Liberal candidate defends bio that says he was Facebook executive

BRANDON, Man. – The person expected to represent the Liberals in an upcoming federal byelection says he is not misleading voters through his online biography, where he lists experience as a senior executive at Facebook.

Rolf Dinsdale, the only candidate so far for the Liberal nomination in Brandon-Souris, was never an employee of Facebook. He worked for a Toronto company called Segal Communications, which handled sales for Facebook advertising in Canada between 2007 and 2009.

“Well, maybe I better change a couple of sentences here, but I don’t think I’m being misleading at all,” Dinsdale said Wednesday.

“I’ll be very clear. I never worked directly for Facebook. I was a third-party agent. But this is very typical when companies expand into Canada, in the media business, that they’ll hire Canadian companies to represent them here.”

Segal and Facebook formed a “partnership,” Dinsdale said, and he reported to a vice-president at Facebook.

Dinsdale recently moved back from Toronto to Brandon, where his family history runs deep. His father, Walter Dinsdale, was the area’s Progressive Conservative member of Parliament for 32 years. His grandfather, George Dinsdale, was a Brandon mayor and legislature member.

The 47-year-old has experience in publishing and media sales. His campaign website says Dinsdale “became a senior executive at the leading social media network Facebook, and guided its Canadian business operations until 2009.”

Unlike his father, Dinsdale has leaned Liberal. Until recently, he was a member of the punk rock band S–t From Hell, along with longtime Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella. The band’s songs include “Horny Single Mom” and “Jesus Got Wood.” The video for the latter features a writhing woman and the lyrics, “Baby you’re going to get impaled.”

Dinsdale says the songs show his sense of humour and he considers his material pro-Christian.

“If I’m guilty of anything, it’s of having a sense of humour and enjoying playing loud rock ‘n’ roll with my friends.”

“Jesus Got Wood” is a Christian anthem, Dinsdale said.

“Personally, I felt there needed to be a song like this that spoke to people who maybe don’t get exposed to Christian rock … and it is funny in one sense.”

Dinsdale may be in for an uphill battle in Brandon-Souris, a long-time Tory stronghold. In 2011, the Liberal candidate finished fourth, slightly behind the Green Party candidate.

A date has not yet been set for the byelection, which must be held to replace Conservative Merv Tweed, who resigned last month. The Liberals have yet to set a date for their nomination meeting.

Dinsdale originally faced a competitor, Frank Godon, but he dropped out of the race last week.

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