October 15, 2018 10:48 pm
Updated: October 15, 2018 10:53 pm

Alberta Party votes to disqualify Edmonton candidate over ‘discriminatory views’

The Alberta Party voted Monday to disqualify Yash Sharma as its candidate for Edmonton-Ellerslie.

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The Alberta Party’s provincial board voted to disqualify the party’s candidate Edmonton-Ellerslie on Monday night after “becoming aware today of an event he attended and supported over the weekend that was critical of an Indian Supreme Court decision to allow women of menstruating age to attend an ancient temple.”

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In a news release, the party said the board voted unanimously to disqualify Yash Sharma.

“In an era where division and hatred are increasingly on the rise, it is now more important than ever for all of our candidates to show strong leadership on the issue of equality and protecting human rights,” Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said. “While Mr. Sharma has offered an unreserved apology, he no longer has the confidence or support of our party.

“We have zero tolerance for discriminatory views.”

READ MORE: Stephen Mandel outlines roles of Alberta Party caucus members

Sharma, whose Alberta Party website profile says he launched the multilingual South Asian newspaper Asian Tribune, posted an apology for his actions on Facebook earlier on Monday.

“It was wrong to involve myself in foreign politics,” he wrote. “I’m running to represent Edmonton-Ellerslie, and I understand my comments don’t align with Alberta Party values.

“I have respect for the judicial role in our society and understand that in a properly functioning democracy, a healthy, independent judiciary is key to democratic health,” the post went on to say.

“I offer my unreserved apology and will not be involving myself with these groups again.”

The Alberta Party voted Monday to disqualify Yash Sharma as its candidate for Edmonton-Ellerslie.

CREDIT: Facebook/Yash Pal Sharma

Global News has reached out to Sharma for further comment and details about the event he attended. Neither Sharma nor the Alberta Party provided details about the event in question.

“The Alberta Party strongly supports equality for all and believes an independent judiciary is key to a healthy democracy and society,” Alberta Party President Rhiannon Hoyle said. “This candidate’s comments and conduct do not reflect Alberta Party values, and we will not tolerate discrimination in any form.

“We strongly and emphatically disagree with the comments made by Mr. Sharma, however, we needed to follow due process of informing our provincial board and letting them vote on a motion to remove his candidacy.”

The Alberta Party currently has three MLAs in the provincial legislature.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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