Election 2015: Abbotsford Liberal candidate apologizes for social media comments

Abbotsford: Accountant had posted incorrect refugee aid figures, advocated "free air power" and compared his height to Hitler’s

Abbotsford Liberal candidate Peter Njenga

Abbotsford Liberal candidate Peter Njenga

by Laura Rodgers, Abbotsford News

Peter Njenga, the Liberal candidate for the Abbotsford riding, has issued an apology for past comments on social media which he says “do not represent the values of the Liberal Party.”

Njenga has railed against aid money given to refugees, and compared his own short stature to that of Hitler. He’s also advocated for cars powered by “free air power,” and speculated whether forest fires in Canada this summer were sparked by terrorists.

“I sincerely and unreservedly apologize for the offensive comments I made on social media in the past,” the candidate posted on Facebook on Sept. 23. “These comments were inappropriate and do not reflect my views, nor do they represent the values of the Liberal Party of Canada. I regret my words, and will continue to focus on earning the trust of the residents of Abbotsford.”

Oliver Duchesnau, a spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Canada, said “We accept his apology,” but did not comment further.

Says refugee aid dollars “unfair”

In a campaign document outlining his Abbotsford platform, which he had also posted to Facebook, he quoted an incorrect dollar amount for federal aid given to refugees and said it was “unfair” compared to Old Age Security.

“How unfair is it that you have worked and build this nation for over 40 years and then the government decides to give you an Old Age Security Pension and a Guaranteed income that total $1012 per month, while a refugee receives about $2740 per month,” reads a quote from the three-page manifesto also outlining his views on topics like medical care and international trade.

According to the Government of Canada, these figures are incorrect. “Refugees do not get more financial help from the federal government than Canadian pensioners do,” a government release on the topic reads, adding that the widely circulated incorrect figure falsely includes a one-time assistance payment. According to the Canadian Council for Refugees, aid payments are only given to certain categories of refugees, and the maximum aid given to a single refugee is closer to $800 per month.

“Napoleon, Hitler and Mickey Rooney”

In a more personal post about his relationship with his wife, he compared his own short height to that of various notable people, including Hitler.

“Many well-known ‘short guys’ like me such Napoleon, Hitler, and Mickey Rooney (the entertainer) were all fearful of love, height and water at one point in time and were helped by women to overcome such fears (may be this will be my next research paper hypothesis)”, reads a quote from an August 2014 Facebook post.

“Free air power” for cars?

In a Facebook post on April 28, 2014, Njenga complained about the price of gas, advocated for the federal government to control gas prices, and then made a unique observation about the energy of moving air.

In part, the post says: “Furthermore, there are scientists and engineers out there who knows that free air is energy. Let the world know that we do not need oil companies if cars can be modified to use free air to generate engine power. It is as simple as taking the first step. If you have driven at high speed when one window of your car is open and all the other windows are closed, what air power you experience. Heavy…..and I mean enough energy to power an engine. A car can be manufactured which takes up moving air energy and converting it into engine propelling energy. It is a simple concept. When discussing this issue with my closest friend, she pointed out that all what is needed is energy from air+water+sun to move our cars and other machinery.

On forest fire causes and solutions

In a Tweet from August 18, 2015, he speculated whether some of this summer’s fires were set by terrorists:

“Fires everywhere in Canada and USA. Can somebody investigate whether it is terrorist related. The occurrence appear very suspicious.”

He’s come up with an elaborate plan for forest fire fighting, posted to LinkedIn, using “a water bomb…capable of causing super heavy rain over at least 10,000 [square meteres]” or “unmanned Drones with Mobile water pumps and extendable flex water pipes.”

Njenga works as an accountant in Surrey, and also runs a charity called “Dr. Njenga Foundation of Sustainable HIV/AIDS projects.” It is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.

He has a Ph.D in finance from Walden University, a for-profit online institution based in Minnesota. On his resume, he also lists an MBA and bachelor’s degree from the University of Nairobi, and past teaching appointments at Kwantlen and and a rural college in Alberta.

He has long been active in Liberal party associations, and ran for the party’s nonimation in South Surrey-White Rock this year but lost to Joy Davies, a medical marijuana advocate and former municipal councillor. Njenga was named as the party’s candidate for Abbotsford in late August.