NDP pointed to 'pattern of troubling behaviour,' anti-Muslim Facebook group membership
MPP Paul Miller says he was kicked out of the Ontario NDP over a single line on Facebook despite never using social media, and he now has evidence of "multiple, unauthorized logins" to the account leading up to his removal.
The representative for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek was ousted from the party in March following what the NDP described as a "pattern of troubling behaviour" that indicated he may "harbour Islamophobic, homophobic and racist views."
The NDP said it discovered during its vetting process that Miller was a member of the Facebook group Worldwide Coalition Against Islam.
On Wednesday at Queen's Park, Miller told a news conference that he had never logged into Facebook and did not know the username or password for any of his office social media pages.
IT investigators he hired have since found at least a dozen people in his office have had access to the social media pages since it was created in 2007, he added.
"We have conclusive evidence that there was multiple, unauthorized logins to our account from multiple devices in multiple cities," said Miller, who said he's working with a legal team and IT experts to look into what happened.
The Facebook password has only recently been changed, the MPP said.
Miller distributed printouts appearing to show a Facebook notification from Jan. 30, 2018, that said "You stopped being a member of WCAI (Worldwide Coalition Against Islam)."
The pages he passed out included the name "Paul" at the top.
Miller said that was all he was given by the party to explain his removal, but that he was "absolutely not" a member of the Facebook group. He told reporters to look at his Facebook page, where there are "dozens and dozens of pictures of me with the Sikh population, with the Muslim population."
"How can I leave a group that I have never joined or have any knowledge of on a platform I have never used?" he asked.
NDP said behaviour crossed 'any reasonable line'
A spokesperson for the Ontario NDP did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, beyond saying the party stands by its statement from last month.
Lucy Watson, the New Democrats' provincial director, said on March 23 that Miller had been ejected from the party because of a "pattern of behaviour [that] crossed any reasonable line," including membership in the anti-Muslim Facebook group.
"Any other candidate and any other caucus member — in any context and attempting to run for any reasonable party — would be disqualified for ever having been a member of an Islamophobic, racist group," her statement read.
It also referenced a 2018 complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal by former staff member Todd White, which alleged Miller had bullied employees, made racist, sexist and homophobic comments, and abused office resources to campaign.
White was an active party volunteer and, at the time, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
While that matter was "satisfactorily resolved," according to the NDP, Watson pointed to the alleged racist and homophobic remarks.
The party said the "old pattern" continued with the findings of an investigation into Hamilton's public school board.
Miller's wife, Carole Paikin Miller, is a trustee for Ward 5 of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
Her time as a trustee has included controversy, such as sanctions and calls for her resignation, following a report that concluded some trustees made racist comments toward a former student trustee named Ahona Mehdi.
One of the witnesses quoted in the report said a trustee, identified by Mehdi as Paikin Miller and her husband, could be heard "scoffing and muttering under their breath in indignation" when other board members discussed ending a program that put police officers in schools.
Miller to run as an Independent
Miller dismissed the NDP's mentions of a pattern as "total nonsense," and said he believes his wife's "situation" has nothing to do with his.
Miller added he has filed papers to run as an Independent for the June 2 election in the riding he has represented since 2007, and will be up against:
- Jason Farr, a longtime city councillor, who's running for the Liberals.
- Neil Lumsden, a former CFL player, who's with the Ontario PC Party.
- Zaigham Butt, a first-time candidate representing the NDP.
He also said he's pursuing "multiple legal actions" against NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and the party, including for wrongful dismissal, defamation and human rights violations.
"This is no longer the party of labour," said Miller, adding he believes the party is moving in a different direction, but he's not sure what it will be.
"It's pretty scary what she's up to," he said of Horwath.
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca