‘Conservative’ Heather Leung signs stoke pre-election confusion

On the eve of Monday’s federal election, Burnaby North-Seymour candidate Heather Leung continues to campaign as a Conservative, despite having been dropped by the party.

The party issued a release on Oct. 4 stating Leung was “no longer representing the Conservative Party of Canada,” citing offensive comments she’d made in the past, including that “homosexuals recruit children” and describing the sexual orientation of the LGBTQ community as “perverted.”

Leung no longer appears as a candidate on the party’s website but it was too late for Elections Canada’s Sept. 30 deadline to alter the actual election ballots.

North Van resident Henry Armitage snapped pictures of volunteers continuing to pound in new Conservative Party branded signs along Mount Seymour Parkway on Wednesday.

“The impression it gives me is Heather Leung and the Conservative Party of Canada are still much more connected than the Conservative Party of Canada have claimed,” said Armitage, who said he is not affiliated with any political party.

Leung’s campaign uses “unclear language” on the matter, Armitage added, which adds to the impression “the two are still operating hand in hand.”

Leung’s campaign manager Travis Trost said they will continue to use the signs because Elections Canada advised them they do not have to stop using them.

“Our signs reflect what the voters are going to see. If she’s elected, we believe she would be listed as a Conservative win,” he said. “It’s got Heather. It’s got Conservative. And that’s what you’re going to see on the ballot.”

Trost said if Leung were to win, his understanding is it would be up to the Tories at their first caucus meeting whether she could join them.

Trost said he’s had mixed messages from the party as to whether they can continue to use the signs.

“I had one email that sort of said something but then I had a verbal conversation that indicated something different,” he said. “They have my phone number. They know how to contact me. Nobody has directly talked to me about this from the party headquarters.”

Leung fairly won the nomination but “probably one or two individuals” within the higher ranks of the party pulled the plug on her, Trost added, which he said is not in keeping with their reputation as an “innately democratic” party.

The Leung campaign continues to robocall voters while billing her as a “conservative” as well.

The Conservative Party of Canada did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

In a statement, Elections Canada said the use of the signs is not illegal.

“The Canada Elections Act does not regulate the content of campaign signs. However, all partisan and election advertising messages (including campaign signs) must contain a ‘tagline’ stating who has authorized the message. A candidate’s or political party’s official agent must authorize candidate signs.”

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