The NDP says two of its candidates have quit the federal election race with less than a week to go, promising to learn more about antisemitism.
Party spokesperson George Soule said Wednesday morning that Sidney Coles, running in Toronto-St. Paul's, and Dan Osborne, running in the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester, are resigning by choice, but the party supports their decisions.
Soule said they both agreed to learn more about antisemitism.
As first reported by the Toronto Star, Coles claimed on Twitter that Israel was somehow responsible for missing doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States last winter.
She later apologized for posting "unsubstantiated theories about vaccine supply linked to Israel," and said it was never her intent to indulge a "common antisemitic trope," the newspaper reported.
Osborne is accused of tweeting at TV personality Oprah Winfrey in 2019 asking "was Auschwitz a real place?"
He responded this week, from a different account, saying he has no memory of tweeting that, but apologized.
"I want to offer an apology. The role of Auschwitz and the history of the Holocaust is one we should never forget. Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped," he said.
WATCH | Singh reacts to NDP candidates resigning
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called the messages "unacceptable."
"I want to be very clear: their comments were completely wrong and have no place in our party," he said during a campaign stop in Essex, Ont., on Wednesday morning.
"Those messages were completely unacceptable and the right decision was made."
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, herself Jewish, said antisemitism is on the rise and applauded those who raised concerns about the two candidates' tweets.
"It is gratifying to know there are those who are going to raise their voice, because we have said many times that silence is the thing that emboldens hate," she said during a stop in Kitchener, Ont.
"When you see it, call it out."
Conservatives, Liberals have also lost candidates
The other two main parties have also lost candidates embroiled in scandal on the campaign trail.
Over the weekend, the Conservatives dumped their candidate in the Toronto riding of Beaches–East York after past Islamophobic tweets surfaced.
Just yesterday, a Conservative candidate in the western Quebec riding of Pontiac apologized for sharing two racist jokes on Facebook. He remains on the Conservative slate, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Speaking Wednesday in Jonquiere, Que, O'Toole said he has a zero tolerance policy for racism.
"Every single one of our candidates is running on a positive vision for the future of this country and a positive vision to bring people together," O'Toole said when asked about the candidate.
"I'm very proud to say we have the most diverse slate of candidates that we've ever had, the most women, and we're all singularly focused on Canada's recovery plan."
At the start of the campaign, another Conservative Party candidate, Troy Myers, stepped out of the race in a Nova Scotia riding following an allegation from a woman who says he sexually assaulted her at a work conference in 2019. He denies the allegation.
Former Liberal candidate and incumbent Raj Saini stepped down from the race in the Ontario riding of Kitchener Centre after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him. Saini has denied all the allegations as "unequivocally false."
Because his name is still on the ballot, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he would not welcome back Saini in his caucus if he wins the seat, and he would not be able to sit as a Liberal in the House of Commons.