Justin Trudeau says past racist and sexist social-media posts from a Liberal candidate in Cape Breton were “unacceptable,” but the party is not dropping Jaime Battiste from its election campaign roster.
Sunday marked the first time Mr. Trudeau has publicly commented on Mr. Battiste’s remarks since Friday, when the Toronto Sun revealed past Facebook and Twitter posts in which the Liberal candidate for Sydney-Victoria made offensive remarks about women, Indigenous girls, gay men and Chinese people with accents. Mr. Battiste has since apologized for the posts, which date back as far as 2011, saying he wrote the posts during “difficult times” in his life.
Speaking to reporters in Plainfield, Ont., Sunday, Mr. Trudeau was asked if he felt he was limited in the action he could take against other Liberal candidates because of past photos of him in blackface and brownface, but he didn’t answer the question directly.
“We recognize that Jaime Battiste … took responsibility for his actions and has apologized,” Mr. Trudeau said.
In response to an interview request for Mr. Battiste, the Liberal Party referred to his apology instead.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had the day off on Sunday, but his party took to Twitter to ask if Mr. Trudeau needs to “see more before he finally fires him.”
Meanwhile, the Conservatives were dealing with another controversial candidate of their own. The party dropped Heather Leung as its candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour on Friday over offensive comments she made about the LGBTQ community.
However, video posted by CityNews in Vancouver on Saturday showed Ms. Leung’s team still putting up Conservative campaign signs with her name on them.
In a statement on Sunday, Conservative spokesperson Simon Jefferies said Ms. Leung has been told she cannot use the party’s name or logo, or represent herself as the Tory candidate.
All of the major parties have had candidate troubles. Cameron Ogilvie stepped down as Conservative candidate in Winnipeg last month over discriminatory social-media posts.
The NDP lost B.C. candidate Dock Currie over online comments and Olivier Mathieu, a candidate in Quebec, after allegations of domestic abuse surfaced.
Erik Schomann, who was running for the Green Party in Simcoe, Ont., resigned in September over a social-media post in which he talked about sending pig meat to Muslims.
Party leaders will participate in an English-language debate on Monday night in Gatineau. The debate is one of two organized by an independent commission the Liberal government established; a second debate, to be conducted in French, will take place on Thursday.
The latest national numbers from Nanos Research have the Liberals at 37 per cent of support from respondents, followed by the Conservatives at 33 per cent. The NDP is at 15 per cent, followed by the Greens at 8 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 5 per cent and the People’s Party of Canada at 2 per cent.
The poll was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV, with a total of 1,200 Canadians surveyed from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at tgam.ca/election-polls.