Nova Scotia NDP campaign staffer released after calling Liberal candidate a ‘homophobe’

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

A Nova Scotian New Democrat staffer has been let-go for accusing a Liberal candidate of being anti-gay.

As explained by the Chronicle Herald, Nathaniel Cole — a campaign worker for Education Minister Ramona Jennex — wrote an email, last week, to the Acadia Pride group at Acadia University trying to organize a meet and greet event. In the email, he attacked Jennex's Liberal opponent, Keith Irving.

Nathaniel Cole email

Jennex quickly condemned the email, when she first learned of it on Tuesday afternoon.

"I do not condone this type of behaviour," Jennex told the Kings County Advertiser.

"This young campaign worker is no longer part of my campaign. People have to be respectful at all times.

"(Cole) heard stories within the community and, although I certainly can't speak for him, as a young gay man, his emotions got the better of him. I'm very, very disappointed. He did this from his own account, he was not speaking for me. I do hope I get a chance to speak with Keith sometime today."

[ Related: Justin Trudeau tries to boost the Liberal brand in Nova Scotia ]

For his part, Irving held a press conference with Nova Scotia Liberal MP Scott Brison — who is openly gay — on Tuesday afternoon.

"I think this accusation is so outlandish that I don’t feel people of Kings South will take it seriously at all in terms of my integrity," Irving said, according to the Trudo Daily News.

"Anyone who knows me or who has met me knows this is no way reflective of who I am. This is so outrageous."

Brison took found a way to take jab at Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"There’s a broader issue here – in terms of this kind of dirty, mean spirited politics is what gives politics a bad name," Brison said, according to the News.

"The Dexter campaign, provincially, continues to take things right out of the playbook of Stephen Harper, whether it is voter suppression with robocalls in some cases to mean and personal attacks of candidates and also the personal attacks against our leader, Stephen McNeil, in the recent months. The [NDP premier Darrell] Dexter playbook is looking increasingly like the Harper playbook."

In 2009, Jennex won the Kings South seat, for the NDP, with 41 per cent of the vote.

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