MP Trost accuses Conservative party of fining him in 'retaliation' for leadership race
Brad Trost speaks during the Conservative leadership debate in Saskatoon, Wednesday, November 9, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Liam Richards)
Rachel Gilmore, Power Play producer
Published Friday, January 11, 2019 12:27PM EST
The legacy of the 2017 Conservative race – beyond a new Tory leader – has taken the form of lawsuits, unpaid debts and a new federal political party.
Now, a former Tory leadership candidate is accusing the party of slapping him with a $50,000 fine in “retaliation” for how well he did in the leadership race.
Conservative MP Brad Trost – who made headlines for his controversial statements about same-sex marriage and pro-life stance – came fourth in the race that dubbed Andrew Scheer the leader of the party. Trost said, however, that the party wanted him to finish with a much poorer showing. He alleges they punished him for it.
The party levied a fine after determining that Trost’s campaign was responsible for leaking a Conservative party membership list to the National Firearms Association. Trost pushed back against the fine and requested a judicial review of the decision. The case ultimately ended up before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the request for a judicial review.
Trost said the fine was in “retaliation for how well [he] did in the leadership race.”
The Conservative party refuted the allegation.
“The penalty incurred by the Trost campaign was because of a leaked membership list that was traced back to his own campaign. As far as the reason for the lawsuit, it was Mr. Trost who initiated it – and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in our favour,” Cory Hann, a spokesperson for the Conservative party, said in a statement to CTVNews.ca.
In a subsequent interview, Trost pushed back on Hann’s statement. He alleged that the party never fully traced the leaked list back to his campaign.
“There are other Conservative MPs who have urged me to sue the Conservative Party of Canada,” Trost said.
“There’s a large number of MPs who are very unhappy about the way this was handled. Naturally, they don’t want to tangle with the powers that be.”
He would not provide the names of those MPs.
Still, Trost says he is a proud member of the Conservative Party. While he won’t be running in the 2019 election after losing the nomination race in his own riding, Trost says he is mulling over his return to the federal political scene. He said mid-level volunteers from Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada have asked him to run under their banner, but Trost says he would run for the Tories again.
“I’m only 44. The average member of Parliament in the House of Commons is over age 50. I still have a very long, active life in the Conservative Party,” Trost said.
In the meantime, Trost is using his remaining months in the House to further the causes he supports.
Most recently, he made a formal bid to re-open the abortion debate in the House. In an e-petition that Trost sponsored and says he supports “100 per cent,” the government is being asked to initiate “a respectful debate in the House of Commons with the intent to form an all-party committee that will draft a bill governing the conduct of abortion in Canada.”
Trost says he doesn’t expect the government to engage in the debate, but the petition has garnered sufficient signatures. This means the government will have to table a response.
The former Conservative leadership candidate also continues to speak out about his concerns with his own party.
“I want my fellow MPs to win in the next election. But I want our Conservative party to be run with the highest ethical standards, because if we’re going to criticize the Liberals for corruption and anti-democratic behavior, we have to be purer than pure about it,” Trost said.