The federal election campaign has only just started but one local Conservative has already found himself in hot water over that proverbial itch that is the bane of existence for anyone running for public office these days: past statements on social media.
Arpan Khanna, who is the Tory candidate for Brampton North, is under fire for a comment he posted on a Facebook some nine years ago, when he was a teenager.
A Conservative candidate quit yesterday after he was caught spreading racism online. Tonight, @andrewscheer is door-knocking with another candidate who thinks hateful words have a place in.
Scheer promised to show the door to any intolerant Conservative. Will he? pic.twitter.com/zei5dpcxTT
— Ruby Sahota (@rubysahotalib) September 13, 2019
Responding to someone’s college admission, Khanna posted “that’s sickkkkk….me and haroon are gonna f–k your guys shit up…if that FAG stays in jacksway.”
Khanna’s comments were posted by Ruby Sahota, the Liberal MP seeking reelection in Brampton North. In her tweet, she criticized Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for plans to go door-knocking with his candidate on Friday the 13th, pointing out that Scheer had promised to kick out any ‘intolerant’ candidates running under his banner.
In full damage control mode, the Tory candidate posted this statement on his Twitter account.
My statement: pic.twitter.com/IpBC9bJB8Z
— Arpan Khanna (@ArpanKhanna) September 13, 2019
“Over the past decade, I have come to understand that creating safer and more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people in Canada happens in our homes, our workplaces, on social media and in the conversations we have every day. I apologize unequivocally,” Khanna said.
But this isn’t the first time the Conservatives have gotten themselves into hot water over past controversial comments from their candidates. Mississauga Streetsville Tory candidate Ghada Melek has been asked to step aside after comments about supporting ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ people surfaced.
Cameron Ogilvie, the Conservative candidate in Winnipeg North, stepped aside over discriminatory comments the party said he made on the Internet about Muslims and others.
But it’s not like the Tories are the only party facing problems with controversial candidates, some of which had to step down.
Montreal Liberal candidate Hassan Guillet was removed by the party after it was revealed he had made comments on social media supporting a Hamas-aligned activist who has accused Jews of staging the 9/11 terrorist attacks, claiming that Jews used ‘children’s blood for baking ‘holy bread.’
Erik Schomann, who was the Green Party candidate in Simcoe North, also stepped down for anti-Muslim comments on social media.
Parties have until Monday, September 30 at 2 pm, to register their local candidates with Elections Canada to certify that they’re running for the party on October 21.
Can Khanna withstand pressure from now until then to step aside, or will Brampton North Tories be shopping for a new candidate soon?
Photo courtesy of Arpan Khanna’s Facebook page