Montreal-area NDP candidate withdraws over domestic violence allegations

A Montreal-area candidate for the New Democratic Party has stepped down following allegations of physical abuse.

In a statement posted to the Lasalle-Emard-Verdun NDP Facebook page on Tuesday Olivier Mathieu denied the allegations but confirmed he would withdraw from the campaign.

“I sincerely believe, as (NDP leader) Jagmeet (Singh) and all members of our party do, that we must believe those who have the courage to publicly denounce their aggressor,” he said. “The challenge, of course, is to balance that favourable prejudice with the presumption of innocence.”

In a social media post, a woman named Becca Stuart posted a photo of her face with a swollen and cut lip.

“What message are we sending to our daughters, our mothers, our sisters; the women we love, live with, work with; to endorse a candidate who regularly abused his wife?” she wrote. “Residents of Lasalle-Emard-Verdun I urge you to speak up. You deserve better than this. You deserve a representative who respects and represents everyone.”

No replacement for Mathieu has yet been named but NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said one will be found.

"We're going to have all the candidates in place so everyone in Canada can vote for a New Democrat, no matter where they live," he said. "These are people who have to live up to our standards. As soon as there is information arising where they are not meeting the standards we believe it's important for our candidates to meet, we then move forward to ensure they are no longer candidates."

Mathieu was the second NDP candidate to step down within 24 hours. On Tuesday Dock Currie, the party’s candidate in the British Columbia riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, was asked to step aside because of “problematic” social media posts. A spokesperson for the party declined to elaborate on what those posts were about but in a Facebook post, Currie apologized for "flippant and aggressive" remarks made two years ago. 

Currie had stepped in to replace the riding’s original candidate, Gyina Myhill-Jones, who withdrew on Aug. 7 for personal reasons.

- With files from The Canadian Press