Downtown Toronto candidate Kevin Wong will no longer be affiliated with the Liberals following an investigation into past sexual assault allegations, a party spokesman said Saturday.
On Friday, the federal party told Wuong to “pause” his election campaign as officials reviewed the circumstances surrounding the Crown’s decision to drop the sexual assault charge against him in 2019.
“We take any allegations very seriously,” a Liberal Party spokesman said in an emailed statement to Granthshala News.
Since it was too late to remove him from the ballot, the party stated that “should he be elected, he would not be a member of the Liberal Caucus.”
Vuong, which has been in naval reserves since 2015, is also being reviewed by the Canadian Armed Forces.
In an emailed statement to Granthshala News, a military spokesman said that Vuong neglected to notify his chain of command that he was accused of sexual assault in 2019, despite the expectation that “such In situations members do so.”
“We are looking into the matter further but no additional information is available at this time,” the statement said.
Pressure has been mounting on the Liberals to act, and the Spadina-Fort York candidate has since been removed from the party following news of the assault allegation. First reported by Toronto Star on Thursday. The party’s move to sever ties with Woong comes just days before voters go to the polls on election day, which is scheduled for Monday.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who is currently seeking re-election, told reporters in Aurora, Ont., on Saturday that breaking up with Wuong was “the right thing to do.”
“We have followed procedures in place of the party to find out and look into it, and we have come to the conclusion that this person may no longer be a liberal candidate in this election,” he said.
But New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh called it an “insult” that Trudeau took so long to remove Wong as the party’s candidate.
“It should have taken 20 minutes, but it took them two days,” he said, speaking from an expedition stop in Saskatoon.
more to come.
– With files from Granthshala News’ Abigail Bimman, Nick Westol, Ahmer Khan and Ryan Rocca