WATCH: Kathleen Wynne addresses the inappropriate social media posts and explains how they will be dealt with.
TORONTO – A trio of what opposition parties are calling “sexist” social media posts by Liberal candidates forced Premier Kathleen Wynne to shift from touting her own policies to defending her party’s vetting process on Tuesday.
Questions about the posts – all of which were pointed out to the media by either the Tories or the NDP – dominated the Liberal leader’s media availability after she spoke to a business audience in Toronto.
Wynne, who only knew of two “inappropriate” posts, said she would do all she could to ensure her party put up candidates worthy of public office.
“As the first female premier I’ve spent my life dealing with, from time to time, inappropriateness in society,” Wynne said.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that all of our candidates and all of our campaigners are respectful of each other and of everyone in our society.”
The Progressive Conservatives were the first to dig up a questionable Facebook post by a Liberal candidate over the weekend.
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The January post by Ottawa-area candidate Jack Uppal joked about the differences between men and women and included lines about women being unable to find solutions to problems.
Wynne said on Sunday that she had accepted Uppal’s apology and that he had taken the remarks down.
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The premier had a similar response Monday to questions about a post by Niagara West-Glanbrook candidate David Mossey, which was once more highlighted by the Tories.
The post was from March last year and showed two photographs of women’s bikini-clad behinds with the words “no squats” and “squats” above them, in reference to the exercise move.
Wynne said Mossey has acknowledged that it was an inappropriate picture, taken down the post and apologized.
The premier was forced to confront the issue yet again on Tuesday when she was questioned about a Twitter post by London-area candidate Nick Steinburg – this time pointed out by the NDP – in which he made a reference to “mackin” or suggestively flirting with ladies.
While Wynne said she hadn’t seen the post, she promised that “corrective action” will be taken against any comments that deserve it.
“If there are inappropriate comments they need to be dealt with no matter what party the person is from,” Wynne said.
“I think it’s a bit of a cautionary note for everyone, not just for political candidates…that what you say, what you put out in the social media universe hangs out there for a very long time and you need to make sure that you’re as respectful to people on social media as you would be face to face.”
The NDP suggested that Steinburg’s tweet was “making light of sexually harassing ladies” and showed that the Liberals were “lowering their standards.”
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Meanwhile, the Liberal party said Steinburg’s tweet had nothing to do with sexual harassment.
“The NDP wants to change the channel from the fact that they rejected our progressive budget without having any plan of their own,” said Liberal campaign spokeswoman Rebecca MacKenzie.
“The PCs want to change the channel too – from all the criticism over their (job) cuts.”
All three candidates are still running for office amid calls from the opposition parties for Wynne to fire them.
© The Canadian Press, 2014