Ken Pereira will no longer run in the upcoming federal election for the People’s Party of Canada.
The Quebec-City area candidate made the announcement on social media Friday, saying he had no choice but to drop out.
“A terrible tragedy in my family has forced me to withdraw from the election,” he said, asking for privacy.
Without providing more details, he also apologized to Maxime Bernier’s party and the volunteers behind his candidacy.
In Quebec, Pereira quickly became widely known after he was one of the first people to blow the whistle on corruption in the province’s construction industry. In 2009, he was one of the main sources for a story by Radio-Canada on the issue.
The former president of an industrial mechanics union would go on to testify before the Charbonneau commission, a sweeping investigation into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry.
In the years that followed, Pereira has also garnered attention for sharing conspiracy theories online. He has suggested that the measles vaccine leads to autism and has also promoted Infowars, known for spreading conspiracy theories.
In May, Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada announced Pereira would run in the Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier riding. At the time, a spokesperson for the party defended Pereira in wake of criticism over what he posts online.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has until Sept. 15 to call the federal election.
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— With files from The Canadian Press