Controversial Burnaby North-Seymour Conservative candidate breaks media silence

North Shore News

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Burnaby North-Seymour Conservative candidate Heather Leung spoke to media at an event organized by the North Vancouver Chamber Wednesday. Photo supplied.

A controversial Conservative candidate who has previously been vocal about opposing abortion and LGBTQ-inclusive policies and who has made a point of avoiding media interviews turned out to an all-candidates “mixer” to chat with a business crowd in North Vancouver on Wednesday.

Heather Leung, who is running for the Conservatives in Burnaby North-Seymour, was one of 10 candidates representing parties in the two North Vancouver ridings who took part in the “speed-dating” style event organized by the North Vancouver Chamber.

Leung told the North Shore News, “I’m here to hear the issues of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce members.”

Leung said the top issues she’s been hearing about at the doorstep are “transportation and housing affordability. Those are the top priorities.”

“Right now the traffic is too heavy. I experience that every time I commute from Burnaby to North Vancouver. I’m stuck in traffic very often,” she said.

The issue is a problem for North Shore businesses, she said, because “a lot of firms they cannot keep workers because of the house prices. They live far, far away.”

Leung did not cite any specific measures or policies her party would put in place to fix the problems, but said, “We need to talk about it.”

Asked why she has refused to respond to media requests for interviews so far, Leung said, “I’m keeping my head down to meet my constituents in my riding. Every day I go out door knocking. I meet them face to face with undivided attention. I’m hearing from them one on one.”

Devon Bruce, a North Vancouver school trustee who attended the event, said he tried to speak to Leung during the mixer about issues like the drug overdose crisis, but found Leung had little to say beyond “making all drugs illegal.”

Leung’s candidate materials point to “keeping illegal drugs out of our community,” “balancing the budget” and “promoting legal immigration while stopping illegal border crossers” as priorities.

Leung, an occupational therapist, previously founded a Burnaby parents group to oppose SOGI 123, a gay- and transgender-positive school board policy.

More recently, her campaign came under fire for altering a Rick Mercer quote and using the comedian’s face in an online post to make it appear as though Mercer was endorsing a Conservative vote – something Mercer denounced sharply.

Leung’s campaign also posted a Facebook meme with a picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing on the edge of a cliff under the campaign slogan “Go Forward,” with a comment by a supporter underneath that read “We need a strong wind to push him to his death.”