Just days after the United Conservative Party candidate for Calgary-Mountain View resigned over comments she made about race and the treatment of white supremacist terrorists, the party’s leader was forced to answer a question about a tape that reportedly captured comments her replacement made about women.
That candidate was one of three who have come under fire on social media for remarks they’ve said or written, or memes they have shared in the past.
“We try to do very vigorous screening to try to ensure that people had not expressed truly hateful views, but our standard was not perfection,” UCP leader Jason Kenney told reporters at a media event in Edmonton on Friday.
“In the world of social media, sometimes people post things that they learn to regret or that they articulated in an awkward way, but if our standard was that no one had ever said anything that any one could possibly construe as offensive, that would be a standard that very few people could meet.”
On Wednesday, the UCP announced that Jeremy Wong would be its candidate for Calgary-Mountain View in the 2019 Alberta election after Caylan Ford bowed out of the race.
One day later, the Alberta NDP released an audio recording that reportedly had Wong, an ordained minister, giving a sermon in which he suggested that wives should “submit to your husbands.” It went on to suggest that women are “more in touch with their emotions than men” and that “often times guys are more cerebral.”
The audio — which was released by the NDP — had people on social media raising concerns about the sermon.
Watch below: (From March 2019) UCP Leader Jason Kenney condemned comments Caylan Ford reportedly made about white nationalism on Day 1 of the election campaign. Jenna Freeman reports on what the effect could be for Kenney in his quest to be premier.
Global News has reached out to Wong for comment.
“It should come as no surprise that a pastor quoted the Bible (Ephesians 5) while delivering a sermon,” UCP spokesperson Matt Solberg said in a statement.
Ephesians 5:22 reads that, “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.”
Ford, whom Wong has replaced as the party’s candidate in Calgary-Mountain View, took to Twitter to condemn the NDP for what she described as “bullying” behaviour.
“I’ve spent the last week being described as a racist white supremacist. Fine. It’s easy to take a philosophical approach to injustice in my own life. But *this* makes me mad,” she tweeted.
“Anyone who spends two minutes with Jeremy Wong knows he’s not a misogynist. He’s a profoundly decent and respectful person. But apparently this is what the NDP does: they will gleefully destroy lives and reputations if it means they get to win a target seat.”
On Friday, another UCP candidate’s views on women were also called into question on social media.
Tunde Obasan, the party’s candidate in Edmonton-South West, faced online scrutiny over a meme he shared on social media in 2017.
“Dear wife, if you want to bring out the best in your husband, give him these two things: respect and sex (in that order),” the meme read.
In a statement, Obasan described the meme as being “clearly a joke, albeit one in poor taste.”
“This meme is not reflective of my views, as I treat my wife with nothing but respect and love,” the statement went on to say.
“She is my equal. It’s more than a bit rich for the NDP to grandstand on this, given that the Rachel Notley is personally refusing to release the identity of two of her MLAs accused of sexual misconduct.
“That matter is clearly more relevant than a foolish Facebook share from the past,” Obasan said.
Watch below: (From November 2018) Premier Rachel Notley says her caucus won’t reveal the names of two MLAs accused of inappropriate behaviour because naming them could jeopardize the privacy of those who complained.
The views of Grant Hunter, the UCP candidate in the riding of Taber-Warner, came into question on Friday following a report by PressProgress, a media outlet launched by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute.
The article detailed a cryptic letter to the editor that Hunter submitted to the Cardston Temple City Star in 2010, in which he praised the town of Cardston for bringing up some of the “highest-standard individuals imaginable.”
“How then can a small town of 3,500 people churn out such a high number of individuals of substance?” the letter read in part. “Perhaps they just came from superior stock, but that though reeks of ‘Arian’ (SIC) undertones.”
In the letter, Hunter pointed out that he has lived in Calgary, Mexico and South Africa and that his family has “been exposed to the harsh realities of communities where ‘God and family first’ principles are not practiced.”
Hunter later issued a statement about the letter.
“In my letter to the editor, I was simply remarking on the strong family and community spirit in Cardston,” the statement read. “In fact, in my letter, I explicitly rejected the idea that the strength of our community was in any way related to genetics.
“I make no apologies for believing that family is central to our society. I have been proud to serve my community for the past four years. I’m not surprised that this NDP front group is launching attacks on a letter to the editor from nearly a decade ago.”