BY AMAN SINGH
MLA for Richmond Queensborough
ELEVEN days ago, Aaron Gunn announced he wants to be the next leader of the BC Liberals, a move that should alarm everyone who wants BC to be a province that is free of hate.
Since Gunn announced his leadership bid, most other BC Liberal candidates, including Kevin Falcon, have refused to denounce Gunn and his harmful views.
It is not acceptable to be silent for so long. Falcon and others need to make it clear that political extremists like Gunn are not welcome in the BC Liberals.
Let’s consider Gunn’s history.
Even though anti-Asian racism and hate crimes rose by 717% during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gunn has denied the existence of systemic racism.
When the BC NDP government proposed a racist incident phone line earlier this year to help fight hate crimes, Gunn opposed it and accused the NDP of “race-baiting.”
Gunn has also promoted anti-immigrant sentiments by attacking the “costs and consequences” of immigration. Members of the white supremacist group Sons of Odin have attended his events.
When my colleague, Niki Sharma, introduced a motion in the BC Legislature to denounce anti-Asian racism, Gunn accused her of “slandering her own country.”
Gunn also launched an aggressive social media attack against another one of my colleagues, Katrina Chen.
Despite this horrible record, only one BC Liberal leadership candidate has spoken against Gunn and called for his removal from the campaign.
By refusing to speak out about Aaron Gunn and the harmful beliefs he promotes, Falcon and other BC Liberals are saying these values are welcome in their party.
Kevin Falcon’s commitment to keeping BC free of hate was already in question because he supported extremist Maxime Bernier when was running for leader of the federal Conservatives.
His silence is no longer acceptable. Racism is on the rise and this is no time to ignore this important issue.
Statements by BC Liberal candidates condemning racism mean nothing if they refuse to denounce Gunn and remove him as a candidate.
By not speaking out, Falcon and his BC Liberal colleagues are sending a disturbing message to all British Columbians that they stand behind Aaron Gun and his harmful views.