A Liberal MP is apologizing after posting photos on Facebook of herself wearing a Halloween costume based on an Asian ethnic stereotype.
The photos show Linda Lapointe, the newly elected MP for Montreal's Rivière-des-Mille-Îles riding, wearing a stereotypical Asian hat and robe. The images disappeared from Lapointe's Facebook page on Monday afternoon, shortly after CBC News reached out to ask about them.
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"For me, Halloween has always been a chance to celebrate with family and friends. It is in this spirit that I chose my costume," Lapointe told CBC News in an email.
"I regret if my choice offended anyone, but it was not at all my intention."
She said purchased the outfit during one of her trips to China.
The photos were first posted to Lapointe's Facebook page on Nov. 1 from a Halloween party she attended. They resurfaced Monday in an emotional French-language Facebook post by Laurin Liu, the Montreal riding's former NDP MP and a Chinese-Canadian.
Liu, who was a member of the 2011 election's young "McGill Four" group, was defeated by Lapointe in October.
In her post, Liu called Lapointe's costume "unacceptable," which she repeated in an email to CBC News. She said the photos made her feel "shocked and offended."
"I can't imagine how a little girl would feel on Halloween upon seeing her MP wearing a costume based on an ethnic stereotype of her culture," she said.
"It's 2015. It's unacceptable to dress up as another culture, on Halloween or any other day. Pleading ignorance doesn't excuse the fact that her actions further stigmatized Chinese-Canadians. I am not sure she understands how hurtful her actions were, and if she does, I want her work in Parliament to reflect cultural inclusion and tolerance."
There has been much debate over the cultural correctness of Halloween costumes, with some deeming cultural costumes controversial and others calling them racist.
Several took to Twitter to express sentiments similar to Liu's.
So is this, like, something you can still buy in Quebec costume stores, or do you think she's had it for a while? pic.twitter.com/8M1eSVhlk2— @goldsbie
CBC News also asked the Prime Minister's Office for comment, but was referred back to Lapointe.