Cape Breton voters elect Liberal who made offensive comments online
TORONTO -- Voters in northern Nova Scotia have elected a Liberal candidate who had made a series of homophobic and sexist social media comments in the past.
Jaime Battiste captured the Nova Scotia riding of Sydney-Victoria with 31 per cent of the vote, compared to Conservative candidate Eddie Orrell’s 27.6 per cent.
Battiste was criticized in early October aftersome of his social media posts from 2012 emerged.
“Why do I assume every skinny aboriginal girl is on crystal meth or pills? #toomuchaptn.” he tweeted, according to the Toronto Sun.
Battiste also wrote: “Cleaning, Folding, Cooking, Feeling like an Epic Fail that i havent found a woman who can stand me long enough to do this for me. #FML” and joked about watching men’s tennis, suggesting it sounds “exactly like gay porn…I’m told.”
Battiste apologized for the tweets. A spokesperson for the Liberal Party saidthat he would not be removed from the ballot as he had apologized publicly.
With the win, Battiste, a member of Potlotek First Nation and a graduate of Dalhousie University’s law school, became the first Indigenous person from Nova Scotia to be elected to Parliament.
“I don’t think many people can appreciate some of the things that go on when you’re living on a reserve,” he told CTV News before being elected.
“For all of those people out there saying that they’re not going to be able to lead because of who they are or their background or their race or their religion, I’m telling people: ‘You’ve got to do your best to get your name out there.’”
Anne McLellan, a former Liberal cabinet minister who sat on CTV News’ election panel, called Battiste’s past online comments “unacceptable,” but noted he’s since apologized and will become a role model for the people his community.
“Yes, he made some mistakes, but he took responsibility for them and if he wins tonight it’s going to be a remarkable story of redemption,” she saidbefore results from his riding came in.
With files from CTVNews.ca Writer Graham Slaughter