TORONTO – A controversial Progressive Conservative politician was kicked out of the caucus Sunday after a video from 2012 emerged showing him hinting at a hidden agenda and making negative comments about French language rights.
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown called it the “final straw” with Jack MacLaren.
“Each time Jack MacLaren is caught making disparaging or insensitive remarks about others he asks for forgiveness and a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth,” Brown said Sunday in a strongly worded statement.
“And each and every time, he has disappointed those who have put their trust in him.”
MacLaren – who represents the Ottawa-area riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills – is expelled indefinitely from the PC caucus and will not be a candidate for the party in next year’s provincial election, Brown said.
But MacLaren told the Toronto Sun he had already planned to announce Tuesday that he had joined a fringe party, suggesting Brown only fired him after officials learned of his plan.
The party has known about the 2012 video for years, MacLaren told the Sun.
The video, posted online by Ottawa radio station CFRA, shows MacLaren agreeing with a group of people lamenting French language rights in eastern Ontario.
“You don’t have to convince me what’s wrong with French language in eastern Ontario,” MacLaren says.
“You’re right, but you won’t hear it, because we’re trying to get elected.”
In the video, MacLaren says an election will likely come after the Liberals select a new leader – the party picked Kathleen Wynne in 2013 and an election was held in 2014.
“We have lots of things that we’re going to do that we won’t say to people before the election because we won’t get elected,” MacLaren says.
MacLaren, who served as Brown’s campaign co-chair in his 2015 leadership bid, posted on Twitter several hours after the announcement that he had joined the Trillium Party of Ontario.
“The Trillium Party will give me the opportunity to speak freely on my constituents’ behalf, to vote freely on their behalf, and to have input into all policy-making on their behalf,” he wrote.
The Trillium Party’s policies include opposing carbon pricing, opposing the sex-ed curriculum introduced by the Liberal government in 2015 and lowering electricity prices.
MacLaren’s issues were seen as setbacks for Brown as he tries to brand the party as modern and inclusive.
Brown previously ordered MacLaren to stay away from the legislature until he completed sensitivity training after he made vulgar remarks about a female MP at a men’s night fundraiser.
As MacLaren shared the stage at a fundraiser with Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon, he made a joke involving a story about a married couple, inserting the names of McCrimmon and her husband, with a punchline about oral sex.
He also came under fire for fake testimonials on his website and for suggesting a zero tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of patients is dangerous.
Brown said this video is part of a pattern with MacLaren.
“Clearly the real Jack MacLaren is the one we heard making derogatory comments towards women at the Carp Fair Men’s Night, who published fake testimonials praising himself from fake constituents on his website, and who came out against a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse,” Brown wrote.