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Calgary UCP candidate says threats of 'smear campaign' prompted resignation

Eva Kiryakos resigned as the UCP candidate for Calgary-South East on Sunday, March 24, 2019. In a video posted on Facebook, she said someone was using old social media messages to try and smear her image. She also wrote she resigned to not take away from the election or my fellow United Conservative Party candidates. - Contributed
Eva Kiryakos resigned as the UCP candidate for Calgary-South East on Sunday, March 24, 2019. In a video posted on Facebook, she said someone was using old social media messages to try and smear her image. She also wrote she resigned to not take away from the election or my fellow United Conservative Party candidates. - Contributed - Postmedia News Service
EDMONTON, Alta. —

A Calgary UCP candidate resigned late Sunday night, sharing a video on social media that revealed online posts she had made that included sharing a link blaming Muslim refugees for a “rape crisis” in Germany and a Twitter exchange in which she opposed transgender people using Alberta school washrooms.

In a video posted to her official Facebook account, the now former Calgary-South East candidate Eva Kiryakos said someone from outside the party “threatened” that they would share the posts. She did not identify the person, but said in a statement accompanying the video that she was resigning from the race so as not to harm other UCP candidates’ campaigns.

UCP spokesperson Christine Myatt confirmed the party accepted Kiryakos’ resignation on Sunday night.

Myatt declined to comment further on Kiryakos’ Facebook post.

“I don’t have any information about that,” she said, when asked if the party could elaborate on Kiryakos’ claim that “someone outside of our party has been threatening to smear me.”

Myatt said a new candidate would be chosen in the riding as soon as possible. “This has just happened in the last hour, so we’ll get to work very quickly on appointing a new candidate,” she said when reached at about 10 p.m. Sunday

Kiryakos, the daughter of Iraqi immigrants, said in the video she was expressing her right to free speech by voicing her opinions.

“We all retweet and share articles,” Kiryakos said in the video, saying she was tired of feeling bullied and wouldn’t censor herself.

Deleted Twitter posts provided to Postmedia show Kiryakos posting about a “Christian genocide” and the “forced breeding” of Muslims.

“Muslim forces continue to use murder, rape, kidnapping, terror and forced breeding in pursuit of Christian Genocide in the Middle East while the world turns a blind eye,” the post reads.

In another post, Kiryakos responds to a Twitter user talking about about gay-straight alliances in schools, saying “you’re not interested in protecting children with GSAs, you’re interested in converting them.”

Those tweets have since been deleted.

On her comment tied to Alberta Teachers’ Association guidelines around transgender people using school washrooms, she said in the video: “The possibility of a grown man sharing a washroom with a little girl, to me, is a perversion. I used the words ‘alternative lifestyle’ because the people I engaged with on Twitter were using those words, so I repeated them back. I voiced my honest opinion and, yes, I asked if the NDP had an agenda.”

She also discusses her advocacy for “free speech” and her parents fleeing “religious persecution in Iraq, where they were not free to live their faith or express their views.”

Kiryakos’ resignation comes four days after Caylan Ford, former UCP candidate for Calgary-Mountain View, resigned amidst reports of controversial remarks suggesting white supremacist terrorists are treated unfairly.

Edmonton-South UCP candidate Tunde Obasan came under fire earlier after NDP staff criticized him for sharing a sexist meme on Facebook. Obasan has said the meme was a joke made in poor taste.

By Dylan Short

dshort@postmedia.com

With files from the Calgary Herald
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019
 

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