Eli Ridder | Report
Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford was slammed by his political opponents on Saturday over a data theft scandal that started with allegations against a University of Guelph-Humber alumnus earlier this week.
The leaders of the provincial Liberal and New Democratic Party’s called on police and Elections Ontario to probe the alleged data breach, with Mr. Ford dismissing the attack, deferring any issues with his PC Party to his predecessor, Patrick Brown.
“This goes back to Patrick Brown,” Ford said, telling those gathered in Baysville, that if they want answers over the accusations, “Patrick Brown was the leader under this whole group of people.”
The Brown-nominated Simmer Sandhu was in the running for the provincial election as a PC candidate in Brampton East before resigning on Wednesday over unspecified allegations tied to his work life and nomination campaign.
In a statement posted via social media, Mr. Sandhu said he had “recently been made aware of allegations anonymously made against me pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign,” calling the accusations “totally baseless”.
Earlier that day, 407 ETR said it was informing 60,000 customers that identity information such as their names, mailing addresses and a few phone numbers were stolen from its office during the past year.
York Regional Police launched an investigation into the breach on Friday, but have not confirmed who is involved in the probe thus far.
“I have a news flash for Mr. Ford: He’s now the leader of the party,” said Ontario New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath during a campaign rally the northern city of Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s now his responsibility to own up to what his party has done.”
Ms. Horwath said she has filed a complaint about the data breach with Elections Ontario, the impartial body in charge of the June 7 election, but has yet to hear what form their investigation might take.
Deb Matthews rejected Ford’s dismissal of the accusations, saying his explanation was “untrue” and playing an audio recording of Ford saying he knew of some 40 ridings where “scandalous” practices had been used in nominations.
Matthews said she had recently received a text message from Ford’s party, despite never giving her number to the PC’s, calling any potential use of the alleged stolen data an “unforgivable breach of ethics.”
Sandhu, who graduated from Guelph-Humber as part of its inaugural business class, won the nomination in December to run for the PC Party in Brampton East and is featured on the university’s website as a notable alumnus.
Sandhu worked for nine years at 407 Express Toll Route as a team leader for collections litigation, the company that owns a toll road through the Greater Toronto Area.
Sandhu was not the only candidate running in the provincial election with ties to the university: Justice Studies head Dr. Gary Ellis was appointed by Ford to run in Scarborough Southwest as a fill-in where there was no nomination contest.
Mr. Ellis refused to answer any questions pertaining to the election from The Avro Post until after the election.
Sandhu was set to attend a panel discussion hosted by The Avro Post in April, before cancelling last minute due to a “scheduling conflict” despite asking to change the meet to the following Monday due to his party not having a platform that week.
Sandhu has not responded to a request for comment.
More details to follow. Image of Doug Ford and Simmer Sandhu from the Canadian Parvasi.