Twitter requires Maxime Bernier to delete tweet sharing reporters’ emails

Twitter has required People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to remove a tweet that insulted individual reporters and shared their contact information.

In a tweet Wednesday, Bernier called three journalists from mainstream news outlets “idiots” and listed their emails, writing: “They want to play dirty, we will play dirty too.”

He encouraged his 160,000 followers to contact the reporters, posting excerpts of their requests for comment after Monday’s federal election.

“(T)ell them what you think of their disgusting smear jobs,” Bernier wrote.

The journalists from CTV News, Global News and the Hill Times had asked about the People’s Party’s endorsement by white nationalist groups, fears among racialized Canadians about what the party represents and whether it tolerates potential acts of hate by supporters on the campaign trail.

Hill Times reporter Neil Moss told The Canadian Press he experienced an uptick in harassment in the form of emails.

The People’s Party did not respond to a request for comment from The Canadian Press.

The Canadian Association of Journalists said journalists have a legal and ethical obligation to send questions to politicians and that going after reporters for doing their job is “unacceptable and dangerous.”

The post amounts to “intimidation tactics right out of an authoritarian’s playbook,” said association president Brent Jolly.

“Mr. Bernier’s effort to harass journalists, to sic his followers on journalists for basically just doing their job and asking questions and holding them to account, it is absolutely deplorable,” he said in an interview.

Jolly compared Bernier’s tack to some Republicans’ efforts at “demonizing the press.”

“He’s channelling, it seems, a lot of the same behaviours that we see from American politicians and their relationships with the media,” he said. “This is what we’ve seen with Donald Trump and other right-wing politicians.”

A Twitter Canada spokesman says the company took enforcement action against Bernier’s account for violating its information privacy policy. The account was suspended Wednesday and reactivated after Bernier took down the offending tweets at 11 p.m., according to the company.

Founded by Bernier in 2018 after he narrowly lost the Conservative leadership race to Andrew Scheer, the People’s Party of Canada occupies turf to the right of the Tories, advocating drastically reduced immigration levels, withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine passports.

During the election campaign, some protesters against vaccination measures touted PPC signs. The party booted one of its Ontario riding association presidents after allegations surfaced he threw gravel at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a whistle stop in London, Ont.

Police later charged Shane Marshall in the incident. The suspect shared the name of the former PPC riding association president, but the party did not confirm he was the same person.

Bernier condemned the attack in a tweet, saying that “physical violence is always wrong.”

The former Tory cabinet minister, who self-identifies as a “limited-government conservative,” drew boisterous crowds over the past month as he campaigned against vaccine mandates and pandemic lockdowns amid a surging fourth wave.

The CBC said in a release that reporters’ work is vital to an informed public and a healthy democracy, and that online harassment of journalists puts their safety at risk.

“When the incitement to harass journalists comes from public figures, it is even worse,” Canada’s public broadcaster said Thursday.

“That the worst of this abuse targets women and racialized journalists should make clear just how dangerous this is.”

The Crown corporation said it will join with other public broadcasters from across the globe next week in a commitment to take joint action against the problem.

—Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

RELATED: People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier loses his seat

The Canadian Press

Leave a Comment
Share
Published by
The Canadian Press

Recent Posts

Facebook whistleblower rekindles questions about cracking down on Facebook in Canada

Canadian politicians and experts grapple with how to regulate Big Tech

1 hour ago

‘We have made the impossible possible’: Calgary, Edmonton celebrate mayoral firsts

Calgary elects first female mayor, Edmonton appear to have elected the city’s first mayor of…

1 hour ago

NHL suspends Evander Kane 21 games after probe into fake COVID vaccine card

B.C.-born San Jose Sharks forward forfeits about $1.68 million after probe into fake vaccine card

1 hour ago

B.C. money laundering inquiry hears plea for whistleblower protections

Inquiry heard investigators raised concerns with officials more than a decade ago

1 hour ago

Denis Villeneuve’s dreams of `Dune’ reach the big screen

‘Dune’ finally makes its way to North American theaters Friday

1 hour ago

QUIZ: Exploring the final frontier

How much do you know about factual and fictional space travel?

3 hours ago