An ousted Liberal candidate says he’s going to continue as an independent Member of Parliament (MP) for his Toronto riding despite numerous calls for him to step down.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Kevin Vuong confirmed that he is going to stay on as the MP for Spadina-Fort York in Toronto.
“After taking time to reflect on recent events, I want to apologize for the lack of disclosure. I have decided to continue as an independent Member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York and will work hard to serve the community,” read the statement.
Vuong was dropped by the Liberals just two days prior to the election after it was revealed that he’d been charged with sexual assault in 2019 and that a $1.5 million lawsuit was filed against him over his mask-making business.
The sexual assault charge has since been dropped.
However, Vuong’s name was still on the ballot under the Liberals as there wasn’t enough time to reprint the ticket.
Earlier on Wednesday while ballots were still being counted, Vuong released a statement saying that he would “work hard” to earn the trust of those that doubt him as he looked to take the seat as an independent.
“I appreciate that not everyone is happy with my election, and I very much understand why it is different in my case,” he wrote.
“Allegations of sexual assault are a serious matter, deserving of more discussion than this statement can provide. For these reasons, I intend to address them at a later date more wholly in a dedicated forum.”
Many of the votes cast for Vuong were also sent as mail-in ballots prior to him being ousted, leading to several constituents — and politicians — issuing calls for him to step down and for a by-election to be called.
One such politician is former Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, who held Vuong’s seat before deciding not to run for re-election in the 2021 federal election.
In a series of tweets Thursday, Vaughan said that he has “worked hard” to try and convince him to resign, though Vuong would announce his intention to continue as an independent in his earlier statement.
“His decision to take his seat and from that position seek to clear his name is another serious breach. MPs cannot use public office to advance private interests,” wrote Vaughan.
“The residents of Spadina Fort York deserve an MP with a clear mandate and an MP focused on their needs and who is focussed on being the community’s advocate. A by-election is the only option. If Vuong wishes to represent the best interest of the riding, he should resign.”
— With files from Daina Goldfinger
More to come…