The PC party finds itself embroiled in yet another scandal that could potentially be its biggest than ever. Simmer Sandhu, the Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate for Brampton East, stepped down following a shocking disclosure from his former employer Ontario’s 407 ETR. Simmer Sandhu in a tweet Wednesday evening announced he was stepping down and referred to “allegations anonymously made against me pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign.”
However, it was clear that the controversy which was possibly anonymous when it started earlier was not after the Ontario’s 407 confirmed that information on 60,000 customers had been leaked through an “internal theft.”
“These allegations are totally baseless. I absolutely deny them,” he said on both Twitter and Facebook. “I will vigorously defend myself and reputation and I am confident I will be cleared,” Simmer tweeted.
However, he conceded it would be impossible to continue as a candidate while doing so and that the election is too important “to get caught up in the issues surrounding any one person.”
According to reports, Simmer Sandhu worked as a litigation analyst in the collections department at the 407 ETR for 9 years until his resignation in February.
A spokesperson for PC leader Doug Ford put out the following statement: “Simmer Sandhu provided his resignation to the party and the party accepted it.”
His replacement is Sudeep Verma who owns Connexions Telecom Ltd, a company employing two dozen employees. The Tories had to hastily announce this candidacy before the deadline for nominating candidates closing at 2 pm Thursday.
Meanwhile the scandal at the 407 ETR is under investigation. Information about the names, addresses and telephone numbers was taken because of an “internal theft”. So far no one is openly speculating on why this information was stolen and whether it was used to bolster PC party memberships. The ensuing investigation should figure out just how this information was used. What is clear is that there was absolutely no theft of financial information like credit cards or other details which often is the case when the theft is financial in nature.
Still the 407 ETR is notifying customers who’ve been affected of the breach and is offering free credit monitoring and identity-theft protection for a year to affected customers, they said.
Meanwhile there is a media report stating that police in Peel region is investigating the leak of confidential arrest information by an employee of another police department, which was then allegedly used to discredit a potential Conservative candidate in Brampton.
That candidate was disqualified by the party shortly before the nomination battle last month.
It is evident that the PC party has a problem on its hands with eyebrows being raised in several nomination battles held in southern Ontario ridings.
The controversy has given a boost to the Liberal campaign and its co-chair Deb Matthews released the following statement: “If these allegations are true, it goes much deeper than one candidate. It means that the Conservative party may be in possession of stolen personal information that they could be using for political advantage.” -CINEWS