Pierre Poilievre’s campaign accuses Patrick Brown of breaking the law


OTTAWA—Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative leadership campaign is going after rival Patrick Brown, alleging he broke both party rules and the campaign finance law.

One of Poilievre’s supporters has asked the Commissioner of Canada Elections to investigate a report that Brown, who is currently Brampton’s mayor, has city staff working full-time on his leadership bid.

The letter to the commissioner – a copy of which was obtained by the Star – says that if any city-paid staff are working on Brown’s campaign during office hours, it’s essentially a one-year campaign donation. municipal corporation, which is illegal.

“In light of the apparent violation of the Canada Elections Act, I respectfully request Elections Canada to investigate and take whatever enforcement action may be warranted,” reads the letter, signed by the Alberta MP. Chris Warkentin.

The complaint is based on a report by online media site Rebel News, which claims to have tracked and documented city staff working at Brown’s campaign headquarters and traveling with Brown on his campaign.

The report includes denials from some city employees that they are paid to work on the campaign or have traveled to certain events with Brown.

The City of Brampton did not immediately return a request for comment from the Star.

Brown’s campaign flatly denied the allegations, calling Rebel News a discredited news outlet engaged in partisan attacks on Brown, not actual journalism.

Poilievre once worked as a spokesperson for Ezra Levant, back when the Rebel News founder was in politics, Brown’s campaign noted.

“No City of Brampton staff are being paid by Brampton for the Patrick Brown campaign,” said campaign spokesperson Chisholm Pothier.

“There are many employees who believe in Patrick Brown’s vision for the party and Canada who are helping out on their own or taking time off from their jobs in the city.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections did not comment.

“In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the Canada Elections Act, the Commissioner of Canada Elections does not generally confirm whether he has received a complaint or has opened an investigation into a particular matter,” spokeswoman Véronique Aupry said in a statement. e-mail.

The complaint to the commissioner follows a complaint filed with the Conservative Party over Brown’s membership sales.

His campaign claims to have attracted more than 150,000 new members, but Poilievre’s campaign alleges that some of those sales violated party rules.

In a letter to the leadership organizing committee, known as LEOC, one of Poilievre’s campaign co-chairs alleges that Brown’s campaign team was offering to reimburse people for signing up for memberships and provided WhatsApp messages and audio recordings to back up their claims.

“The surreptitious reimbursement of membership fees by supporters allows campaigns to receive donations in excess of individual donor limits, outside of the party’s directed giving program, and results in campaign incurring unreported expenses,” it reads. in the letter from Tim Uppal, also an MP from Alberta.

“These arrangements are against LEOC rules and illegal under the Canada Elections Act.”

The party acknowledged having received the complaint.

“We are investigating the allegations contained in the complaint and will have no further comments until our investigation is complete,” executive director Wayne Benson said in a statement.

The Brown campaign also denies these allegations.

“Patrick Brown is gaining momentum and is seen by some astute analysts as the likely winner of this race,” Pothier said.

“The reaction forces are afraid.”

Poilievre and Brown have clashed since the start of the leadership race, both on social media and in official leadership debates.

Brown called Poilievre ineligible and suggested he was not doing enough to quell conspiracy theorists in his camp who hold racist beliefs, while Poilievre accused Brown of lying about his political past and said that we couldn’t trust him.

The twin Camp Poilievre allegations surfaced when the Brown campaign lost one of its key backers – longtime MP and campaign co-chair Michelle Rempel Garner.

She decided to consider running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Alberta and, in turn, announced that she was stepping down from her work on the federal leadership campaign.

In a statement after her announcement, Brown wished her luck.

“She has served Canada well and will continue to serve in any role,” he wrote.

“We will miss you Michelle, but thank you for your contribution to our campaign.”

Poilievre also took the plunge.

“Patrick Brown is drowning in scandal. He had to lie to cover up his poor membership sales,” he alleged.

“He lost three of his four caucus supporters, including his national campaign chair. He is in freefall.

The other two MPs backing Brown moved to Poilievre earlier this month.

Brown hasn’t ruled out quitting the race and trying to be re-elected mayor of Brampton – he’s expected to file his papers by mid-August.

But he is also being criticized there, with some Brampton councilors alleging this week that he deliberately skips meetings to avoid accountability.


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