Screen capture of Andrew Lawton from YouTube.

Liberals Call For Ford To Drop Lawton For London West

With one day before the provincial nomination deadline, the Liberals are calling for the leader of the Ontario PC Party to replace the embattled Conservative candidate for the London West riding.

Liberal Campaign Chair and former London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews issued a statement on Wednesday condemning “recent racist and sexist comments” made by Conservative London West candidate Andrew Lawton while working with The Rebel Media in 2015 and 2016.

Lawton has come under fire for a number of his controversial comments since he was first hand-picked by PC Leader Doug Ford to run in the London West riding. The comments that were made online, through podcasts and in print, have targeted a number of groups including Muslims, the LGBTQ community, women, and Indigenous peoples in Canada.

“May 17 is the deadline to nominate candidates with Elections Ontario, meaning that Doug Ford has until tomorrow to replace Andrew Lawton on the Conservative ballot,” said Mathews in her statement. “Refusal to do so can only mean that Doug Ford is comfortable with the views expressed by Mr. Lawton.”

Lawton addressed his behaviour in a statement back on May 7, in which he blamed his struggle with mental illness. He said there are significant chunks of the period between 2005 and 2013 that he does not remember and he attempted suicide in 2010 as a result of his mental health struggles.

“I was active on social media throughout much of this time, posting things that are so far removed from who I am and what I stand for that I can’t even fathom my frame of mind when writing them,” Lawton said in his statement.

However, Matthews pointed to a number of more recent comments that were made after 2013, that she feels should result in his removal as a candidate.

While working for The Rebel Media on December 17, 2015, Lawton said, “I know typically most minorities in the United States, black and Hispanic minorities, have a higher arrest rate simply because the crime rate in those groups is higher.”

As well, while speaking on things that should be banned before assault weapons on January 7, 2016, Lawton said, “How many lives are lost because people cling to a radical Muslim ideology? Well, we can ban Islam – that’s gonna to save a couple lives.”

Despite the call to have Lawton removed from the election process, Ford has previously stated that he believes “Andrew is a good candidate,” and he has no intention of dropping him.

“Doug Ford may disavow these remarks, but actions speak louder than words – especially when it comes to words like those from Mr. Lawton,” said Mathews. “It is increasingly obvious that the Doug Ford being presented to Ontarians is nothing like the real Doug Ford.”

The video below, which includes other comments made by Lawton, was posted to YouTube on Tuesday and shared by Liberal Party: