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In a statement, Kevin Vuong said he plans to sit as an independent if elected in the downtown Toronto riding
Kevin Vuong plans to sit as an independent if he’s elected in Spadina-Fort York despite calls he step down.
The Liberal Party cut ties with the candidate last week after the Toronto Star revealed that he was charged with sexual assault in 2019 and the charge was later dropped. Vuong has denied the allegations.
In a statement posted on social media, Vuong said he appreciates that “not everyone is happy with my election.”
“On Monday, Canadians across the country cast their votes. Not everyone will have received the result they wanted, but everyone is counting on those elected to devote themselves to the service of everyone they represent,” he wrote. “That is what I intend to do.
“I appreciate that not everyone is happy with my election, and I very much understand why it is different in my case,” he continued. “Allegations of sexual assault are a serious matter, deserving of more discussion than this statement can provide.”
He added that he plans to address the allegations at a later date “more wholly and in a dedicated forum.”
Please see my statement: pic.twitter.com/XxnN1BzKTf— Kevin Vuong 😷🇨🇦⚓ (@KevinVuongTO) September 22, 2021
As of Wednesday afternoon, Vuong was leading NDP candidate Norm Di Pasquale in the riding by 16,955 votes to 15,635 votes, with 128 of 129 polls reporting.
Vuong was a member of the naval reserves when he was charged. The Crown withdrew the charge a year later, but the Canadian Armed Forces is now investigating whether he reported the arrest to his chain of command.
News of the allegation prompted the Liberal Party to ask Vuong to “pause” his campaign. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau then said the candidate would not sit as member of the party’s caucus if elected.
“For now, it is necessary to clarify that we were involved in a casual but intimate relationship. I understood everything to be consensual and was always respectful of her boundaries,” Vuong wrote in the statement. “I do not take these allegations against me lightly.”
In response to Vuong’s statement, the area’s city councillor Joe Cressy urged the candidate to step down.
“Kevin Vuong did not earn the right to represent our Spadina-Fort York community,” Cressy tweeted. “He should do the honourable and right thing and step aside. If he wants to sit as an independent MP, he should campaign for the job as one.”
Di Pasquale has acknowledged the election results are not leaning his favour, but is calling for a by-election.
“The truth is that Kevin Vuong has not earned the right to serve this community,” he wrote on Twitter. “And while I did not win, he forfeited his right to stand as our MP. In the days ahead we must all demand a by-election to determine a new choice. A better choice. Our community deserves no less.”