Accusations of racism dog candidate

Stewart says Facebook posting from eight years ago has been altered

Harold Stewart Jr., the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada candidate in Haldimand-Norfolk, says he is the subject of a smear campaign on social media that is attempting to portray him as a racist. – Monte Sonnenberg photo    MONTE SONNENBERG / Simcoe Reformer file

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A local candidate in this month’s federal election says he’s on the receiving end of a left-wing smear campaign from a group of “haters.”

Harold Stewart Jr., the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada candidate in Haldimand-Norfolk, alleges a screenshot from an argument he had on Facebook with a Port Dover man has been digitally altered to make him look like a racist.

In the post, “Harold D. Stewart” allegedly shares slurs against two visible minority groups. The post has Stewart arguing about the posts with an African-Canadian who was living in Port Dover at the time.

Friday, Stewart said his middle name is David. He also says the argument occurred eight years ago but that the text has been altered, possibly in Photoshop.

“He was having a bad day and I was having a bad day,” Stewart said. “I apologized to him and he said no problem.”

Stewart has his suspicions over who is responsible. He says the attacks are motivated by opposition to his politics.

Stewart is aware the posting is dogging his campaign on social media. He says he has asked the Norfolk OPP if there is anything he can do to make it stop.

“The post has been altered,” Stewart said. “That conversation got twisted around to make it look like I was calling people racist names. It was a longer conversation than has been posted.”

The other party to the argument is listed under Port Dover in a 2010 telephone directory. However, the number is out-of-service. An attempt to locate a current Facebook page for the man also came up empty.

“They’ve been pretty relentless,” Stewart said. “It’s a smear campaign because I’m doing good.”

Stewart went on to say he counts people of many ethnicities as friends.

He said he is making plans to help a Mexican friend and a Jamaican friend obtain Canadian citizenship after the Oct. 21 election. Stewart said he is close to a number of individuals in the Indigenous community and has taken them in on occasion when they were homeless.

Stewart felt compelled Aug. 24 to share his thoughts on racism on social media. He recalls a time when racism was casual and pervasive.

“Racism is taught,” he said on his Facebook page, where he lists his name simply as Harold Stewart.

“I grew up hearing racist jokes from my step-grandfather. he (sic) would tell us those jokes as kids over and over and over and over. Growing up racist I did not even know better. I have grown past my past and have realized that we are all the same. Only by making friends with other races I have learned to accept others.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

 

 

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