Northwestern Ontario man says NDP disqualified him as candidate over 'frivolous' social media posts

A northwestern Ontario man said he had very high hopes of running for the NDP in the upcoming provincial election in June, until he was recently disqualified over what he says are "frivolous social media posts" from his past.

Matt Soprovich was hoping to run for the NDP in the Kenora-Rainy River district

Soprovich said he was disqualified as a NDP candidate for the Kenora-Rainy River district over what he believes are 'frivolous' social media posts from when he was in his 20's. (Matt Soprovich)
A hopeful NDP candidate in Kenora-Rainy river riding says he was bumped out of the candidacy race of past social media posts. And he says it's the kind of online history any member of his generation might have. Matt Soprovich is disappointed. 11:14

A northwestern Ontario man said he had very high hopes of running for the NDP in the upcoming provincial election in June, until he was recently disqualified over what he says are "frivolous social media posts" from his past.

"I think there's a bit of a generational problem here," Matt Soprovich said. "If this is the barrier for entry for the NDP, what message does that say to the rest of my generation of millennials?"

In a recent post on Facebook, Soprovich said he received a lot of support and encouragement from the community when he announced his intention to seek the NDP nomination in the Kenora-Rainy River district. 

However, he said that excitement was short-lived as he was disqualified due to some historical contents on his social media pages.

"They sent me a letter via email. It was a couple weeks ago, [and] I've been trying to fight things behind the scenes and trying to make my case that these are not terribly egregious transgressions," Soprovich said on the CBC's Superior Morning on Thursday.

He said the email pointed out three of his past social media posts, some dating back as far as 2013, as examples of why he was rejected as an NDP candidate.

"I had a status from New Years Day from 2013 in which I describe a hangover so terrible that I woke up, fell back asleep and had a dream about being hungover," Soprovich explained. "There is a video on my Instagram in which I rip out of a shirt, Hulkmania-style, and there's a picture from March 2013 in which I'm staring off into the sunset in a graceful pose, yet my bare-bottom is exposed."

In the letter detailing his disqualification as an NDP candidate, Soprovich said a photo taken in 2013, exposing his whole behind, was one of the examples given for why his application was denied. (Matt Soprovich)

Living in a digital world, Soprovich said he grew up at a time where his entire 20's were documented on social media, but he doesn't believe the examples given are grounds for disqualification from seeking public office.

"I think these examples they are giving ... are pretty silly, pretty laughable, [and] pretty frivolous," Soprovich said.

"I don't believe I was treated fairly. I don't believe I was treated reasonably or objectively in this manner."

CBC News reached out to the Ontario NDP regarding Soprovich's application for candidacy and received an emailed statement.

"Our party's candidate application and vetting process contains a procedure for the disclosure of application information in circumstances such as these," Ontario NDP media relations officer Rebecca Elming said in the email. "This procedure has been initiated, and should Matt Soprovich continue to make misleading comments, we will be free to comment further regarding his candidate application."

Soprovich said he didn't receive a response from the NDP for close to two weeks and feels the "public should decide whether this is a fair disqualification or a rigged process."

"We are the farthest corner away from Toronto," Soprovich said. "If you don't have a strong representative ... this area gets forgotten about completely, so that was the primary motivation," to seek office in the Kenora-Rainy River district.

Clarifications

  • The original article stated that Soprovich had not received a response from the NDP about his concerns for "the most part of the last two weeks," however, he clarified that he did receive a brief phone call from a party official this week.
    Apr 12, 2018 12:32 PM ET