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Doug Elniski: now just another walled off politician?

By DJ Kelly June 23, 2009

Did MLA Doug Elniski do something dumb? Yes. Was posting his thoughts online the mistake? No.

This is what makes social media such a powerful tool when it comes to politics: you get a chance to see inside the mind of our leaders and what makes them tick. And as you can imagine, when you get a chance to look inside someone’s mind you might not always like what you see.

The alternative to this is what we have been doing for generations. In that example, we elect someone without really knowing much about them and then either approve of what they do on our behalf or become belligerent and shocked when a massive scandal blows up.

I would argue social media like Twitter and Facebook allow us to get an inside perspective of what our elected officials do and think and that is a good thing. If they are corrupt or disengaged, status updates may give a peek at that attitude. If they don’t? Well they were just lying to us anyway so we’re no worse off then we were before.

Personally, I don’t agree with Doug’s comments. When I first read his tweets at the Edmonton Pride Parade I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t think those are appropriate comments to say out loud.” And when I read what he said at a grade 9 graduation I thought, “That does not seem appropriate at all.” But you know what? He has a right to think and say those things. Just like we have a right to judge him based on what he said.

I would much rather an elected leader show me their true face and let me decide what to do with that information, than live a lie and pretend to be something they are not.

Where I really became disappointed with Doug was with his reaction to the controversy created by his remarks on his blog. Rather than apologizing on his blog and trying to help us understand why he made the remarks and what he is doing/going through in getting past them, he simply deleted the blog all together.

And in doing so left us all to wonder what is going on in his head and became just another walled off politician. And that is our loss.

  • Paul Ney

    What a great insight on the situation.Unfortunately, because of how this was (mis)handled by everyone from the media to Mr Elniski's constituents, we may soon see an exceptional crackdown on any social media use from our politicians. Good bye personal communication. Good bye insight. Good bye slightest glimmer of involving regular people in the political process.I took no offense to Mr Elniski's comments, but I respect that other people may have. This may have seriously damaged Mr Elniski's political career, but I fear social media may be scapegoated into oblivion by party whips.Sad 🙁

  • Paul Ney

    What a great insight on the situation.

    Unfortunately, because of how this was (mis)handled by everyone from the media to Mr Elniski's constituents, we may soon see an exceptional crackdown on any social media use from our politicians. Good bye personal communication. Good bye insight. Good bye slightest glimmer of involving regular people in the political process.

    I took no offense to Mr Elniski's comments, but I respect that other people may have. This may have seriously damaged Mr Elniski's political career, but I fear social media may be scapegoated into oblivion by party whips.

    Sad 🙁

  • John Winslow (@sirthinks)

    I do not disapprove of the comments Mr. Elinski made on Twitter during the pride parade. As you can read on my blog, I was making the same types of comments, along with those of a Gay friend of mine. It was all in good fun, and no different from the off-colour comments many of the "Queens" made on the stage a Churchill Square.I also do not disagree with the message Mr. Elinski was trying to make at the Jr. High Grad. Unfortunately, he was speaking to children and should have chosen his words a little better.The bottom line is this, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Is that Rachel Notley? Is it the GBLTaQ community? Is it your or me? I don't think so.

  • John Winslow (@sirthinks)

    I do not disapprove of the comments Mr. Elinski made on Twitter during the pride parade. As you can read on my blog, I was making the same types of comments, along with those of a Gay friend of mine. It was all in good fun, and no different from the off-colour comments many of the "Queens" made on the stage a Churchill Square.

    I also do not disagree with the message Mr. Elinski was trying to make at the Jr. High Grad. Unfortunately, he was speaking to children and should have chosen his words a little better.

    The bottom line is this, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Is that Rachel Notley? Is it the GBLTaQ community? Is it your or me? I don't think so.

  • Grant L

    The latest I heard was that the Tories were preparing a document to help MLAs understand what's appropriate (and what's not) for blog posting. Sounds like party censorship.I want the unvarnished MLA, I want the chance to hear and read what s/he really thinks. I do disagree with what this MLA said at the grad (as I disagree with Iris Evans' latest ideas on proper parenting), but I'm thankful that I got to hear it. A crackdown by the party will turn the MLAs into party-line clones (like the current Harper Tories).Let MLAs be themselves!

  • Grant L

    The latest I heard was that the Tories were preparing a document to help MLAs understand what's appropriate (and what's not) for blog posting. Sounds like party censorship.

    I want the unvarnished MLA, I want the chance to hear and read what s/he really thinks. I do disagree with what this MLA said at the grad (as I disagree with Iris Evans' latest ideas on proper parenting), but I'm thankful that I got to hear it. A crackdown by the party will turn the MLAs into party-line clones (like the current Harper Tories).

    Let MLAs be themselves!

  • Ken Chapman

    I am with you DJ and Grant L too on this. I want unvarnished MLAs. We all have faults but can we learn from our mistakes and take the responsibility for the consequences we create. Tht goes for 4 year olds and old-school politicians and ordinary people too.

  • Ken Chapman

    I am with you DJ and Grant L too on this. I want unvarnished MLAs. We all have faults but can we learn from our mistakes and take the responsibility for the consequences we create. Tht goes for 4 year olds and old-school politicians and ordinary people too.