POLITICS

NDP Accuses Liberals Of Spreading Rumour A Candidate Is Dying

10/14/2015 04:11 EDT | Updated 10/14/2016 05:12 EDT
CP
The New Democratic Party has filed a complaint with Elections Canada over what it calls "mean" and "dishonourable" rumours about one of its candidates.

The party says the federal Liberals are telling electors that Nycole Turmel, the NDP incumbent in the Quebec riding of Hull-Aylmer, is terminally ill — an accusation the Liberals have vehemently denied.

Rebecca Blaikie, the NDP's campaign director in Quebec, told CBC News the party's campaign office started receiving phone calls from voters worried about Turmel's health.

"Well, I wouldn't expect it's the kind of thing you would want to admit to. But it's not the kind of thing anybody would make up either because it's horrible. And it's harmful and hurtful and really inappropriate and we were unable to continue ignoring it."

In the complaint, the NDP says Liberal candidates and party members from several campaign teams have potentially violated Sections 91 and 92 of the Canada Elections Act by reportedly saying Turmel is on the verge of dying.

"Mme. Turmel is in fact in fine health and expects to be alive and well for many more elections," the complaint says.

"Contrary to the Liberals' false reports, she is fully ambulatory: she can walk and most certainly is not bed-ridden."

Section 91 of the act says "no person shall, with the intention of affecting the results of an election, knowingly make or publish any false statement of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate or prospective candidate."

Section 92 bans people from knowingly publishing a false statement of the withdrawal of a candidate. 

Liberals: absolutely false

In a French statement to Radio-Canada, the Liberals say the NDP doesn't have any proof of the allegations, which they vigorously deny.

Greg Fergus, Turmel's Liberal opponent in Hull-Aylmer, said in the statement he's been running a positive campaign.

"My campaign and I would never discredit an opponent on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, fitness or health. I wouldn't tolerate it," Fergus said.

Will Amos, the Liberal candidate in the neighbouring riding of Pontiac, called the allegations "totally and absolutely false."

"The alleged incident in question supposedly took place a month ago, but these accusations only surface six days before election day. The timing is suspicious. As far as we're concerned, it's totally made up," said Amos.

Turmel, 73, was elected as part of the "orange wave" that swept Quebec in the 2011 election.

She served as interim NDP leader for eight months between 2011 and 2012 after Jack Layton took time off from politics to battle cancer. She continued to serve after his death until Tom Mulcair was elected leader.

Turmel was the national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and worked in the office of the City of Gatineau ombudsman before that.

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