The Liberal candidate for Spadina-Fort York Kevin Vuong, whom the party cut ties with days before the election following an investigation into a past sexual assault allegation in 2019 is currently leading and expected to win the riding.
The riding was too close to call once polls closed at 9:30 p.m. Monday, however, on Tuesday morning Vuong had 37.9 per cent of the vote with 128 out of 129 polls reporting.
Close behind with 35 per cent of the vote is NDP candidate Norm Di Pasquale.
Vuong was asked by the Liberal party to “pause” his campaign on Friday, and on Saturday, the party said he would no longer be affiliated with the Liberals.
“We take any allegation extremely seriously,” a Liberal Party spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Global News at the time.
Since it was too late to remove him from the ballot, the party added that “should he be elected, he will not be a member of the Liberal caucus.”
Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca was seen in social media images campaigning with Vuong before details of the dropped charge were known. He said in a statement on Tuesday that doesn’t believe Vuong should sit in parliament.
“While I did not know about the serious allegations against him when I visited Spadina-Fort York, I can assure you he will have no place in the Ontario Liberal Party,” he wrote.
Vuong, who has been in the Naval Reserves since 2015, is also under review by the Canadian Armed Forces.
He became the Liberal candidate for the riding after incumbent Liberal MP Adam Vaughan announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in the summer.
Global News contacted Vuong and his representatives multiple times for comment on this story but a response was never received.
The Toronto Star, who was the first outlet to report the story, reported receiving a statement from Vuong where he “unequivocally state(d) that these allegations are false” and that he “vigorously fought” the matter in court. The case was dropped at the end of November 2019. He also was reported to have not addressed the allegations in that statement.
Global News spoke with the complainant Friday afternoon. The woman, who Global News agreed not to identify, confirmed the details outlined in the Star’s report.
The alleged victim said she was in the United States for two months and only upon returning to Canada realized that Vuong was the Liberal candidate in her riding.
“I didn’t even know he was involved with politics anymore at all,” she said.
The woman said she saw his name on an election sign and immediately paused.
“I started having a meltdown because I realized I hadn’t heard anything and all of a sudden … he’s allowed to run for office?” she said.
“It makes me afraid. It makes me fearful. I don’t even want to go walk my dog outside my house because I just don’t want to see his signs …
“I definitely don’t want to be represented by somebody who essentially abused me and I don’t want to see his name everywhere.”
— With files from Emerald Bensadoun, Nick Westoll and Ahmar Khan