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Candidates courting controversy: A (partial) list of politicians who’ve gotten into trouble this election

Harbaljit Singh Kahlon.
Harbaljit Singh Kahlon. Facebook

The longer the campaign, the more time candidates have to say or do something silly, offensive or just plain dumb.

And the more connected we are, the easier it is for reporters or opposition parties to find all the skeletons in your digital closet.

There have been many, many such instances this campaign. So many, we decided we needed to write another story about it.

Below you’ll find a less than exhaustive list of candidates who have said or done things imprudent enough to make the national news in the past 14 days – plus a couple of the greatest hits.

Candidate: Bob Zimmer
Party: Conservatives
Riding: Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies (incumbent)

Gaffe: Attributed Canada’s epidemic of missing and murdered aboriginal women to the victims’ unemployment.

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“One of the major drivers of missing and murdered aboriginal women is lack of economic activity, or, simply put, a lack of a job,” he said.

“I think our perspective, and we have tried to do things where we bring economic activity or jobs to reserve and different other legislation to see that through. And ultimately when people have a job, they’re not in despair, and they can stay on reserve, and that’s where we want them to be, we want them to be happy where they live, and go from there with their families.”

Status: Still running.

Candidate: Sabrina Zuniga
Party: Conservatives
Riding: Spadina-Fort York

Gaffe: Told a CPAC interviewer that oil is a natural substance and the land will absorb it.

“It’s just when there is too much at once, that’s when the difficulty comes in,” she said, according to news reports.

Status: Still running

Candidate: Harbaljit Singh Kahlon
Party: NDP
Riding: Brampton East

Gaffe: Told a Punjabi-Canadian TV show in 2005 that being gay is a choice and same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy and public nudity.

According to the Canadian Press, Singh Kahlon has apologized for his comments and says that he no longer holds these views.

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Status: Still running

Candidate: Jagdish Grewal
Party: Conservatives
Riding: Mississauga – Malton (incumbent)

Gaffe: Wrote a Punjabi Post editorial titled, “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?” in which he called homosexuality “unnatural behaviour” resulting from a shock during childhood that “can be corrected.”

Status: Dumped by the party but still running; remains on the ballot because it was too late for him to officially withdraw.

Candidate: Cheryl Thomas
Party: Liberals
Riding: Victoria

Gaffe: Joked on Facebook that “Santa has to be white!!! You can’t have a brown guy with a beard sneaking into your house in the middle of the night!”

Called mosques “brainwashing stations.”

Status: Resigned

Candidate: Stefan Jonasson
Party: NDP
Riding: Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

Gaffe: Compared Orthodox Haredi Jews to the Taliban

Status: Dumped, reluctantly: According to a report from the Canadian Press, the Winnipeg candidate didn’t want to step down, but bowed to party pressure after controversy broke out. “I wish that the party had had the courage and the foresight to believe that my candidacy was worth defending, but they did not,” he said.

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Candidate: Ala Buzreba
Party: Liberals
Riding: Calgary-Nose Hill

Gaffe: Tweeted several years ago calling someone “a waste of sperm” and suggesting someone else’s mother should have had an abortion.

Status: Resigned

Candidate: Joy Davies
Party: Liberals
Riding: South Surrey-White Rock

Gaffe: Shared links on Facebook in 2013 suggesting marijuana use was linked to lower levels of domestic violence and has been used to cure some cancers.

Status: Resigned

Candidate: Alex Johnstone
Party: NDP
Riding: Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas

Gaffe: Made a penis joke about a friend’s Facebook photo of a fence post at Auschwitz. Later excused herself by saying she didn’t know what Auschwitz was.

Status: Still running.

Candidate: Jerry Bance
Party: Conservatives
Riding: Scarborough-Rouge River

Gaffe: Urinating in a client’s coffee mug after being hired as a contractor in 2012, then dumping the contents into the sink and replacing the mug.

Status: Dumped. But still first in our hearts.