NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is releasing a fresh salvo of election ads as ousted Hamilton-area MPP Paul Miller takes shots at the party heading into Ontario’s June 2 election campaign.

One of the 30-second ads shows two men in blue and red ties — symbolizing the rival Progressive Conservatives and Liberals — playing table tennis with issues like high housing costs, until a cascade of balls in NDP orange drop from above and deluge the table.

“It’s time to change the game,” says Horwath, appearing on the screen. “It’s your turn to win.”

Another ad called “Hard Work” portrays Horwath as the daughter of an autoworker father and a mother who cleaned schools at night. “I’ll work to fix health care instead of cutting it, fix seniors care instead of neglecting it,” she says. “I’m running for premier to work for you.”

The ads were released Wednesday during a tour of the party’s west-end campaign war room. At the same time, Miller held a news conference outside of his Queen’s Park office to address his ejection of him from the NDP caucus following accusations he was a member of an Islamophobic group on Facebook, which he denies.

With the firing of Miller and the more recent departure of Brampton North MPP Kevin Yarde, Horwath heads into the election with 38 members of the legislature, down from the 40 elected in 2018 as the party vaulted ahead of the Liberals to become the Official Opposition to Premier Doug Ford’s PCs.

Yarde, the first Black MPP in Peel Region, quit the NDP to sit as an Independent last Friday after losing a party nomination race for the right to seek re-election as the NDP candidate in his riding — a rare challenge that infuriated the party’s five -member Black caucus.

Miller, who is now running as an Independent in the riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, claimed to reporters that information technology consultants he hired in the wake of his March ejection from the NDP have found signs of tampering with his Facebook.

“We have conclusive evidence that there has been multiple unauthorized logins to our account from multiple devices in multiple cities,” said Miller, who maintains he did not use or have the passwords to his social media accounts because he is not adept with the technology. He said those functions were handled by his staff.

“We have evidence of specific logins and activity from unauthorized users leading up to my removal from caucus.”

Miller said he is considering legal action against Horwath and the NDP for wrongful dismissal and defamation, but no court filings have been made.

The party declined to comment Wednesday. However, provincial NDP director Lucy Watson said last month that Miller was dropped as his candidate in a riding he has held since 2007 after he “crossed any reasonable line.

“After a pattern of troubling behavior that indicated that Paul Miller may harbor Islamophobic, homophobic and racist views, our party’s vetting process showed that Mr. Miller was a member of the Facebook group called ‘Worldwide Coalition Against Islam,’” said Watson.

“It’s well established that in 2018, a complaint from a staff member was made regarding Paul Miller to the Human Rights Tribunal. While the matter was satisfactorily resolved according to all parties, those allegations included racist and homophobic remarks,” she added.

On Wednesday, Miller again raised the possibility a former staff member could be involved.

“At least a dozen people in my office over the years had access to our social media pages since they were created in 2007,” he said, “and the password did not change until recently.”

Horwath also lost someone who was considered a star candidate in Ajax when former Major Steve Parish was dumped earlier this year over his support for naming a street after a Nazi naval captain.

The controversies follow turmoil in the party’s 2018 election campaign. In that race, Horwath repeatedly refused to drop one GTA candidate who criticized Remembrance Day poppies as glorifying war, and another who used a Hitler meme on social media, prompting Ford to characterize the New Democrats as “radical.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.