NDP Leader Cam Broten says in a statement that he directed his campaign team to take a closer look at the online accounts of the party's candidates after one candidate was removed Thursday and another resigned Friday over Facebook posts.
Broten announced Saturday that he's told Cameron Robock, who was running in Estevan, and Terry Bell, who was the candidate in Regina constituency of Walsh Acres, that they won't be running under the NDP banner, bringing to four the number of candidates the New Democrats have dumped.
He also says he's replaced the party's campaign manager.
Newly elected Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten speaks with media following his new leader address at the Saskatchewan NDP Convention at in Saskatoon on Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Photo: Liam Richards/Canadian Press)
Broten's statement did not mention specifically what the online accounts of the two newly dismissed candidates contained.
But he says they went "beyond bad jokes and immaturity."
"Two candidates crossed the line, and I won't stand for that. As the leader, it is my responsibility to take action, and I have," Broten said in the statement.
Party spokesperson Erin Morrison said Saturday that in one case, the inappropriate content was about race, while the other was a case of a series of remarks that were "beyond the line."
"Two candidates crossed the line, and I won't stand for that."
Neither Robock or Bell could be immediately reached to comment on the party's decision.
Frank Quennell, a former Saskatchewan justice minister, had been in charge of the NDP's campaign until Saturday. He has been replaced by Broten's chief of staff, Linsay Martens.
Broten said Quennell is "a friend who has served this party well and who will continue to play a role," but that Broten wanted "new campaign leadership."
'Gap in the campaign's vetting process'
"We signed up 53 enthusiastic, brand new candidates. And it is obvious there was a gap in the campaign's vetting process, specifically related to social media," Broten said.
He added that new candidates for the April 4 will be ready shortly.
Deputy Premier Don McMorris, who is running for re-election for the Saskatchewan Party in Indian Head-Milestone, said Broten should come clean with what the candidates said.
"He's probably the only one that knows, other than the two candidates. We certainly don't know," McMorris told reporters Saturday.
On Friday, Mark Jeworski, who was running for the NDP in Weyburn-Big Muddy against Health Minister Dustin Duncan, resigned over what the party said were questionable social media posts.
"A true gentleman holds the door for his woman then smacks her ass."
The Saskatoon StarPheonix reported that Jeworski posted rude comments about Premier Brad Wall's mother.
A day earlier, Broten removed Saskatoon Northwest candidate Clayton Wilson because of posts on Facebook.
The Saskatchewan Party circulated three posts from 2011 through 2013 that it purported to be from Wilson. One from 2013 shows a photo with the words, "A true gentleman holds the door for his woman then smacks her ass."
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