Ousted Liberal candidate Kevin Vuong wins Spadina-Fort York riding, will sit as Independent MP

Kevin Vuong will not step down after winning his riding of Spadina-Fort York as a Liberal even though he was dumped from the party ticket.


Kevin Vuong will not step down after winning his riding of Spadina-Fort York as a Liberal even though he was dumped from the party ticket.

He is being urged to step down days after he was removed from the party after officials became aware of a sexual assault charge from 2019.

The Liberals asked Kevin Vuong to “pause” his campaign once the allegations surfaced in an article by the Toronto Star. In a statement issued Saturday, they said that if elected, Vuong would not be a caucus member. It was too late to remove Vuong’s name or party affiliation from the ballot.

Vuong is projected to have won the Spadina-Fort York riding with mail-in ballots remaining but will sit as an Independent MP if he does take his seat in the House of Commons.

Toronto City councillor Joe Cressy, who serves in Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York, says Vuong “did not earn the right” to represent the riding and community.

“He should do the honourable and right thing and step aside. If he wants to sit as an independent MP, he should campaign for the job as one,” Cressy tweeted.

On Wednesday, Vuong issued a statement, saying he can “appreciate that not everyone is happy with my election,” adding he understands “why it is different in my case.”

“For those who feel this way, I understand the source of your doubts, and I will work hard to earn your trust,” said Vuong. “I also want to acknowledge the events in the final days of the election. Allegations of sexual assault are a serious matter, deserving of more discussion than this statement can provide. For these reasons, I intend to address them at a later date more wholly in a dedicated forum.”

The former Liberal candidate, who adamantly denies the sexual assault allegation, says he was involved in what he refers to as a “casual but intimate” relationship with the woman at the time.

“I understood everything to be consensual and was always respectful of her boundaries. I do not take these allegations against me lightly,” he added.

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“For years, the voices of those who have experienced sexual violence were silenced. Given these challenges, I understand why some may be hesitant to believe the allegations made against me are false even if the charges were withdrawn.”

Court documents confirm Vuong was charged with sexual assault in 2019 and that the charge was withdrawn later that year.

Another Toronto MP, Liberal Nathaniel Erskine Smith, tweeted at Vuong saying “One earns trust by acting with integrity. In this case, that means stepping down.”

On Tuesday, Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca called on Vuong to “examine his conscience” and not take his seat in the House of Commons despite being elected in his Toronto riding.

“I continue to support the movement that we are seeing in society to confront what contributes to people’s feelings around a lack of safety, opportunity, and of equal participation in our society,” Vuong continued.

“There is work to be done to regain trust; I fully intend to do so.”

The Liberal party has said Vuong did not reveal the charge when he was being vetted as a prospective candidate.

The Canadian Armed Forces is also reviewing the matter because Vuong, a naval reservist, did not notify the military when he was charged, as is required.

With files from The Canadian Press

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