Members of the caucus gathered on Wednesday to vote on the fate of the MP for Hastings—Lennox and Addington, who in just over one year of public life has prompted repeated criticism for behaviour ranging from attacking the country’s top doctor to sharing vaccine misinformation.
“The Conservative caucus voted to remove Derek Sloan not because of one specific event, but because of a pattern of destructive behaviour involving multiple incidents and disrespect towards the Conservative team for over a year,” Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement.
“These actions have been a consistent distraction from our efforts to grow the party and focus on the work we need to do. Events of the past week were simply the last straw and led to our caucus making the decision it did today.”
The meeting came after Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he would not let Sloan run again for the party following revelations that he had received a leadership campaign contribution from a man described as a neo-Nazi.
O’Toole did not have the power to eject Sloan on his own, however.
He needed to get at least 20 per cent of the caucus to support a motion to review Sloan’s membership, which was then voted on via secret virtual ballot.
A Conservative source told Global News the cumulative effects of Sloan’s behaviour were weighing on the caucus, leading to growing frustration including among social conservative members.
The source said both Sloan and O’Toole spoke at the opening and end of the meeting, and that at no point did Sloan heed the urgings of several caucus members to agree to change his behaviour.
Instead, the source said Sloan indicated he believed he has done nothing wrong.
Sloan doubled down on his own defence after the meeting, taking to Twitter to accuse the caucus of acting as a “cabal” of O’Toole, and accusing O’Toole of trying to get “good democratic, conservatives purged.”
In contrast, the source said O’Toole spoke directly to social conservative caucus members during the meeting and stressed that the party is a big tent, adding he will support their rights to vote their conscience.
Some caucus members and prominent Conservatives spoke out publicly in advance of the vote, condemning Sloan and praising the attempt by O’Toole to remove him.
Sloan previously faced calls for his ejection last year after he questioned whether Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam was working for China. He refused to apologize, insisting he was not questioning her loyalty to Canada, and remained in caucus.
He has also peddled misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines.
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