HALIFAX –An ejected Tory candidate says she is looking into continuing her bid for public office, as she traded fresh barbs with the party’s leader about whether she faced a double standard when she was dropped because of online comments.
Leader Jamie Baillie insisted Wednesday there was no double standard in dropping Jad Crnogorac in Dartmouth South while standing by a male Tory candidate who jokingly acted out what he called a “Chinese fire drill” in an online video.
Questioned at a campaign stop in Halifax, Baillie said Crnogorac’s postings crossed the line and she could not remain on the ballot.
Crnogorac had posted a joke on Twitter about a date-rape drug known as “roofies,” and also tweeted that white people not winning Black Entertainment Television awards was an example of “inequality.”
Baillie maintained that the case differed from one involving Matt Whitman, a Tory candidate who faced criticism over a YouTube video condemned for racial stereotyping and insensitivity to Chinese people. Baillie said Whitman apologized and had no intent to hurt anyone, whereas Crnogorac had “numerous other posts that were close to the line if not over.”
“Making fun of a date rape drug is not funny under any explanation,” he said. “I think you’re comparing apples and oranges and a line has to be drawn and I drew one that I stand beside.”
In an email Wednesday night, Crnogorac said she is running as an independent and is waiting to hear back from Elections N.S. on the process.
“I have had over whelming support from friends family and total strangers all over social media,” she said. “And (I) decided my name is on the ticket and I’m not a quitter.”
Crnogorac has said the party jettisoned her without allowing her to explain what the tweets said and the context in which they were made. She said she was asked to step down, but refused and accused Baillie of employing a double standard when it came to her and Whitman.
“So Matt Whitman can have a racist comment and drive illegally and film himself and you guys stand by his side and defend him?” Crnogorac said she asked them. “And you want me to step aside quietly? That’s not happening.”
“I said … you guys are going to have to remove me because this is not fair. You haven’t even asked me what my tweets said, what I meant by my tweets, nothing.”
She posted a social media response apologizing for her comments, but said she’d been let down by Baillie and the party. Crnogorac, a former personal trainer and university basketball player, said the party also repeatedly asked her to remove a picture of her from her Instagram profile.
Baillie said all candidates are vetted and that includes reviews of social media issues, but that Crnogorac’s tweets were missed by party volunteers.
“Obviously our system didn’t work as it should have in this case and we are taking internal steps to strengthen it,” he said, adding that her removal was due to the content of her comments. “I have no interest in the gender of the candidate. I think everyone should be treated equally and with the same standard. The line that was drawn was around the issues that had been posted.”
Crnogorac is the third candidate to be dropped during the campaign, one each for the three major parties.
Her withdrawal came a day after Dartmouth East NDP candidate Bill McEwen withdrew after CTV published material from his old website, the Bullpen.
The former military officer and journalist had attempted to take the website down –after not posting on it since 2013 –but someone managed to find it from a cached archive.
In addition to derogatory terms for gay people, the opening statement of the site’s mission noted, “in a world of breast implants, fast food and cheap beer, what’s not to love about being a man.” The content included a number of columns on sexual topics with titles such as “ovulation: man’s best friend,” and “forbidden fruit.”
Last week, the Liberals dismissed candidate Matthew MacKnight over comments he made on social media in 2013. The Pictou East candidate purportedly called someone an expletive and used the hashtags #downsyndrome and #stupidcustomers on May 28, 2013, according to Global News.