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New Calgary-Bow MLA's marijuana, middle finger photos come under 'attack'

One day after she painted a longtime Tory stronghold NDP orange, soon-to-be-sworn-in MLA Deborah Drever was fending off critics who took a gander through her social media accounts.

By mid-morning, images pulled from her Facebook page were being circulated and sent to media outlets.

In one, dated May 31, 2014, Drever is seen holding up a peace sign next to a T-shirt that features a marijuana leaf and the words "Magic Weed."

In another, posted in 2010, a hand is seen giving the middle finger to the Canadian flag.

Drever did write in the comments under the photo, "OH JKJKJKJK LOVE CANADA!"

She couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday, but campaign manager Ron Hamelin said it wasn't Drever showing disrespect to the flag.

"On social media, you get tagged on pictures," he said.

The weed photo was merely Drever being "funny and silly," Hamelin said. Asked about another image, in which Drever appears to have a Pabst Blue Ribbon box over her ahead, Hamelin said "again, personal accounts under attack."

"It's like you're not allowed to be funny and be happy and be a jokester, prankster," he said. "It's just something to try to discredit and steer away from the actual values and actual platform at hand."

Hamelin said the accounts were pulled because "we don't people to get the wrong impression."

But political watchers have warned the NDP's surprising surge of support that saw the party capture 53 seats Tuesday could thrust some inexperienced candidates into the public spotlight.

In a previous interview on the campaign trail, Drever told Metro she was a student in the social work program at Mount Royal University and balancing writing her end-of-semester exams with campaigning.

In a post on her Facebook page last year, Drever ranted that she wanted to be done school and "sick of the service industry."

"People on their high horse because they are pissed off that this is the best job they will ever get because they don't have an education," she wrote, later adding, "Don't come to work with a complex because of you sh--y life decisions. Frigg off."

The Bow riding had been represented by the Tories since 1975 and few expected the seat would fall Tuesday.

David Stewart, a political scientist with the University of Calgary, said it's likely the NDP put some candidates on the ballot to ensure they had a presence in every one of Alberta's 87 ridings.

(It was done) without the expectation that they would actually win," he said. "But there is still some level of vetting. I don't think it goes to the level of checking out of all of their social media.

"It's something in the future that candidates need to be aware of."

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