Jason Kenney has refused to budge on calls to remove Eva Kiryakos and Caylan Ford from the United Conservative Party of Alberta.
“There’s a different approach to candidates who are representing the party on the ballot than there are towards ordinary members,” said Kenney on Tuesday.
“We have a process to identify people who might belong to organizations that are actually militating to promote hatred. I think that’s a different category than old social media postings or private texts.”
The two beleaguered candidates were forced to resign from their candidacies after social media posts and messages were dug up from the past and used against them.
Both candidates claim that the comments were taken out of context and used for political purposes.
In Ford's case, private messages were dug up from 2017 in which she criticized the media double standard about Islamic extremism and far-right extremism. The messages were then released shortly after the Christchurch terrorist attack for maximum effect, forcing her to resign.
“You just don’t have the same attempts to separate the violent terrorists from the wider community of belief,” she said pointing to valid criticisms of immigration and demographic change.
“This article represents a gross distortion of my views and it doesn’t represent what I believe in. I’m not interested in attempting to explain or rationalize what’s the context of an academic discussion," said Ford about the original article detailing her comments.
Shortly after Ford's resignation, another candidate Eva Kiryakos was forced into stepping down because of comments on gender neutral washrooms and sharing an article titled “Germany’s (Migrant) Rape Crisis spirals Out of Control".
In a video announcement of her resignation, Kiryakos, who is a refugee herself defended her comments, saying: “The possibility of a grown man sharing a washroom with the little girl to me is a perversion.”
“I admit the image on the article wasn’t positive but the article was on women getting raped and the crisis there. When women are being assaulted, I care, no matter the faiths or the backgrounds of the people," said Kiryakos.
UCP Party Leader Jason Kenney accepted both Kiryakos' and Ford's resignations but has maintained that they will remain within the UCP party.