Embarrassing revelations hit Tory, NDP candidates
Published Sunday, September 21, 2008 11:14PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:05PM EDT
A Conservative candidate for a Toronto riding abruptly dropped out of the race Sunday after his blog revealed controversial musings on guns and the horrific Greyhound bus murder.
Chris Reid, who was running in Toronto Centre against Liberal Bob Rae, resigned because he couldn't commit to four years in government, the Conservatives said in a statement.
But Reid told CTV Newsnet that he resigned because "came to the realization that I needed to pursue different interests . . . with the blogs I wouldn't be able to hold Bob Rae accountable to his horrible record."
Reid said his resignation was "mutually agreed upon" with the Conservatives.
But Liberals and bloggers were quick to speculate that Reid was pulled because of remarks he wrote on his blog, "Political Thoughts From a Gay Conservative."
The blog has been removed but is still available to read via Google cache, which makes copies of web pages to serve as a back up for online searches.
One of the posts makes controversial statements about the beheading of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus trip in July.
In a post dated August 10, Reid wrote that the tragedy could have been prevented if other passengers had intervened, which they would have done if they had been carrying guns.
"Passengers and the bus driver stood by and watched another person being butchered, and couldn't muster up any courage or self-sacrifice to intervene," the post said. "This is where socialism as (sic) gotten us folks, a castrated effeminate population."
Reid goes on to say: "This is a perfect example of why we need concealed-carry handgun legislation in this country, so we can defend one another and deter horrible events such as this. But what are our politicians talking about? More government regulation and security."
Reid was running in a riding that is considered one the safest Liberal seats in the country. He has been replaced by David Gentili, according to the Conservative website.
Reid said he no longer campaigning or working with the party on the election in any fashion.
"I'm going to take some careful reflection and see where I can best serve my country," he said.
Reid also said that he thought political parties need to take blogging more seriously as means of communication and political expression.
"I think (blogging) is going to have a great affect on politics," he said. "All parties are going to have to get into the 21st century . . . and all parties are to have to recognize . . . individual views and not expect people to not have those views before, after and during an election.
"We're entitled to our perspective on how we see things."
Yet another candidate revelation
The NDP had its own embarrassing revelation Sunday, as a B.C. candidate apologized for stripping off his clothes in front of minors at an environmental retreat 12 years ago.
Julian West said that he made a "serious error in judgment" by removing his clothes to go skinny dipping, but stressed in a statement that nothing else inappropriate occurred.
West said he apologized at the time of the incident, but after an old newspaper article about the episode surfaced on the web he felt he had to do so again.
A RCMP officer said that police received a complaint from the camp that West removed his shorts and asked a group of teens to paint his body in 1996.
No charges were laid and police noted at the time that no parents or their kids filed a complaint.
The apology comes just days after NDP Leader Jack Layton lost two B.C. candidates for posting their drug habits on the internet.
Layton is standing by West, who used to be a member of the Green Party.
"We welcome people who have advanced ideas on issues relevant to the environment," Layton said Sunday while on the campaign trail in Gatineau, Que.
"Some campaigns seem to be based on people's efforts to get out the shovel and start digging around."
West is not the only candidate in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding with a public nudity background.
In 2001, Liberal candidate and environmental activist Briony Penn grabbed international headlines for a nude horse ride as Lady Godiva to protest against logging on Saltspring Island.
Rae responds to Reid's resignation
Rae said the fact a Tory candidate has dropped out of his Toronto riding shows the "incredible weakness" of Stephen Harper's team.
"The fact of the matter is I think it reveals something else. I think it reveals the incredible weakness of the Harper team," Rae told CTV's Question Period. "The team is falling off like snowflakes."
When asked about Reid on Question Period, Rae would not speculate on the reasons for his dismissal or on "what Mr. Reid may or may not have said on his blog."
But Rae pointed out that this latest event adds to the list of recent Conservative blunders.
He said Reid's ouster, in addition to the insensitive jokes Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made about the listeriosis outbreak, and the scandal surrounding former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier, is indicative of the fact that the Tories "do not have a cabinet, they do not have a government.
"Their candidates are falling off because they can't stop saying stupid things. And this is a reflection on the Harper team and, frankly, also a reflection on Mr. Harper because he's the one who is choosing the team."