In a setback to Liberals’ federal elections campaign, its candidate in Toronto was asked to “pause campaigning” as the party investigated an allegation of sexual assault against him.
That revelation came in a report from the daily Toronto Star on Thursday night. It reported that Kevin Vuong, the party nominee from the riding of Spadina Fort York was charged with sexual assault by an unidentified woman in 2019.
According to the Star, Vuong “unequivocally” denied the charge and described them as “false”. he added, “I will be taking some time with my family.”
The alleged victim said she only became aware that Vuong was running as a candidate for the federal elections due on September 20 when she saw his picture on election signage after returning to Toronto recently.
Vuong actually faced the charge in court but it was withdrawn in November 2019. However, in an interview with the daily, the alleged victim said the incident occurred in April that year but she “didn’t have the energy” to undergo a trial in this regard.
This is the second time allegations of sexual harassment have rocked the Liberal Party campaign. On September 4, after facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards staffers, Indo Canadian MP Raj Saini announced that he had decided to end his run for re election from Kitchener Centre.
Nominations for the elections were closed at the time, his exit left the party without a candidate in the riding. Saini had also described the allegations he faced as “unequivocally false” adding that he had “never acted inappropriately towards staff, volunteers or constituents.”
According to his campaign website, Vuong, who is of Vietnamese origin and the son of refugees from the Vietnam War, “co-founded TakeCare Supply, which rapidly developed Canada’s first evidence-based reusable mask” after the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Vuong’s fate as a candidate is unclear, his potential departure may leave the Liberals minus a seat that it currently holds in the House of Commons. Vuong was nominated after incumbent Adam Vaughan didn’t seek re election.