A repost is not the same as an endorsement, but it might not matter in an election

From #peegate to expletive laden tweets about Pope Benedict, it’s been a rich week for gaffes in the federal election campaign. Among the latest is Toronto-area Conservative candidate Konstantin Toubis, under fire for posting (sorry, re-posting) Russian language articles rife with derogatory remarks about sex and gender. “A man never raises his hand to a woman … There are other body parts to raise for a woman,” reads one, according to a translation by the Broadbent Institute website Press Progress, where the posts first appeared. The National Post’s Sarah Boesveld caught up with Toublis, who is running in the new riding of King-Vaughan, Friday.

Tell me about these Facebook posts?

It was not my post, it was a re-post of the re-post.

So those are not your views?

It does not reflect my view of females and that. For sure, for sure, for sure. It was a year ago and definitely it’s bad and disgusting — that’s why I posted on my wall. It’s like in the newspaper, it’s not like you support every single article in your newspaper, you just show somebody else’s messages in order to discuss them in order to show how good or bad it is.

So you were just re-posting it to make the point that this is unacceptable?

Yes, of course. No. 1,  when people put stuff on their wall — especially if they’re re-posting a post — it doesn’t mean they believe that or support that. That was not my statement or my post.

Are you dismayed or surprised these posts are being discussed as if these views are yours?

A The people who made this article — the Ed Broadbent Institute, the NDP institute — I know they built this as a story from nothing because they didn’t quote me beforehand. If the Toronto Star publishes someone else’s ads for escort services, it doesn’t mean it supports escort services. I’m so sorry, but that’s what it is.

You’d typically comment, “This is ridiculous” or “I condemn this.” But you just put it out there.

Yes! Exactly.

FacebookFacebookOne of the posts in question

Did you hear from the Conservative party about whether those posts should have appeared on your site? I see it’s been deactivated.

I deactivated the whole Facebook account because I don’t want people to build a story on what I didn’t say. Compared to (just-resigned South Surrey-White Rock Liberal candidate) Joy Davies’ Facebook comments about how pregnant moms should smoke marijuana to give their kids high IQs? I’m so sorry, I never made those statements.

But if you re-posted them because you thought those views are ridiculous and not yours, how come you didn’t say that?

Well, it was nothing there because it was nothing … usually I have my own post when I just say something about something. I have many different posts — good, bad, with humour … it’s just like you writing articles in your newspaper.

So, neutrally putting them forward?

Yeah. And if you ask for my opinion, I would tell you, “Yes, it was bad, it was disgusting, that’s why I put it on my wall.”

So you were trying to raise awareness that these kind of backward views are still held?


Is that what you told the Conservative party? When they ask each candidate whether there’s anything they should know about that would embarrass the party?

Yeah, and they asked me, “Does this (reflect your point of view)?” It doesn’t. I am a married man with children, and definitely that’s not who I am.

If it wasn’t your view and there’s nothing wrong with it, why did you take the post down?

No, I just blocked it from the public, just because that’s my private Facebook. I don’t want people to build stories from something that doesn’t even relate to me.

In this political climate with everyone’s posts from years being dug up, you don’t think yours is as bad?

No. It’s a (Facebook) wall. It’s an information wall. It’s not my statement or my letter to someone. It’s a wall.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

About Sarah Boesveld