The Conservative Party has removed a federal candidate from the ballot in Nova Scotia after allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
Troy Myers, who was running for the Conservatives in the riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, agreed to step down after the allegations were made public, the party said in a statement on Monday. That leaves the Conservatives without a candidate in the Halifax-area riding, with three weeks until the Sept. 20 vote.
“As we treat allegations of sexual misconduct with the seriousness they deserve, the Conservative Party instructed Mr. Myers to withdraw his candidacy, and he agreed,” the party said in a statement.
Reporters asked Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole on Monday what he did to confirm the allegations against Mr. Myers before removing him as a candidate. “We take any allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment very seriously. That’s why this person is no longer a candidate for our party. We need to make sure that we have a slate of candidates that are here to serve the country and that we show support for victims and zero tolerance for folks facing allegations,” Mr. O’Toole said.
In a series of comments posted to Twitter on Sunday, a woman who gave only a first name, Lauren, alleged Mr. Myers had sexually assaulted her at the Nova Scotia Library Association conference in October, 2019.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday, Mr. Myers called the accusations of untoward behaviour and inappropriate contact “unequivocally false.”
“I have spent my entire career working in and promoting an environment of respect and equality. For the best interests of my loved ones and my colleagues and career I have taken the difficult decision to [step] back from politics and focus all my attention and efforts to fight these defamatory false statements,” Mr. Myers said. “I have already consulted legal counsel to review all options.”
The Conservatives said the deadline for party-endorsed candidates to be added to the ballot has already passed, so the party won’t have a candidate in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour this election. Since the late 1980s, MPs from the riding have been either Liberal or NDP. In the 2019 election, the Liberals’ Darren Fisher won the seat. He is running for re-election.
Also on Monday, the Conservative Party issued a news release accusing Quebec Liberal candidate Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Heritage, of owing an undisclosed amount of taxes to Revenu Québec. The accusation stems from Mr. Guilbeault’s disclosure of financial liabilities of more than $10,000 to the federal Ethics Commissioner.
Mr. Guilbeault said the tax sums listed in his federal disclosure filings date back to a separation from his partner before he entered politics. He said the debt is in the process of being cleared.
At a campaign announcement on Monday about protecting Canada’s freshwater, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused Mr. O’Toole’s candidates of “peddling conspiracy theories” and defended Mr. Guilbeault. He said he’d take Mr. Guilbeault as a candidate “any day of the week” over long-time Ontario Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, who sent constituents a letter that said, falsely, that the Liberals are planning a “climate lockdown.”
Mr. O’Toole has not directly disavowed Ms. Gallant’s comments, but he said Monday that all of his candidates are committed to his party’s platform, including a plan that would cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 – a step back from what Canada has already pledged. (The Liberals have committed to a 40- or 45-per-cent reduction in that time frame.)
The Conservative Leader was in King City in the Greater Toronto Area on Monday, where he released his party’s plan to ban puppy mills, and to end abuse and violence against animals. Appearing alongside his family and his dog, Wexford, Mr. O’Toole said his party would strengthen the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s ability to enforce current regulations, and to seize animals when imported under poor welfare conditions. The Tories would also ban cosmetic testing on animals and add animal cruelty as an aggravating factor in domestic violence prosecutions.
A reporter asked Mr. O’Toole why the word “puppy” appears in the Conservative platform, but the words “racism,” “systemic racism” and “Islamophobia” do not. He said he has been “reaching out to all Canadians” throughout his first year as leader. “We have the most diverse slate of candidates running for the Conservative Party because they believe in Canada’s recovery plan, and they’re going to help us tackle racism, reconciliation, inequalities,” Mr. O’Toole said.
On Monday at an announcement in Granby, Que., Mr. Trudeau pledged $1-billion over 10 years to restore and protect large lakes and river systems. His party has not yet published a campaign platform, but he said it would be released “in the coming days.”
Later in the day, the Liberal Leader flew to Iqaluit, where he announced that, if re-elected, his party would spend $2-billion over four years on housing for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations, with over half of the funding made available by next summer’s construction season. He also said his party would spend $1.4-billion for a mental health and wellness strategy developed with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations.
In Quebec, a reporter asked Mr. Trudeau about his party’s policy for candidates facing allegations of sexual misconduct. CBC News has reported that, in 2019, the Liberal Party investigated allegations against former Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara that included inappropriate touching and unwelcome sexual comments. The CBC report, citing confidential sources, said the party’s investigation substantiated some of the claims. However, Mr. Tabbara was still confirmed as a Liberal candidate for Kitchener South-Hespeler in the 2019 election. He did not comment at the time. The Globe and Mail has not independently verified the allegations.
In June, 2020, Mr. Tabbara resigned from the Liberal caucus after he was charged with assault, breaking and entering, and harassment.
Mr. Trudeau told reporters that every situation is different and needs to be addressed with the “proper process.”
“But absolutely. Canadians deserve to know that the people standing up to represent them, to serve them in the House of Commons, are not people who’ve shown disrespect, or misbehaviour or are facing serious allegations,” Mr. Trudeau said.
With a report from Campbell Clark in Granby, Que.
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