Alberta politician plays the victim after racist and transphobic tweet backlash
By Brittney MacDonald, Business Manager
United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate Eva Kiryakos has announced she will be stepping down and out of Alberta’s upcoming election as of March 25. The reason? Someone has dug up her racist and transphobic tweets.
Kiryakos was the UCP representative running for Calgary-South East. Politically, the area has a history of voting very right-wing. From 1971 to 2015 the provincial government was led by the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (PC Alberta). In 2017 PC Alberta merged with the Wildrose Party to form the UCP. The UCP is the current Official Opposition within the Legislative Assembly.
So why would someone with such a distinguished political pedigree step down? In a series of now deleted tweets, Kiryakos propagated the idea that Muslim refugees were responsible for a current “rape crisis” when she retweeted several articles. One Catholic Herald opinions article she shared outlines a supposed Christian genocide in Syria and Iraq via “forced breeding”; another article by the Creeping Sharia conspiracy theory blog spouts claims about a “Muslim rape jihad” in Germany.
In another deleted tweet, Kiryakos directly accused another user posting about gay-straight alliances within public education as attempting to “convert” children. In addition to that, Kiryakos has made it more than clear she does not support transgender rights. In her video announcing she would be stepping down, Kiryakos stated, “The possibility of a grown man sharing a washroom with a little girl, to me, is a perversion. I used the words ‘alternative lifestyle’ because the people I engaged with on Twitter were using those words, so I repeated them back. I voiced my honest opinion and, YES, I asked if the NDP had an agenda.” This statement comes in response to backlash regarding comments made by her in response to the Alberta Teachers’ Association guidelines around the use of school washrooms.
In light of all of this information surfacing, Kiryakos decided to play the victim—claiming that criticism of her past comments is an attempt to “silence” her. In her video, she said, “We teach our girls to stop being silent, to speak their mind, and yet I am here feeling silenced and cornered because I voiced my opinion and spoke up for what I believed in.” She went on to add, “This culture of bullying people who have different opinions, backgrounds, faiths, cultures, genders, and identities needs to stop.”
Oddly enough, I don’t think Kiryakos’ right to voice her opinion is the problem here. Though I do not agree with the attempts at blackmail she claims occurred regarding her Twitter past—I must say that the UCP is not looking good right now because of it. Earlier in March Caylan Ford, another former UCP candidate, also dropped out of the race after several private messages where she repeated white nationalist rhetoric were released to media. The cases of both Kiryakos and Ford have brought up a lot of questions regarding the UCP quality control process with regards to its members.