Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he will continue to allow a Nova Scotia candidate to run despite offensive online comments he made in the past.
During a campaign stop Sunday, Trudeau said the social media posts were “unacceptable,” but that he was pleased that Jaime Battiste, the candidate for Sydney-Victoria, has apologized “unreservedly.”
Asked whether his blackface controversy limits the actions he can take against other Liberal candidates, Trudeau did not respond, but instead repeated that Battiste took responsibility for his actions.
Global News has not seen the social media posts in question. Battiste’s personal social media accounts have now either been scrubbed or locked into private. The Toronto Sun, however, published several screenshots of Battiste’s posts in a story on Friday.
“Cleaning, folding, cooking. Feeling like an epic fail that I haven’t found a woman who can stand me long enough to do this for me,” read a screenshot of a July 11, 2013, tweet.
“Why do I assume every skinny aboriginal girl is on crystal meth or pills?” read another screenshot of a tweet, this time dated Feb. 2, 2012.
Battiste offered an apology in a statement from the Liberal Party.
“At times in my life, I have made crude jokes that I thought were funny at the time, but I realize now that these words were offensive. These were things I said during difficult times in my life, and they are not a reflection of my beliefs or who I am today. I apologize unreservedly.”
The federal Conservatives have attacked the Liberals for letting Battiste continue to run for the party.
“These comments are disgusting and inexcusable,” the party said in a news release. “An individual who makes this many disparaging comments is not worthy of sitting in the House of Commons.”
The party dropped B.C. candidate Heather Leung on Friday over comments she made regarding the LGBTQ2 community, stating in a 2011 video that they “recruit” kids, as well as voicing her support for conversion therapy.
The NDP and Green Party have not yet issued an official statement or comment on Battiste.
Battiste, a resident of the Eskasoni First Nation, is currently the Treaty Education Lead for Nova Scotia. He is also described in his Liberal profile as a “published writer on Mi’kmaw laws, history, and knowledge.”
In 2005, he was named as one of the national Aboriginal role models in Canada by the National Aboriginal Healing Organization, and was the chair of the Assembly of First Nations Youth Council in 2006.