The Green Party of Canada recently dropped its candidate for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell over comments she made online about abortion, but Marthe Lépine says she will continue her campaign despite feeling discriminated against by her former party.
Lépine says she was told on Sunday by phone and again on Monday by email that she was being kicked out of the party.
“The Green Party will always fight for access to timely, safe, legal abortions,” said Green Party director of communications John Chenery in a statement released on Monday. “It recently came to light through social media posts that Ms. Lépine does not support this position so she has been removed as a candidate.”
It’s unclear to which social media posts the party was referring, but after searching through several Catholic blogs, Global News has found many comments from Lépine, including one from five years ago in which she states she is “strongly against abortion.”
More recently, Lépine wrote that she would have to “restrain” her comments in the coming weeks.
The former Green candidate says she feels there should be programs in place to prevent the need for abortions in the first place and stands by her Catholic faith. She believes the Green Party’s decision to deny her from running in the party was a form of discrimination.
“To me, it sounds like an attack on my religious freedom,” Lépine told Global News on Tuesday.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh recently criticized the Green Party for not having a clear policy on a woman’s right to choose after Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said she would not whip votes or try to prevent anyone in her caucus from putting forward legislation on abortion.
The party later clarified that all candidates are required to support abortion rights, and May herself, after the federal leaders’ debate on Monday, reiterated that her candidates “are not pro-life, they are pro-choice.”
She pivoted the conversation, saying her original statement was more about her stance against whipping votes.
“Greens don’t whip votes on any issue because we believe that members of Parliament should represent their constituents,” May said after Monday’s debate.
Despite the party’s recent decision, Lépine says she will continue to run in the election as an Independent following Pope Francis’ call for environmental action.
In fact, Lépine was present at an all-candidates meeting on Monday evening in Rockland, Ont.
Lépine’s name would still be on the ballot even if she decided not to be active in the election since the Greens are past the deadline for naming candidates. In total, there are eight candidates running in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell — see here for more details about the riding.
She said she originally ran not because she wanted to be in politics but because she believed the party deserved a voice in the riding.
But on Tuesday, she called the party “disorganized” and said she didn’t want to support party members “who discriminate against Catholics running the country.”
The Green Party of Canada declined to comment on Lépine beyond its original statement.
— With files from Chris Whan and the Canadian Press