What was the tragedy of the orchestrated political lynching of an innocent member of the House of Assembly by the provincial Conservatives has now turned to farce.
On Tuesday, Premier Kathy Dunderdale was on her high horse: Conservative members of the House of Assembly "understand very well how Facebook works," Dunderdale told reporters outside the House of Assembly, “and as an MHA, when you're on Facebook, when you're engaged in Twitter, then you have to have an obligation to pay attention."
Neither Dunderdale nor several of her colleagues apparently were paying attention.
CBC reported on Wednesday that their survey of government politicians found that the Premier has been following a Twitter account that promotes pornography. Dunderdale issued a news release on Wednesday night disavowing the site. Her office subsequently deleted her Twitter account entirely.
CBC also found that Sandy Collins, parliamentary secretary to the health minister, “had a professional Facebook page which advertised ‘pay day loans’ which, by the government's own standards for social media, would be considered an endorsement.”
The Mother Corp also reported that:
- Paul Lane, the aggressive, hyper-partisan Conservative MHA from Mount Pearl endorsed federal Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones on his Facebook page.
- Another Conservative MHA’s Facebook page includes a link to a petition opposing his own government’s recent budget.
- The child, youth, and family services minister’s Facebook page included a link that showed she scored 90% on a sexuality meter.
- Steve Kent, the parliamentary secretary to the minister responsible for social engagement, “endorsed the HeavyWeights Training Centre and its owner, Rob King.” on Kent’s Facebook page. According to CBC, “King has been under investigation by the RCMP for shipping ephedrine to the United States.”
This is not the first time Dunderdale has had a problem with social media. In February 2011, she issued a news release disavowing an obviously fake, humourous ‘Kathy Dunderdale” Twitter account as if people might think the fake account was real. During the 2011 general election her campaign Twitter account included odd misspellings that suggested the Premier wasn’t actually the person using her account.
The departmental budget estimates for 2013 include a position in the Premier’s Office for a manger of social media. The salary for the position is $53,681.