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'I never said that': Langley NDP candidate 'smeared' with old quote

The NDP candidate in Langley says the Liberals are trying to smear her by dredging up an inaccurate quote from a four-year-old survey. But the president of the group that conducted the survey says he stands by the quote.

“I've been misrepresented,” said Kathleen Stephany, who is running in Langley against Liberal Mary Polak.

In 2005 Stephany ran as a Green in Langley. The Campaign Life Coalition B.C. asked candidates for their positions on abortion. Its website quotes Stephany saying, "It is my proposal that elective abortions not be paid for by the system.”

The survey was quoted in a 2005 Tyee story by Jordan Bateman, a B.C. Liberal who is president of the party's Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding association and a Langley city councilor. Liberal caucus media staff circulated the story to reporters earlier this week.

Asked about the quote, Stephany said, “I never said that.”

A teacher of ethics courses in the nursing program at Douglas College and a former coroner, Stephany said she believes abortion should not be used as a form of birth control and there should be counseling and support available to women who are unexpectedly pregnant. There should also be much stronger birth control education to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, she said.

“I never said [abortions] shouldn't be funded,” she said. She wishes she corrected the story and the survey at the time, she said, but was busy with the election. “I thought I would let it go and it would disappear.”

John Hof, the president of CLCBC, said the Tyee's call was the first he'd heard Stephany says she was misquoted. “I'm surprised she would say that,” he said. “I spoke with her directly . . . I stand by what's in the survey and what's been on the website for four years.”

He added, “At the time of the last election, I can state fairly categorically, that's what she said.”

If Stephany is changing her position, he said, he would be happy to record it. “I think it's probably just convenience that she doesn't like what's being said about her.”

Stephany's Liberal opponent Polak self-identified as pro-life as well, according to the 2005 survey.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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