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‘Nothing was promised’ when former MPP resigned to give party leader shot at seat

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

Garfield Dunlop

Garfield Dunlop

Former Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop vehemently disputes a story suggesting promises were made if he gave up his seat to Patrick Brown.

Dunlop said no promises were made when he decided to resign last July from the seat he had held for close to 16 years. The move allowed Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown to run in the riding during a byelection last September.

"Nothing was promised," Dunlop said, refuting a report in another media outlet that seems to suggest otherwise.

"When I met Patrick before (resigning), we said we cannot do anything. There was no deal for anything, no deal at all."

Dunlop said he began working for the party in a paid capacity last October, when he was enlisted to help raise funds throughout the province as the Tories gear up for the next election.

"I started being paid about a year ago now," said Dunlop, who wouldn't say how much he receives in this role. "The bottom line is I would work for nothing to defeat (Premier) Kathleen Wynne."

Dunlop said he believes the Liberals are just looking for anything to deflect attention away from their own bribery scandal during a byelection last year in Sudbury.

"All I've ever done is work hard for the riding. I had 35 years (in politics) and I was never defeated. The Liberals are trying to spin it like I'm getting some big job out of it."

Dunlop said his decision to step aside for Brown was the right one, given the fact Brown is from the area and previously represented the federal Conservatives in a neighbouring riding.

"I was the logical person to step aside for him," he said, noting both former prime minister Brian Mulroney and former federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay called him to echo their support for his decision. "They said it was an honourable thing to do."

Fred Larsen, who carried the Liberal banner against Brown in the byelection, said while he's not privy to what occurred, he was surprised by Dunlop's resignation last year.

"I always kind of assumed there was some kind of arrangement," he said. "(Dunlop's resignation) just seemed to happen very suddenly."

Jill Dunlop said her father approached family members when he was first considering stepping down last April.

"He stayed on as a volunteer," she said, noting her father didn't start receiving a salary until "sometime after the byelection."

As well, she said, she's not expecting the story to have any effect her own campaign to win the Simcoe North nomination over challenger Doug Downey.

"I'm working hard and in a fight with a very strong candidate in our riding."

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