NDP candidate for Watson Lake Amy Labonte is stepping out of the race after disparaging social media posts made in 2019 and 2013 were publicized.
“A number of past posts I’ve made on social media have been circulating with the media. I want to take responsibility for these comments,” said Labonte.
“Some of these comments were racist and ableist, and they are not acceptable. I’ve changed a lot since these comments were made, and they aren’t comments I would make today. Regardless of when the posts were made, the fact is that I made these comments and put them out in the world,” she said.
The controversial posts to Twitter were first reported on by CBC News.
On June 8, 2019, Labonte tweeted that she was hoping that United States President Donald Trump would be murdered.
“I literally hope that he is assassinated. I have never wished death on anyone- but he has turned American into a racist, sexist, disgusting country where people are fleeing from. I hope someone puts a bullet in his head- or hangs him from his tiny penis” she wrote.
In 2013, Labonte also made disparaging comments about Sikh men and people with dwarfism.
Labonte tweeted: “Men who turban their hair instead of cutting it: does it smell?? #ifyouSEEKamy” and “If gay people come out of the closet, do gay midgets come out of the cupboard? #hilarious.”
Following the news story, NDP leader Kate White told CBC on March 23 that she felt Labonte should continue her campaign in the riding, and that her candidates “haven’t led carefully curated lives.”
The following day on March 24 White announced in a press release that Labonte would be stepping down.
“I had a conversation with Kate, our leader, and we agreed that it would be best for me to withdraw my name,” Labonte said in the statement.
White described the former candidate as a “strong person” who “deeply regrets these comments.”
“I think people are so much more than the sum of their mistakes, but the comments that were made were hurtful. They hurt people yesterday and they hurt people this week and if I want to tell people that we’re safe then we need to make sure we make that space,” said White following a press conference on March 25.
Dave Wilkie, Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, said Labonte’s name has now been removed from the ballot in Watson Lake.
The nomination period for candidates closed March 22, so the NDP will not be able to name a new candidate for the election on April 12. Special ballots marked for Labonte or the Yukon NDP in Watson Lake will be rejected.
Liberal candidate Amanda Brown and Yukon Party incumbent Patti McLeod are both running in the riding.
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