Conservatives drop Burnaby candidate after transphobic comments
Update at 6 p.m. Friday: The Conservative Party of Canada announced late Friday afternoon that Heather Leung would no longer be representing the party in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour. In announcing the change, the party wrote:
"Recent media reports have brought to light offensive comments made by Ms. Leung saying 'homosexuals recruit' children, and describing the sexual orientation of the LGBTQ community as 'perverted.' There is no tolerance in the Conservative Party for those types of offensive comments."
The original story follows.
BURNABY - NDP Burnaby North-Seymour candidate Svend Robinson is calling out his Conservative opponent Heather Leung.
Robinson is demanding Andrew Scheer drop Leung after a series of videos surfaced online of her making transphobic comments.
“I am today calling on Andrew Scheer as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada to show leadership. To recognize that this candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour should be fired as a candidate. In fact, she should be thrown out of the Conservative party,” said Robinson.
- More from Burnaby North-Seymour: Rick Mercer calls post endorsing Conservatives 'straight up fake'
The NDP candidate became the first openly gay Member of Parliament three decades ago.
Robinson’s party has received criticism this election campaign for its slow candidate vetting process.
“Clearly the Conservatives didn’t do their due diligence with this candidate,” Robinson told CTV News.
He believes Leung’s views on LGBTQ2 rights and other controversial issues like abortion should have been a red flag for the party.
“I find it extraordinary quite frankly that the vetting wasn’t done,” said Robinson.
There are multiple videos online of Leung weighing-in on LGBTQ2 rights. Burnaby NOW shared a video from 2011 of Leung speaking against a Burnaby School Board policy aimed at inclusiveness.
“The school board and the people who draft this policy are digging a deep, dark pit for the next generation because these homosexual people, they cannot reproduce the next generation. They recruit more people and more people into their camp,” she said while speaking to a Burnaby NOW reporter.
Andrew Scheer was asked if he would stand by Leung in light of the videos during a press conference in Toronto Friday morning.
“I haven't seen this particular video that you're referencing. Of course, our party stands for inclusiveness and the rights of all Canadians, including LGBT Canadians and we’ll always do so," he said.
The Vancouver Sun also shared an undated video of an interview between Leung, Susan Takata and Rob Bruce. Takata previously identified as transgender, but was convinced otherwise by her counsellor, Bruce.
“As you are aware, more young people are buying into this perverted sexual preferences and gender fluidity,” said Leung in the video.
This isn’t the first time the Tory candidate has made headlines.
The Burnaby North-Seymour Constituency Association posted an image that misquoted Canadian comedian Rick Mercer last month.
The quote was altered to make it look like Mercer was endorsing the party.
The comedian took to Twitter to call the quote “straight up fake.”
Leung’s office said she did not authorize the post and knew nothing about it.
The candidate has also been criticized for a lack of transparency.
She hasn’t granted any media interviews in months and skipped an all-candidates debate held at SFU Thursday night.
Leung’s campaign manager, Travis Trost, told CTV News Friday morning that Leung has a very busy schedule and would likely not be available to respond to Robinson’s press conference. He did say that an official release would be sent out on her behalf by the Conservative Party.