Social media comments continue to dog ranks of United Conservative candidates
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 25, 2019 11:00AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 7:52PM EDT
CALGARY -- Another United Conservative Party candidate who has pulled out of the Alberta election says someone outside the party is threatening to release her past social media comments about Muslim refugees and transgender washrooms in schools.
Eva Kiryakos, who was running in Calgary-South East in the April 16 vote, announced her resignation in a Facebook statement and video released Sunday night.
Kiryakos said she's been getting threats from someone who wants to release images of things she has said or commented on.
"Someone outside of our party has been threatening to smear me, and I have had enough of the bullies and the threats," she said in the statement. "This is who I am and I will keep speaking up -- for myself and for Albertans."
In one of the online exchanges, Kiryakos retweeted an article about Germany's alleged migrant rape crisis called "Rapefugees Not Welcome."
She said in her statement that everyone retweets and shares articles.
"I admit the image on the article isn't positive," she said. "But the article was on women getting raped and the crisis there. When women are being assaulted, I care, no matter the faiths or the backgrounds of the people."
In another post, Kiryakos wrote about transgender washrooms in Alberta schools. "I should have the right to choose for my children to not be brainwashed into accepting perversions as 'alternative lifestyles."'
In her statement, she said she was concerned for her daughter's safety and voiced her honest opinion.
"It's OK to disagree."
UCP Leader Jason Kenney said he appreciates her decision to step down and put the party first. He did not specifically comment on the social media posts.
"I've always been clear that the United Conservative Party is a big-tent coalition that respects human dignity and will protect the rights of people regardless of how they pray or who they love," he said.
"Eva's also from a minority community herself. She is from a Middle Eastern refugee family, from a community that has faced a history of genocide."
Kiryakos, a lawyer and mother of two, said she came to Canada as a child with her parents after they fled persecution for their Christian faith in Iraq. She said she was raised in Saskatchewan and taught to speak up and practise her right to freedom of speech.
Last week, Calgary UCP candidate Caylan Ford stepped down after publication of a private 2017 Facebook conversation in which she allegedly spoke about the replacement of white people in their homelands and the collapse of western culture.
Ford has degrees from three universities, including Oxford, and once worked as a policy adviser for what is now Global Affairs Canada under the Harper government. She was considered a star candidate.
At the time, NDP Leader Rachel Notley said she was shocked by Ford's comments. She said she doesn't believe Kenney is a racist but that the UCP has a problem with racism.
On Monday, she told reporters that the problem isn't about the UCP not properly vetting candidates.
"I think this is about the leadership," she said.
"This is not in my mind, a good look for anybody who is seeking to represent Albertans in the legislature and to lead this province."