It was just over a week ago here that I wrote about the case of the former Green candidate in Peterborough-Kawartha Brock Grills and some news on his part. He stepped down back in the summer for “personal reasons” before then coming out and openly the Conservative candidate in the riding, Mike Skinner.
It all seemed like an odd move at the time for a candidate who supposed cared so much about the environment, to back a Conservative Party that has no plan to deal with the issue. It made you wonder about Mr. Grills judgement or at least his motives. Something didn’t add up here and it raised some legit questions about what might be happening here. Well it turns out that the Peterborough Examiner had some questions of their own and looked into this. And what they found and reported on today not only answers a lot of questions, it raises even more good ones:
Let’s get this straight folks. First the Greens seemed to have tossed Grills but allowed him to step down with the old “personal reasons” excuse, which we now see was not the case. Secondly, a week before the “resignation”, the party believed Mr. Skinner offered Grills a job after the fall election if they “co-operate” in the campaign. And not just any job it seems, according to former Green volunteer Sean Paul Cowling, who is quoted in the Examiner story. He is quoted saying this about this job:
“He (Grills) told me he was offered a golden ticket by Mike (Skinner),” Cowling said in an interview Thursday. “He alluded to getting an $80,000 job with Mike if they worked together on the election. It blew my mind.”https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news-story/9617778-peterborough-green-party-cut-grills-loose-over-concerns-he-was-off-message/#.XY1og3WVjVM.twitter
An $80,000 a year job?!?!?! Seriously?!?!? Yeah, if that allegation was proved in court, that would be quite illegal, violating Election Law at the least. The fact that Grills allegedly referred to this as a “golden ticket” to boot makes it all look the more shady and wrong. What is it with Conservative candidates in Peterborough and shenanigans man? First Dean Del Mastro, now this? You would think that case ended up in jail time and awful headlines for the Conservatives that they would be a lot more careful. Yet here we are with this story and these allegations.
Anyway, it probably comes as no shock to anyone out there that both Grills and Skinner are denying any of this, but there is a big sticky problem with that denial. Remember why I wrote about this story last week? What was it that brought Mr. Grills to my attend to begin with? Yeah, the fact that he actually went and openly backed Skinner on Facebook. The fact that Grills still turned around and backed Skinner does make this whole story a lot more plausible, and equally disturbing.
Not only is this story raise all kinds of questions about the tactics the Scheer Conservatives may be using (has any other Conservative candidate tried something like this?), it also reeks of another similar scandal taking place in Alberta right now. Remember the alleged Kamikaze candidate scheme during Alberta Conservative leadership campaign, a race that resulted in Jason Kenney becoming Premier? Yeah, the story where it has been alleged that Kenney’s team backed a candidate with money, resources and even talking points with a plan to run down Brian Jean, only to then drop out and back Kenney. Remember, the RCMP are currently investigating that story and we are awaiting to see what comes of it. This story seems to have a lot of the same kinds of allegations and hallmarks as that one, which is a very bad look on the Scheer Conservatives.
Going forward both Andrew Scheer and Green leader Elizabeth May have some serious questions to be answered. For Scheer, he has to get to the bottom of this, especially due to the potential legal consequences here, and remove this candidate. I don’t know how you can credibly run a campaign on saying the Liberals are corrupt while keeping a candidate with damning allegations like these on your team. Simply put, no apology is good enough here. We’ll see if Scheer actually does that.
As for May, her team has some big questions to answer too. If they knew about these allegations, why did they allow this candidate to walk away quietly and use the old “personal reasons” excuse for “resigning”? Also, given the potential legal issues with what this story raises, did the Greens take these concerns to Elections Canada or the police, or did they sit on them, hoping that they wouldn’t come out and embarrass them? From what has been reported so far, it seems that they didn’t blow the whistle on Mr. Grills to any authority, which is a serious dereliction of responsibility on their part if true and raises serious questions about their judgement.
I hope that this story gets the national attention that it deserves because we have laws outlawing this kind of behaviour for good reasons. We don’t want to see parties playing the system, and voters, in an attempt to assure a certain result. The fact that anything was allegedly offered is bad enough, but the fact that such a lucrative salary was allegedly on the table, a “golden ticket”, is disgusting. This cannot be allowed to just be swept under the rug and I truly hope that Elections Canada steps in and gets to the bottom of this. We can’t condone this, and silence here is not an option.