British Columbia·Video

Ousted candidate's story takes another strange turn, this time into a parking lot

Former Liberal candidate Karen Wang caps off a bizarre day with an even more bizarre media scrum in a Burnaby, B.C., parking lot.

Karen Wang's news conference at a Burnaby library did not go as planned

Former Liberal candidate Karen Wang held an impromptu media scrum in a parking lot after being kicked off the grounds of the Metrotown Library in Burnaby, B.C (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Former Liberal candidate Karen Wang capped off a bizarre day with an even more bizarre media scrum in a Burnaby, B.C., parking lot on Thursday.

The 43-year-old, who resigned her candidacy in the Burnaby South byelection Wednesday only to attempt to revive it Thursday, announced a news conference at the Metrotown Library only to arrive and be told in no uncertain terms by the head librarian she could not hold her political event on public library grounds.

There was confusion. There were tears.

And in the end there was Wang, surrounded by reporters and cameras in a parking lot, trying to explain why she isn't racist and why she may yet still run in the Feb. 25 byelection as an independent.

"It really make me hurt and I feel as if I am abused," said an emotional Wang. "This is not me at all — I am not a racist."

Watch as Karen Wang speaks to media:

'I am not a racist,' says former Burnaby Liberal candidate

3 years ago
Duration 1:32
Former Liberal candidate Karen Wang capped off a bizarre day with an even more bizarre media scrum in a Burnaby, B.C., parking lot on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Wang was forced to step down in a storm of controversy over a Chinese-language WeChat post in which she wrote that, as the only Chinese candidate, she could beat rival Jagmeet Singh, who she noted is of "Indian descent." 

But sometime during the night she tried to have the resignation reversed, asking the Liberals to give her a second chance.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in the Liberal Party, Wang wrote that she would like to withdraw her resignation, arguing that her WeChat post was "merely a statement of fact" that was not meant as a racial comment. 

But in a statement, the Liberal Party of Canada said the decision was final.

"As mentioned yesterday, recent online comments by Karen Wang are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal Party has accepted her resignation as a candidate and she will not represent the Liberal Party in the Burnaby South byelection."

During her parking lot scrum Wang claimed the WeChat post was sent out by a campaign volunteer and was meant to encourage the Chinese community to vote. 

"As a person with a Chinese background you are trying to gain people's support from this cultural background," she said. "I just want Chinese people to get involved."

Wang later addressed comments made Wednesday by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel alleging the Tories declined to run her as their candidate for the riding.

Watch Karen Wang's interview on CBC's Power & Politics:

Ex-Liberal candidate says comments were misinterpreted | Karen Wang

3 years ago
Duration 8:22
Ex-Liberal candidate Karen Wang joined Power & Politics Thursday to discuss why she says her comments about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's ethnicity were misinterpreted.

The Liberal Party statement says Elections Canada no longer considers Wang a candidate. The party has not said when or how it will pick a replacement.

While campaigning at Simon Fraser University, Singh said he was surprised to learn Wang was trying to re-enter the race. 

"We need to focus on politics that bring people together," he said. "Divisive politics, politics that divide along racial lines, hurt our community."

The deadline for registering to run — or in Wang's case, re-registering, if she chooses to run as an independent — is Feb. 4. 

With files from Olivia Chandler