Muslim Community Group Condemns ‘Racist, Homophobic’ PC Candidate

Screen capture of Andrew Lawton from YouTube.

A London Muslim advocacy group is asking the Ontario PC leader how it’s possible that he has chosen “someone so openly racist, sexist and homophobic” as his candidate in one of the city’s ridings.

The group Hikma is calling attention to Andrew Lawton, a former private radio talk show host, who was hand-picked by PC Leader Doug Ford to run for the MPP position in London West.  Hikma’s point of contention is the number of controversial comments that Lawton has made over the years online, through podcasts and in print.

“When I heard the news of Andrew Lawton’s appointment, I was stunned,” said Nawaz Tahir, chair of Hikma in a written statement. “I cannot understand, how in this day and age of candidate vetting, that this would not have been caught – or worse, was it ignored?”

In particular, Hikma pointed to comments Lawton made on Twitter back in 2010 and 2011 that stereotyped Muslim men as bombers.

(Screen capture of tweets made by Andrew Lawton)

(Screen capture of tweets made by Andrew Lawton)

“Covered in wires from a portable heart monitor. The Muslim gents nearby seem to think I’m one of them,” Lawton wrote in one tweet that has since been deleted.

“Wearing a bulky, wired heart monitor for a few days. I feel like a Muslim..,” said another tweet from Lawton.

Lawton’s controversial comments have also targeted the LGBTQ community, women, and Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Lawton addressed his past controversial comments in a statement that was released on Monday, where he blames 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 battle with mental health.

“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.

“I’m not seeking a pass on past actions. I am, however, seeking compassion and trust,” Lawton also said. “Compassion as someone who is not unlike those in your own family, circle of friends, or workplace who have gone through this. And trust as someone who has the commitment to drive to make a difference.”

However, in 2016, Lawton published an op-ed for the Toronto Sun which Tahir said praises a controversial book “America Alone” that called for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims.

“Not only did he praise the book, but he went further and suggested that the author, the infamous Mark Steyn, should get a Nobel Peace Prize for this work,” said Tahir. “It is incomprehensible how someone that praises a call for ethnic cleansing could be hand-picked by someone who wants to be the leader of this province.”

According to the CBC, Ford defended Lawton on Tuesday when he was asked whether if he would remove his chosen London West candidate.

(Screen capture of tweets made by Andrew Lawton)

(Screen capture of tweets made by Andrew Lawton)

“Some of his comments weren’t appropriate and I think Andrew is a good candidate,” Ford said. “He has come out and said that some of his comments weren’t appropriate. I’ll accept that and we’re happy to have Andrew on as one of the candidates and we have a big tent.”

Ford’s decision was a sharp contrast to his response over the weekend where he turfed PC candidate Tanya Granic Allen for “irresponsible comments” she made in 2014.  Granic Allen was the PC pick for the Mississauga-Centre riding.

Tahir said Ford still owes Muslims, women and the LGBT community in London an explanation for how Lawton’s appointment was able to happen.

“How is it possible that he could hand pick someone so openly racist, sexist and homophobic?” said Tahir.