UCP candidate steps down after racist, transphobic social media posts
Published Monday, March 25, 2019 5:28AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 12:57PM MDT
Another candidate running for the United Conservative Party has stepped down. Eva Kiryakos made racist and transphobic comments on social media. She says someone was threatening to release the damaging comments, and wanted to release them before someone else did.
Kiryakos, who was the UPC candidate for Calgary-South East, announced on Sunday night that she is stepping down.
“I’ve been getting threats from someone who wants to release images of things I’ve said or commented on in the past,” Kiryakos said in a pre-recorded video statement. “At first I was scared of this person. Scared that my fellow candidates would be affected.”
In one of the exchanges, Kiryakos blamed Muslim refugees for a “rape crisis” in Germany, another exchange included a debate about transgender washrooms.
“The possibility of a grown man sharing a washroom with a little girl is to me, a perversion,” Kiryakos said. “I used the term ‘alternative lifestyle’, because people I engaged with on Twitter used those words, so I repeated them back. I voiced my honest opinion, and yes, I asked if the NDP had an agenda.”
UPC leader Jason Kenney responded to the decision by Kiryakos at a media event on Monday, saying he appreciated her decision to put the party ahead of her own interest.
“I thank her for that selfless decision,” he said.
In a message obtained by the left-leaning publication Press Progress, Caylan Ford reportedly said that “white people are being replaced in their homelands”. They also quote her saying there is a double standard between Islamic and white terrorists after a 2017 terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The recent uproars over candidate’s pasts has the parties vetting process under fire.
“It does raise questions about whether they assumed that they wouldn't be discovered or whether they didn't know about them,” said Lori Williams, a political scientist.
Williams believes that when it comes time for voters to show up at the polls, it will hurt the UCP.
“These particular controversies I think have had the biggest impact in this whole area in this election and the reason for that is both these candidates are handpicked star candidates for the United Conservative Party.”