The riding of Richmond Hill, Ont., was the closest race in the 2019 federal election campaign. In fact, Conservative candidate Costas Menegakis went to bed as the victor on election night, but found out the next morning that after the mail-in ballots had been counted, Liberal incumbent Majid Jowhari had won the riding by a razor-thin 0.2%.
Clearly, this riding is up for grabs on Monday, and it is expected to be a horse race yet again between Menegakis and Jowhari.
So, it was surprising to see a dark horse enter the race recently: Charity DiPaola (a.k.a., Charity McGrath).
Charity DiPaola/McGrath is running as an independent, although she would like to have constituents mistakenly believe that she is A) the incumbent, and B)the Conservative candidate.
Consider Charity’s signs: they are Tory blue in hue. And a prominent red banner reads: “Your Member of Parliament” (the word “candidate” appears in a font about one-third the size used in the rest of the banner). If there was an award for most deceitful election signage, Charity surely gets the gold medal.
Indeed, what is happening right now in Richmond Hill is the worst kind of dirty politics. Since Charity has absolutely no chance of winning this riding, what is truly motivating her election campaign? The answer, according to numerous sources, is revenge.
This saga goes back some three years ago when Charity DiPaola, then known as Charity McGrath, was the Ontario Progressive Conservative party candidate for Newmarket-Aurora. Alas, due to campaign irregularities and allegations of fraud (such as ballot-stuffing), the PC party decided to disqualify Charity in March 2018. The riding would go on to be represented by the current Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
It is said that Charity also had hopes of running federally for the Conservative party. But that was not meant to be, likely because Charity simply has too much baggage.
And so it is that Charity allegedly has a chip on her shoulder, entering a tight federal race as an independent in the hopes of burning the Conservatives.
Some factors worth noting: for starters, her surname. Charity has long been known as Charity McGrath. Could it be that she has taken the surname of her husband, Joe DiPaola, the acting mayor of Richmond Hill, in order to score better name recognition? Perhaps more importantly, a Google search of “Charity DiPaola” brings up far fewer sordid stories versus a search for “Charity McGrath.”
Charity’s campaign literature, meanwhile, is unintentionally funny. She actually likens herself to former Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould. And one of her endorsers is Richmond Hill city councillor Karen Cilevitz. Cilevitz made headlines a few years ago for bullying a cancer patient who dared to use the term “Ward 5” to promote a music festival (Cilevitz believes that as the Ward 5 councillor, only she can use such terminology). Currently, Cilevitz is facing fraud charges.
And then, as previously noted, is Charity’s outrageously deceptive election signage. The end goal would appear to be that if Charity can obtain even a few hundred votes from those who believe she is the bona fide Conservative candidate of record, that might be enough to sink Costas Menekagis, the real Conservative candidate, given how tight the race was in 2019.
The Costas Menegakis campaign team recently issued a statement on the controversy. It reads, in part: “Election day is September 20, and we humbly ask you to vote for Costas Menegakis, your Conservative Candidate for Richmond Hill.
Costas has run a fantastic campaign so far, putting up thousands of signs and talking to tens of thousands of constituents. As someone who has been a Member of Parliament before, he understands the job and will be ready to serve you and Canadians on day 1.
It has come to our attention that another candidate may be representing themselves as Conservative.
Please note that there is no other Conservative Candidate in Richmond Hill.”
Meanwhile, we reached out to Charity McGrath/DiPaola for comment but never received a response. Too bad, so sad… and not very charitable indeed.