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Analysis

Meet 30 Candidates for Jason Kenney’s UCP Who Got Caught Promoting Hateful and Extremist Views

Jason Kenney's UCP is running one of the most extreme, far-right slate of candidates in Canadian history

April 4, 2019

Is Jason Kenney’s entire 2019 United Conservative Party slate of candidates too hateful and extreme?

Believe it or not, things have gotten so bad in Kenney’s party, it’s even become the top question on Alberta’s conservative talk radio right now.

Charles Adler, a longtime right-wing talk radio broadcaster and a former host on Sun TV, said he was flabbergasted when Kenney announced he would stand behind a candidate who compared “homosexuality” to “pedophilia.”

“No mainstream political leader who I have known, federal or provincial, aspiring to be the head of government would be endorsing this candidacy,” Adler tweeted.

“This is a dark day for human decency in Canadian politics.”

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“I don’t know what’s going on in Alberta right now,” broadcaster Ryan Jespersen confessed to Adler on his Calgary radio show Tuesday night.

“It is an absolutely unacceptable option, the United Conservative option right now, and (the UCP candidate who compared homosexuality to pedophilia) is a huge exclamation mark on a paragraph that’s been written for the last two years.”

Here’s five of the worst examples of UCP candidates who’ve been caught promoting hateful and extremist views in only the last few weeks:

1. Caylan Ford, UCP candidate Calgary–Mountain View

Caylan Ford was one of Jason Kenney’s hand-picked star candidates and praised her as “the personification of what I call a new generation of leadership.”

Ford resigned after PressProgress published messages in which the UCP candidate complained white supremacist terrorists are treated unfairly and said she was “saddened by the demographic replacement of white peoples in their homelands.”

2. Mark Smith, UCP candidate Drayton Valley–Devon

Mark Smith was the official education critic for Jason Kenney’s UCP.

In a 2013 sermon, Smith compared “homosexuality” to “pedophilia” and a few years later, wrote a document to the Wildrose Party caucus arguing schools should be allowed to fire gay teachers on religious grounds.

Kenney said he will continue standing behind the candidate.

3. Eva Kiryakos, UCP candidate Calgary–South East

Eva Kiryakos faced outrage and mockery after she tried a creative public relations response to her racist and homophobic statements.

In a video published on Facebook, Kiryakos appeared in her living room and claimed she was the victim of “bullying,” before attempting to explain how her statements calling refugees “rape-fugees” and claiming GSAs are aimed at “converting” kids are perfectly reasonable, non-controversial things normal people say.

Kiryakos announced her resignation in the caption attached to the Facebook video.

4. David Dorward, UCP candidate Edmonton–Gold Bar

David Dorward, a former cabinet minister under Jim Prentice, got in hot water criticizing the NDP for legislation his own government actually passed.

In particular, Dorward claimed gender-inclusive bathroom policies mandated under a PC legislation allow adult men to wander into schools and lurk in girls’ washrooms — something LGBTQ groups noted echoes homophobic and transphobic “bathroom predator” myths.

Kenney is continuing to stand behind the candidate.

5. Shane Getson, UCP candidate Lac Ste. Anne–Parkland

Shane Getson won his UCP nomination by telling far-right supporters that if they vote for him, he’ll stop the United Nations from seizing control of Canada’s border.

In fact, the UN is not taking control of Canada’s borders, although Getson might not have been aware of this considering he gets his information from the far-right Yellow Vest Canada Facebook group, which is known to peddle far-right conspiracy theories.

Kenney defended Getson, and claiming the viewed expressed by Getson’s anti-UN Yellow Vest conspiracy memes express a “legitimate perspective.”

And here are 25 more UCP candidates who promoted hateful and extreme views:

6. Philip Schuman

Kenney did not ask UCP nomination candidate Philip Schuman to step aside even though he admitted to PressProgress that he offered “funding” to an Instagram account that shares memes on Nazi and anti-Semitic themes.

Private Instagram message from UCP nomination candidate Philip Schuman

7. Lance Coulter

UCP nomination candidate Lance Coulter made headlines after he took photos partying with the Soldiers of Odin, an anti-Muslim hate group.

Although Kenney initially claimed Coulter didn’t know who the Soldiers of Odin are, Coulter later contradicted his leader admitting he knew who the Soldiers of Odin were all along. Coulter later resigned after PressProgress published messages showing Coulter interacted with anti-Muslim white nationalist groups online.

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8. Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams was photographed at the same party with the Soldiers of Odin. She’s currently standing as the UCP candidate in Edmonton–West.

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9. Leila Houle

And, Leila Houle, a third nomination candidate who got caught partying with the Soldiers of Odin, is currently standing as the UCP candidate in Edmonton–Highlands–Norwood.

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10. Devin Dreeshen

UCP candidate Devin Dreeshen hid in a bathroom after a reporter from Vice News questioned him about his work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

11. Jeremy Wong

Jeremy Wong, Kenney’s hand-picked replacement candidate for Caylan Ford in Calgary–Mountain View, quickly came under fire for delivering sermons advising women to to “submit” to men and praising a group that reportedly runs a gay conversion therapy program.

12. Grant Hunter

In a bizarre letter to his local newspaper, the UCP candidate for Taber–Warner praised the character residents in Cardston, Alberta by suggesting they were “reared” from “superior stock” — although he noted that thought “reeks of ‘Aryan’ undertones.”

13. Roger Reid

UCP candidate for Livingstone–MacLeod, Roger Reid, was forced to explain himself after he was found promoting books on anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ themes.

