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Nov. 15, 2018 | Thursday
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A Strange decision by Ontario Tories
Mike Strange. (Christine Hess Photography)

Yet another has suffered the peril of putting themselves on social media.

Niagara Falls Coun. Mike Strange didn't get photographed flipping the bird to a government motorcade. He didn't heckle a reporter, nor has he emailed pornographic photos to fellow council members.

Yet, days after the announcement that a second contender would be seeking the nomination to represent the PC party's Niagara Falls riding in the 2018 provincial elections, he found himself out of the running completely — at the hands of his Facebook account.

Strange was informed by email on Thursday that his application for nomination to represent the party was declined as a result of investigation into his social media profiles, following a "smear campaign" in October, in which a package containing photos from Strange's Facebook was provided the Conservative Party. It also mentioned an impaired driving charge he was acquitted of in 2001.

It’s still uncertain who sent the package.

The photos depict Strange, well, living life, accompanied by notes that degrade his character and question his loyalty to the PC party.

Some photos show him with friends and patrons in the bar he formerly owned, while other photos show him out and about with friends and fellow councillors, some who happen to be liberal.

Strange decided to make the public aware of the package and posted a website about the photos, which turned out not to be a good move. He was asked to take the site down shortly after and told it wasn't helping his cause.

Regardless, arguably the worst photo in the package was Strange holding what appears to be a joint — which soon won't be illegal, even if it was.

But evidently PR is everything. Forget the fact that Strange is heavily involved in community and charity work, ran a business in the city for years, and represented the country in multiple Olympics. What's really important is whether or not his Facebook profile pleases the type of person who sends an anonymous package to impede somebody's political career. Duh.

Strange, rightfully so, doesn’t agree with that.

“I’m disappointed … I can actually feel for a lot of kids nowadays in high school and stuff like that who are on Facebook and are getting bullied on social media,” he said, during a phone interview.

“You get a lot of anxiety and depression because of this sort of stuff.”

He said it has nothing to do with the Niagara riding, who have been mentoring him for years.

He also said the provincial conservatives still wanted him to be part of the party, they just didn’t want him to run.

But he didn’t want to back down, even though they had tried to get him to step down before.

The party’s decision to disqualify his application has caused him to resign from the PC party altogether.

The part that “bugs him,” he said, is that he’s had his application papers in for four-and-a-half months, and the committee decided to disqualify him on the last possible day before deadlines.

“I’ve got a life. I’m just sitting here hanging on. And they wanted me to sign up tons of members. And I did sign up members.

“(The email) didn’t even say ‘dear Mike’ or ‘sorry Mike.’”

Now, Strange says he’s debating whether or not to join another party, or run independently in the 2018 provincial elections.

“I’ve been getting a lot of positive messages, and a lot them are telling me to run independent,” he said.

He says he’s not too sure what next, as it's only been a day, though he wishes his former fellow nominee Chuck McShane luck.

I guess the moral of this story is, if you’re hoping to pursue politics, you’d best make your life look like peaches and cream online and never hang out with members of the opposite political party — even if they work with you. After all, who you really are doesn’t matter, your Facebook presence however, could cost you a job.

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