Nova Scotia

N.S. Liberal candidate looks to move past racist, sexist social media posts

Jaime Battiste apologized on Monday at a Cape Breton University-sponsored debate. He says racist and sexist comments he made on Twitter between 2012 and 2013 were made "during a time of heartbreak and depression."

Jaime Battiste, running in Sydney-Victoria, says he made comments 'during a time of heartbreak'

Jaime Battiste is the Liberal candidate in Sydney-Victoria. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The Liberal candidate for Sydney-Victoria apologized on Monday at a Cape Breton University-sponsored debate on climate change for past racist and sexist social media posts.

Jaime Battiste said the comments about Indigenous girls on drugs, needing a woman to do his laundry and mocking Chinese people were made "during a time of heartbreak and depression, and that's not a good time to use humour."

Battiste posted the comments to Twitter in 2012 and 2013.

He used his opening remarks to address what he called the elephant in the room.

"One of the biggest things I am looking to do is apologize and take full responsibility for what I said and what I tweeted those years ago," he said.

Battiste looks to move on from comments

After the event, Battiste told reporters that he wanted to move on and talk about important issues in the election, such as the environment, the economy and health.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said his comments were unacceptable, but he's not removing Battiste as a candidate.

Battiste said he appreciated the support.

The Conservatives have said Battiste is not worthy to sit in the House of Commons.

The NDP and Green candidates said they were disturbed by the tweets, but said it was up to constituents to decide on Battiste's political future.

'A journey of reconciliation'

Battiste told Cape Breton University debate organizers he received death threats and was concerned about security at the event.

He would not elaborate when questioned by reporters.

"Sometimes all you can do in life is apologize and hope that people accept it," he said. "I think that's a journey of reconciliation."

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca

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