NEWS

Ousted B.C. NDP candidate stands by controversial comments

04/19/2013 07:43 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT
The former B.C. NDP candidate who was forced to resign over controversial comments made on a local media website says she was relieved when she was forced to step down.

"I literally felt a weight lifted off my shoulders, because I felt somewhat stifled. Not because [the NDP] wouldn’t let me speak or say things, but because I had to say it their way. And now I don’t have to do that," Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk told CBC News.

"That was one of the problems being affiliated to a party. To be able to get their message out in my voice somehow and I was having a difficult time doing that."

Van Ryswyk was dropped by the B.C. NDP on Tuesday, the first day of the provincial election campaign, after the B.C. Liberals released a series of controversial blog posts attributed to her.

On Wednesday, she announced that she was running as an Independent.

Van Ryswyk said she has received overwhelming support after her resignation.

"The day after this all broke, I woke up to 623 emails, four were ignorant the rest were not," she said.

Van Ryswyk made the comments on a local website in 2009, before she entered politics.

The posts took aim at the French-Canadian community.

"Seems the only group of people universally hated around the world other than the Americans are the French and French-Canadians. The bigots are the French and not us," the blog reads.

"I’m getting so sick of having French stuffed down my throat. This isn't Quebec. It's western Canada. We speak English here. Why are we forced to have it at our western Canadian hosted Olympics?"

She also wrote about Canada’s First Nations:

"It's not the status cards, it’s the fact that we have been paying out of the nose for generations for something that isn't our doing," reads one post on Castanet, an Okanagan area website. "If their ancestors sold out too cheap it’s not my fault and I shouldn’t have to be paying for any mistake or whatever you want to call it from my hard-earned money."

Van Ryswyk said her comments on the website were taken out of context.

"They picked little bits out of it that didn't sound very good and that's what they ran with," she said. "I'm not anti-First Nations or French. My grandfather's French-Canadian, I grew up in a French-Canadian home. My brother, him and I are both adopted, he's half native … I have no malice."

Van Ryswyk said she believes First Nations descendents should not be receiving compensation for what was done to their ancestors.

"Anything that we owed them should have been paid to them a very long time ago, we shouldn't still be paying it," she told CBC News.

Van Ryswyk said she stands by her comments and has no regrets.

"Am I embarrassed by what I said? No. Do I take back what I said? No. Do I apologize if I have hurt anybody? Absolutely and wholeheartedly. My intent was never to hurt anybody’s feelings, for sure. My intent was to bring people together. That was lost somewhere. That was lost on purpose by the Liberals to hurt me."

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