On October 3, I joined other local leaders to add my voice to the calls for Kevin Vuong to resign from his role as Member of Parliament in Spadina Fort-York.
Read my statement here:
Alongside many thousands of voices in Spadina Fort-York, I’ve added my call for Independent MP-elect, Kevin Vuong to resign. I'm grateful to join other elected leaders in this call.
My name is Chi Nguyen, and I am the provincial Liberal candidate here in Spadina Fort-York - and I had been out supporting Kevin’s campaign as the provincial counterpart.
It was an extremely difficult day for me, as well as many other women (including volunteers and supporters) when we heard about the allegations - and since then, it has become clear that Kevin Vuong’s actions have been … about Kevin Vuong.
Alongside more than 50 other CivicAction DiverseCity Fellows - of which Kevin and I were both alumni - last week, we issued an open letter calling for him to resign.
In this message, we said:
“The privilege to serve as an elected Member of Parliament comes with the highest of ethical standards. You are your constituents’ direct conduit to the democratic system. People need to trust and have faith that your behaviour and integrity is beyond reproach…. genuine public service and community leadership — which CivicAction DiverseCity Fellows stand for — is doing what's in the best interest of those you serve.”
Everything about this situation is truly disappointing:
For all the residents who cast their votes at the advanced polls - not knowing they would be voting for an independent.
For all the people of colour (especially the ones that look like me & Kevin) who thought they elected a leader who would be a community representative they could feel proud of.
That I had to turn to my 6 yr old to explain to him why someone who he helped out was suddenly no longer the candidate: that a woman had come forward to share her story about Kevin - and this story was that Kevin’s actions included touching her in a harmful and hurtful way.
For those of us, women in particular, who have our own experiences of gender-based violence -- this has been incredibly painful. Hearing the allegations about Kevin, and seeing him still get a seat in power - and now to know that he is putting himself before the experience of survivors.
For all the residents in Spadina Fort-York who have even less trust in our political system. As the former MP has questioned, how can constituents come forward with confidential matters? Where is this trust possible?
How can this newly elected Member of Parliament so fundamentally misunderstand the ethical breach of his failure to disclose serious allegations?
For me, as a new candidate, it’s hard to see that even more people have evidence to believe that the political system is deeply broken.
It is an uphill battle as a woman of colour in this system with its history of white privilege. It makes this even tougher for each of us to follow when the bar is set in such a way.
The work that needs to be done today is about a significant, radical transformation of our political state. It has to happen because at the core of our society is the need for public trust in our governments.
This distrust has been with us for decades -- it is not new, and a huge part of this is because so many of us have never felt safe or that we belonged in our political system.
But, we know that we need politics - we need government to serve us all. Our work, my ambition is that we can have some real open dialogue about how each of our parties can create safer, inclusive … and also meaningful spaces in our politics.
This is not a partisan issue. This clean-up work has to happen in all our parties, because our systems are part of misogynistic, patriarchal, racist, classist, ableist societies.
Kevin is an example of the male entitlement to power that so many of us have come to see as the norm. It’s time we offer up our own new counter narrative, and it’s why we need more women in politics.
Our DiverseCity Fellows letter to Kevin ended with this clear direction: there is only one conscionable and honourable thing to do Kevin, resign your seat and do the hard work of accountability for your actions.
This can be the only path forward that can help our residents feel confidence in our system.
Thank you to all of you who are supporting and organizing here, and for the Platform’s leadership in calling for a better safer politics.
Statement about Kevin Vuong's Campaign, September 17, 2021
As someone who has worked to end gender-based violence, and who has my own experiences of sexual violence like so many other women, I believe that we need to take a zero-tolerance approach to coercive behavior. No one should ever be the recipient of unwanted sexual behaviours. We need to ensure that there is an environment of accountability so that everyone feels safe coming forward.
It is difficult and disappointing to hear about the allegations related to Kevin Vuong, but, I am grateful to see that the candidate's campaign has been paused while this serious matter is addressed.
As someone who is new to formal politics, I’m committed to making sure it’s a safe space for myself and others and continuing the important ongoing work of combatting sexual violence and harassment in all its forms.