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People’s Alliance of New Brunswick dumps Memramcook-Tantramar candidate over Islamophobic tweet

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Vetting processes are under intense scrutiny after both the Liberals and Conservatives turfed candidates over offensive social media posts.

The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick has dumped its candidate in the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar less than a week ahead of the election.

The party confirmed to CBC and the Telegraph-Journal that Heather Collins is no longer its candidate after an Islamophobic tweet from June 2019 came to light.

A spokesperson for the People’s Alliance has not replied to multiple requests for comment from Global News.

READ MORE:All our New Brunswick election 2020 coverage

In the tweet, Collins was commenting on another account’s tweet, which asked whether Canada is “only accepting Muslim people here and denying entry to everyone else.”

Collins quote-tweeted the statement, saying “that’s all they seem to be letting into Canada at this time. Sickening it is.”

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The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick has dumped one of its candidates after an Islamophobic tweet was made public.
The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick has dumped one of its candidates after an Islamophobic tweet was made public. Heather Collins/Twitter

Collins is not the first or even second candidate to come under fire for past remarks on social media.

She’s the fourth candidate who’s been taken to task for past comments this campaign. However, she’s the first candidate to be disallowed from representing the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick.

On Monday afternoon, the Tories parted ways with Victoria-La Vallée candidate Roland Michaud, who reposted a transphobic meme on Facebook in December 2018.

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Advance voting soars in New Brunswick election

On Monday evening, the Liberals turfed Saint Croix candidate John Gardner over a series of offensive posts about the LGBTQ2 community.

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The comments included one in which he suggested that LGBTQ2 communities should stop using the rainbow as a symbol because it is “offending the Christian and Jewish community… as it has a strong biblical significance.”

Michaud and Gardner say they will run as independent candidates in the Sept. 14 election.

The third person to come under fire was Louis Bérubé, the PC candidate for Restigouche West, over comments made in a 2016 interview with Acadie Nouvelle.

“Could this be? Legislation to protect the transgendered (explicit). Really? I can’t get over it. Where we are heading? They’re disturbed … we have to pretend that it’s normal,” he told the paper.

Read more: N.B. Tory leader reviews candidate after transphobic Facebook re-post emerges

Wednesday morning, the PC campaign said Bérubé has since apologized for those comments and will remain on the ballot.

“Mr. Bérubé has assured our team that he is remorseful for what he said and that his views have since evolved,” the statement said.

The swift tossing of candidates has raised questions over each party’s ability to vet candidates in a comprehensive way due to the short, snap election.

The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick is unlikely to avoid questions about how Collins made it through its vetting process.

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The party told media at the time that it spent the first few days of the short campaign working to vet a slate of candidates.

All dropped candidates will still appear on ballots with their former party affiliation, since the ballots are already printed.