UPDATE: Liberals turf Chatham Kent Leamington candidate over gay slur

Submitted photo of Alec Mazurek.

The Ontario Liberal Party has confirmed that its candidate in Chatham-Kent-Leamington has been fired after using a gay slur on Facebook eight years ago.

The party said Alec Mazurek has officially been terminated and will not be running as a member of the Ontario Liberal team this election.

Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca was asked about the matter on Thursday morning and said he would investigate.

“I think it’s really important for leaders to take decisive action when candidate behaviour that is irresponsible, that is reckless, that is not what we stand for is dealt with in the most decisive way possible. So I will take a look immediately following this event and if that is the case he will no longer be a candidate for us,” said Del Duca.

Shortly after, the Ontario Liberals said Mazurek was fired for his behaviour.

The gay slur was posted in 2014.

Screenshots of now-deleted Facebook comments from former Ontario Liberal Party Candidate Alec Mazurek. Screenshots provided by the Ontario NDP.

Screenshots of now-deleted Facebook comments from former Ontario Liberal Party Candidate Alec Mazurek. Screenshots provided by the Ontario NDP.

Mazurek is no longer listed on the Ontario Liberal Party website as a candidate.

A few hours later, Mazurek apologized for the comments he made when he was 15 years of age and said a person that age shouldn’t be held to the same standards as an adult today. Mazurek said he doesn’t want to use it as an excuse but he was just starting high school.

“I was seen using derogatory slurs that were homophobic and misogynistic. They were unacceptable then and unacceptable now, and are not reflective of the values that I hold and champion today,” said Mazurek. “All Ontarians deserve to have a safe community around them, and comments like those make it more difficult to earn that trust. I apologize unequivocally for any harms that they have caused and I will continue to learn from previous mistakes.”

He added he has continued to grow into leadership roles over the past five years, both at school and outside, by acknowledging systemic issues that have hurt our communities and giving time to promoting early outreach initiatives for at-risk youth, building relationships with marginalized groups, and championing a party that shares his values.

“That won’t change moving forward. I will continue to reflect on these developments and would like to thank the numerous folk who have supported me on this journey. I wish the Party and the candidates the best moving forward, and I hope I can earn back the community’s trust,” he said.

Mazurek is the third Liberal candidate to be dropped in recent days over questionable comments. On Wednesday, the party dropped its candidate in Parry Sound-Muskoka after it was revealed he self-published a book that claims babies can become gay by “re-breathing” air they have exhaled. A Liberal candidate in Sault Ste. Marie was fired after media reports that he took part in online discussions that included people making jokes about AIDS.