Nova Scotia·Nova Scotia Votes

N.S. Liberal leader says party 'helped' with Dartmouth South candidate's statement

The leader of the Nova Scotia Liberals said his party helped put together Robyn Ingraham's statement saying she'd step down as a candidate, but maintained Friday she withdrew on her own.

'My understanding is she withdrew and we helped as a team,' says Iain Rankin

Iain Rankin, leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, speaks during a campaign stop on Monday. Rankin says Robyn Ingraham's most recent statement made him 'uncomfortable.' (Robert Short/CBC)

The leader of the Nova Scotia Liberals said his party helped put together Robyn Ingraham's statement saying she'd step down as a candidate, but maintained Friday she withdrew on her own.

On July 17, the same day the election was called, Ingraham announced she was stepping out of the race in Dartmouth South. At the time, she cited the intensity of the campaign, the time commitment and the impact the campaign would have on her mental health.

Ingraham posted an open letter four days later alongside a copy of an email she sent to Liberal Leader Iain Rankin on the day she withdrew, explaining the Liberal Party told her to step down and to blame her mental illness.

She said a party official told her that boudoir photos she had modelled for and had been posted online were making the "higher-ups" nervous.

During a campaign stop Friday in Cape Breton, Rankin was asked why Ingraham was not wanted as a candidate.

"My understanding is she withdrew and we helped as a team, we helped put together her statement," he said.

Rankin also reiterated his party's commitment to diversity and "different life experiences."

"I want to make sure that we have an open, inclusive party, and I'm going to continue to do that," he said.

Ingraham says she was asked to drop out of the race for Dartmouth South over concerns of intimate modelling photos. (The Gentle Barber/Facebook)

In her July 21 statement, Ingraham said she got a call from someone in the party soon after her candidacy was announced, asking her if she'd ever "had sex for money."

"No. I haven't — but they shouldn't have to ask and I don't think they have the right to," Ingraham wrote.

When asked if the Liberals put that question to every candidate, Rankin said Friday he does not believe that's part of a regular questionnaire, nor would the response disqualify a candidate.

"I'm not aware that we've asked that," he said. He would not say who on his team had spoken directly to Ingraham.

Rankin also said he has tried to reach out directly to Ingraham, but has not heard back yet. 

Former candidate says she does not want to be 'spectacle'

Ingraham confirmed Friday that she had gotten a call from Rankin, but said she needs some time before speaking with him. 

"All I wanted was my truth to get out, and I don't want to be a spectacle anymore," Ingraham said. "I just wanted to bring attention to something bigger than I am."

The Liberals have not yet chosen a new candidate for Dartmouth South. They have until July 28.

with files from Tom Ayers

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