Tory hopeful Peter Kent tweets, then retracts, claim that refugee is ISIS fighter
Photo shows a former commander in the Free Syrian Army, a group that fights against ISIS
Conservative candidate Peter Kent shared a photo on Twitter Tuesday that falsely claims to show an ISIS fighter posing as a refugee.
Kent, the Tory hopeful in the Greater Toronto Area riding of Thornhill, tweeted the photo, writing: "These 'then and now' pix chilling reminders why prudent/detailed refugee screening essential."
A reminder prudent Googling is essential. CPC candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/Kent4Thornhill">@kent4thornhill</a> shares debunked photo: <a href="http://t.co/XJFSBEQSQW">http://t.co/XJFSBEQSQW</a> <a href="http://t.co/pIS5YNVEQU">pic.twitter.com/pIS5YNVEQU</a>—@TabathaSouthey
The photo, which has been debunked by the BBC and others, has been circulating widely on social media amid the refugee crisis. The man on the right side of the photo montage actually served as a commander with the Free Syrian Army, a group that fights against ISIS.
Kent deleted his tweet after Globe and Mail columnist Tabatha Southey and other Twitter users pointed out his mistake. Kent issued a correction tweet and said he was misled by a reliable source.
<a href="https://twitter.com/TabathaSouthey">@TabathaSouthey</a> I stand corrected on re-tweet passed on by reliable source, also misled. But, doesn't diminish need for careful screening—@Kent4Thornhill
Following the error, Kent then retweeted a post from political pundit Ezra Levant suggesting that most refugees are men.
The UN says 75% of migrants are men, only 12% women, 13% kids. So: the opposite of “women and children first.” <a href="http://t.co/mT2dIiWWas">http://t.co/mT2dIiWWas</a>—@ezralevant
In fact, the UN's refugee agency's statistics suggest about 23 per cent of registered Syrian refugees are men over 18. The page Levant links to says 72 per cent of total refugee and migrant Mediterranean sea arrivals (all nationalities) are men. Just over half of the total sea arrivals are Syrians.
Kent is the third Conservative candidate in recent days to run into controversy.
Tim Dutaud, the now former Tory candidate for Toronto-Danforth, was dropped by the party over the weekend for failing to disclose prank calls he made in which he faked the sounds of an orgasm and mocked mentally disabled people.
Jerry Bance, the former Conservative candidate for Scarborough-Rouge Park, was booted for failing to disclose he had been caught on videotape urinating in a mug while working as a repairman.
Kent, who previously served as minister of the environment, was shuffled out of Stephen Harper's cabinet in the summer of 2013.