The federal Conservatives have dropped a British Columbia candidate over remarks on homosexuals that the party is describing as “offensive.”
On Friday evening, the party announced that Heather Leung will no longer represent it in Burnaby North-Seymour.
“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,' ” said a party statement issued after the NDP and Liberals criticized the remarks.
“There is no tolerance in the Conservative Party for those types of offensive comments.”
Earlier Friday, New Democrat Svend Robinson, Canada’s first openly gay parliamentarian, said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer needed to act against Ms. Leung, an occupational therapist who was running for the Tories in Burnaby North-Seymour. The Liberals won the riding in 2015.
Mr. Robinson is running in the riding in this election.
“It was the right decision obviously. They had absolutely no choice," Mr. Robinson said of the Tory decision to part ways with Ms. Leung.
“If Scheer had defended her candidacy, it would have destroyed his credibility when he talked about respect for all Canadians including LGBTQ Canadians.”
Mr. Scheer declined to address the issue directly when asked about Ms. Leung earlier Friday. Asked about one of the videos, he said he had not seen it, but added: "Of course our party stands for inclusiveness and the rights of all Canadians including LGBTQ Canadians and we’ll always do so.”
The videos of Ms. Leung come as Mr. Scheer has faced questions about his own stand on same-sex marriage and his decision not to march in Pride parades.
In the 2013 video, disclosed Thursday by the Burnaby Now newspaper, Ms. Leung, a married mother of three grown children, is interviewed by a journalist on the passage of a gay and transgender-positive school-board policy aimed at stopping bullying.
Ms. Leung says she opposes the policy "because these homosexual people, they cannot reproduce the next generation, they recruit more people and more people into their camp. So this is not fair; they are our children. They are not their children. They do not have the right to push our children into their camp.”
In a second undated video obtained and posted this week by The Vancouver Sun newspaper, Ms. Leung interviews a woman who once believed she was meant to be male and a counsellor to the woman, and the Tory candidate makes comments about “perverted homosexual preferences” and “perverted lifestyles.”
Before the Conservative announcement on Ms. Leung, Terry Beech, the riding’s incumbent Liberal candidate, also had said the video material raised questions about Ms. Leung being a candidate for public office.
“I believe that it is disqualifying for anyone who seeks public office to reject the humanity and dignity of their LGBTQ2+ constituents," Mr. Beech said in a statement issued by his campaign.
Mr. Robinson he was curious about how Ms. Leung had been green-lighted. “That’s a very fair question to ask, but we are where we are now, so now the ball is in Scheer’s court."
Burnaby North-Seymour, a riding that is home to the tank farm for the Trans Mountain pipeline, was created in 2012 by redistribution.
In the 2015 federal election, Mr. Beech won the riding with 36 per cent of the vote. The NDP came second with 30 per cent and the Tories third with 28 per cent.