VIBERT: Social media gaffes contains lessons for would-be politicians

“What time does the other source store close at today? Seriously a–hole? Call them not me.”

There are a number of good reasons for the Nova Scotia Liberals to boot the candidate who authored this Internet post. Punctuation, grammar and, most grievously, he actually thought there was a joke in there somewhere. Turns out the post included a hashtag connecting this dud to Down syndrome. He’s gone.

“Not one white person was nominated for a BET (Black Entertainment Television) award. If that’s not inequality I don’t know what is.”

That one’s a tweet from a Tory candidate. Is it possible she was asking the question seriously? Nah. But just in case: First Nations make up three per cent of the Canadian population but almost 20 per cent of the nation’s prison population. An African-American male between 18 and 24 is five times more likely to be in jail than college. The eight richest dudes in the world have more wealth than the poorest 30 per cent of humanity. Just a glimpse at what inequality really is.

And, if needed, indigenous Canadians commit nowhere near 20 per cent of offences punishable by prison, and black Americans are at least three times more likely to serve jail time than white Americans for the same offence.

That her absurd tweet got a “like” is disturbing enough to provoke contemplation about her Twitter followers. David Duke? Steve Bannon? Richard Spencer?

Two lost candidates not enough? Nope, each of the three parties had to cut one loose.

The New Democrats canned their Dartmouth East standard bearer, Bill McEwen. He is the purported founder of a website called “The Bullpen,” an online magazine for men and “not women.”

The digital space includes such witless guy banter as, “In a world of breast implants, fast food, and cheap beer, what’s not to love about being a man?”

If he ever gets there, he may find out.

Jad Crnogorac was the Tory candidate in Dartmouth East. In addition to taking on BET, she posted a “funny” tweet that mused about the date rape drug known as “roofies” being “female Viagra.”

Each and all of these incidents drew questions about whether the political parties are properly vetting their candidates. Really?

A better question is, “Where in hell do you find these people?”

The Source store “joke” — there is no way anyone could find humour there — was posted by Pictou East former Grit candidate Matthew MacKnight. Nobody in Pictou County knew him. The Liberals parachuted him in from Dartmouth. In fact, in addition to mind-numbing stupidity, a common theme in this saga is Dartmouth.

Not to disparage a fine town — I love it — but maybe there needs to be a seminar or something there on what not to post to Twitter and other social media. You could invite the president of the United States.

MacKnight has a Liberal pedigree. His LinkedIn profile says he worked on MP Darren Fisher’s election campaign and later in the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Liberal constituency office.

“Working daily to develop and maintain relationships with constituents in need of support and advocacy . . . helped me understand my strength in empathy and my passion for supporting people in crisis,” he writes. With spin like that, this kid still has a future in politics.

Each canned candidate was said to post “inappropriate” material.

Inappropriate in this context is a euphemism for “too stupid to sit in the legislature,” and that’s saying something. It’s one rung above “too stupid to work in the Trump White House.”

So how is the Nova Scotia election playing outside the province? Canada’s largest daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, has carried four campaign stories, two of which were about the three stooges, oops, candidates.

Yes, everybody makes mistakes, and redemption is in every human heart. There’s a book coming out next Christmas called The Stupidest E-mails Ever. I’m chapter three.

In a world where your digital prattle never goes away, there are good reasons to watch what you say.