B.C. candidate no longer with Conservatives after homophobic comments resurface
TORONTO -- A British Columbia candidate is no longer with the Conservatives after videos emerged in which she called LGBTQ people “perverted” and suggested that LGBTQ people “recruit” children.
Heather Leung, who was running for the Conservatives in Burnaby North-Seymour, has yet to address her past comments, including an interview she did with someone who underwent conversion therapy and another in which she slams a school board’s anti-bullying policy as a way to “promote homosexuality.”
The Conservatives confirmed late Friday that Leung is no longer with the party.
“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,’” the party said in a statement.
“There is no tolerance in the Conservative Party for those types of offensive comments.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has previously said he would stand by candidates who make controversial or troubling statements as long as the candidate “takes responsibility for what they say.”
Leung has yet to publicly address the party’s decision.
Local newspaper Burnaby NOW published a video from 2011 about a school policy aimed at protecting LGBT students from bullying. In the video, Leung voices opposition to the anti-homophobia policy, which had just passed.
Leung, who described herself as a mother of three, said school boards can “disguise themselves as angels of light to promote (an) anti-bullying environment in school, but instead they are promoting homosexual, transsexual, all kinds of homosexual acts to children.”
Leung was among dozens of parents who protested the policy, which ordered schools to have a zero-tolerance approach for anti-LGBTQ language, encourage gay-straight alliances and encourage teachers to include LGBTQ issues in curriculum.
Leung said the policy was brought forward by “pro-gay” teachers and activists to “promote homosexuality.”
She added that those who drafted the policy were “digging a deep dark pit for the next generation, because these homosexual people, they cannot reproduce the next generation.”
Leung also indicated that LGBTQ people are “recruited.”
“They recruit more people and more people to their camp. So this is not fair. They are our children. They are not their children. They do not have the right to push our children into their camp,” she said.
In another undated video, published by the Vancouver Sun on Tuesday, Leung interviews a woman who underwent Christian-based counselling for being transgender and a man who helped her. In the 41-minute interview, Leung asks the man how he helped “untwist the lies and break through the false belief” in the woman’s mind.
“I’m so grateful that Susan found her true self with your help,” Leung says in the video.
“As you are aware, the LGBTQ activists, they have propaganda in the public schools and in the mass media. As you are aware that more young people are buying into those perverted sexual preferences and gender fluidity.”
Svend Robinson, the NDP candidate for the Burnaby North-Seymour riding who became the first MP to come out as gay more than 30 years ago, called on the Conservatives to dump Leung from their team earlier on Friday.
“To see this kind of hatred and these deeply offensive attacks on the LGBTQ community is ... well, it’s hurtful to me but what makes me really angry is the impact that it has on young people and children,” he said.
SCHEER ON LGBTQ ISSUES
Scheer has been asked to respond to videos from his own past on LGBTQ issues. Early on in the campaign, the Liberals resurfaced video from 2005 in which Scheer, then 25, says same-sex couples cannot have the “inherent feature” of marriage because they “cannot commit to natural procreation of children.”
“How many legs would a dog have if you counted the tail as a leg?” Scheer said.
Scheer has not apologized for those comments, saying the matter is settled and he has moved on. He said he will not reopen the debate on same-sex marriage and will oppose others’ attempts to do so.
Earlier this week, Scheer said his party would “support and introduce” legislation that “protects LGBTQ Canadians.” He did not specify whether or not that would include amending the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy.
The Liberals, NDP and Green have all vowed to ban conversion therapy, if elected.
FAKE MEME CIRCULATED
Last month, Canadian comedian Rick Mercer accused Leung of spreading an online post that misquoted him as encouraging Canadians to vote for the Conservatives. Mercer tweeted the fake meme at Andrew Scheer, calling it “all fake” and asking him to “please stop.”
Leung said in a statement that she was not responsible for the post and denied any connection to her campaign.
A debate was held at Simon Fraser University in Leung’s riding on Thursday night. She was the only candidate from a major federal party not to attend.
With files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello