At an announcement in downtown Toronto, Liberal campaign co-chair and MPP for London North Centre Deb Matthews said the deadline to nominate candidates is Thursday and if Lawton isn’t taken off the ballot then “Doug Ford is comfortable with the views expressed by Mr. Lawton.”
The Liberals said that Lawton, a former 980 CFPL talk show host, has made several “offensive comments” over recent years concerning women and religious views, among others. Several clips of these comments were played at the announcement.
“You know, Andrew, I believe, is a good candidate, and I find it pretty rich the that the Liberals would do this. Just to tell your listeners, today is the last day you can register to be a candidate, so this is perfectly timed in their minds,” Ford responded on Global News Radio 640 Toronto later Wednesday afternoon.
In one clip, dated April 30, 2015, Lawton can be heard saying “I’m a Christian. I believe in Christian exceptionalism. I believe that Christianity is the only correct faith.”
“Being friendly and welcoming is one of those situations where women are better than men,” he continued.
On May 9, the chair of Hikma, a local Muslim advocacy group also spoke out on past comments made by Lawton.
Lawton announced he was seeking the London West nomination on April 11 and was set to face off against Thames Valley District School Board Trustee Jake Skinner and Liz Snelgrove, exectuive director of the Advanced Medical Group, before he was appointed the nomination April 21.
“He came out, he apologized. Andrew went through at tough time a few years back, he had mental health issues. He’s published that, he’s apologized. We’re going to move forward with Andrew,” Ford said.
LISTEN: Doug Ford says PC will ‘move forward’ with Andrew Lawton on Global News Radio 640 Toronto
Lawton admitted to controversial actions between 2005 and 2013 in early May and took to social media and asked voters for “compassion and trust.”
He said an eight-year battle with an unspecified mental illness caused him to be “reckless” in nearly all areas of his life.
The Liberal request comes just over 10 days after the Liberals released a video of Ontario PC candidate Tanya Granic Allen sharing her views on topics including gay marriage and abortion. She was dumped as a candidate by the PCs shortly after.
“Tanya Granic Allen will no longer be a candidate for the Ontario PC Party. We are a party comprised of people with diverse views that if expressed responsibly we would respect,” read a statement from Ford.
“However, the fact is her characterization of certain issues and people has been irresponsible. Our party remains focused on defeating Kathleen Wynne and bringing relief to families across Ontario.”
A statement from the Liberals on Wednesday said; “Doug Ford may disavow these remarks, but actions speak louder than words — especially when it comes to words like those from Mr. Lawton.”
Lawton worked for 980 CFPL from 2013 to 2018. He has yet to respond to the Liberals press conference.