Third Nova Sco­tia can­di­date with­draws be­cause of old In­ter­net post­ings

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Province - BY MICHAEL TUTTON

In­ap­pro­pri­ate, sex­ist and ho­mo­pho­bic lan­guage left lin­ger­ing on the In­ter­net has been ex­act­ing a toll on the list of po­lit­i­cal hope­fuls in Nova Sco­tia’s elec­tion, with a third can­di­date forced to with­draw Tues­day.

The Tories sent out a terse news re­lease Tues­day af­ter­noon an­nounc­ing that their can­di­date for Dart­mouth South, Jad Crnogo­rac, was be­ing dropped be­cause of her so­cial me­dia post­ings.

Her post­ings in­cluded an of­f­colour joke about a date rape drug re­ferred to as “roofies,’’ and a comment that white peo­ple not win­ning Black En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion awards is an ex­am­ple of “in­equal­ity.’’

The with­drawal came a day af­ter CTV News pub­lished ex­cerpts from the Bullpen web­site of Dart­mouth East can­di­date Bill McEwen, a youth­ful prospect for the NDP in a rid­ing that ap­peared to be a hard-fought con­test.

The for­mer mil­i­tary of­fi­cer and jour­nal­ist had at­tempted to take the web­site down — af­ter not post­ing on it since 2013 — but some­one man­aged to find it from a cached ar­chive.

In ad­di­tion to deroga­tory terms for gay peo­ple, the open­ing state­ment of the site’s mis­sion noted, “in a world of breast im­plants, fast food and cheap beer, what’s not to love about be­ing a man.’’

It claims to have been de­signed to help peo­ple with col­umns that have top­ics rang­ing from “booze to boobs.’’

The con­tent in­cluded a num­ber of col­umns on sex­ual top­ics with ti­tles such as “ovu­la­tion: man’s best friend,’’ and “for­bid­den fruit.’’

McEwen sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion — though un­der elec­tion rules his name will still ap­pear on the bal­lot, as will Crnogo­rac’s.

McEwen said he is sup­port­ive of equal rights and apol­o­gized for what he called misog­y­nis­tic com­ments that re­flect poor judge­ment.

On Tues­day, each of the party lead­ers were dis­cussing vet­ting pro­ce­dures and long­ing for a world where peo­ple were more up­front about their so­cial me­dia ac­tiv­i­ties when ap­ply­ing to run.

NDP Leader Gary Bur­rill said his party — which is the only one in the May 30 elec­tion to have gen­der bal­ance in its slate — was up­set to dis­cover com­ments it con­sid­ered to be con­trary to the NDP’s ba­sic prin­ci­ples.

He said some­how the web­site’s con­tent slipped by party check­ing sys­tems.

“We take can­di­date vet­ting very se­ri­ously. We give it a lot of ef­fort. But it’s like a lot of things, your best ef­fort doesn’t ac­com­plish the goal,’’ he said.

The Lib­er­als are also still smart­ing from the loss of one of their can­di­dates, with the com­ments dis­cov­ered on Twit­ter.

Nova Sco­tia Lib­eral can­di­date Matthew MacKnight was dropped over com­ments he made on so­cial me­dia in 2013. The Pic­tou East can­di­date pur­port­edly called some­one an ex­ple­tive and used the hash­tags #down­syn­drome and #stupid­cus­tomers on May 28, 2013, ac­cord­ing to Global News.

Premier Stephen McNeil said that when the Lib­er­als vet can­di­dates the cam­paign team looks back at the so­cial me­dia ac­counts and talks to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity about their back­ground.

If there are prob­lems on so­cial me­dia ac­counts, the best thing is for po­ten­tial can­di­dates to be hon­est about it prior to of­fer­ing as a can­di­date, he said.

“Peo­ple need to be up front about it . ... If it’s some­thing that’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate and the per­son has ac­tu­ally made amends for it I don’t think any­one thinks you should be pun­ished your en­tire life,’’ he said.

“As a can­di­date you need to be pre­pared to lay out what may have been a prob­lem for you.’’

McNeil said all Nova Sco­tians need to be more care­ful in their online be­hav­iour.

“You have a hu­man re­spon­si­bil­ity to be kinder and gen­tler to each other,’’ he said.

Ear­lier in the day, Tory Leader Jamie Bail­lie said all par­ties strug­gle with how to han­dle rev­e­la­tions about past ac­tiv­ity, but that the party has a thor­ough vet­ting process.

He said he would have eval­u­ate each case in­di­vid­u­ally to de­ter­mine if some­thing was a fire­able of­fence and if there was ma­li­cious in­tent.

“I think it’s im­por­tant for par­ties to get a good feel for the val­ues and the view­points of their can­di­dates they’re putting on their team and I be­lieve all par­ties are strug­gling to do that as best they can,’’ he said.


Nova Sco­tia New Demo­cratic Party leader Gary Bur­rill speaks to re­porters dur­ing a cam­paign stop in Hal­i­fax on Wed­nes­day, May 10. Bur­rill says peo­ple should never make sex­ist and ho­mo­pho­bic re­marks on the In­ter­net, and ad­mits the party over­looked of­fen­sive lan­guage on a for­mer can­di­date’s web­site.

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