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Cummins dumps Tootill, but Clark sticks by candidate

British Columbia Conservative party leader John Cummins, left, waits for by-election results at Conservative candidate John Martin's campaign office in Chilliwack, B.C., April 19, 2012.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. Conservatives have moved to quickly dismiss a problem candidate, while BC Liberals are standing by one of theirs.

On Wednesday, Conservative Leader John Cummins announced Ian Tootill, the candidate for Vancouver-False Creek, had been "fired" over "downright shameful" Twitter comments on Hitler, women and legalizing drugs. "Mr. Tootill's comments are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the BC Conservative Party," Mr. Cummins said in a statement that came as the party was seeking attention for a platform announcement on BC Ferries and the introduction of a candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena.

The Vancouver Sun reported that Mr. Tootill, the owner of a Vancouver-based investor relations firm, wrote on his Twitter account last October, "Who's really to blame? Hitler or the people who acted on his words?" In 2011, said the Sun, he wrote, "…We men love sluts." He also called for the legalization of all drugs, "not just pot."

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In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Tootill said he did not agree with his dismissal, noting the party was aware of the remarks before the campaign began. However, he said he was going to move on without disputing his ouster and hoped the situation would not be a distraction to the party.

Meanwhile, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is defending the party's Shuswap candidate, now facing renewed criticism for his 2007 violation of the federal Fisheries Act.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans found that, early that year, a development corporation in which Greg Kyllo has ownership logged approximately seven hectares of forest and vegetation in the Eagle River delta area on Shuswap Lake, altering fish habit protected by both provincial and federal legislation.

The corporation pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $375,000 in reparation costs and fines. On Wednesday, Mr. Kyllo acknowledged "some mistakes were made" due to a misunderstanding over changing regulations, but the corporation has so far spent $275,000 on a full restoration and monitoring program.

Ms. Clark said Wednesday that Mr. Kyllo doesn't make excuses. "He put $275,000 into remediating the problem and since then … he went on to get 78 per cent of the vote in the local election. Misunderstandings and mistakes happen; we are defined by how we deal with them."

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