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Jim Karygiannis, Liberal Multiculturalism Critic, Accused Of Racial Slur

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OTTAWA — A former Conservative candidate says his Liberal opponent — the party’s multiculturalism critic — told him Friday he was pleased he learned to write in English.

The Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto’s Harry Tsai told The Huffington Post Canada that Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis called him Friday afternoon to tell him that he had seen a press release from his organization calling for Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae to fire him from his critic’s post.

“I don’t think he was very pleased,” Tsai said. “(Karygiannis) said, ‘ I don’t care what you guys write. It won’t affect me. And I’m glad you can write.’ He kept saying, ‘I’m glad you can write English,’” Tsai said.

Karygiannis told Huff Post Canada he never told Tsai he was glad he could write in English.

“Aboslutely not,” he said. “No. no. no. I called him to say, I want to thank him for doing it (writing a letter)…I wanted to find out whether he did it or not,” Karygiannis said.

Karygiannis, the MP for the Ontario riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, and Tsai, know each other well. Tsai was the Conservative candidate who went head to head with the Liberal incumbent during the last federal election in May.

The Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto was one of a handful of organizations to write to Rae and request Karygiannis’ removal.

Tsai said a letter, signed by the group’s public affairs division earlier this week, pointed out a few reasons why Karygiannis does not deserve to be the Liberal’s multiculturalism critic.

“He has one of the worse attendance records so we do not believe that he represents us in the House of Commons. And also from his past statements, the way he has treated the Macedonians and the Turkish community…violates the nature of multiculturalism,” Tsai said.

He denied having any personal reasons for writing the letter. He said his group was prompted to write a press release this week because Karygiannis had organized a series of meetings with 19 community and stakeholder groups in Ottawa this weekend.

Karygiannis said the groups who wrote to Rae all want him gone for personal reasons.

“From what I understand they are Turks and, of course, because I am Greek, they don’t like it. Two, the United Macedonian Diaspora, because they got their problems with the Greeks and Harry, because Harry lost, because he got his butt kicked. So they think it will be a feather in their cap if I am removed,” Karygiannis said.