MPP Jack MacLaren booted from Tory caucus after video from 2012 emerges
Progressive Conservative MPP Jack MacLaren has been kicked out of the Tory caucus over his alleged comments about Franco-Ontarians, language rights and misleading voters in order to get elected, in a video that has just surfaced.
CFRA has learned the party sent a written expulsion notice to MacLaren on Sunday morning, after it got wind of a video purportedly taken in late 2012.
In the video obtained by CFRA, MacLaren appears to be in a crowd of people who are lamenting French language rights in eastern Ontario. But MacLaren suggests the party won't talk about the issue because of the looming election.
“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 on the recording.
A statement from PC Leader Patrick Brown calls the video “the final straw” and says MacLaren has been expelled from the Tory caucus over the “unacceptable” comments.
The 23-minute video obtained by CFRA appears to show several encounters where MacLaren is confronted about “language fairness.”
“When will I hear a politician actually bring that subject up,” challenges a man off screen at the 12:43 mark of the video, who identifies himself as a supporter of Canadians for Language Fairness.
According to its website, Canadians for Language Fairness is a group which calls for the government to “stop wasting our tax dollars” and “end the unfairness of official bilingualism.”
"Our children - their chances of employment are shrinking because of language disqualifications,” the man presses on.
“You don’t have to convince me with what’s wrong with French language in Eastern Ontario,” MacLaren appears to say in response.
As the man in the crowd continues challenging him, MacLaren explains his party's stance.
“You’re right but you won’t hear it because we’re trying to get elected and it will always be twisted and turned that the Liberal -” says MacLaren in the video, as he is interrupted mid-sentence.
“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,” he adds.
The video also shows an encounter between MacLaren and a woman who is arguing that Ontario does not have a significant French-speaking population.
“Between French immersion and all these French schools with the big Franco-Ontarian banners flying at them, there’s the illusion in Ontario that we are so French but we’re not,” says the woman.
“And you would get so many more votes if you stood up and spoke out for freedom of speech,” she adds, drawing loud applause from the crowd.
In response, MacLaren appears to raise his eyebrows and claps. “I hear you,” he says, pointing into the crowd.
There is no date on the video, however MacLaren refers to the controversy surrounding the cancellation of two gas-fired power plants in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Tory MPP criticizes the Liberal’s decision to cancel the Mississauga plant “last September” - indicating the video of MacLaren was taken sometime during 2012.
The video has not been authenticated by NewsTalk 580 CFRA
PC Leader Patrick Brown says video is "the final straw”
PC Leader Patrick Brown released a statement to NewsTalk 580 CFRA, confirming MacLaren has been expelled from the Tory caucus as a result of this video.
"I am building a modern, inclusive Ontario PC Party - one where it doesn't matter where you're from, who you love, where you worship, what language you speak, or how much money you make," says Brown, in a written statement. “Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that Jack MacLaren does not share these values.”
Brown says MacLaren’s comments are “unacceptable” and calls the video “the final straw.”
"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. And each and every time, he has disappointed those who have put their trust in him,” reads the statement from Brown.
The statement from the PC leader says that MacLaren has repeatedly demonstrated unacceptable behavior and will not be a PC candidate in the next provincial election.
“This video is part of a pattern with Jack MacLaren,” says Brown, in the written response. “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."
Last April MacLaren was ordered to take sensitivity training after telling a crude joke about Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon and her husband, during a "men's night" fundraiser in his riding.
He later faced further backlash for his remarks during a Queen's Park debate about a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse for health care professionals, when he said it would be "extraordinarily hard - overly harsh - on doctors."
Brown’s statement does not reveal when the Ontario PC Party became aware of the video, or when the party leader watched it.
Multiple attempts to reach out to Jack MacLaren for comment were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.
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