Two NDP candidates resign after social media posts cause backlash

Two NDP candidates have resigned after comments on social media caused backlash.

The party confirmed that Dan Osborne, the candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester, and Sidney Coles, the candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, ended their campaigns and “agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism.”

“New Democrats stand united against discrimination of all kinds. We are committed to taking lasting and meaningful steps toward ending prejudice an hatred in all its forms,” said George Soule, an NDP spokesperson.

Coles, who has since deleted her Twitter account, was reported to have said misinformation that Israel was linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh condemned those posts during a campaign stop on Tuesday but did not demand her resignation.

“The candidate offered a complete and unequivocal apology. That apology was accepted recently by (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs). That was the right thing to do,” Singh said.

“Those comments were wrong and I’m encouraged to see a clear apology and a complete withdrawal of those comments.”

Osborne was reported to have Tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place. He responded to backlash about the post on Twitter over the weekend saying he had Tweeted it when he was a teenager.

“I want to offer an apology. The role of Auschwitz and the history of the holocaust is one we should never forget,” Osborne Tweeted Sunday.

“Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”

When asked Tuesday whether candidates should resign over anti-Semitic remarks Singh said there is no place in the New Democrats for racism or prejudice.

“We want to make sure people know that when you vote for new Democrats you are going to get a leader who believes in this and I expect every one of my candidates to believe in this as well.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2021.

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