Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

Controversial post by Okanagan Conservatives denounced, deleted

A social media post from the Okanagan Conservatives that has since been deleted is being labelled as racist, and federal politicians were quick to denounce it.

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Earlier this week, a post was put on the Okanagan Conservatives’ Facebook page. The post said, “This is what happens when you have a cabinet based on affirmative action” and linked a story to the Ottawa Citizen that featured a photo of federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. The story chronicled a 2017 Canadian Forces flight to Europe, one that reportedly featured drunk passengers and cost approximately $337,000.

On Twitter, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr blasted the Okanagan Conservatives’ Facebook post, stating, “I am not OK with what this implies. You are an “Okanagan Conservative” @DanAlbas are you?”

Albas, the MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, also denounced the post, tweeting, “Stephen, although there is much that we may disagree about, on this point I am in full agreement with you. This FB post came from another EDA account and I have asked that it be removed. Although I did not authorize it, I would like to apologize to @HarjitSajjan.”

On Thursday afternoon, the Okanagan Conservatives apologized for the post, stating on their Facebook page, “We’ve deleted an earlier post that was clearly inappropriate and that simply does not reflect the views of the party or any of the EDA’s in the Okanagan. We apologize to Minister Sajjan and all those we’ve offended.”

Judging from several Facebook and Twitter comments, plenty were offended by the post. Here’s a sampling:

  • “Gutter politics is all the CPC have. The only policy put forth by their leader, is the justice policy, with 75% of it already against the law, and the other 25% unconstitutional. So much for a viable alternative.”
  • “Whoa… this is not acceptable.”
  • “Absolutely disgusting. I am beyond appalled.”
  • “Clearly they have been commonly making these kinds of ethnic slurs in their own private discussions for someone to actually post this publicly. It has become normalized to the point of becoming social media content. That needs to be addressed.”
  • “Where is the original post? This is a screen grab. This has to be a joke. Pretty racist. It’s true the flight is egg on the face of the DOD but at what point does race play a role. Disgusting. I support conservatism not racism. I’m deeply disappointed.”

“It represented exactly what your views are. If you write like a racist that means you’re a racist. #SHAME,” said Lucile McGregor.

In response to McGregor, someone at Okanagan Conservatives replied:

“Hi Lucile, we owe you and the community an apology. This post did not represent the thoughts of the party and the EDA. Multiple people has access to page. (sic) I was personally responsible for that post, I am Indo-Canadian myself, who was very proud when Sajjan Singh was named defence minister. Unfortunately, I believe terrible administration has led to me to some frustration. (sic) I have family members that wear turbans and are also proud Indo-Canadians. I was looking for a sound bite which has let me, my community, and my party down. I am terribly sorry, and I hope you can understand that we are not racist.”

On Thursday evening, Cory Hann, director of communications for the Conservative Party of Canada, responded to an inquiry from Global News regarding the post.

In an email, Hann said, “It obviously doesn’t reflect the view of the party, it’s inappropriate, shouldn’t have been posted, and those responsible have been removed from the Facebook group.”

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