National Newswatch

Doug Ford anointed – literally – by controversial evangelical pastor as part of effort to win social conservatives

Mar 7 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Pastor Paul Melnichuk of Toronto’s Prayer Palace, who was found not guilty last year of sexually assaulting members of his congregation, conducted the ceremony. On the sprawling stage of Toronto’s Prayer Palace mega-church, Doug Ford stood solemnly as Pastor Paul Melnichuk blessed him and his bid to be Ontario Progressive Conservative leader. “I’m sensing a […]

Elliott camp accuses Doug Ford of ‘erratic’ and desperate behaviour as PC leadership nears end

Mar 5 2018 — Tom Blackwell — They often talk about how they have been friends — and political allies — for years. But the bonds between Christine Elliott and Doug Ford seemed to be fraying rapidly Monday as the rivals for Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leadership make their final push in the abbreviated race. Elliott’s campaign co-chair accused Ford of “erratic” and […]

Patrick Brown intends to drop out of Ontario PC leadership race, campaign sources say

Feb 26 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Claiming he’s faced death threats, that his family members have been harassed and that his mother has been hospitalized because of stress, Patrick Brown intends to pull out of the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race, two senior members of his campaign team said Monday. The Ontario Conservative’s political maneuvers in the last few weeks have […]

Former MP says botched online voting system could spell disaster for Ontario PC leadership election

Feb 24 2018 — Tom Blackwell — As if the Ontario Conservatives needed another controversy, a former Tory cabinet minister says major glitches with the online voting system for the party’s leadership race could spell disaster, leaving thousands unable to cast a ballot. Frank Klees, a longtime member of provincial parliament who is backing businessman Doug Ford for leader, said Friday that […]

Party source says Patrick Brown must undergo Ontario Tories vetting only because he was stripped of his riding nomination

Feb 20 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Patrick Brown and other contenders may have declared their candidacy for the Ontario Conservatives’ leadership, but most won’t find out until Wednesday whether they’ve actually passed the party’s candidate vetting process and be allowed to run — another unique feature of an already unusual contest. Brown, however, could have avoided the whole nerve-wracking process if […]

Lawyer who defended Patrick Brown on Facebook threatens to sue Ontario Tories for libel

Feb 20 2018 — Tom Blackwell — A lawyer whose firm was sacked by the Ontario Conservative party after he publicly questioned sexual-misconduct allegations against ex-leader Patrick Brown is now threatening to sue party officials if they don’t immediately apologize to him. It’s the latest sign of deep divisions within the provincial Conservatives, as Brown vies to regain the job he quit […]

Patrick Brown launches multi-pronged campaign against sex-misconduct claims, as one allegation crumbles

Feb 14 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Until a few days ago, it seemed Patrick Brown had been virtually wiped off Ontario’s political map. He quit as leader of the province’s Conservatives within hours of sexual-misconduct allegations coming to light, his party moved rapidly to find a replacement and the Tories’ interim chief vowed to clean out the “rot” he had supposedly […]

Ontario PCs fire firm after lawyer’s online attack on Patrick Brown’s sexual-misconduct accuser

Feb 2 2018 — Tom Blackwell — There was more dramatic fallout Thursday from the Ontario Conservative party’s leadership upheaval, as the party fired a firm whose lawyer publicly named and criticized one of former leader Patrick Brown’s sexual-misconduct accusers. Joseph Villeneuve, who acted for the Tories in at least one court case, posted a number of comments and articles on Facebook […]

Doug Ford says Ontario PCs trying to undermine his leadership campaign by restricting new membership sign-ups

Feb 2 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Doug Ford tossed another grenade at the Ontario Conservative establishment Friday, accusing the party of deliberately trying to thwart his leadership bid by restricting candidates’ ability to sign up new members. Rules for the suddenly called leadership race say that new membership applications will be accepted only up to Feb. 16, though voting doesn’t start […]

‘Don’t step out of line’: Confidential report reveals how Chinese officials harass activists in Canada

Jan 5 2018 — Tom Blackwell — ‘They said if this (critical) story comes out in the Canadian press, then you are responsible for the life of your relatives’ At home in Ontario, his activism barely raised an eyebrow. But when a quiet-spoken Chinese dissident travelled to the country of his birth last year, security officers shadowed him for weeks, booking hotel […]

Hillary Clinton, Canadian company at heart of controversy Trump and his supporters want to resurrect

Oct 21 2017 — Tom Blackwell — It’s the Russia controversy that President Donald Trump and his supporters would love the world to focus on, and it centres largely around a Toronto-based mining company. The 2010 sale of Uranium One to Russian interests — and unproven allegations that Canadian donations to the Clinton Foundation eased its approval in the States — suddenly […]