Candidate dropped late by Liberals due to sex assault allegation projected to win downtown Toronto riding – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:33 am

Kevin Vuong, a former Toronto Liberal candidate who was turfed from the party days before the election, is set to win a tight race in the downtown riding of Spadina-Fort York.

The riding was too close to call last night after long lineups kept many voting locations open past 9:30 p.m., when polls officially closed in Ontario. But with 128 of 129 polls reporting, Vuong is leading with 37.9 per cent of the vote, compared to 35 per cent for Norm di Pasquale, a Toronto Catholic District School Board Trustee and candidate for the NDP.

Just days before the election, the Toronto Star revealed that Vuong, a naval reservist and business owner, had faced a sexual assault charge in 2019, a charge that was later dropped by the Crown.

Following news of the allegations, the Liberal Party asked Vuong to pause his campaign and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau later confirmed that if elected, Vuong would not be part of the Liberal caucus.

Last week, the Liberals said they had no knowledge of the charge and vowed to improve the candidate vetting process in the future.

Vuong, who has denied the allegations against him, still appeared on the ballot as the Liberals said it was too late to remove him.

Spadina-Fort York was last held by former Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, who handily won the riding with 55 per cent of the vote in 2019 but announced last month that he would not be seeking re-election.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, who at one point campaigned with Vuong, told CTV News Toronto that former Liberal should "examine his conscience" and step aside.

"I don't think Kevin can responsibly serve in the capacity as an MP for that community, given the circumstances of the allegation, so I do hope that he does the right thing," Del Duca said.

Vuong has not spoken publicly since the election results came in but he will need to sit as an independent if he decides to take the job in Ottawa.

-With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Toronto's Colin D'Mello

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Candidate dropped late by Liberals due to sex assault allegation projected to win downtown Toronto riding - CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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