It did not take long for dirty tricks to creep into the Kelowna mayoral election campaign.
With in hours of filing her nomination papers Friday, and less than a day after publicly announcing she planned to run for mayor, Sharon Shepherd said she learned she was the victim of cyber identity theft.
And who ever was behind the theft made it look like she was dissing another candidate.
“There was a tweet that said something about another candidate, something I felt was derogatory,” said Shepherd. While she did not reveal what was said or who the other candidate was, she issued a statement on the weekend expressing concern that someone was using her old Twitter account to send out such a message.
Within hours of her going public about the the tweets, they disappeared from public view.
“Those who know me soon realized my previous accounts had been taken over without my knowledge or permission, for the apparent purpose of political sabotage, to discredit me,” Shepherd said.
“Several inappropriate comments were posted from an older account long left behind. “I take the issue of cyber bullying very seriously and I have contacted the RCMP to address this situation.”
IOt’ not known who was behind the fake Twitter messages.
Shepherd said the old account, which was cleaned out of previous messages to make it look like it was new, included a tweet that tried to show herd as indecisive and a third was was told about but did not not see.
“I was alarmed to learn that an attack on my identity via my previous website and an old twitter account has transpired,” she said. “I felt insulted, disturbed and angry.”
Meanwhile, she said someone also beat her to the punch for her old website domain name—the one she used in 2011–and posted a video about her election loss to Walter Gray three years on it.
She learned the domain name was bought by someone in May after she let the licence to use it lapse. She does not know the new owners identity. Shepherd now uses sharonshepherdformayor.com as her campaign website address.
Shepherd’s main rival in the mayoral race, city Coun. Colin Basran was quick to denounce the cyber attack.
“I was deeply disappointed to hear that Sharon Shepherd’s Twitter account has been misused,” said Basran in a written release Saturday. “As an elected official, who has also been subject to online personal attacks, I understand how hurtful this can be.”
Basran said there is no room in the campaign for dirty tricks and he asked the community respect all candidates and continue to show support in a positive manner.