Welland’s new Integrity Commissioner, Deborah Anschell of ADR Chambers told Council there that blocking constituents on social media might contravene the city’s Code of Conduct. The Integrity Commissioner cited a recent case in York, where a complaint was filed by a constituent who had been blocked by a member of Council simply because the resident was critical.
She stated in her presentation:
“The councillor’s action in blocking the complainant on his social media account constituted conduct which undermined the apparent transparent and open public discourse and debate on a matter of significant public interest,” said a slide in the integrity commissioner’s presentation.
She also commented to Welland Council:
“I don’t know if any of you councillors here block people and prevent participants from adding to a Twitter post. You should not block participants,”
The Welland IC also delineated between a Councillor’s personal page and a “work” one, with the former not falling under the Code of Conduct.
She added that social media is an excellent medium for elected officials to stay in touch with residents but that “no one should be blocked because a councillor doesn’t agree with their commentary”. There are exceptions for offensive and abusive posts however.
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