Heather Leung, the Conservative Party candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour, appears to be missing in action – or, at least, missing in media.
The Tory has not responded to multiple interview requests in recent months from both the North Shore News and Burnaby NOW, starting before she was confirmed as her party’s candidate in late May.
A reporter for TV channel CPAC told the NOW she was unable to contact Leung. A recent Global News report also indicated Leung did not respond to an interview request.
A Google search of news articles does not reveal any stories in which Leung has been quoted since becoming a federal candidate.
The organizers of two upcoming all-candidates meetings in the riding have both said Leung has not responded to invitations. All other campaigns have confirmed, the organizers said.
Matt McDonald, director of external relations for Simon Fraser University’s Graduate Student Society, said Leung’s campaign did not respond to several invitations to an Oct. 3 debate he is helping organize. When the candidate visited the school’s campus recently, he informed her in-person of the upcoming event, he said.
“Our debate invitation is open, we'd like to have her attend, but we have not heard back either way,” McDonald said.
On Sept. 11, the Conservatives’ press officer for B.C. and the north sent an email to the NOW offering interviews with candidates. “If you were interested in chatting with any of our B.C. candidates, please do not hesitate to reach out and I would be happy to set something up,” Morgan Swan wrote.
The NOW replied, asking to speak with Leung, noting she had yet to respond to multiple interview requests. The NOW also informed the Conservatives it intended to write a story about her lack of response.
Swan responded the same day: “Unfortunately, Heather Leung is unavailable today as she is out door knocking, but I am happy to have another Burnaby candidate talk to you about the Conservatives kicking off our campaign today.”
The NOW said it didn’t have to speak to her that day, but repeated its request to interview Leung by phone when she was available. Swan did not respond.
On Monday, Sept. 16, the NOW repeated the request, to which Swan responded: “Heather is staying very focused on door knocking during the campaign and looking forward to connecting with voters at the doors.”
The NOW repeated the request, again informed Swan it intended to publish a story about its many unanswered requests and asked whether Leung was deliberately avoiding interviews as a campaign tactic. The Conservative spokesperson did not respond.
Leung is an occupational therapist who has previously run unsuccessfully for school board and council in Burnaby. In the past, she has been vocally against educational programs about sexual orientation and gender identity and has told an anti-abortion group she would vote “in favour of a law to protect all unborn children.”
The Conservative is running to unseat Liberal Terry Beech. Also running in the riding is the NDP's Svend Robinson, the Green's Amita Kuttner and Rocky Dong of the People's Party.
The federal election is Oct. 21.