The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Ex-candidate says party forced her out


A Liberal hopeful whose candidacy ended abruptly this week said in a Facebook post Wednesday that her brief associatio­n with the party left her feeling intimidate­d, patronized, lied to and angry.

“During the applicatio­n process I was very open about my story, and my time in front of photograph­ers lenses,” Robyn Ingraham said about her short affiliatio­n with the Liberal party before being forced out.

“I explained that I love to show off the artwork on my skin, and I have no problem taking boudoir photos alone and with my friends. I’ve used multiple platforms to express myself online, some including Instagram, Tumblr and Onlyfans. I gave an extensive list of my past and present social media accounts, provided statements from my CRA account and paid for a criminal background check.”

Ingraham, co-owner of the Devoted Barbers in Dartmouth, said the Liberal party lawyer handling the greenlight process, a secondary step after the initial applicatio­n form is completed, was rude and short with her.

“The intimidati­on alone was almost enough to make me quit, after being told I’m not providing the informatio­n they want yet it was all I had,” Ingraham said. “I kept on, pushing for myself and any other young person who wanted to apply.”

Acclaimed as the Liberal candidate for Dartmouth South in the immediate leadup to Saturday’s election call, Ingraham said she had explained to multiple people during the applicatio­n process that if or when the photos of her came out, they would provide a teachable moment for the community and for the province.

After the acclimatio­n, the party posted Ingraham’s photo and she shared it on her platforms to spread the word that she was excited.

“Roughly six hours later I received a phone call from my contact explaining that my photos have already surfaced and asked me if I’ve ever had sex for money,” Ingraham said. “No. I haven’t, but they shouldn’t have to ask and I don’t think they have the right to. I was asked to call the communicat­ions director.”

After explaining herself to the communicat­ions director “for the 10th time,” Ingraham said she was led to believe everything was fine.

The next morning, the morning of the election call, Ingraham said an hour before she was to leave to meet Rankin at Alderney market she received a call from her Liberal contact explaining that the photos of her worried the higher-ups.

“All I could hear was ‘ I’m so sorry, Robyn.’ I was uncomforta­ble with the situation. I was angry, nervous, upset and honestly not surprised by how this was handled.”

Ingraham said she was texted two renditions of statements to provide about her stepping down.

“The first made me angry, the second provided a bit of the truth among a mountain of lies. I posted the statement of lies. I posted it because I was worried how this would look on the team that worked so hard to get me on board.”

But after further thought about “the fact that I let myself and those around me down by hiding behind my mental illness to save something bigger than I, I was furious.”

Ingraham said she sat for three hours and then wrote an email to Rankin about how this affected her and how the party’s decisions made them look.

In the email, Ingraham told Rankin that she was sought out by the Liberal team.

“I paid to apply, I took hours off of work, was spoken down to multiple times by your lawyer, still got green lit and paid for a website that I barely had active for 24 hours (before getting) a call telling me that I can no longer represent your party. I feel as though I’m owed some attention. I spent my small business money to promote and support the Liberal government, something your government did not return.

“In my humble, profession­al and personal opinion, I believe the Liberal government has made a mistake by kicking me out of the next election.”

Rankin had said that people need to be treated better online when asked about Ingraham stepping down.

He said “sometimes people are unfair,” but that everyone deserves a fair shot at running for office.

Ingraham told Rankin in the email that she was asked by the party to blame herself for stepping down.

“I blamed my mental illness, something that I was going to use as an advantage for your government, something I’m not ashamed of, something I speak about daily to break the stigma surroundin­g (it).”

Ingraham said she has worked so hard to be transparen­t and open about her mental illness, and “now I’m hiding behind it like it’s a shield to protect the people who worked hard to get me on your team.”

Ingraham said the party did not cash her $250 applicatio­n cheque and that the party’s communicat­ions director has tried to call her, “but I don’t feel like being patronized or lied to further.”

“All I want is for the real story to be out there,” Ingraham said, and for those who are aware that mental illness has hindered her in the past to know that it is not the reason for her withdrawal.

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