Federal Liberal party candidate hopeful Rolf Dinsdale says he is having second thoughts about his nomination following negative press regarding his professional and personal background.
"There’s been some pretty vicious attacks on me personally and things said about me and my family on Facebook and Twitter and even a few people to my face," the first-time political candidate told the Sun. "That has rattled my cage a little bit. It would anyone."
Dinsdale was referring to a Canadian Press article published last week in which he defended his campaign website which highlighted his role as a senior executive with Facebook. Before the article came out, his website indicated he worked "at the leading social media network." He worked for a Toronto company called Segal Communications, which handled sales for Facebook advertising in Canada between 2007 and 2009.
Dinsdale says it was simply an issue of semantics — the biography has since been changed — and accused the Conservative party of digging up dirt.
The article, which was published by at least 30 media outlets across the country including the Brandon Sun, also brought up his former membership in punk band S--t From Hell, in which he played with Toronto-based Liberal strategist and political pundit Warren Kinsella.
Dinsdale said his resolve is also being tested by the Liberal party itself which has yet to set a deadline for nominations in the Brandon-Souris riding.
"It’s really about time the Liberals got their show on the road, that’s my personal feeling," Dinsdale said. Prime Minister Stephen Harper could call a byelection for Brandon-Souris at anytime.
Candidacies have been largely decided in the other three ridings in the country heading into byelections and both the Conservative party and the NDP now have candidates in place here in Brandon-Souris.
Locally, the NDP held its nomination meeting three weeks early in anticipation of an early byelection call, electing Cory Szczepanski on Thursday evening and Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire as the acclaimed Tory candidate.
But as other parties are wrapping up candidate nominations, Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls — a card-carrying Conservative — announced on Friday afternoon his intention to go up against Dinsdale in the race, lengthening the nomination process, Dinsdale argued.
"My name’s been out there for a long time and I’m ready to go, just at the moment, I feel like a flag pole rag and the wind won’t stop." Dinsdale said, quoting the song "King Of Pain" by The Police.
Dinsdale also took issue with Pauls’ political background.
"Rick Pauls’ candidacy is none of my business but the first thing I’ll say is he’s a Conservative politician."
Meanwhile, Dinsdale’s hesitation is yet another twist in the road to the area’s yet-to-be-called byelection with controversy surrounding the Conservative nomination of Chris Kennedy, former MP Merv Tweed’s executive assistant.
Tweed, who gave up his seat in Parliament to head up a rail company sparking the upcoming byelection, said he’s "disappointed" his former party didn’t hold a nomination.
"A nomination meeting is the lifeblood of your organization because everybody that’s in it creates memberships, creates teams and at the end when you find the winner, you hope those teams come together and that gives you a pretty good infrastructure within in all the communities," he told the Sun this weekend. "We built a strong organization in Brandon-Souris and I’m sad to see it evolve into what it has."
Kennedy was rejected because the Conservative party said his application did not include the $1,000 deposit cheque — though he insists that isn’t true.
Despite lingering questions swirling about the Conservative party and its nominees, Tweed said he’s still confident the area will remain a stalwart Tory riding. The last time Brandon-Souris swung to the Liberal party was in 1993 when Glen McKinnon beat Progressive Conservative candidate Maguire.
"I'm confident that (Maguire will) win the riding," Tweed said, "but I think it will be a bigger challenge for sure."
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from Lindsey Enns
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 30, 2013