The former Liberal MP for Spadina-Fort York said he has urged his newly elected successor, Kevin Vuong, to resign, warning him that local people will be “furious” if he takes his seat.
Adam Vaughan, who did not seek re-election this year after having represented the downtown Toronto riding since 2014, also said that he would not brief his successor on certain sensitive cases and would instead ask ministers or neighbouring MPs to take them forward.
The Liberal party dropped Vuong as a candidate in Spadina-Fort York just two days before Monday’s election after the Toronto Star reported there had been a sexual assault charge laid against him in 2019, which was later dropped.
However, thousands of people had already voted by mail or in advance polls in the riding and it was too late to remove Vuong’s name or party affiliation from the ballots that were cast Monday.
He managed to win with about 39 per cent of the vote. He is set to sit as an Independent MP, which the Liberal party said he would have to do if he won.
Vuong has previously categorically denied the sexual-assault allegation and said in a statement on Wednesday he intends to address the incident “more wholly in a dedicated forum.” He also said he intended to devote himself to serving his constituents. Vuong did not immediately respond to a new request for comment sent by e-mail Friday.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Vaughan said he offered advice to Vuong on what to do after the Liberal party dropped him as a candidate, and then also after he won.
He said he told Vuong: “Yours is a compromised election because of the changes that happened It’s a compromised seat, it is a compromised victory and people are going to be furious if you assume the seat.”
He said he also urged Vuong to swiftly resign after setting up a constituency office which could deal with local cases, under the aegis of the House of Commons, until a by-election brings in a new MP.
He said he also told Vuong it would be hard to properly represent his constituents and prioritize their needs if he holds the seat “under a cloud.”
The Liberal party has said Vuong did not reveal the charge when he was being vetted as a prospective candidate. The Canadian Armed Forces is also reviewing the matter because Vuong, a naval reservist, did not notify the military when he was charged, as is required.
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