Vancouver Island New Democrat Georgia Collins withdraws from nomination race, citing sexism and harassment

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      A Vancouver Island New Democat has withdrawn her candidacy for the Cowichan Valley nomination three months after she claimed she was subjected to death threats and online harassment.

      Georgia Collins, a community activist, stated on Facebook last night that "stepping away from the campaign is the decision I need to make for my well-being and for my children".

      "I wish I could say that my decision is unrelated to sexism and harassment that I experienced during my campaign, but that would be untrue," Collins wrote. "I wish I could say that I was not disappointed by the party’s capacity to respond to such concerns, but that would also be untrue. The status quo, it seems, carries on even in places you least expect it.

      "Thank you to everyone who has supported me and to everyone who chooses to speak out about their experiences, despite pressure from people to stay silent and despite lawyers being marshalled to threaten expensive lawsuits," she continued. "Your voices lift us all."

      Her recent post did not offer any specifics, focusing on more general observations.

      "Looking back on the campaign and the political process generally, partisan politics can cause people to say things about each other that might not otherwise be said more charitably or with more understanding. In so many cases, it seems to me there is a better way than the current partisan process to move what is really at issue forward in a positive and productive way. Empathy and equanimity are key. I am resolute in my belief that there is a better way to do politics and I look forward to continuing to work within and for my community toward a better future for all."

      In September, Collins revealed that a fire had been set at her home on Labour Day after she had been threatened and harassed online. At the time, she said that the fire was "suspicious" and that police had asked her if she had any enemies. She emphasized that the fire and the online harassment were "unrelated incidents".

      Collins also stated in September that she sought advice from the NDP MLA, Bill Routley, whom she was challenging for the nomination. According to Collins, he recommended that she seek legal advice.

      Instead, she decided to seek resolution through the NDP's internal-dispute resolution mechanisms.

      Collins sought the federal NDP nomination in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford prior to the 2015 election. She lost to Alistair MacGregor, who was later elected as a member of Parliament.