British Columbia

Citing anti-Semitic comments, Greens remove candidate

Green party Leader Elizabeth May has removed one of the party's candidates after he made what the party viewed as anti-Semitic comments in an online forum.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May has removed one of the party's candidates after he made what the party viewed as anti-Semitic comments in an online forum.

John Shavluk was removed as the candidate in British Columbia's Newton-North Delta riding, the party announced Thursday. He has been accused of making the remarks in an online forum in 2006.

May said Shavluk's views violate the party's policies on peace and diversity.

"Respect for diversity is a fundamental principle of the Green Party," May said in a statement posted on the party's website. "We condemn anti-Semitism and our members work to encourage respectful dialogue, diversity, peace and cooperation."

She said she told Shavluk as much, and that he cannot stand as a Green party candidate.

"I communicated with John and thanked him for his work on behalf of the Green Party but explained that he will not be a candidate because his views are not consistent with our philosophy.

"I will not sign his nomination papers and the Green Party will nominate another candidate," May said.

The news came amid reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pull the plug on his minority Conservative government on Sunday. An election is expected as soon as Oct. 14.

Shavluk's comments reportedly appeared on an online forum, where he made a lengthy post about drug laws, police, the war in Iraq and conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The comments also included a reference to a "Jewish world bank."

Describing himself as "completely innocent" in an interview with the Canadian Press, Shavluk said he was shocked that the party — which has known about the posting for more than a year — decided to remove him.

"Why all of a sudden they're doing this now? I'm completely in the dark," he said.

Shavluk said he's played a key role in bringing New Democrat and Marijuana Party supporters to the Green party, and suggested he's being penalized for his efforts to legalize the drug.

"The Green Party are pretty much cutting their legs out beneath them" by preventing him from running, Shavluk said.

The Greens on Saturday announced they had gained their first member of Parliament. Blair Wilson, an Independent who quit the Liberal party last year, is the MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding.

The party said Wednesday it's ready to go to court if a consortium of television networks doesn't include May in leaders' debates that will air nationally in advance of the expected October federal election.

In the December 2005 debates that preceded the 2006 election, the Green party was excluded because it had no seats in the House of Commons.

Corrections

  • John Shavluk's controversial comments did not appear on the forum enmasse.ca, as originally reported by the Canadian Press, but on another online forum.
    Sep 05, 2008 6:14 PM PT

With files from the Canadian Press