Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford says former party leadership hopeful Tanya Granic Allen will no longer be a candidate for the party.
Ford made the announcement in a tweet just before 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“We are a party comprised of people with diverse views that if expressed responsibly we would respect. However, the fact is her characterization of certain issues and people has been irresponsible,” Ford said in the statement.
“Our party remains focused on defeating Kathleen Wynne and bringing relief to families across Ontario.”
Granic Allen won the PC nomination for Mississauga-Centre last month, and Premier Kathleen Wynne appointed Bobbie Daid as the Liberals candidate in the riding shortly after.
Granic Allen ‘disappointed’ by decision
Granic Allen was not immediately available for comment but responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying she was “disappointed” by the news and would have more to say in the coming days.
Later Saturday evening, Ford said on Twitter that Natalia Kusendova, the PC runner-up for the Mississauga Centre riding, is now the party’s candidate.
“She is a welcome addition to our strong and diverse PC team,” Ford said. “I look forward to working with her to defeat Kathleen Wynne on June 7.”
Ford’s announcements come the same day as the Ontario Liberals zeroed in on a 2014 video in which they say Granic Allen “spewed hatred and homophobia” while discussing sexual education in Croatia.
CBC News has not independently verified the video’s origins.
As of 7 p.m. Saturday evening, her website was still up and running with a message on the front page saying, “Tanya Granic Allen wins PC Nomination. Thank you! We did it!”
‘Party’s open to everyone,’ says Ford
Last month, the social conservative Granic Allen came under fire for online comments made years ago regarding Muslims and gay marriage.
In a 2013 social media post on Quebec’s controversial proposal for a charter of values, Granic Allen described facial veils worn by some Muslim women as “masks.”
Asked to comment on such posts, Granic Allen denied that they reflected Islamophobic views.
She also denied that a tweet in which she wished the Queen would not allow gay marriage meant she held homophobic views. “Somebody wrote that gay marriage would force the Queen to break her oath and I simply said, ‘Well the Queen should keep her oath,’ because we should not lie,” she said.
Asked last month about his views on her comments, Ford told CBC News that the sentiments expressed by Granic Allen — who was at the time seeking to run in the Toronto-area riding of Mississauga Centre — do not reflect his views or those of the party.
“Our party’s open to everyone, absolutely everyone. Am I supporting her? I don’t support any candidate per se. It’s going to be up to the people in Mississauga Centre to make that decision. But I can tell you one thing, every single person is welcome into the PC party.”
Muslim organization welcomes decision
The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement that it welcomed the decision to remove Granic Allen as a PC candidate.
“The dismissal of Ms. Granic Allen is long overdue given the Islamophobic and bigoted comments attributed to her. There is no place for that kind of intolerance in Canadian politics,” the organization’s communications coordinator said.
Ford has been under constant pressure from the Liberals and New Democrats to drop Granic Allen from the ballot, but repeatedly refused.
Ford and Granic Allen were considered the more socially conservative candidates in the Tory leadership race, and Granic Allen was the only one to appear by Ford’s side as he was declared the winner in March.