Too late for Conservatives to replace Leung on Burnaby North-Seymour ballot
VANCOUVER - A Metro Vancouver candidate dropped by her party Friday says she still plans on running for a seat in Parliament.
The Conservative Party of Canada announced late Friday afternoon that its candidate for the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour, Heather Leung, would no longer be representing the party.
Earlier in the day, Leung's opponent, NDP candidate and former MP Svend Robinson, had called for her removal because of comments she made in the past about her views on LGBTQ2 rights and controversial issues like abortion.
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.
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.
On Friday afternoon, the Conservative Party put out a statement announcing that Leung would no longer be the party's candidate in the riding.
"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."
Robinson, who became the first openly gay member of Parliament three decades ago, said he was pleased that the Conservatives had been "shamed into doing the right thing," but added that Leung's inclusion as a candidate in the first place showed why his party would not support a Conservative government.
"Too many Canadians face homophobic and transphobic hatred every day," the NDP candidate said in a statement. "The NDP will always fight for what is right and work to build a country where everyone can live free from hate and discrimination."
After being dropped by the Conservatives, Leung indicated she intended to run as an independent.
The party cannot add a replacement Conservative candidate to the ballot, as the deadline to enter the race was Monday.
Andrea Marantz, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, told CTV News Vancouver that because nominations for the election were closed on Monday, no more candidates can be nominated or withdrawn. Because Leung was nominated as a Conservative candidate, her name will still be associated with the party on election day.
"It's an unusual situation," Marantz said. "This person will appear on the ballot as the Conservative candidate."