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Another federal election candidate’s social media past has come back to haunt him
Another federal election candidate’s social-media past has come back to haunt him, prompting an abject apology for allegedly homophobic comments and calls from his main rival to resign.
Conservative Arpan Khanna was scheduled to campaign Friday evening in Ontario’s Brampton North riding with Tory leader Andrew Scheer, but on Friday morning he issued an apology for comments he made on Twitter nine years ago, when he said he was a teenager.
According to a copy of the 2010 tweet posted by Liberal MP Ruby Sahota, he wrote in response to someone else’s tweet about being admitted to a university program: “me and haroon are going to f— your guys shit up … if that fag stays in jackswayy.”
From what Sahota posted, it’s not clear the context of the comment or whom he was referring to with what is widely considered to be a highly derogatory term for gay people.
Khanna responded within an hour. Only a day earlier, another Conservative candidate, who the party had not caught in screening, resigned because of “discriminatory” online comments about Islam and other groups.
“I deeply regret the offensive language I used when I was a teenager,” Khanna said. “I have come to understand that creating safer and more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people in Canada happens in our homes, workplaces, on social media, and in the conversations we have every day. I apologize unequivocally.”
Sahota suggested in her tweet that the apology was not enough.
“Tonight, @andrewscheer is door-knocking with another candidate who thinks hateful words have a place in (Canada),” the MP for Brampton North said. “Scheer promised to show the door to any intolerant Conservative. Will he?”
The affair cropped up a day after Cameron Ogilvie, the Conservative candidate in Winnipeg North riding, stepped aside over intemperate comments the party said he made on the Internet about Muslims and others.
The Conservatives said he had deactivated the social media accounts the remarks were posted on during the party’s vetting process.
The history of what candidates and would-be candidates say online, especially on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, has increasingly become a major political minefield.
Hassan Guillet was ousted by the Liberals as a candidate in Montreal after it was revealed he had made comments in support of a Hamas-aligned activist who has accused Jews of staging the 9/11 terror attacks and has claimed that Jews use children’s blood for baking ‘holy bread.’
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019