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Racist slurs during Conservative leadership debate not surprising: Lewis

Last Updated Jul 9, 2020 at 2:38 pm EDT

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis makes her opening statement at the start of the French leadership debate in Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. A virtual Conservative leadership debate featuring three of the four candidates was interrupted last night by racist attacks. Lewis, Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan were debating B.C.-related issues when the comments section of the online platform they were using was suddenly filled with racist slurs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis says racial slurs directed at her during an online debate last night are not surprising.

Lewis, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan were debating B.C.-related issues when the slurs appeared in the chat box of the video conferencing program organizers used.

Lewis is the first Black candidate to run for the Conservative leadership and says she has encountered racist people during the campaign.

But she says the support from Conservatives across the country proves racist behaviour isn’t acceptable in the party.

The comments weren’t mentioned by the candidates or moderator during the event but screenshots of them circulated online after they were removed.

Voting is now underway in the race and the mail-in ballots are due back by Aug. 21, with a winner expected to be announced the week after.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press