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Tory caucus to meet Wednesday to determine fate of MP Derek Sloan

Click to play video 'Conservative MP Derek Sloan says campaign ‘didn’t have the manpower’ to vet individual donations' Conservative MP Derek Sloan says campaign ‘didn’t have the manpower’ to vet individual donations
WATCH: Conservative MP Derek Sloan says campaign ‘didn’t have the manpower’ to vet individual donations – Jan 19, 2021

The Conservative Party of Canada’s caucus will be holding a vote on Wednesday to decide whether to remove MP Derek Sloan, sources say.

The party’s leader, Erin O’Toole, had called for his removal on Monday, after a report from Press Progress surfaced revealing the member of parliament for Hastings–Lennox and Addington accepted at $131 donation from a man who has been described as a neo-Nazi.

Read more: O’Toole seeks to boot MP Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus over donation

A Conservative source told Global News many members of caucus are frustrated that Sloan doesn’t act like a member of the team, and does not show any remorse or understanding about the effects his behaviour has on his colleagues.

Wednesday’s vote will be about the cumulative effect of Sloan’s behaviour, not just about the issue of the donation, the source said.

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Another source confirmed to Global News the meeting will take place at 11 a.m. ET.

However, in an interview on Tuesday, Sloan dismissed the calls for his removal as “trumped-up charges.”

“This is infighting and it’s not good for the future of conservatism in Canada,” he said.

Sloan also maintained that he did not know of the donation from Paul Fromm before Monday, adding that he condemns racism and hatred.

“I don’t know much about Paul Fromm,” he said. “I understand that he’s affiliated with racist groups. I condemn that, I condemn racism. I condemn hatred.”

“That’s certainly something I’m proud to say.”

Click to play video 'MP Derek Sloan says he condemns racism, hatred after donation scandal' MP Derek Sloan says he condemns racism, hatred after donation scandal
MP Derek Sloan says he condemns racism, hatred after donation scandal – Jan 19, 2021

Sloan said his leadership campaign team did not have the manpower to conduct background checks on each individual donation, saying they received over 13,000 individual donations.

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Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “pleased” with O’Toole’s move to begin the process of removing Sloan.

“The Liberal Party has been calling for Erin O’Toole to remove Derek Sloan from caucus for many, many months now following a number of unacceptable comments that he has made,” Trudeau said.

“We are pleased that Erin O’Toole has finally decided to take leadership and we’ll see how that unfolds.”

On Monday, O’Toole issued a statement calling Sloan’s acceptance of the donation “far worse than a gross error of judgment or failure of due diligence.”

The leader said he had initiated the process to remove Sloan under the Reform Act, and would bar him from running as a candidate for the party.

Read more: O’Toole seeks to boot MP Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus over donation

“Racism is a disease of the soul, repugnant to our core values.” he said in the statement.

“It has no place in our country. It has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada. I won’t tolerate it.”

However, in a statement Monday evening, Sloan claimed Fromm had applied and was accepted as a member of the party last summer amid the party’s leadership race.

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He said this means scrutineers for the campaigns of O’Toole, Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis also overlooked Fromm’s application.

“Therefore the Party, and the O’Toole campaign, failed to uphold the same standards to which they are now applying to me,” he said.

But, in an email to Global News, a spokesperson from the Conservative Party said it was Sloan’s campaign that sold Fromm a party membership in May.

“Mr. Sloan’s campaign accepted the donation from this individual in August,” the email read. “We are revoking this membership. We are remitting the funds.”

A majority vote of the party caucus would be required to remove Sloan.

It was not immediately clear how members planned on voting, though at least one has publicly called for his ouster.

In a tweet on Monday, MP Eric Duncan said he has “had enough too.”

“There is no room for this garbage in our Party,” he wrote. “Good riddance.”

Click to play video 'Trudeau ‘pleased’ Erin O’Toole removing Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus' Trudeau ‘pleased’ Erin O’Toole removing Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus
Trudeau ‘pleased’ Erin O’Toole removing Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus – Jan 19, 2021

Former Conservative MP John Baird also shared his thoughts on Twitter, saying he has “worked well with many social conservatives in our party over the years.”

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“They are welcome in our party, but Derek Sloan’s behaviour is not. I am fully supportive of @erinotoole’s strong leadership,” he wrote.

Sloan, meanwhile, has said he has heard from some members of the party who have offered their support.

“I don’t want to highlight anybody in particular, but you know, I think many people that I’ve spoken to, frankly, understand that this can happen to anyone,” he said.

This is not the first time members of the party have called for Sloan to be removed from caucus.

Last year he faced calls for removal after he questioned whether Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa was working for China amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, Sloan insisted he was not questioning Tam’s loyalty to Canada, and ultimately remained in the party’s caucus.

— With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly

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