Federal Green party candidate Kevin Nichols has stepped down from the race for Winnipeg's Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley riding blaming heath issues, not the conspiracy theory-linked posts on his Facebook page.
"It is with deep regret that I have to withdraw my candidacy for the area," Nichols said in a selfie video posted Monday to his Instagram account.
"I recently experienced some rather bad health news, and I'm going to be taking time off to make sure I look after myself."
During an interview Wednesday, Nichols said he has been battling Crohn's disease for three decades, and is now fighting another unrelated illness. The Green Party of Canada said Nichols sent it a statement saying both his kidneys have been failing since January.
"I made the decision to step down on the weekend — it's totally due to my health," Nichols said. "I love running. I would love to represent the people, but the provincial election almost killed me. It's not worth dying over."
He finished fourth in voting in the Roblin ward in the 2019 Manitoba election this month.
Nichols said he believes his Facebook site has either been hacked or some things have been added by others who had access to it in the past during earlier election runs.
He did admit, because "I like to look," he has researched anti-vaccination and 9/11 terror attacks conspiracy sites but, "unless I can say for certain, I keep my mouth shut."
He is no longer a candidate. (As of yesterday.) https://t.co/X7U3HnqB1M— Elizabeth May (@ElizabethMay) September 18, 2019
The withdrawal follows a series of Twitter posts by Bill Tieleman, a B.C. political strategist and commentator who has worked for the NDP in that province. The posts, dated Sept. 15, show screenshots of past Facebook posts that appear to be from Nichols' account.
One screenshot, dated January 2017, shows a posted article titled: "9/11 Entire Pentagon Footage with missile impact never shown to public - Anonymous."
"Does the federal Green party believe that 9/11 was 'an inside job'?" wrote Tieleman in the tweet that accompanies the screenshot.
Does the federal Green Party believe that 9-11 was "an inside job"? #Winnipeg Green candidate Kevin Nichols sure does! Do voters in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingly agree? Or Elizabeth May? #Cdnpoli #MBpoli #NDP #GPC #LPC #CPC pic.twitter.com/XI1EBk8hE9— BillTieleman (@BillTieleman) September 16, 2019
And does Green Party believe "98 million Americans were given cancer virus"? Says the CDC? #Winnipeg Green candidate Kevin Nichols has crazy views! Do voters agree? Or Elizabeth May? #Cdnpoli #MBpoli #NDP #GPC #LPC #CPC pic.twitter.com/n7raU1sycR— BillTieleman (@BillTieleman) September 16, 2019
"#Winnipeg Green candidate Kevin Nichols has crazy views!" wrote Tieleman. "Do voters agree? Or Elizabeth May?"
Another tweet from Tieleman appears to show Nichols, in 2016, shared a Facebook post that promoted a conspiracy theory about fluoride.
Oh boy! Green Party #Winnipeg candidate Kevin Nichols wondered "Why was fluoride in Nazi prison camp water?" Hmm. To fight cavities? Yikes! #Cdnpoli #MBPoli #NDP @GPC #LPC #CPC pic.twitter.com/QjcBQEREKo— BillTieleman (@BillTieleman) September 16, 2019
Nichols' biography was listed on the federal Green party website as late as Tuesday, according to an archived version of the website. By Wednesday, his information had been scrubbed.
Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley is currently held by Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson.
Nichols placed fourth out of four candidates when he ran there for the Greens in the 2015 federal election, winning 2.9 per cent of the vote.
Solomon Israel is the full-time cannabis reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and its national cannabis news website, TheLeafNews.com. He covers the social, legal, medical and scientific aspects of marijuana legalization in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Updated on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 2:31 PM CDT: Updated
5:03 PM: Final writethru
September 19, 2019 at 5:24 PM: Byline added.