The Conservative Party Has Ousted A Toronto Candidate Over Alleged Racist Tweets

The CPC says Lisa Robinson will still appear to be a CPC candidate on the ballots as it's too late to change them.

The Conservative Party Has Ousted A Toronto Candidate Over Alleged Racist Tweets
Toronto Associate Editor

This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.

A former Conservative Party candidate has been disavowed from the party following allegations of racist and Islamophobic tweets from her past.

On the morning of September 10, Nate Erskine-Smith, a Liberal Party candidate and riding incumbent in Beaches-East York, posted screenshots of tweets that he claims his opponent, Lisa Robinson, wrote in 2017 when she was a city council candidate for Ward 1 in Ajax.

Later that night, Robinson responded on her Facebook page denying the account was hers.

The screenshots Erskine-Smith shared showed tweets from an account named "Ward 1 city councillor, candidate" that had Robinson's photo as its profile picture. The Twitter handle, however, is not visible in any of the screenshots.

"Muslims go home if our Canadian heritage offends you so much!!!!" read one of the tweets in the screenshots. "Bring back the Lord's Prayer in schools too and it is called Christmas!!"

The screenshots also show the account retweeting comments that expressed taking a "masculine approach" to terrorism and putting an end to "mind-bending sh*t" in response to a sign about LGBTQ2+ inclusivity training.

"Racism and Islamophobia has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada," a Conservative Party spokesperson told CBC News and the Toronto Star. "Our expectation is that all of our candidates conduct themselves in a respectful, tolerant manner. Subsequently we have terminated this individual as a candidate."

Robinson fired back at Erskine-Smith on Facebook, saying the information he shared is "false and defamatory." She also announced that she was no longer with the Conservative Party and will instead be running as an independent candidate in a video posted yesterday.

"I've instructed [Erskine-Smith] to remove his social media post immediately or face legal consequences," Robinson wrote on Friday. "The information contained in Mr. Erskine-Smith's social media post was generated by a fake social media account which I reported to police in 2018. I have also signed an attestation confirming these facts."

"Racism and Islamophobia have no place in the Conservative Party of Canada or my campaign," Robinson's post continued. "I will be suspending my campaign while I consider my legal options and defend myself against these defamatory comments."

After a commenter asked about the police report on her post, Robinson replied: "Report was filed in November 2018, I will be requesting an FOI Monday morning. Unfortunately, they are not open over the weekend, and requesting online could take as long as 30 days."

A spokesperson from the Durham Regional Police Service told Narcity in an email that Robinson did file a report at the time. "We can confirm her comments that a report was filed in 2018," they said. "But due to privacy issues, we can't speak to the specific allegation or any specifics of the report, as no charges were laid."

Narcity has reached out to Robinson for comment but did not hear back in time before this article was published. Narcity also reached out to Directors of Communication Chelsea Tucker and Cory Hann, and Press Secretary Philippe Refghi from the Conservative Party for comment but did not hear back.

On September 13, Robinson posted on her Facebook page that she is still the Conservative candidate for Beaches-East York. Narcity called the Conservative Party National Desk Service to confirm, which clarified that, while she is listed on the ballot as the Conservative candidate for that riding, she would still be an Independent member of the caucus if elected.

A spokesperson for Elections Canada told Narcity over the phone that the deadline to withdraw your name from the ballots was at the end of August, on August 30.

"After that, it's not possible to change the ballot because it goes for printing," the CPC National Desk spokesperson explained. "So that's the way it's going to appear on the ballot."

On the Conservative party website, Robinson and the Beaches-East York riding is not listed as a CPC candidate for 2021.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor