NDP promises to take closer look at candidates in the future after homophobic tweets

·3 min read

The Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party is promising to do a better job of vetting potential candidates in light of controversial tweets by two candidates in this year's campaign.

Andrew Lovell, the party's candidate for Conception Bay South, used derogatory anti-gay language in tweets several years ago in tweets to friends.

Lovell wrote, "Faggot!!!" and "Have a couple beer cooled off for me dick licker," in August 2012.

In August 2013, he wrote, "Comin at you fags! First couple rounds might be an auto draft then flatout dick jokes!" The online publication True North first reported about Andrew Lovell's homophobic tweets.

Party president Kyle Rees says the party will enforce a more robust vetting process for candidate selection in the future.

Andrew is one of six NDP candidates with Indigenous roots, and we feel his voice is an important one. - Kyle Rees

"We've spoken with Andrew regarding his tweets from eight and nine years ago," Rees said in a statement to CBC. "He is deeply regretful that he made those tweets at all, in circumstances that he describes as 'disgusting ribbing I was sending to my friends in the preamble to a fantasy football league.'"

Rees said Lovell's tweets do not represent the person he is today.

"As a party, we work for a changed society. We must accept and believe that individuals' views and language can evolve," Rees wrote.

"Andrew is one of six NDP candidates with Indigenous roots, and we feel his voice is an important one."

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Facebook

Over the summer, Mount Pearl North NDP candidate Jennifer McCreath tweeted about travel restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Wow, well it appears that the 'Atlantic Bubble' now includes Southeast Asia! Anyone up for a weekend trip to Wuhan? I hear they have great cuisine…" she wrote.

The remark that has since been shared on the Anti-Racism Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador's Facebook page.

McCreath responded to the backlash on YouTube on Feb. 2, saying she is not a racist person.

CBC
CBC

"If you want an apology, I'll give you one. Sure, I'm sorry," said McCreath.

"The NDP is willing to work with me. They know that I've said a lot of interesting, strange, controversial things and done a lot of strange and controversial things, and they recognize that I'm sincere about this. I'm here to help.

"Most of the people giving me a hard time, you're the people that the NDP is looking to connect to. So let's put this behind us, please."

Formal vetting criteria

On Facebook, Rees said he's looking for volunteers to help create formal vetting criteria, including ideas on who to consult with when deciding if particular social media comments should exclude a person from being a candidate.

Rees told CBC the NDP's stronger vetting process will be in place well ahead of the next provincial election.

CBC News asked both Lovell and McCreath for comment. The NDP's communications team declined comment on behalf of Lovell, and McCreath referred CBC to her YouTube response.

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