(Conservative MP Michelle Rempel. Credit: Facebook)
An Indigenous youth representative is calling out Conservative MP Michelle Rempel for blocking him on Twitter, saying this move sets a “dangerous precedent” for politicians facing criticism online.
Lance Copegog, the 17-year-old deputy youth chief of the Beausoleil First Nation Youth Council in southern Ontario, saw Rempel’s tweets earlier this month about immigration and the media. Rempel, the Conservative’s vice chair of the standing committee on Citizenship and Immigration, has been tweeting about the influx of refugees claiming asylum in Canada and asking the prime minister what he’s going to do about the “crisis at the border.”
In response to those comments, Copegog tweeted:
He said that within five minutes he noticed he had been blocked by Rempel, who represents the riding of Calgary Nose Hill. Copegog said he is not upset he was blocked, but finds it disturbing that an elected Member of Parliament is limiting access to information about her work in government and her stance on issues that concern all Canadians.
“It also shows that she is unable to tolerate an opposing viewpoint to her, so her solution to that is to block that, so she doesn’t receive that anymore. But what worries me is that, Michelle Rempel is setting a dangerous precedent for others to follow,” said Copegog.
Copegog has been working with the Beausoleil Youth Council for two years, representing the community’s youth and advocating in areas like child welfare, education and environment. He said he has never blocked anyone on social media for disagreeing with his stance on issues. Even though he is not yet old enough to vote, he is very concerned that adult politicians inhibiting the ability of the voting public to access information from elected officials and their political platforms.
He felt so strongly that he released a press release regarding the incident. He wanted to raise the concern regarding elected officials blocking citizens on social media.
“I’m not expecting Michelle Rempel to unblock me on Twitter but this is setting a dangerous precedent for others to follow. For other politicians who don’t want to take criticism, don’t want their political stance to be questioned, and I think in the future going forward, Michelle Rempel, she should really listen to a different range of viewpoints because as a politician, as an elected member of parliament, that’s her job,” he said.
Rempel did not reply to APTN’s requests for an interview.