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More politicians, officials criticized for questionable social media use

Twitter shut down a tool which tracked politicians deleted tweets.
. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

In what might be becoming a trend of the 2015 federal election campaign, more candidates and party officials have been criticized for questionable or controversial posts on social media.

Peter Kent, the Conservative candidate for Thornhill tweeted a photo Tuesday which claimed a refugee was actually a former ISIS fighter.

Along with it, he wrote “these ‘then and now’ pix chilling reminders why prudent/detailed refugee screening essential.”

In fact, the man in the photo was not an ISIS fighter but part of the Free Syrian Army which fought against ISIS.

Peter Kent acknowledged his mistake though, and deleted the tweet. He maintained there’s still a need for “prudent screening.”

But Kent wasn’t the only one to be criticized for a social media mistake on Tuesday. A senior aide to NDP leader Tom Mulcair was chastised for a tweet in which he called the Catholic church a “misogynist, homophobic, child-molesting” institution.

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Shawn Dearn, Mulcair’s director of communications, apologized via a tweet, saying: “Some tweets that pre-dated my current role were offensive and do not reflect my views.”

“They are being deleted and I apologize sincerely,” he added.

His twitter account is now private.

Dearn is still working for the NDP and Mulcair said Wednesday morning that his apology was “enough” for him.

“Well he has apologized for these views, and I guess that’s going to be part of the world we’re going to be living in now as people in social media have said things over the years,” Mulcair told reporters at an event in Niagara Falls. “I’ve had the chance to talk to him today, his apology is sincere, he felt very bad about it, and I’m more than willing to move on from that.”

Also on Tuesday, Sue MacDonell, the director of the Bay of Quinte Conservative riding association, was forced out of her position due to a series of controversial Facebook posts.

Her Facebook page contains several highly partisan posts including one in which she wrote “what a nasty piece of work this one is” in reference to a CBC interview Rosie Barton did with Mrs. Universe winner Ashley Callingbull, the first First Nations woman to win the pageant.

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In a reply on the same post, she wrote “what a smug, entitled liberal pet she is. These are the monsters that they create.”

boq-official

A statement from the riding association that was obtained by ipolitics.ca and the Huffington Post confirmed MacDonell had resigned after party officials became aware of her “inappropriate content on her personal social media site.”

“The Bay of Quinte Electoral District Association became aware that one of its Board members had posted some inappropriate content on her personal social media site, in her personal capacity,” it read. “Upon becoming aware of that content, the Association required and accepted her resignation effective immediately. The views expressed by the now former Board member will not be tolerated and do not reflect those of the Bay of Quinte EDA.”

MacDonell did not respond to requests for comment.   She reportedly refused an interview with ipolitics.ca telling them “What I post on Facebook is called freedom of speech, okay? I can post whatever I want and I never posted anything inappropriate and it has nothing to do — nothing I post has anything to do with [Bay of Quinte Conservative candidate] Jodie Jenkins at all.”
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She also reportedly said “sorry, not interested” when asked by APTN to confirm her views.

The Bay of Quinte riding association did not return requests for confirmation by deadline.