GAFFES AND SCANDALS: A run-down of the gaffes and scandals of the campaign

The miscues, the missteps, and the mistakes

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(This is the second part of the Toronto Sun’s collection of campaign gaffes)

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The hard-fought federal election campaign has featured no shortage of awkward and perhaps damaging moments for each party.

Some gaffes provided instant fodder for political rivals; some could have more lasting effects.

Here are some:

— Explosive allegations in former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book, Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, landed with just more than a week to go in the campaign.

She said it was her understanding — while in cabinet — that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted her to lie about having faced pressure to interfere in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

Trudeau countered he would “never” ask Wilson-Raybould to lie.

— The Tories dumped Beaches-East York candidate Lisa Robinson after Liberal rival Nathaniel Erskine-Smith issued a tweet referring to an Islamophobic Twitter comment allegedly made by Robinson in 2017.

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The federal Conservative party have disavowed their candidate for Beaches-East York – Lisa Robinson – and asked her to step down after alleged Islamophobic social media posts.
The federal Conservative party have disavowed their candidate for Beaches-East York – Lisa Robinson – and asked her to step down after alleged Islamophobic social media posts. Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun

A statement from Robinson’s party said: “Racism and Islamophobia has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada. Our expectation is that all of our candidates conduct themselves in a respectful tolerant manner. Consequently, we have terminated this individual as a candidate.”

— NDP candidates Sidney Coles and Dan Osborne resigned after anti-Semitic comments attributed to them caused an uproar.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits a local business in Sackville, N.S., on Sept. 17, 2021.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits a local business in Sackville, N.S., on Sept. 17, 2021. Photo by Jonathan Hayward /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Leader Jagmeet Singh called the alleged comments “completely wrong.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

The party confirmed the two ended their campaigns and “agreed to educate themselves further about anti-Semitism.”

— Trudeau’s gender equality minister, Maryam Monsef, referred to members of Afghanistan’s new Taliban government as “our brothers.”

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Maryam Monsef, the federal minister for women and gender equality and rural economic development, is shown at an August 2019 funding announcement in Edmonton.
Maryam Monsef, the federal minister for women and gender equality and rural economic development, is shown at an August 2019 funding announcement in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam David Bloom /SunMedia

The candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha drew fire from critics, including military veterans who served and lost friends in the war in Afghanistan.

Monsef explained her choice of words was a cultural reference.

— Campaigning in Toronto, Green Party leader Annamie Paul mistakenly gave her competition a boost: “I’ll tell the people of Canada that if you want a real plan, one that is going to grow our economy, that is going to put us at the front of the competitive green economy of the future, help us to join the green rush, then the only option in this election for you is the Liberals.“

Green Party leader Annamie Paul speaks as she unveils her new Toronto Centre campaign office in Toronto, July 22, 2021.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul speaks as she unveils her new Toronto Centre campaign office in Toronto, July 22, 2021. Photo by Carlos Osorio /REUTERS

Hours later on Twitter, she corrected herself, acknowledging it “was one for the blooper reels.”

— New Brunswick Liberal candidate Jason Hickey mused about a capital gains tax on the sale of primary residences.

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  1. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    GAFFES AND SCANDALS: Trudeau’s disappointing premature ‘misinformation’

  2. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau gestures to his staff after an election campaign stop in Richmond, B.C., on Sept. 14, 2021.

    GAFFES AND SCANDALS: Trudeau quizzed about attitude during campaign

  3. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a federal election, outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable

    GAFFES AND SCANDALS: Justin Trudeau’s mind-blowing money musings

A screengrab of Jason Hickey, the Liberal candidate in New Brunswick Southwest, saying taxes will have to be paid on home sales.
A screengrab of Jason Hickey, the Liberal candidate in New Brunswick Southwest, saying taxes will have to be paid on home sales. Photo by @CPC_HQ /Twitter

“But of course, anyone selling their primary residence, if you do make money on that, unfortunately, you will have to pay tax on that. I wouldn’t agree to that either, but it’s what we have to do,” Hickey said during an online chat with residents.

“I don’t think we do that,” Hickey said later in the chat.

The Conservatives seized on his comments as part of the Liberal plan.

The Liberals have staunchly denied they’re targeting primary residences.

— Liberal candidate for Oshawa Afroza Hossain responded to a community newspaper request to join a panel discussion saying: “My campaign office requires $300 plus donation to have me attend any talk show or event.”

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Liberal candidate Afroza Hossain
Liberal candidate Afroza Hossain Photo by Liberal Party candidate photo /Toronto Sun

She quickly walked back the cash request.

The Liberals attributed this statement to Hossain:

“I mistakenly asked for donations in a context that is entirely unacceptable. I apologize for this mistake and lapse in judgment.”

— Former Liberal MP for Whitby Celina Caesar-Chavannes told Global’s The West Block she will likely vote Conservative.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes
Celina Caesar-Chavannes

“I’m very much a Liberal at heart, but I would say that in this particular instance, in 2021, I don’t mind voting for my local representative, Maleeha Shahid, who is a Conservative,” Caesar-Chavannes said. “I’ve never done that in my life. But at this particular time, maybe we have to think about doing things differently.”

— Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, 100, echoed weeks of criticism about election timing, as she attended a Liberal rally with Trudeau.

Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is pictured at her home on July 26, 2020.
Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is pictured at her home on July 26, 2020. Photo by Jack Boland, Toronto Sun /Toronto Sun

“I think it’s unfortunate there was an election call during the pandemic, I don’t agree with that,” McCallion said. “I think the government should be concentrating on recovery, and getting people back to work.”

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