The NDP’s Svend Robinson is calling on the Conservatives to pull support from their controversial candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour, Heather Leung.
Leung has previously opposed anti-bullying measures in schools meant to protect LGBTQ2S students, has said she opposes abortion, including in cases of rape, and referred to the “perverted homosexual lifestyle” in an undated video surfaced by the Vancouver Sun.
In an opinion piece published by the Gospel Herald in 2013, an author named Heather Leung, identified as being in Vancouver, decries a supposed increase in “lawlessness.”
“As we all can see, many things that were once illegal and/or socially condemned have become legal and socially celebrated in many places, a major shift in ethical and behavior norms. We hear of decriminalized marijuana, ‘safe’ injection sites, legitimizing prostitution and assisted suicide, decriminalizing abortion, legalizing same sex marriage, and so on,” the author wrote.
The piece goes on to condemn a federal Canadian bill that extended human rights protections to include gender identity and expression as protected classes.
The NOW has asked the Gospel Herald whether the author of the opinion piece is the same as the current Tory candidate.
The Tory has not responded to repeated interview requests from the NOW and other media outlets but spoke briefly with the North Shore News at a Wednesday event, explaining she was focused on door-knocking rather than media interviews.
At a press conference at his North Burnaby campaign office, Robinson called on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to “fire” Leung from the Tory slate.
“I am today calling on Andrew Scheer as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada to show leadership, to recognize that this candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour should be fired as candidate,” Robinson said. “In fact, she should be thrown out of Conservative Party if Andrew Scheer is serious in his words about respecting the rights of people from the LGBTQ community.”
Robinson, the first openly gay MP in Canadian history, said he has heard from many Conservatives who condemn Leung’s views and agree she should be dropped as a candidate.
Robinson says Scheer should boot her from the party if he's serious about standing up for LGBTQ rights. #elxn43— Kelvin Gawley (@byGawley) October 4, 2019
He shows clips of a video of Leung calling LGBTQ people living "perverted lifestyles" pic.twitter.com/YjW1pQaRPY
Both the Green and Liberal candidates in the riding said they agree with Robinson.
Amita Kuttner, the Green candidate, recently came out publicly as gender non-binary and pansexual.
“Scheer should drop Leung and a number of other candidates whose views contradict the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – gender identity and sexual orientation are protected, as they rightly should be,” Kuttner said.
“I also can’t stress enough how personal this is for me as an individual. Leung’s views explicitly seek to erase the identities of non binary people like me, through the use of conversation therapy, which is proven by the Human Rights Commission to lead to increased risk of addiction and suicide.
“If Scheer has a non-hypocritical bone in his body, he has to denounce Leung for her views, and drop her as a candidate. Otherwise he isn’t even doing lip service to the LGBTQ community he claims to support,” Kuttner said.
Terry Beech, the Liberal incumbent, echoed the statements of his Green and NDP opponents.
“I believe that it is disqualifying for anyone who seeks public office to reject the humanity and dignity of their LGBTQ2+ constituents. The people of Burnaby and North Vancouver have shown me, in the last four years as their MP, that they not only tolerate diversity but champion it and I believe they deserve a representative who feels the same,” he said.”
“Andrew Scheer is asking to be Prime Minister for all Canadians and our community deserves to know why he continues to support her.”
The deadline for candidates to register was Sept. 30, meaning the Conservative would be unable to run a different candidate in the riding.
The NOW has reached out to the Conservatives for comment. Leung was not at her campaign office Friday morning, but her campaign manager, Travis Trost, said he would pass on an interview request.