Should elected officials be allowed to block people's access on social media accounts?
I am sympathetic to the argument that citizens should by default, be allowed to receive communications and interact with elected officials and government departments first hand. Social media posts like a tweet, facebook message or otherwise should give consideration to both official languages and in the case of departments should fall within the mandate of the department in question in a non-partisan manner.
However, when we start talking exclusively about individual ministers and other members of Parliament, it starts to become less clear cut. There are guidelines for ministers and parliamentary secretaries as well as requirements for ministers to preserve social media communications for future generations (if you think we are tired of hearing about ‘the middle class and those working hard to join it' imagine the archivist who has to preserve all of this). In short, you can't use taxpayer funded resources for personal or partisan gain and you must preserve records of social media posts.
Should elected officials block people who may be abusive or threatening? I would submit that most would support the blocking of such individuals. Although not well known outside of Ottawa, one female MP was forced to pursue criminal charges against an individual who made very serious and disturbing online threats that created a fear for her safety. These types of situations are completely unacceptable and often come from anonymous social media accounts.
Ultimately every member of Parliament has a different style and way of communicating. Recently, I received a suggestion that each year an elected official should disclose exactly how many people they currently block on social media. In my case the answer to that question is zero however it's understandable that others would have higher number than that.
The most common frustration that I often hear from people is if their MP or a minister has blocked them in a manner they feel is unfair, they have no process or recourse aside from the ballot box to challenge that. Blocking can create a feeling of being unfairly convicted as guilty when the only offence may be asking a tough question.
I view social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to be an online marketplace of ideas. Our democracy has benefited an increasing number of elected officials can communicate and be held accountable. At times, there can even be constructive and useful debates that enhance the knowledge of all involved.
While social media use is not perfect and can benefit from improvement, let's not overthink it. It is important to let elected representatives make up their own minds and conduct themselves accordingly online. Let us all be mindful that ultimately every elected official is held accountable at the ballot box.
As much as these Liberals claim to be "consulting" and "listening", countless witnesses revealed the they were not consulted before the Liberals forced their mortgage changes onto Canadians.
Had the Liberals bothered to listen to the industry, they'd know that these changes will hurt your pocketbook.
When will the Finance Minister start listening to the experts from the Canadian mortgage industry?
Yesterday morning I spoke with Chris Walker on CBC Daybreak South. We discussed the upcoming legalization of Marijuana.
Listen to my segment here:
The Finance Department tabled a report, just before Christmas, that says, without major changes Canada may not balance its budget until 2050 or 2051!
But the Liberals won't let us study this report. Why the cover up? Trying to hide their reckless spending from Canadians?
Currently there is a motion before the Government, Motion 100, which asks the "Government of Canada to continue to recognise the important role that co-operatives play in the Canadian economy and to ensure that Canada’s co-operatives continue to thrive."
Here I spoke in the House of Commons on exactly why I think this is such an important motion. In particular, I focused on credit unions.
As the Deputy Finance Critic, I have heard at length from credit unions on very serious struggles they are facing, all trying to keep up with Ottawa's imposed one-size-fits-all regulatory compliance-related red tape. If we are to support this motion, and I am hopeful that all parties and all members will support this motion, then by extension we must do more to recognize the value of co-operatives.
The other day I spoke in the House of Commons on on why trade is important to our riding.
A while back I had a meeting with a group of local fruit growers. The growers came to my office not to request more government funding or support, but rather to share with me that new trade opportunities have helped their businesses grow - which helps the Canadian economy grow! The particular opportunity they brought up was a deal with China, signed by the previous Conservative Government, which resulted in an innovative new way to send BC cherries to China.
I would like to commend the government for carrying on the good work of the former government to see that the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) deal moves forward.