Conservative candidate apologizes after calling George Floyd protesters 'criminals'

·2 min read
David Busch placed second behind the Green Party's Elizabeth May in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding during the 2019 election. (Conservative Party of Canada - image credit)
David Busch placed second behind the Green Party's Elizabeth May in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding during the 2019 election. (Conservative Party of Canada - image credit)

A Conservative candidate running on Vancouver Island is apologizing today after videos surfaced in which he criticized protests following the murder of George Floyd.

"The criminals who were using this as an excuse, this tragic event, to loot and to burn, they need to be brought to justice every bit as much as the four thugs who ended Mr. Floyd's life," said David Busch, who is running in the Saanich–Gulf Islands riding.

"How many people [were] assaulted or killed during those riots this past summer?"

Portions of the videos were posted on Twitter this morning by Taleeb Noormohamed, the Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville.

It is not immediately clear where the videos were originally posted.

"I apologize for my insensitive remarks, that's not who I am as a person," Busch said in a statement today.

"Conservative Party candidates strive to be respectful and inclusive of others. To those who I offended, please accept my sincere apology," the statement continued.

The nearly two-minute compilation mostly features Busch's thoughts about the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across much of the world last summer, which he describes as violent and unreasonable.

"Do they want the accused to be handed over to the mob and lynched?" Busch asked in one clip, which is timestamped June 10, 2020, in the version released today.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks data on political violence and protests globally, called the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests "an overwhelmingly peaceful movement" in a report published last year.

"There is little evidence to suggest that demonstrators have engaged in widespread violence," the report found.

Busch 'verbally assaulted' while wearing police officer costume

In another video, Busch recounts a story in which he "experienced discrimination first hand here in Victoria."

Busch said the incident happened while he was dressed as a police officer after working as a background actor during a local film shoot.

"We were verbally assaulted on three separate occasions by people who actually thought we were police officers," he said.

Busch was previously the Conservative candidate in Saanich–Gulf Islands during the 2019 federal election, in which he placed second to then-Green Party leader Elizabeth May by a margin of about 30 percentage points.

When asked if he stands by Busch as a Conservative candidate, party leader Erin O'Toole deflected the question.

"We all have a role in stamping out racism, intolerance, antisemitism," he told reporters at a news conference in Winnipeg.

"We must, and will, have conversations in a respectful and informed way to tackle inequalities in our society."

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