Accusations of racism and homophobia within the top local ranks of a new federal political organization are being strongly denied by party leaders.
Daniel Joseph, who is black, says he has quit the People's Party of Canada after encountering "utterly hateful views".
He had been elected president of the party's Kelowna-Lake Country riding association last November.
"Unfortunately, with newly-appointed executives in charge - very vocal officials with utterly hateful views and policy positions - I no longer feel like there is a place for me in this party," Joseph says.
"I hope that by publicly disavowing this party, they are able to restructure and remove people with hateful, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic views," Joseph says.
The People's Party of Canada was founded last year by former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier after he lost a leadership contest to Andrew Scheer. It's still-developing policies include a call for less immigration, lower taxes, reducing government subsidies to businesses, a greater role for the private sector in health care, and dismantling the supply-side management system for the country's dairy industry.
A People's Party candidate ran in a federal by-election in Burnaby in February, drawing 11 per cent of the vote. The party intends to run candidates in all 338 ridings during this fall's federal election.
Glen Walushka, who oversees the party's operations in the B.C. Interior, said Sunday that Joseph's allegations are "baseless and without fact".
"If Mr. Joseph truly believes that he has encountered any form of discrimination from anyone with the People's Party of Canada, particularly at the organizational level, based on his ethnicity or his racial identity, he should bring those matters forward so that they can be thoroughly and completely investigated," Walushka wrote in an email.
"Ours is absolutely an inclusive political party," Walushka said in the email. "Last weekend, I attended or participated in four separate multi-riding functions. There were individuals from a multitude of ethnic, religious, cultural, gender, and societal backgrounds in attendance, and on the various boards of directors," Walushka wrote.
"Anyone who suggests that the People's Party of Canada is not attracting individuals from all aspects of our shared Canadian identity is seriously misrepresenting the actual facts," Walushka said.
In his resignation video, posted to Facebook, Joseph singles out Walushka for specific criticism, calling him a purveyor of racist, xenophobic, and "backwater" ideologies. "This party needs a wake-up call," Joseph says.
While Joseph says he resigned from his position as local party president, Walushka says he was actually asked to step down. That's because he expressed support for the idea of not running a People's Party of Canada candidate in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding during this fall's federal election, to increase the chances of the Conservative candidate winning, Walushka said.
The party has not yet named its candidates for any of the Okanagan ridings.