Candidates should be cautious about online posts, says prof

A University of Victoria professor is warning candidates to be cautious about what they post online.

A University of Victoria professor is warning candidates to be cautious about what they post online after two Island Liberal candidates withdrew from the federal election in the last few weeks for inappropriate comments made on social media.

Last week, Victoria Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas resigned after comments made about the Jewish and Muslim communities resurfaced on a satirical website, Truth North Times.

Thomas, who worked in the Middle East, posted on Facebook in 2014 saying “the oppressed of the Warsaw ghettos and the concentration camps have become the oppressors, keeping the Palestinians who are left in their “homeland” in ghettoes.”

In 2013, she said mosques are being used as brainwashing stations.

Thomas has since apologized for the comments, stating they are “offensive and have no place in our political discourse.”

“I want to apologize particularly to the Jewish and Muslim communities for these insensitive statements,” she wrote in a statement on her campaign page.

According to Janni Aragon, assistant professor in the department of political science and the director of technology integrated learning, Thomas made the right decision to step down.

“Her comments were very problematic,” she said, adding parties need to vet candidates more closely.

“If you’re running for office, you’re now saying that you’re a public person and you make yourself vulnerable to people researching you and your digital footprint.”

A few days earlier, Liberal candidate Maria Manna running in the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding also resigned after expressing skepticism about the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

Aragon said candidates need to be more mindful of what they comment on, post or retweet.

“People want to know if they can trust you, what’s your judgement like,” she said, adding in the age of social media, candidates must continue with traditional campaign methods such as door knocking, but should also have a strong social media presence.

“Candidates need to be smarter. It’s unfortunate that she  made these comments, but the fact that people could go and find them is an issue as well.”

Thomas’ resignations means there will be no Liberal candidate running in the Victoria riding, since the deadline for candidates to enter the race set out by Elections Canada has passed.

Her name will still appear on the ballot on the Oct. 19 election, even though she isn’t running.

 

 

Just Posted

Sooke school district creates new comprehensive school health position

Ruchi McArthur will develop framework to improve wellness of students

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

Westhills Stadium launches expanded stadium with ceremony, excitement

expanded stadium accommodates 6,000 spectators

NCAA basketball comes to UVic this fall

Eight-team tournament features top university women’s basketball teams Nov. 28-30

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read