Petition calling for Derek Sloan to resign gathers momentum

An online petition calling for the resignation of the embattled federal Tory MP Derek Sloan has collected nearly 14,000 signatures as of Monday.

The petition accuses the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington of “dangerous dog-whistling” fanning the flames of racism and violence targeting ethnically Asian Canadians by questioning the loyalties of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam .

“Does she work for Canada or for China?” Sloan, who’s running for Conservative Party leadership, asked on a Facebook video posted on April 21.

“Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, has failed Canadians,” the MP says in the video caption. “Dr. Tam must go! Canada must remain sovereign over decisions. The UN, the WHO, and Chinese Communist propaganda can never again have a say over Canada’s public health!”

Vancouver’s well-known housing advocate Justin Fung started the petition asking Sloan to step down.

“This petition was important to me because my Chinese-Canadian friends, family and myself have experienced racism related to COVID-19,” Fung told ThinkPol. “The same racist dogwhistling utilized by Donald Trump is now being used by fringe CPC MPs like Derek Sloan. This shameful behaviour has no place in Canadian politics. We need to show that this language will not be tolerated.”

“While the freedom to challenge and criticize our government leadership’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is the hallmark of any healthy democracy, Derek Sloan’s words cross over into hateful, racist territory when he questions whether or not our Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, who is ethnically Chinese, is serving China’s interests,” Fung added. “Canada has a shameful history of interning Japanese-Canadians during World War II, forcing them from their homes, on the pretense of ‘national security’. Derek Sloan’s words send us further down the path to repeating history.”

But the social conservative Sloan remains unrepentant.

“The question regarding whether she works ‘for Canada’ or ‘for China’ was a rhetorical one,” Sloan wrote in a letter posted on Facebook. “I am not questioning Dr. Tam’s loyalty to Canada, and of course Justin Trudeau is ultimately responsible for following her advice. But, in both cases, I am questioning their judgment and their competency to do the job, not their motives.”