Friday, September 18, 2015

On changing standards

Paul MacLeod reports on the latest candidate to be summarily axed due to an even mildly controversial social media history uncovered by Robert Jago, while Robyn Urback suggests either a truce or a wholesale destruction of past posts.

But it's worth asking what comes next for Canada's political parties - and particularly whether they'll have to change their standards in a hurry.

Between now and September 28, it's possible for a party to nominate a replacement for a candidate. And I'd fully expect new names to be substituted on the ballot for all of the candidates nixed so far - which might explain how eagerly they've disposed of anybody who's attracted even a whiff of attention.

After that date, though, a party won't be able to replace a dropped candidate - meaning that the price of disavowing a candidate is to concede the riding altogether.

It seems almost certain that plenty of office-seekers have worse comments on record than the ones which have led to candidates being removed so far. But does that mean parties will feel the need to keep pulling candidates based on the same standard even if it makes a significant difference in their hope of winning seats? Or will they instead choose to spend the latter part of the campaign explaining a sudden change in what they're prepared to tolerate from a candidate carrying their banner?

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