A energy-sector journalist who was subject to comments that led the federal NDP to oust Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidate Dock Currie thinks the party overreacted.
Markam Hislop told KTW he and fellow journalist Max Fawcett were engaged in a Facebook debate with Currie about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion when Currie sent them direct messages threatening violence.
“It was such a typical social media exchange that you wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow,” Hislop said of the online debate of two years ago,
Hislop said Currie took exception to their comments, which were supportive of the pipeline, and said Currie told them something to the effect that he would like the break Fawcett’s jaw and beat up Hislop if he saw them.
The incident was long forgotten until Fawcett shared a story on Twitter about Currie being named the NDP’s candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
Fawcett’s post has the caption: “If anyone needs some fun oppo on the NDP candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, I might be able to help.”
Hislop replied to the post, stating, “Should I dig up that DM from a few years back when he physically threatened me? Of all the troll messages over the years, that’s the only one I considered reporting to the RCMP.”
Hislop described their comments as “innocent kvetching,” noting Currie’s subsequent resignation was not their intent.
Hislop said neither he nor Fawcett sought out the NDP, but suspects someone, possibly another reporter, did when he or she saw their comments.
Hislop said he feels the incident was blown out of proportion, noting he is not in a position to judge Currie.
“If I went back through my social media account, I couldn’t run for dog catcher given some of the things I’ve said over the years on Twitter and Facebook,” Hislop said.
“I’ve lost my temper, said something intemperate. I mean who hasn’t done that?”
Hislop believes Currie should have been given the opportunity to apologize to him and Fawcett and been permitted to remain the candidate.
“Are we going to be holding candidates for public office to that kind of standard where everything they’ve said in public and social media is going to be scrutinized for some little thing?” he asked.
“We’ll never have anyone want to run for office.”
The NDP has not addressed why Currie was asked to step down rather than apologize for the comments — which Currie said in a statement that he regrets posting online.
Glen Sanford, B.C. director of the NDP's federal campaign, described Currie’s comments as not suitable for a candidate in this election, but when asked why an apology from Currie did not suffice, Sanford would only say the comments were “problematic.”
Currie has not responded to repeated calls and emails from KTW for comment, but in his statement said the NDP asked him to resign as candidate due to controversial social media posts.
He went on to express his disappointment with not being able to represent the party, which he said he continues to support.
Currie was the second NDP candidate in Kamloops-Thomspon-Cariboo to step down.
Original candidate Gina Myhill-Jones of 100 Mile House was acclaimed in the spring, but quit in early August due to a death in her family.
Currie was named candidate on Sept. 4 and asked to step down on Sept. 11.
As of Tuesday, the local NDP remains without a candidate.
Voters go to the polls on Oct. 21.