A day after stepping down as the Liberal candidate in Burnaby South, Karen Wang says she wants the party to bring her back into the fold.
In a series of messages sent to Global News, Wang says she wants to “defend her reputation” and she is not “a racist.”
“On my Wechat post In Chinese I said that my opponent was of Indian descent. I meant no disrespect by that comment,” Wang wrote.
“As far as I am concerned it was merely a statement of fact. I did not mean it as a racial comment. He is of Indian descent and I am of Chinese descent.
Wang, a daycare operator, resigned on Wednesday after she posted a message on WeChat, a social messaging app, that urged voters to support her as the only candidate of Chinese origin and singled out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is also running in the riding byelection next month as being “of Indian origin.”
That message, first reported by the Toronto Star, was translated as reading, “If we can increase the voting rate, as the only Chinese candidate in this riding, if I can garner 16,000 votes I will easily win the byelection, control the election race and make history! My opponent in this byelection is the NDP candidate Singh of Indian descent!”
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In her resignation letter, Wang said she was “trying to speak about my own story” and apologized to Singh. She now says she was “required to withdraw as a candidate” and that she treats “all Canadians equally regardless of their race, religion, or anything else.”
The former candidate wants the Liberal Party to give her another chance to run in the February 25 byelection against Singh, Conservative candidate Jay Shin and the PPC’s Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson.
“I am surprised to find that such a comment is unacceptable and even more surprised that it resulted in me being required to withdraw as a candidate,” Wang said.
“I have many Indian friends and as far as I am aware the two communities get along well… I am deeply offended by the false suggestion that I am a racist. I consider running for office is a way to give back to this country who has given me everything when I came here with my husband 20 years ago under the highly trained manpower program from China with nothing.”
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The Liberal Party of Canada has not responded to questions asking whether Wang was told to resign or whether the party crafted her resignation letter. But they have said Wang is not welcome back to run for the party in this byelection.
“Recent online comments by Karen Wang are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada,” the party said in a statement.
“The Liberal Party has accepted her resignation as a candidate and she will not represent the Liberal Party in the Burnaby South by-election. For your background, Elections Canada has also confirmed her withdrawal as the Liberal candidate, following Ms. Wang’s written withdrawal letter submitted to Elections Canada yesterday by Ms. Wang.”
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“Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have always stood for the full and equal participation of all Canadians in our democracy, regardless of their background. The Liberal Party has a clear commitment to positive politics and support for Canadian diversity, and the same is always expected of our candidates.”