LONDON, Ont. — A Progressive Conservative candidate running in the Ontario election says years of struggling with mental illness were to blame for what he described as past “failings.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Andrew Lawton said his battle with an unspecified mental illness spanned from 2005 to 2013.
“Simply put, I was reckless in almost all areas of my life: financially, socially, sexually, and vocationally,” said Lawton, who is running in the riding of London West. “There are significant chunks of this period that I do not remember.”
During that time, Lawton said he continued to be active on social media, “posting things that are so far removed from who I am and what I stand for that I can’t even fathom my frame of mind in writing them.”
Lawton said in his statement that he sought treatment in 2011, and called on voters to show him compassion and understanding, to not judge him by past mistakes and allow him to stay on board as a Tory candidate.
Critics have accused Lawton of expressing openly misogynistic, racist and homophobic views on social media posts and in his various jobs as a talk radio host and contributor to far-right Rebel Media.
Lawton is one of 11 candidates appointed by Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford to represent the party in the June 7 election.
The controversy comes just days after Ford dropped another candidate after homophobic statements were brought to light by the governing Liberals.
Tanya Granic Allen, a social conservative and outspoken opponent of the province’s sex education curriculum, was taken off the Tory ballot in Mississauga Centre on the weekend.
Granic Allen’s dismissal came just hours after the Liberals shared an edited video showing her discussing sex education in Croatia, saying that when she sees the country “trying to push radical sexualization on the young, or gay marriage, I almost vomit in disbelief.”
The former Tory leadership candidate called her removal another betrayal of social conservatives.