It seems Renfrew Nipissing Pembroke voters casting their ballots for the Green Party Monday will be wasting their votes.
The local Green Party riding association announced late Sunday night that candidate Michael LaRiviere had “withdrawn” his candidacy over remarks he made during a virtual debate hosted by Cogeco cable’s local “Your TV” community channel.
However, in a later comment, the party said he had been “removed” as candidate.
During the debate, LaRiviere compared COVID-19 vaccine passports to Nazi Germany’s measures to mark Jewish citizens.
“I myself, I’ve been vaccinated, but I don’t want to walk around with a passport, because that will be the beginning,” LaRiviere said.
“The way I look at it is, the Gestapo and the German military during the Second World War, wanted people to be tattooed, and this is the beginning of that step.
“We’ve already got an autocracy in Ottawa, we don’t have a democracy.”
In a Facebook post Sunday night at 9:50 pm, less than 12 hours before the polls opened Monday, the Green Party riding association issued a statement saying it was “recently brought to our attention that Green Party candidate Michael Lariviere (sic) made unacceptable comments at an all candidates’ debate last week.”
“We deeply regret Mr. La Riviere’s offensive statements and apologize sincerely for the distress his words have caused. Mr. Lariviere has now withdrawn his candidacy.”
When one resident said they would not vote Green in response to LaRiviere’s comments and that it was a shame that anyone who had voted during the advance polls would not be able to transfer their vote to “another progressive candidate,” the party said they “respect your decision.”
“The RNP Green Party response to this is that LaRiviere made offensive and untrue comments during the campaign that bordered on hate speech. He has been removed as the Green Party candidate.
“The RNP Green Party apologizes for any distress his words may have caused. Such language and actions will not be tolerated in the Green Party of Canada.”
By Monday morning, LaRiviere had been removed from the list of Ontario candidates on the federal Green Party website.
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