Comments come back to haunt candidates

Vancouver Island candidates the latest to have to withdraw over comments made on social media

Potential politicians take note: that silly comment you made yesterday could severely limit your opportunities tomorrow.

The steady stream of candidates dropping from the federal election race grew by two more last week, with the seemingly endless torrent reaching the shores of Vancouver Island.

Victoria Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas dropped out of the race last week after comments she previously made on Facebook came to light. Thomas, who has worked in the Middle East, described mosques as “brainwashing stations” in a post from 2013. In another post, Thomas wrote Santa Clause has to be white. “You can’t have a brown guy with a beard sneaking into your house in the middle of the night! You’d be calling the bomb squad.” That comment was derived from a joke from Russell Peters Christmas Special in December 2012, but Liberal Party officials weren’t laughing.

Thomas joined fellow former Liberal candidate Maria Manna, who resigned from the race in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford a couple days previously over comments she had earlier made questioning the origin of the 9/11 attacks.

But the resignations are not limited to the Liberal Party or British Columbia’s west coast. All three major parties have been forced to dump candidates for reasons that run the gamut from crude remarks about the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz to urinating in a client’s coffee mug.

With the comments being so easily exposed by political bloggers, one has to wonder why the political parties aren’t doing a more thorough vetting of their candidates. You can bet that they will be in future campaigns.

That will likely limit the chance of an October surprise cropping up to haunt one of the political parties. But the certainty gained by the parties will no doubt bring a blander brand of politics to the voters.