Sanjay Maru – CBC News – Jul 05, 2018
Windsor’s integrity commissioner has closed the case regarding Mayor Drew Dilkens’ social media practices — but it’s a matter which has yet to be resolved, according to Higher Limits Cannabis Lounge owner and complainant Jon Liedtke.
In May, Liedtke said the Windsor mayor was in violation of council’s code of conduct, for blocking him and others from the mayor’s social media accounts.
But in a letter sent to Liedtke by integrity commissioner Bruce Elman over the weekend, it states Dilkens has unblocked Liedtke from his Twitter account, prompting an ‘appropriate informal settlement’ of the complaint.
“As a general rule, Members of Council should not block or unfriend members of the public from social media platforms,” said Elman in the letter, adding there is no provision in the code of conduct which deals directly with blocking or unfriending others on social media.
Liedtke is not acknowledging the case as being settled. He said it has little to do with being blocked by the mayor on a personal level. Rather, it’s about answering the question: do elected officials have the ability to block their constituents on social media?
“This only raises far more questions — primarily, what’s the purpose of having a social media advisory bulletin issued by the integrity commissioner if it doesn’t mean anything whatsoever?,” Liedtke said.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. We live in a democracy here. The integrity commissioner is supposed to make rulings and, in this case, he has opted not to because the mayor had unblocked me.”
Liedtke wants the integrity commissioner to make a more decisive ruling, saying Windsor is a city where elected officials are allowed to block their constituents ‘with no outcome by a higher authority.’
“The integrity commissioner has refused to do his job. Why are we paying for this?”
The decision came one day after Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens informed the integrity commissioner that the complaint had not been filed properly.
In a letter sent to Elman dated June 28, Dilkens states the complaint affidavit had not been signed by Liedtke.
“I am advised that an unsigned Affidavit is not Affidavit at all,” DIlkens said, adding his reasons for blocking Liedtke was prompted by ‘belligerent behaviour amounting to trolling.’
Liedtke calls the mayor’s reasoning ‘absolutely absurd.’
“I had it notarized by a paralegal … You’ll notice [in the letters] the integrity commissioner doesn’t bring that point up whatsoever. Only Mayor Dilkens brings that point up so that has nothing to do with the decision whatsoever.”
Suggesting a new solution
Liedtke said he wants to see the implementation of a by-law which directly addresses social media engagement. One method he suggests is to create separate social media accounts and email addresses — not for each elected official, but for each position.
“At the end of the term, you hand over those passwords to the next councillor who’s coming in and you don’t have the ability whatsoever to block constituents — unless it gets to that matter of harassment or intimidation. That needs to be determined by an impartial panel.”
Liedtke said he may resubmit the complaint to the integrity commissioner.