Tonight, Ezra reflects on the recent saga involving former Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, which sheds light on the importance of platforms like X in shaping public opinion and holding politicians accountable.
In the spring of 2021 — almost three years ago — Guilbeault blocked Ezra on X. At the same time, Catherine McKenna, then Trudeau’s environment minister, did the same thing to Rebel News' Editor-in-Chief Sheila Gunn Reid.
While some may dismiss X as a mere time-wasting app, its role in disseminating information, especially in the realm of politics, cannot be overstated.
X serves as a powerful tool, allowing direct interactions between citizens and politicians, transcending geographical boundaries. In an era where traditional media may fall short, social media platforms provide unfiltered insights into global events, as witnessed during the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The crux of the issue lies in the misuse of official government Twitter accounts for personal agendas. Guilbeault and McKenna faced legal action for blocking journalists on their government-managed accounts, prompting a lengthy legal battle.
The court order, demanding Guilbeault to unblock Ezra and pay $20,000 in costs, marks a victory for free speech and accountability.
However, the victory comes at a steep cost, with legal expenses nearing $100,000. The revelation that taxpayers footed the bill for Guilbeault's defence raises ethical concerns.
Despite Guilbeault's insistence that his X account is personal, the government's payment of the settlement contradicts this claim.
The broader implications of this case extend beyond Guilbeault, as three other Liberal cabinet ministers, Marci Ian, Karina Gould and Ya’ara Saks, thought it would be smart of block us on X, too.
The ease with which politicians resort to blocking critics on social media, even in the wake of Guilbeault's publicised case, highlights a disconnect between elected officials and the principles of free speech.
As we celebrate the legal triumph against Guilbeault's blocking antics, the underlying question lingers: Why should taxpayers bear the financial burden of politicians' personal agendas?
In the end, the victory for free speech on X serves as a reminder that even in the virtual realm, politicians must be held to account for their actions.
If you agree that Steven Guilbeault should pay his own $20,000 penalty, and not pass it off to taxpayers, please sign the petition right here on this page!