Liberal candidates attend crowded event with no distancing, masks

By Sabrina Nanji October 21, 2020

Halton public health has received a complaint about a political event featuring Ontario Liberal candidates with more than 10 people indoors, no physical distancing and minimal mask wearing. 

Queen’s Park Today confirmed the event took place Sunday and was attended by some of Milton’s nomination hopefuls: Mian Amir Naeem, Khurshid Khan and Sammy Ijaz

At least three Liberal candidates from outside the riding were also in tow: Scarborough Centre’s Mazhar Shafiq, Mississauga—Erin Mills’ Imran Mian, and soon-to-be acclaimed Brampton Centre contender Safdar Hussain

Regional Councillor Zeeshan Hamid raised concerns about the event on social media, saying wannabe lawmakers who disregard the law are “unfit for office.”

“If they can overlook rules today when they’re not even elected because it benefits them, then imagine what they’ll do once they have power and control budgets,” Hamid said. 

Mississauga school trustee Nokha Dakroub echoed the sentiment. “Such behaviour is simply irresponsible … and it will only give your opposition ammunition to use against you during the next election.” 

The Ontario Liberal Party said the event in Milton was not officially organized or sanctioned. The party also issued a memo yesterday reminding all candidates about running safe campaigns. 

“It is essential the Ontario Liberal Party leads by example,” reads the memo from party president Brian Johns. “No event is worth risking health and safety.” 

The three out-of-riding candidates each issued statements on Facebook acknowledging they “regret not leaving when physical distancing couldn’t be ensured.” 

Meanwhile, a sitting politician planned to test the province’s gathering rules. Independent MPP Randy Hillier, who has come out swinging against pandemic public health measures, held an anti-lockdown protest outside Queen’s Park this morning, with more than the legal limit of 25 people who weren’t wearing masks. 

Hillier dared the premier to “throw the book” at him in yesterday’s question period. 

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier was also in attendance.