OTTAWA — Dozens of people say Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has blocked them on Twitter after they criticized his statements about Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, says it is credible to claim that Blanchet infringed the charter-guaranteed right to freedom of expression of those who can no longer see or comment on his tweets.
Moon says politicians use their Twitter accounts as a public political platform, so excluding someone from responding to what they say there over their political views could be a restriction on that right.
Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, says Blanchet’s Twitter account is a public communication channel and he cannot decide arbitrarily to not allow voters to communicate with him there.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson faced a lawsuit in 2018 from local activists he had blocked on Twitter; the court action was dropped after Watson conceded his account is public and unblocked everyone he had blocked.
Blanchet has been a subject of criticism since last week after his party claimed a link between Alghabra and what a Bloc news release called “the political Islamic movement.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2020
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press