NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said the resignation of two of his candidates was the “right decision”, as old Twitter posts surfaced recently that were perceived to be anti-Semitic.
On Wednesday morning at a campaign stop in Windsor, Ont., Mr. Singh was asked about Sidney Coles and Dan Osborne, two NDP candidates running the Toronto-St. Paul and Cumberland-Colchester of Nova Scotia, respectively. Both had stepped down less than a week before election day on 20 September, after each an old Twitter post resurfaced.
“His remark was completely wrong and has no place in our party,” he said. “He made a decision and I think it was the right decision.” Mr Singh said his party categorically opposes anti-Semitic sentiment and that his messages are “totally unacceptable”. He also pointed out that his former candidates said they would get educational training.
When asked, Mr. Singh did not directly explain why he did not actively remove those candidates from his party. He was also asked why the NDP’s revision process had not caught problematic postings, and said that social media can present challenges to that process and that they are constantly working to improve it.
Ms Coles has now deleted her Twitter account, but has reportedly posted a comment linking Israel to missing vaccines. Mr Osborne is said to have tweeted two years ago to Oprah Winfrey asking if Auschwitz was a real place. He tweeted apologizing over the weekend.
With only a few days left in the campaign, Mr Singh was also asked about the issue of strategic voting, which could cause some NDP supporters to switch to liberals at the last minute to prevent a conservative government.
“I don’t want you to be afraid of liberals or conservatives,” he said. “I want you to make decisions based on what you care about, what’s important to you.”
The party is also running digital ads this week that address this strategic voting trend in hopes of encouraging people to vote their consciousness.
The NDP campaign is in southwestern Ontario on Wednesday, with stops in Essex, London, Niagara, Hamilton and Brampton. Mr Singh also plans to hold a livestream event on gaming platform Twitch on Wednesday evening, which he has previously done with US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with the aim of attracting younger voters.
Follow party leaders and where they stand on issues this election campaign by signing up for us morning or evening update Newspaper.
For subscribers only: Receive exclusive political news and analysis by signing up for politics briefing.