small group of people who arrived with Mr. Dhillon stayed the entire time the polls were open, recalled Carlos Naldinho, a party activist who was at the meeting.

    “They kept going into the voting area then coming into the common area,” he said.

    Sources told The Globe that Ms. Macgregor did not authorize Mr. Dhillon’s actions. She did not respond to questions from The Globe.

    In addition, scrutineers with Mr. Roberts’s campaign raised a host of concerns, including that officials accepted questionable identification, such as cellphone photos of ID.

    Once the vote counting began, the problems escalated. Two boxes, including the one from the credentials desk, contained ballots that had been folded together in a clump – apparent evidence of ballot-box stuffing. “They couldn’t have landed that way in the box,” said Rob Elliott, a party vice-president who helped count the credentials ballots. A total of 17 votes were disqualified.

    However, the credentials box also had 28 more ballots than registration forms filled out at that table, according to riding association officials.

    Despite objections from the Roberts campaign, Mr. Stanley accepted the results of the credentials ballot box, which tipped the race in Ms. Macgregor’s favour by just 15 votes.

    Mr. Roberts’ supporters vigorously challenged the results. But Mr. Stanley eventually declared Ms. Macgregor the winner. He declined to comment on the nominations when contacted by the Globe.

    “I had never in my life – in all my years in politics – seen such blatant fraudulent activity as I saw that day,” said Marjory LeBreton, a former Conservative senator who has been involved in politics since John Diefenbaker was prime minister. “It was just unbelievable.”

    A few weeks later, the riding association quit en masse.

    News about the Ottawa irregularities travelled fast as outraged Tories phoned contacts in other parts of the province – including those involved in another nomination vote that was happening the next day in Hamilton.

    The race in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas was hard fought between Ben Levitt, a political aide for a federal Tory MP; Vikram Singh, a lawyer; Jeff Peller, whose family owns the Peller Estates winery.

    At the high school where the vote was held, veteran strategist John Mykytyshyn noticed Mr. Dhillon, who was working for Mr. Peller’s campaign, in the parking lot greeting large coaches as busloads of voters arrived.

    Behind the scenes, The Globe has learned, a printer was cranking out fake Rogers utility bills and Scotiabank statements in a classroom, according to multiple sources.

    Party rules require voters to present photo ID and proof of address. The fake I.D. enabled people who were not eligible to vote to cast ballots.

    Officials eventually figured out the alleged scam when they noticed voters using Rogers and Scotiabank statements with identical account numbers and balances, according to party members who were present.

    Later there would also be questions about whether votes were cast illegally on behalf of people who did not attend.

    Jacob Trenholm, a management consultant, said a Hamilton detective contacted him in January, 2018, and told him police had a list that showed him casting a ballot. Mr. Trenholm had bought a membership at the request of Mr. Levitt, a friend from high school, but did not attend the nomination meeting. “I was surprised and felt uncertain as to what had happened because it felt wrong,” he said.

    As in Ottawa, irregularities also occurred in Hamilton at the credentials table, which was staffed by aides to Mr. Brown and overseen by then party president Rick Dykstra. He did not respond to requests for comment.

    Mr. Singh had the most votes at the standard stations, but Mr. Levitt received 202 out of the 345 ballots from the credentials table, pushing him to victory, according to a lawsuit Mr. Singh later filed. He alleged the meeting was tainted by party officials’ predetermination that Mr. Levitt would win and by “fraudulent ballot stuffing.”

    York Regional Police have confirmed that they are looking into the data breach at the 407 highway. Police in Hamilton are investigating a PC nomination in the riding of Hamilton-West-Ancaster-Dundas that was held for a second time after allegations of voter fraud surfaced. One of the candidates in that riding was a client of Mr. Dhillon.

    Ms. Wynne has said that Elections Ontario and the OPP should ensure that the PC party does not have personal data from the 407 highway and called on Mr. Ford to fire all candidates with links to Mr. Dhillon.

    “Those who aspire to lead our province have an obligation to put the integrity of our electoral process ahead of partisan gain, political ambition or, indeed, any other consideration. Mr. Ford has an opportunity to act,” Ms. Wynne said in a statement.

    The New Democrats have also called on Elections Ontario to probe what happened with the 407 highway data.


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