Ontario’s New Democratic Party says it expelled longtime Hamilton MPP Paul Miller following a “disturbing pattern of behavior” that indicated he may “hold Islamophobic views , homophobic and racist”.
A statement from Lucy Watson, the party’s provincial manager, said that during its vetting process it discovered that Hamilton-East Stoney Creek MPP was a member of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam Facebook group.
“Any other candidate and any other caucus member – in any background and attempting to run for any reasonable party – would be disqualified for ever having been a member of an Islamophobic and racist group,” reads the press release published on Wednesday afternoon.
Miller told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that he was fired because of a Facebook post he claimed he didn’t write.
The MP said the message was “offensive” to the general population, but he did not elaborate on its specific content.
He reportedly said he doesn’t write his own Facebook posts and that the post at the heart of the matter may have been written by a former staff member.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced last week that Miller would not be allowed to run for the party in the June 2 election and that the party was kicking him out of caucus.
Miller previously told CBC he was aware of the information Horwath was referring to, but declined to share details about it, saying only that it was “totally fabricated and untrue.”
“It’s nothing criminal or anything like that,” he said at the time. “My lawyer advised me not to say anything.”
MPP plans to run as independent
Miller did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
CBC News has not independently verified Miller’s membership in the Facebook group.
The NDP statement also references a 2018 complaint filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by staff member Todd White, which alleged that Miller bullied employees, made racist, sexist and homophobic comments. and misused office resources to campaign.
White was an active party volunteer and, at the time, chairman of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
The case has been “satisfactorily resolved”, according to the NDP, but Watson pointed to the alleged racist and homophobic comments.
“Our party’s express expectation was that its behavior had to change,” she said, adding that for some time that was the case, and there had been no “public complaints or deprived of homophobic, racist or Islamophobic behaviour”.
However, the party said, an investigation into the Hamilton Public School Board found the “old pattern” was continuing.
Miller’s wife, Carole Paikin Miller, is an administrator for Ward 5 of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
His time as a trustee has included controversy, including sanctions and calls for his resignation, following a report finding that some trustees made racist comments towards a former student trustee named Ahona Mehdi.
One of the witnesses cited in the report said that a director, identified by Mehdi as Paikin Miller, could be heard “sneering and mumbling under his breath in outrage” when other board members discussed the end of a program that put police in schools.
It’s unclear what, specifically, the NDP was referring to in regards to Miller and the school board investigation.
The party said Miller made no direct public statements, but his “behaviour and attitude were noted in the independent investigation.”
However, the NDP said his behavior “crossed every reasonable line” in Miller’s last check and discovery of his membership in the Facebook group, Watson said.
Miller told The Canadian Press that he plans to run as an independent in Hamilton-East Stoney Creek, the riding he has represented since 2007, in the next election.