14. Kaycee Madu

The UCP candidate for Edmonton–South West, refused to apologize after he was called out for promoting lawn signs distributed by the far-right Rebel Media website.

15. Tunde Obasan

UCP candidate Tunde Obasan, who is seeking to represent the good people of Edmonton — South West, shared memes advising women that they need to give their husbands “respect and sex” in order to “bring out the best in your husband.”

Obasan, who Kenney is still backing as a candidate, shrugged off questions about his views on women by suggesting it was “clearly a joke.”

16. Karri Flatla

UCP candidate for Lethbridge–West Karri Flatla raised eyebrows when she claimed science that shows climate change is caused by humans is a “mythology,” and describing efforts to stop climate change as “unspeakable stupidity.”

Kenney defended Flatla by suggesting his party welcomes candidates with a wide “spectrum of views” on climate change science.

17. Michaela Glasgo

Michaela Glasgo, UCP candidate for Brooks–Medicine Hat and an anti-abortion activist, was caught showing her support for disgraced candidate Caylan Ford after she resigned for her statements echoing white nationalism.

Glasgo is still standing as a candidate for Kenney’s party.

18. Tyler Shandro

Likewise, Calgary–Acadia UCP candidate Tyler Shandro saw no consequences for showing his support for Ford either.

19. Kara Barker

Meanwhile, UCP candidate for Edmonton–Riverview Kara Barker encouraged Eva Kariyakos to “please keep standing up for diversity of thoughts” after the disgraced UCP candidate resigned for racist and homophobic remarks.

20. Adrianna LaGrange

Red Deer–North UCP candidate Adrianna LaGrange admitted she received help on her campaign from a hardline anti-abortion group.

LaGrange previously served as a Red Deer’s Catholic school board trustee and the president of Red Deer Pro-Life, a group that made headlines for showing students videos comparing abortion to the Holocaust in Red Deer Catholic schools.

21. Tanya Fir

Over in Calgary Peigan, UCP candidate Tanya Fir said she stood 100% behind her campaign manager, Craig Chandler, after he made conspiratorial Facebook postings claiming “the Left” is secretly working to “legitimize pedophilia” by helping them “gain acceptance and be included into the LGBT community.”

Chandler resigned from the Alberta PC board of directors in 2016 after he accused the Earls Restaurants chain of supporting terrorism.

22. Todd Beasley

The UCP removed Todd Beasley as a nomination candidate in Brooks–Medicine Hat after he likened Muslims to worshippers of Satan on social media.

23. Maureen Zelmer

The UCP also removed Maureen Zelmer as a nomination candidate in Calgary–Glenmore after sharing memes suggesting the Muslim prophet Mohammed is a pedophile.

24. Mark Mantei

Mark Mantei, a failed nomination candidate in Calgary–Shaw, was permitted by UCP officials to continue seeking a nomination after he condemned Muslims as the only group that engages in violence and extremism.

25. Paul Frank

Failed Calgary–North UCP candidate Paul Frank would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of a secret audio recording purporting to show him complaining that there are too many “Chinese” voters showing up to UCP nomination meetings.

26. Brad Leishman

Brad Leishman stepped down as a UCP nomination candidate in Calgary–Shaw after an exclusive recording published by PressProgress showed him plotting to send anonymous letters to schools around Alberta warning principals and teachers about the dangers of Gay-Straight Alliances.

27. Haley Wile

Haley Wile withdrew as the UCP nomination candidate for Red Deer South after the Office of the Election Commissioner ruled she took illegal corporate donations — which might be lucky, considering Wile would go on to become a top organizer with far-right Yellow Vest fringe groups.

28. Randy Kerr

Kenney wouldn’t remove Randy Kerr as the UCP candidate in Calgary–Beddington after he called climate change a “hoax.”

But Kenney eventually removed him for another reason. Last month, Kerr was removed as a candidate for not being “forthright” about his role in the kamikaze scandal — although the same could be said about Kenney, as well.

29. Nathan Cooper

Before entering politics, Nathan Cooper, UCP candidate for Olds–Didsbury–Three Hills, worked for a hardline social conservative group that opposed what it called the “homosexual agenda.”

On an obscure podcast run by the group, Cooper spoke to controversial guests about the “gay agenda,” including an anti-LGBTQ author who is credited with drafting Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality Act,” a controversial bill that proposed making homosexual acts punishable by death.

30. Jason Kenney

Then there’s the UCP candidate for Calgary–Lougheed: Jason Kenney.

Throughout his career, Kenney has led a long crusade against equal rights for the LGBTQ community, arguing Alberta should block constitutional rights to LGBTQ citizens and claiming that extending constitutional protections on the basis of sexual orientation would open the door to “polygamy and incest,” as well.

In one of the most stark examples illustrating how deeply rooted Kenney’s hateful views truly are, he bragged about leading an initiative to deny hospital visitation rights to gay men dying of AIDS at the height of the 1980s AIDS epidemic:

“I became president of the pro-life group in my campus and helped to lead an ultimately successful initiative petition, which led to a referendum which overturned the first gay spousal law in North America.”

 

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New

UCP Candidate Delivered Sermon Comparing ‘Homosexual Love’ to ‘Pedophilia’

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One of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party candidates likened “homosexual love” to “pedophilia” during a sermon to a baptist church.

Mark Smith, the UCP candidate for Drayton Valley, previously served as Kenney’s UCP education critic, weighing in on important issues ranging from the elementary school curriculum to gay-straight alliances.

But in a 2013 sermon surfaced Tuesday by Gaywire,  a University of…