TORONTO – More caucus troubles are brewing for Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, one week before he faces a potential leadership review.
Randy Hillier is out as PC labour critic for sending an email to his caucus colleagues expressing concern that the Tories were using legislation to try to get more donations from a large construction company.
As Hudak held a news conference to announce the appointment of Monte McNaughton as his new labour critic, Hillier issued a release saying he did not violate caucus confidentiality because he never leaked the email to the media.
“Tim Hudak demanded that I both apologize for allegedly breaking caucus confidentiality and to publicly retract the comments I had made in the aforementioned email,” said Hillier. “I made it clear to Tim that under no circumstances would I retract the comments and concerns that I raised three months ago, and that I still stand by to this day.”
Hudak says Hillier demonstrated a pattern of behaviour that strained relations with his caucus colleagues.
“He has an opportunity to continue to enjoy the privilege of sitting with the PC caucus, but he has to understand that politics is a team sport,” said Hudak. “It’s not about Randy. It’s about how we’re going to turn our province around.”
Last week, Hudak removed Peter Shurman as the PC finance critic after the Thornhill MPP refused to pay back a $20,000 housing allowance for a Niagara residence.
Hudak is planning more changes to his shadow cabinet, but would not say if Frank Klees will retain a critic’s post after he joined Hillier in saying the Tories should allow debate on a leadership review at a policy conference in London next week.
Klees and Hiller were among the few Tories who suggested the party amend its constitution so members could hold a leadership review after the party picked up only one of five seats during a glut of byelections on August 1.
– with files from The Canadian Press