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Canada Conservatives drop Burnaby North-Seymour candidate Heather Leung after homophobic comments

07:25  05 october  2019
07:25  05 october  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

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Conservative Candidate for Burnaby North - Seymour , Heather Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian with a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University, California. She is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Heather and her husband are parents to three

Conservative Candidate for Burnaby North - Seymour , Heather Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian with a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University, California. She is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Heather and her husband are parents to three

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Heather Leung, former Conservative candidate for Burnaby North—Seymour in the 2019 federal election. © Handout Heather Leung, former Conservative candidate for Burnaby North—Seymour in the 2019 federal election.

The Conservative Party of Canada has dropped Heather Leung as their candidate in the Burnaby North—Seymour riding, after video interviews surfaced in which she made homophobic comments.

In a video that appears to be from 2016, Leung said conversion therapy provides hope to those living “the perverted homosexual lifestyle.”

In a 2011 video interview with Burnaby NOW after the Burnaby school district was among the first in B.C. to approve a sexual orientation and gender identity policy known as SOGI, Leung repeated what NDP candidate Svend Robinson called on Friday “the hateful trope that homosexuals recruit children.”

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At the Candidate Nomination Meeting on Wednesday May 22nd, 2019, Heather Leung won the nomination contest and is now our official candidate . Authorized by the Official Agent for Burnaby North — Seymour Conservative Association.

Meet The Candidate . Heather Leung . You can unsubscribe from our list at any time. Authorized by the Official Agent for Burnaby North — Seymour Conservative Association.

Asked about the videos Friday while campaigning in Ontario, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he had not seen them. But on Friday evening, the Conservatives distanced themselves from the candidate.

“Heather Leung is no longer representing the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Burnaby North—Seymour,” the party said in a news release. “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.’”

Leung has not responded to a request for comment.

Conservative spokesperson Rudy Hesny said the decision came after the party had time to review Leung’s comments.

“We said in our statement, they were obviously very offensive, and we couldn’t tolerate those kinds of comments,” he said. “It was just a question of reviewing all of it and, as media were also reporting different comments and things like this, we were able to get all the facts.
Svend Robinson standing in front of a television:  Burnaby, BC: OCTOBER 04, 2019 — NDP candidate Svend Robinson addresses the media Friday, October 4, 2019 at his constituency office in Burnaby, BC about homophobic remarks Conservative Party candidate Heather Leung has made in the past.© Jason Payne Burnaby, BC: OCTOBER 04, 2019 — NDP candidate Svend Robinson addresses the media Friday, October 4, 2019 at his constituency office in Burnaby, BC about homophobic remarks Conservative Party candidate Heather Leung has made in the past.

Hesny said the Conservatives intend to send a letter to Elections Canada informing the agency that Leung no longer represents the party, but that it may be too late to have her party affiliation removed from the ballots, which may have already been printed.

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Heather Leung has invited the Member of Parliament for Banff-Airdrie, the Honourable Blake Richards, to join her and her Official Nomination Notice for the Electoral District of Burnaby - North Seymour This notice is to advise you that the date, time, and place of the voting location for the Conservative

Meet The Candidate . Heather Leung . Authorized by the Official Agent for Burnaby North — Seymour Conservative Association. Powered by NationBuilder.

“Her name is going to still be on the ballot but the question is if they can remove her being a representative of our party,” he said. “I think this is something we have to discuss with Elections Canada.

Earlier on Friday, Robinson, the NDP candidate in the riding, challenged Scheer to denounce Leung, strip her of the candidacy and take away her party membership after the video interviews resurfaced earlier this week.

Robinson became Canada’s first openly gay MP in 1988, which resulted in death threats and the trashing of his constituency office. Through the 1980s and 1990s, he introduced at least five different private member’s bills aimed at amending Canadian laws to include same-sex marriage.

He said statements like Leung’s are hateful and hurtful, especially to vulnerable youth who are struggling with their identity.

Scheer’s decision Friday echoes that of his predecessor, Stephen Harper, who set the precedent during the 2015 election when he stripped membership from an Ontario candidate who called homosexuality “unnatural,” but it also serves to push back against critics who have called the Conservative leader anti-gay.

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  NDP calls for Conservatives to drop B.C. candidate over anti-gay positions Video has surfaced of Burnaby North-Seymour candidate Heather Leung saying LGBTQ2 people try to "recruit" kids and supporting conversion therapy.A 2011 video, taken by Burnaby local newspaper Burnaby Now during protests over an LGBTQ2-friendly school board policy, surfaced this week featuring Conservative Burnaby North-Seymour candidate Heather Leung.

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Authorized by the Official Agent for Burnaby North — Seymour Conservative Association. Powered by NationBuilder. Meet The Candidate . Heather Leung .

Scheer has refused during the campaign to say whether his views have changed since 2005 when he opposed same-sex marriage.

He has promised, however, to protect LGBTQ rights.

“There is no tolerance in the Conservative Party for those types of offensive comments,” the Conservatives said.

Hesny said that the party’s decision Friday reflected Scheer’s vision for Canada, laid out in a keynote speech delivered last May.

“I find the notion that one’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation would make anyone in any way superior or inferior to anybody else absolutely repugnant,” Scheer said then. “And if there’s anyone who disagrees with that, there’s the door. You are not welcome here.”

with files from Daphne Bramham

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