McVety collides with PCs over campaign manager’s lobbying firm

By Allison Smith October 5, 2021

Charles McVety, a conservative evangelical preacher and president of Canada Christian College (CCC), is warning the PCs could lose votes next spring unless the party drops its campaign manager, Kory Teneycke.

At issue for McVety is Teneycke’s lobbying firm Rubicon Strategy, whose consultants continue to pursue their lobbying efforts while Teneycke is on a leave of absence to head up the PC Party’s spring campaign planning full-time.

“How can he be leading the party and the caucus on a regular basis when his company benefits from those decisions? It’s wrong,” McVety said in a phone interview with Queen’s Park Today. “My motivation is that government should not be for sale.”

McVety also quibbled with Rubicon’s lobbying on behalf of the Council of Ontario Universities, whose members include accredited universities that he claims were against CCC’s recent attempt to gain degree-granting status. (COU’s president Steve Orsini said his organization’s retention of Rubicon was not related to the Christian college.)

Teneycke’s involvement in Rubicon is no secret. He founded the firm after working on Premier Doug Ford’s 2018 election campaign and it swiftly became a major player in the Queen’s Park lobbying sphere, something Democracy Watch has also taken issue with in the past.

On a new website attacking Teneycke, McVety claims the “real reason” Ford flip-flopped on implementing a vaccine passport is because Rubicon consultants have been hired to lobby the province on behalf of AstraZeneca and Innovative Medicines Canada, an industry group that represents multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer.

While McVety says he is double-vaxxed and even “flew down to Florida and got it done before anyone else in Ontario,” his website claims vaccine passports are causing Ontarians to “suffer.”

Teneycke called those charges bogus and defamatory.

“Charles McVety is a conspiracy theorist,” Teneycke told Queen’s Park Today over the phone. “He is to Canadian politics what Alex Jones is to U.S. politics.”

Teneycke said pharmaceutical companies are not lobbying for vaccine passports anywhere in the world, to his knowledge, citing the “near infinite” demand for their Covid shots.

According to the Tory strategist, McVety’s real beef is with the government’s May decision to heed the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board’s recommendation and deny CCC degree-granting status.

While McVety’s website takes issue with Teneycke’s firm’s pharmaceutical lobbying ethics, he was quick to accuse the PC insider of being on an “anti-Christian binge” since 2019.

“I think [Teneycke] is trying to drive social conservatives out of Doug Ford’s realm … and leave Doug with half a party. And Erin O’Toole just proved you can’t win with half a party.”

If Teneycke continues to run the PC’s campaign, “I don’t think a single person in my realm will vote for Doug Ford,” said the CCC founder.

Teneycke said he’s “not at all concerned” about Christian voters leaving the PC’s tent. “Charles McVety speaks for very few people other than Charles McVety.”

McVety discusses Teneycke’s alleged conflicts of interest in front of an audience at Canada Christian College.

CCC launched judicial review of PEQAB decision, accuses Romano of bias

Meanwhile, Queen’s Park Today has learned CCC launched an application for a judicial review of PEQAB’s recommendation against giving it university degree-granting privileges and Ross Romano, then-minister of universities and colleges, for agreeing to that recommendation.

The 23-page application was filed with the divisional court early this summer. Among other things, it accuses Romano and PEQAB of “bias” in their decision making, and contends the minister committed to granting the school accreditation in 2019, a year before the PCs quietly included a provision enabling it to gain university status in an economic recovery bill last fall.

McVety says the case could be settled before next spring’s election. PEQAB declined to comment because the matter is before the courts. Romano, who is now the minister of government and consumer services, did not respond to a request for comment.

The CCC legislation got the PCs in hot water last year, when the NDP and many other stakeholders slammed the governing party for working in favour of McVety, who is a long-time Ford friend and donor and has been sanctioned for his anti-LGBTQ and Islamophobic remarks.