EDITOR'S NOTE: The word 'anitsemitism' was inadvertenly omitted from Elizabeth May's quoted statement when this story was first published. It has been corrected. We apologize for the omission.
Erik Schomann was forced to resign as the Green party’s candidate for Simcoe North today after a 2007 social media post surfaced that critics claim reeks of Islamophobia.
In the Facebook post, Schomann is pictured at a pig roast with the caption: "We sent the leftovers to Denmark in support of the protesters of the Muhammad comic."
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), who called on Green Party leader Elizabeth May to turf Schomann, said sending a pig carcass is a “commonplace tactic for intimidating Muslims.”
They noted a pig's head was left outside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec a year before six people were gunned down at the mosque.
May reacted swiftly, accepting Schomann’s resignation.
Schomann said he is “devastated” by the incident. He told OrilliaMatters he is not Islamophobic and spent several years in his youth living in Nigeria and Pakistan where he “grew up in mutual frienship and respect” with Muslims.
The first-time federal candidate calls the Facebook post a “flippant remark” that he regrets.
“I unequivocally apologize for any harm that was done,” Schomann said.
He said stepping down is “the best thing for the party at this point and the people of Simcoe North.”
He is “supremely frustrated” by what has transpired, noting someone from another party combed through his Facebook history to find “something that was a really stupid thing I said back in 2007.”
The communication studies teacher at Seneca College said the things people are saying about him on social media - that he “is an embarrassment to Simcoe North” and he’s “disgusting” - are disheartening.
He noted some of his current and former students, Muslims, have defended him. "They know it's absolutely insane," what's happening.
The NCCM thanked May for “taking action in response to our call and unequivocally denouncing Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination.”
In a press release, May said there “there is absolutely no room for any form of discrimination in the Green Party. We have zero tolerance for sexism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia or hate speech of any kind. Canada’s strength lies in its diversity.”
Schomann said the Simcoe North Green Party riding association is meeting this afternoon and are “scrambling” to determine next steps.
He said he expects a news release to be issued at around 4 p.m. today with more details.