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Candidate for Denis Coderre steps down after controversial social media posts

Click to play video: 'Coderre candidate steps down after controversial social media posts' Coderre candidate steps down after controversial social media posts
WATCH: Ensemble Montréal Leader Denis Coderre told reporters on Tuesday that Outremont candidate Dan Kraft is stepping down. – Oct 26, 2021

Ensemble Montréal Leader Denis Coderre confirmed Tuesday that Outremont candidate Dan Kraft will not be running for borough councillor in the upcoming municipal election on Nov. 7.

Coderre told reporters Kraft had handed in his resignation in order to focus on himself and his family.

Kraft came under fire earlier this month after controversial social media posts came to light including a link to a climate-change-denying documentary back in September, and for accusing a Black man who questioned a traffic stop of seeking his 15 minutes of fame.

At the time, Coderre accepted Kraft’s apology, but said he wouldn’t be given a second chance.

Read more: Ensemble Montréal candidate apologizes over controversial social media posts

Kraft, however, was back in the spotlight last week after comparing, in a now-deleted Instagram post, Valérie Plante’s Projet Montréal party, to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Stalin’s repressive regime was estimated to have killed 1 million people.

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Then on Sunday, Concordia University Professor Ted Rutland, who researches urban politics and policing, spoke out about blog posts Kraft wrote in Portuguese in 2020 that have since been made private.

Rutland said one post addressed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, where he said it referred to Floyd as someone who ‘lived like a delinquent and died like a delinquent.’

When asked on Monday if he still planned to keep Kraft on, Coderre said, “Of course.”

“We have a team, the team is there, and the election is in less than two weeks,” he elaborated.

Click to play video: 'Three controversial candidates running with Denis Coderre remain in race' Three controversial candidates running with Denis Coderre remain in race
Three controversial candidates running with Denis Coderre remain in race – Oct 19, 2021

On Tuesday, there was an about-face from Coderre, who said it stemmed from a discussion the pair had that morning regarding how the campaign had taken its toll on his candidate.

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“I spoke to Dan Kraft today. And his family is suffering. And they’re crying,” Coderre said.

The Ensemble Montréal leader blamed other parties for Kraft’s departure.

“Maybe we should read all the text,” Coderre said of the blog posts referencing Floyd. “There are some trolls who’re playing with that … know that the trash is coming from people from other parties.”

Read more: Coderre sticks with candidate who insulted George Floyd, compared Projet Montréal to Stalin

In a statement published on Facebook, Kraft said that as a researcher and professor for more than 25 years, he creates debate with the goal of sharing different points of view and inviting people to reflect.

Kraft admitted he hadn’t taken stock of warnings by the Union des Municaplités du Québec earlier this year denouncing radicalism and the hateful nature of social networks in politics as a way of preventing greater citizen participation.

“I admit that I neglected this alert and I deeply regret it, both for myself and for those who have supported me so far,” Kraft wrote.

— With Files from Global News’ Dan Spector

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