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EDITORIAL – When is a candidate’s apology for online remarks enough?

Dock Currie.

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SOCIAL MEDIA CLAIMED another politician Wednesday.

Dock Currie, who was the NDP candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo for all of a few days, was fired by the party for online comments made two years ago.

Currie announced the party’s decision in a lengthy apology yesterday morning.

I reached out to both Currie and B.C. NDP campaign chair Glen Sanford but both declined to reveal the content of the offending remarks, saying only that they were “problematic.”

Currie did also say the comments were made to two “pro-pipeline activists” and were “flippant and aggressive.”

Later in the day, the Toronto Star identified the “activists” as former Alberta Oil magazine editor Max Fawcett and another energy journalist, Markham Hislop.

The Star reported that Currie had messaged Fawcett a couple of years ago, in connection with a story about pipelines, that he’d “like to break his jaw.”

Fawcett himself tweeted yesterday that if he was one of the “pipeline activists” referred to by Currie, he accepted the apology “without reservation.” Both he and Hislop said Currie shouldn’t have had to resign.

All of which raises the question, when should a politician’s social media history cost him or her a candidacy or office?

Certainly, if it involves racism, bigotry or other forms of hate speech, or a clear threat of violence, that’s cause for a party to initiate a political divorce. But Currie’s case has the appearance of a young man who got over-heated and made an ill-advised remark.

Sanford acknowledged that people should not have to carry indiscreet comments with them for the rest of their lives.

So, when is an apology and disavowal of previous online comments enough, and when not? Seems to me that when the offended parties unreservedly accept an apology, that should be that.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7836 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – When is a candidate’s apology for online remarks enough?

  1. Thank you Mel for your comments here. The few interviews I heard with Dock Currie when he was chosen as the NDP candidate impressed me. His ability to speak and express his points of view and ideas were refreshing and honest. I dearly hope he will not let this one incident in his life alter the possibilities he has to make a difference in the direction our province will take. We need more young progressive thinkers who are not willing to give B.C. away for a few extra immediate dollars.

  2. Sorry Mel. I disagree. If the Star’s report about a threat to create a broken jaw is correct – then no – an apology is not enough for reinstatement to the electoral race. Threats of violence once cast into the internet – cannot be removed. So sorry.

  3. The NDP shoots itself in the foot. Again. The demand for perfection decimates the possibility of progress in an imperfect world.

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