Kelowna-Mission NDP candidate quits over controversial comments about aboriginal people

Liberals had called for the removal of Dayleen Van Ryswyk as NDP candidate after Internet forum comments came to light.

Update: NDP Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk  has quit  over controversial comments she made about aboriginal people and the French language on an on-line community forum four years ago.

NDP leader Adrian Dix called the commnets “unacceptable” and said he had accepted Van Ryswyk’s resignation.

“Earlier today, I was made aware of unacceptable comments made by Kelowna-Mission NDP candidate Dayleen van Ryswyk. I have accepted Ms. Van Ryswyk’s resignation. A new BC NDP candidate will be announced shortly,” said Dix in a one-line statement posted on the NDP’s website late Tuesday morning.


Earlier story: The B.C. election campaign officially kicks off today and already the Liberals are calling on NDP leader Adrian Dix to turf one of his Kelowna-area candidates over controversial comments she published inthe past about aboriginal people and the French language.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak is demanding NDP Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk be “fired” for the comments she wrote in an Internet community forum four years ago.

Calling the Van Ryswyk’s comments “unacceptable” and “hateful,”  Polak said they are unacceptable to British Columbians.

“Clearly, these remarks are not becoming of a potential member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia,” said Polak. “Adrian Dix should never have signed her nomination papers with these kinds of beliefs, but now that he has, he has no choice but to immediately fire her.”

Under a Castanet thread titled Strip Them Of The Status Card, in which the first comment (from another writer) complains about a non-aboriginal person using an aboriginal person’s status card to buy goods without paying tax, Van Ryswyk wrotes: “OMG. Status cards…don’t even get me started.”

In a post the next day she wrote:  “It’s not the status cards, it’s the fact that we have been paying out of the nose for generations for something that isn’t our doing. If their ancestors sold out too cheap it’s not my fault and I shouldn’t have to be paying for any mistake, or whatever you want to call it, from my hard-earned money.

“My husband’s parents lived during the war in Holland when the Germans came and told them to get out. They lost everything.  Are they getting a paycheck every month or  huge lump sum every year tax-free? No. They got nothing but work in a concentration camp.

“It’s time our generation stopped paying for the mistakes of the past. Let us all be one people, the same. Race, creed, colour or gender shouldn’t matter anymore in this day and age. Enough is enough already.”

The following day she continued and, while admitting “incredible” wrongs were committed to aboriginal people in Canada, “you could have almost any race, group or ethnic people tell you horrible, haunting stories of what happened to them.”

Van Ryswyk said native that people receive “handouts” from the government and she believes non-natives have “paid our debt a thousand fold.”

“There are a lot of things to be proud of, stop dwelling in the past. Because, like the economy, the gravy train bubble will eventually burst.”

As for French, VanRyswyk wrote a year later on the same forum that she was “getting sick of having French stuffed down my throat.”

Speaking about the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver winter Olympics in February 2010, she wrote: “This isn’t Quebec, it’s Western Canada. We speak English here. So does the majority of Canada. I’m offended that (the) French is spoken first. Why can’t we celebrate Canada’s diverse cultures,everyone, not just natives!”

An attempt to ask Van Ryswyk about her comments was redirected by her local campaign office to the NDP’s central election communications department. There was no immediate comment. Van Ryswyk was said to in be transit and was not available Tuesday morning.

Van Ryswyk, a Rutland-area businesswoman who has has been waging a longstanding  battle  the provincial Ministry of Transportation over the road access to her business off Highway 33, is trying to unseat Liberal incumbent MLA and Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson in Kelowna-Mission.