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Provincial Tories warned against 'extremely controversial' candidate now running for Andrew Scheer

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2019-09-15 John Paul Tasker
Conservative candidate Ghada Melek © Conservative.ca Conservative candidate Ghada Melek

The Ontario Progressive Conservative party blocked a candidate with inflammatory views from running under their banner in the last provincial election campaign, but now she's been given the green light to stand as a candidate for Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.

The provincial party's researchers warned against approving Ghada Melek as a candidate because she has a long history of anti-LGBTQ posts on social media, but also an affinity for conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.

Despite evidence of questionable positions, the federal Tories approved Melek to run under its banner last December. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer campaigned with Melek in her Mississauga-Streetsville riding last week. The leader said Melek has already apologized for her posts, and he accepted her apology.

In a research report on Melek, Mitchell Davidson, the former Ontario PC manager of research under past leader Patrick Brown, recommended Melek be given "a strict red light."

'Extremely controversial and problematic'

"There are many anti-gay/LGBT and even sterilization posts that make this candidate extremely controversial and problematic. I don't think I can stress enough that this candidate should not be approved," Mitchell said an email to Logan Bugeja, the former executive assistant and principal secretary to Brown.

Melek denies being "red lighted," and has said she withdrew her application to run for the party for "personal reasons."

The research report, the existence of which was first reported by CTV News, has more than 80 pages of material that documents her virulent opposition to the past Liberal government's overhaul of the sex ed curriculum — she said changes "help the pedophiles" — her propensity to post incendiary articles about transgender people and conversion therapy and a strong history of anti-abortion advocacy.

Melek posted a story from the The Rebel about the Alberta NDP forcing young boys to use the girls bathroom at school, a blatant falsehood. She posted articles about florists refusing to serve gay couples. She also make inflammatory remarks about LGBTQ people having health issues, including saying there was a greater likelihood of anal cancer in men and breast cancer in women, without citing a source.

Re-posting stories from anti-LGBT website

She posted more than a dozen stories from LifeSiteNews, an anti-LGBT website that has been accused of spreading misinformation, to her Facebook page, including one about a lesbian math teacher using classroom time to teach kids about homosexuality so she could hide it from their parents.

Melek, who is a Coptic Christian originally from Egypt, also tweeted a series of anti-Muslims screeds and said a Mississauga bus campaign promoting tolerance for the hijab, an Islamic head-covering, was offensive, according to a National Post report. She said Islam was causing "economic hell" in Detroit.

She also shared a video that suggests unnamed international organizations, with the backing of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church, are trying to depopulate the world and undermine human fertility through "chemical and biological methods."

She also blamed U.S. president Barack Obama for unrest in her native Egypt, saying the president was an "ally" of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Scheer accepts apology

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane Sunday night, Scheer said if a Conservative candidate has made racist or homophobic comments in the past he will stand by the candidate as long as they apologize and take responsibility for those comments.

"I accept the fact that people make mistakes in the past and can own up to that and accept that," he said. "I believe many Canadians, most Canadians, recognize that people can say things in the past, when they're younger, at a different time in their life, that they would not say today." 

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