Blackface and a 9/11 conspiracy theory — the federal Green Party is taking another hit as they try to turn the page on candidates criticized for being anti-abortion and separatist, weeks after Leader Elizabeth May said she was re-vetting candidates.
Green candidate Robert Mellalieu, who is running in the Okanagan-Similkameen, says his 2017 post sharing a link to a 9/11 conspiracy website was a long time ago and he did it to see what others thought about it.
“To start a conversation sometimes that’s what’s required. I wanted to see if any of my friends or people who follow me had any information on it or any opinions on it,” he says.
“So I post all sorts of things. I look into them and I research them and I came to the conclusion that the 9/11 stuff didn’t have any evidence to support the claims of the conspiracy theory.”
Did the Green Party miss more #911truth candidates for #Elxn43? Vote conspiracy theory 2019! Robert Mellalieu in Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is talking towers in 2017. #Cdnpoli #GPC #CPC #LPC #NDP #BCPoli pic.twitter.com/iVvQSkiBM0
— BillTieleman (@BillTieleman) October 1, 2019
Ontario candidate Martin Lancaster, running in the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding, recently apologized on Facebook for wearing blackface in a Mr. T costume, saying he didn’t do so maliciously and understands now how hurtful it is.
“I have made a mistake and I would like to address it publicly. It’s a mistake that I deeply regret and I’m furious at myself for being so irresponsible and ignorant with my actions,” he writes. “I now know better. I will continue to educate myself and work for opportunities to rebuild the trust of my community, my family and especially the community of persons of colour whom I have hurt.”
The NDP’s Nathan Cullen is happy to talk about these controversies, but says it’s not mudslinging.
“If there are candidates that are running in this election that hold these views, then they can defend these views,” he says. “This is maybe a new time for the Greens, and they’re having more attention and with that comes more scrutiny, and I think that’s just healthy. You should know who you are voting for.”
He says candidates who believe conspiracy theories should be prepared to defend their views.
Other parties are also facing criticism, including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over his past wearing of blackface, and the Conservatives choosing to run a homophobic, anti-Muslim candidate found too extreme for the provincial party.