Harjit Jaswal, the Conservative party candidate in the 2018 Ontario election, played real dirty games but alas, he lost it all.
Supporters of Harjit Jaswal, Progressive Conservative candidate in the last Ontario election, helped run a smear campaign against a party rival using leaked police documents, with the politician’s business partner having been caught on video mailing the records, a watchdog agency has revealed.
Jaswal — who denies taking part in the campaign to discredit Nick Gahunia — lost the race for Brampton Centre to New Democrat Sara Singh by just 89 votes in the June 2018 election.
The latest report on the incident from Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) serves up more startling details of the law-enforcement aided scheme, including the involvement of people around Tory candidate Harjit Jaswal.
The report says Jaswal’s then real estate partner, Sukh Toor, admitted to mailing out the packages and knew the officer who obtained the documents. But Toor told investigators he picked up the packages from Jaswal’s campaign office and had no idea what was in them.
Jaswal, who also ran in the 2014 Ontario election and is a regional director of the PC Ontario Fund, reiterated in a brief interview this week that “I had nothing to do with this.”
Gahunia, meanwhile, has sued the Toronto force and others for $12 million, accusing them of thwarting the democratic process.
“Me and my family are disgusted and traumatized by this whole experience, especially when the names of people behind my take down are slowly coming out,” he said this week about the latest revelations.
Gahunia, a law-school graduate, was the riding association president in Brampton Centre and believes he had the inside track on the actual nomination, while polls suggested the Conservative candidate would have had a good chance of winning the Riding.
A spokeswoman for Conservative Premier Doug Ford said he would not comment on the matter, referring to questions to the PC party. A party spokesman did not respond by deadline.
The smear operation has now resulted in disciplinary charges against one Toronto police officer and a recommended charge against another. OIPRD says then Const. Amarjit Mann, who was on long-term medical leave, asked Det.-Const. Soon Lum to access the internal police documents for him, before they were distributed to various community members in Brampton.
Mann resigned from the force last month, meaning a Police Services Act charge cannot proceed against him, says the report, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post.
Toronto police conducted a “full criminal investigation” into the matter but “based on available evidence, no criminal charges were laid,” said spokeswoman Connie Osborne.
“Any leak of information or records is a clear breach of protocol and procedures and the service takes these matters extremely seriously,” she added.