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NDP's Svend Robinson asks Conservatives to boot candidate over videos of homophobic comments

Last Updated Oct 4, 2019 at 3:29 pm PDT

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Heather Leung running in the Burnaby North–Seymour riding. NDP candidate Svend Robinson, running in the same riding, is calling on the Conservatives to boot Leung over homophobic comments she made in two videos that recently resurfaced. (Courtesy, Conservative Party of Canada)
Summary

NDP candidate Svend Robinson is calling on the Conservatives to oust a candidate over homophobic comments

Heather Leung called LGBTQ people 'perverted' and said they aimed to 'recruit' people in two videos that have resurfaced

Both candidates are running in the Burnaby North–Seymour riding

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — A NDP candidate is calling for the Conservatives to boot his rival in the Burnaby North–Seymour riding for homophobic comments made in 2011 and 2016.

A video taken by Burnaby Now resurfaced this week, showing Heather Leung at a rally for a LGBTQ-positive school board policy, where she said it aimed to ‘recruit’ people to become homosexual. In another undated interview found by the Vancouver Sun, she says LGBTQ people have ‘perverted’ sexual preferences.

NDP candidate Svend Robinson, who is gay, was the first Canadian MP to come out while in office. He says Leung’s views are hateful and unacceptable, and the Conservatives need to kick her out.

“There’s no place in Canadian public discourse for this kind of thing. She denounced what she called ‘perverted homosexual preferences,’ and ‘perverted lifestyles.’ She’s actively supporting conversion therapy, which is totally discredited, and destructive for young gay and lesbian, bisexual and trans people.”

Robinson points to comments made by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, saying he supports the rights of LGBTQ people, and this is his opportunity to prove that.

“Andrew Scheer says he believes in the fundamental human rights of gay and lesbian Canadians: this is his test. If he allows her to stand as a Conservative candidate, clearly he fails that test,” he says.

“When we’ve got a candidate like this who spews this kind of hatred, I’m hoping that the Leader of the Conservative Party will say that this is not treating people with respect and dignity, and she has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada.”

An apology wouldn’t be enough

Scheer has said during this campaign that candidates who apologize for past offensive actions won’t be ousted from the running, but even if Leung did apologize, Robinson says it wouldn’t be enough.

He says this isn’t the first time her views have come to light, pointing to the candidate’s history of anti-LGBTQ comments, and opposing policies to support LGBTQ children in schools.

“This is a pattern of who she is, and a one-off apology won’t change that,” he says.

Leung campaigned with anti-SOGI groups in the 2018 municipal election, and attended a secret victory party for candidates who had been working together to oppose the provincial LGBTQ-inclusive education resource.

In 2015, then-Conservative Leader Stephen Harper removed a candidate from the running because he supported conversion therapy.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to the Conservative Party of Canada for comment.