(updated at 9:40 a.m.)
Edson Chan, who hoped to be Penticton’s youngest mayor, has posted on Facebook he is withdrawing from the race just hours after announcing his candidacy.
At issue is a series of posts the 26-year-old restaurant worker made on his personal Facebook page with demeaning and immature references to women and gay people.
“My poor decisions on Facebook has caused me to withdraw because I had unknowingly painted myself as a person that was fueled by hate,” said Chan. “I had vented about many things and using my Facebook was a terrible idea because in the age of information and technology, people will always get a hold of it and scrutinize.”
Chan posted last night in the Educate Encourage Empower #Penticton forum on Facebook, where he had been getting some support from members, and where his personal posts came to light.
“I will remove my comments and withdraw from the race,” wrote Chan. “I want to thank everyone that supported me, I am going to apologize to everyone I lied to about running for mayor.
“I know I had said some hurtful things out there but I sure as hell never harmed anyone.”
If he’s elected mayor this fall, Edson Chan will be Penticton’s youngest mayor, at least in recent memory.
At 26 years old, Chan admits that he is young to take on the job of mayor, but says he wants to do everything he can to promote civic responsibility and economic growth.
“I figured that as mayor I will have a little more control and have more say,” said Chan, who has been considering entering politics for the past year.
“As time went by and people were talking that we need some change, I thought this is my opportunity, I finally have the dice I am going to roll them,” he said.
Chan said his move to consider a political career was because he felt the city was not being run the way the people of Penticton really wanted, also motivated by the needs of the young people in the community.
A longer term vision is needed, he said, especially when it comes to spending tax dollars.
“It should really be for things that help promote and develop economic growth,” said Chan, who supports Boonstock as an event, boosting Penticton’s industrial capacity, ensuring long term job growth, year-round economic diversity, and public consultation when a project requires spending a large sum of public money.
Issues like the dispute with the Penticton Hospitality Association and Elvena Slump being threatened with a defamation suit, he added, helped convince him to run for mayor.
“I just felt the decision making wasn’t as good as it should be,” he said. He is confident the time is right for a new generation to take the reins, and that honesty, hard work, foresight, and fiscal responsibility, more than makes up for his lack of experience.
Chan currently works for his family’s business, the Beijing Restaurant, which has operated in Penticton for over 30 years.
Taking on the mayor’s job would be an adjustment, according to Chan, but not having a wife or children would allow him time to meet his obligations.
“I feel that me being a single person I can actually dedicate more of my time to being mayor rather than splitting that with family and relationships,” said Chan.
“I really thought the way the city was being run it was not the way the people of Penticton really wanted.