Dumped Tory can­di­date squab­bles with leader, is ‘look­ing into’ con­tin­u­ing her bid

Cape Breton Post - - Province - BY ALI­SON AULD

An ejected Tory can­di­date says she is look­ing into con­tin­u­ing her bid for pub­lic of­fice, as she traded fresh barbs with the party’s leader about whether she faced a dou­ble stan­dard when she was dropped be­cause of on­line com­ments.

Leader Jamie Bail­lie in­sisted Wed­nes­day there was no dou­ble stan­dard in drop­ping Jad Crnogo­rac in Dart­mouth South while stand­ing by a male Tory can­di­date who jok­ingly acted out what he called a “Chi­nese fire drill’’ in an on­line video.

Ques­tioned at a cam­paign stop in Hal­i­fax, Bail­lie said Crnogo­rac’s post­ings crossed the line and she could not re­main on the bal­lot.

Crnogo­rac had posted a joke on Twit­ter about a date-rape drug known as “roofies,’’ and also tweeted that white peo­ple not win­ning Black En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion awards was an ex­am­ple of “in­equal­ity.’’

Bail­lie main­tained that the case dif­fered from one in­volv­ing Matt Whit­man, a Tory can­di­date who faced crit­i­cism over a YouTube video con­demned for racial stereo­typ­ing and in­sen­si­tiv­ity to Chi­nese peo­ple. Bail­lie said Whit­man apol­o­gized and had no in­tent to hurt any­one, whereas Crnogo­rac had “nu­mer­ous other posts that were close to the line if not over.’’

“Mak­ing fun of a date rape drug is not funny un­der any ex­pla­na­tion,’’ he said. “I think you’re com­par­ing ap­ples and or­anges and a line has to be drawn and I drew one that I stand be­side.’’

Be­cause the nom­i­na­tion dead­line had al­ready passed, Crnogo­rac’s name re­mains on the bal­lot as a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive, and she said Wed­nes­day she is con­sid­er­ing how to pro­ceed as a po­ten­tial can­di­date.

“We are look­ing into this and wait­ing for Elec­tions N.S. to ad­vise us if and how this can be done,’’ said Crnogo­rac.

Andy LeBlanc, spokesman for Elec­tions Nova Sco­tia, told The Cana­dian Press that Crnogo­rac can cer­tainly still win the rid­ing.

“Votes for her would count the same way as any other can­di­date. So, hy­po­thet­i­cally she could be elected. His­tor­i­cally, MLAs have been known to cross from one party to an­other or to in­de­pen­dent,’’ LeBlanc said in an email.

Crnogo­rac said the party jet­ti­soned her with­out al­low­ing her to ex­plain what the tweets said and the con­text in which they were made. She said she was asked to step down, but re­fused and ac­cused Bail­lie of em­ploy­ing a dou­ble stan­dard when it came to her and Whit­man.

“So Matt Whit­man can have a racist com­ment and drive il­le­gally and film him­self and you guys stand by his side and de­fend him?’’ Crnogo­rac said she asked them. “And you want me to step aside qui­etly? That’s not hap­pen­ing.’’

“I said ... you guys are go­ing to have to re­move me be­cause this is not fair. You haven’t even asked me what my tweets said, what I meant by my tweets, noth­ing.’’

She posted a so­cial me­dia re­sponse apol­o­giz­ing for her com­ments, but said she’d been let down by Bail­lie and the party. Crnogo­rac, a former per­sonal trainer and univer­sity bas­ket­ball player, said the party also re­peat­edly asked her to re­move a pic­ture of her from her In­sta­gram pro­file.

Bail­lie said all can­di­dates are vet­ted and that in­cludes re­views of so­cial me­dia is­sues, but that Crnogo­rac’s tweets were missed by party vol­un­teers.

“Ob­vi­ously our sys­tem didn’t work as it should have in this case and we are tak­ing in­ter­nal steps to strengthen it,’’ he said, adding that her re­moval was due to the con­tent of her com­ments. “I have no in­ter­est in the gen­der of the can­di­date. I think ev­ery­one should be treated equally and with the same stan­dard. The line that was drawn was around the is­sues that had been posted.’’

Crnogo­rac is the third can­di­date to be dropped dur­ing the cam­paign, one each for the three ma­jor par­ties.

Her with­drawal came a day af­ter Dart­mouth East NDP can­di­date Bill McEwen with­drew af­ter CTV pub­lished ma­te­rial from his old web­site, the Bullpen.

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

Last week, the Lib­er­als dis­missed can­di­date Matthew MacKnight 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.

CP PHOTO

Jad Crnogo­rac, shown in this hand­out im­age, says she was asked to step down as the can­di­date for Dart­mouth South over post­ings in­clud­ing an off-colour joke about a date rape drug and a com­ment that white peo­ple not win­ning Black En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion awards is an ex­am­ple of in­equal­ity.

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