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Vernon mayoral candidate apologetic about past social media outbursts

Darrin Taylor poses for a photo on Friday, July 30, 2018 in Vernon.
August 29, 2018 - 2:00 PM

VERNON - Vernon mayoral candidate Darrin Taylor has come under fire for several social media posts in which he calls a local environmental group "hard-left enviro-nazis," appears to advocate for people to carry guns and calls Vernon a "Hicktown."

The tweets and Facebook posts date back several years. In one Facebook post, Taylor refers to the Vernon Climate Action Group as "hard-left enviro nazis."

"That was unfortunate phrasing," Taylor says. "Certainly in the heat of moment things don't always come out eloquently on social media, there's no question about that."

In 2013, Taylor tweeted, "Sounds like a good argument for concealed carry," in response to a news article about a violent attack on an innocent victim. The mayoral candidate reiterated he was not a gun advocate and the tweet was a "flippant remark."

"The supposition here is that I'm somehow in favour of unfettered gun rights," Taylor says. "The reality is I don't own guns. I don't use guns. I don't hunt. I don't have particularly strong feelings either way in respect to guns. It was just an off-the-cuff remark in response to a terribly horrific news story."

The candidate is however defending the sentiment behind his post to the Vernon Climate Action Group.

"The (Vernon Climate Action Group) is on the record advocating for the closure of vast areas of Alberta oil fields when there are hundreds, if not thousands of families dependent upon good paying jobs in the energy sector. The economic impact on that sort of policy... is significant."

But Vernon Climate Action Group organizer and UBC Okanagan lecturer Dr. Mary Stockdale says regardless of Taylor's crass language, he's missing the point when it comes to the issue of climate change.

"It's always more complicated than saying I think (environmentalists) are terrible people because they want to put my friends out of work," Stockdale says. "We're pro jobs. We're pro finding alternatives for the workers in Alberta."

Stockdale says the issue of climate change isn't one of right or left wing ideologies, nor can it be looked at as the environment versus the economy.

"Climate change is a planetary problem and we all have to get together and solve it. We may disagree on how, but I don't think we should be dividing ourselves and name calling ourselves and politicizing this issue," she says.

Taylor says he is not a climate change denier and "firmly believes" it is a real and significant problem. 

Although he's apologetic in his use of language, Taylor says he speaks the truth as he sees it.

"I'm not the type of person who will say things because I think that's what people want to hear," he says. Taylor describes himself as pragmatic and someone who gets on well with people even if their opinions differ.

So does he think Vernon is a hicktown?

He says the tweet sent in 2012 was taken completely out of context. It was a play on words in reference to the song Hicktown by Jason Aldean and Taylor capitalized the spelling in the tweet.

"It was the furthest thing from a put down to Vernon, it was the opposite, a song celebrating the small town life that we get to enjoy."

— The headline on this story was edited at 4:54 p.m. Aug. 29.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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