Monday, 6 June 2016

Welcome to the 21st Century

Welcome to the 21st Century

By: Ryan Young

I couldn’t help but start off this week by writing a post about the irony that I observed in some comments made by Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dale Kirby last week in the House of Assembly. First, Mr. Kirby rose on a point of order in regards to Mount Pearl North MHA Steve Kent’s tweets  that acknowledged members who were absent from the house during the budget vote the day before. Under parliamentary tradition a member is not allowed to question the absence of another member in the house, since that member may have many legitimate reasons for missing a sitting. In the end, the speaker ruled in Kent’s favor but ordered a review of the use of social media in the house.

Later that day the MHA’s debated full day kindergarten. Minister Kirby rose again, this time accusing the opposition PC’s of governing from the 19th century and claiming that this new slash and burn style of Liberal education reform is how things are done in the modern age. I won’t bother getting into the absurdity of Kirby’s comments. I am more interested in the fact that out of all of the stupid tweets Steve Kent has made, this is the one that got him in trouble. After all, shouldn’t the people have a right to know if a cabinet minister walks into the house directly AFTER the most important vote of her career? Why should Kent be disciplined for doing his duty as an MHA by keeping his people informed? It all raises some very interesting questions about the role of social media in politics in this province.

Aside from the debate about appropriate use of social media in the House of Assembly, we have witnessed a more direct use for technology when it comes to politics in Newfoundland and Labrador. Social media in this province has absolutely exploded since the budget speech on April 14th. People have turned to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to vent their frustrations and get their voices heard by their elected members. Government MHA’s are being bombarded daily with messages and there seems to be no end in sight. Communications workers in the premier’s office have been working overtime removing tags and documenting posts. They just can’t keep up with the sheer volume of angry messages and tweets. Before social media we had to depend on the media to fire up the people. Now that role has reversed and we see our media outlets following social media to see where the stories are. The end result has been an online political maelstrom that has been directly sucking the lifeblood right out of our out of touch government.

It’s not hard to tell that it is working on them. Every member on the government side is beginning to look worn and haggard after nearly two months of solid assault. They have all become very quiet on their own social media accounts, knowing that each comment will only stir another round of backlash. It is amazing the effect a few keystrokes can have when the message is being repeated over and over again. Insiders tell me that the liberals still think they can ride this out and that people will forget as they always do. Well thanks to social media they no longer have that luxury. People are not going to back down and they are not going to go away. That next angry comment or demand for accountability is only a keystroke away. If anything the action is just getting started. Welcome to the 21st century. 


  1. You reap what you sow! No privacy anymore, unless you stay away from any form of social media! It appears that people can Not help themselves!

  2. And I for one not only endorse every person to contact every siurce they can to voice their displeasure....but I endorse it. They think we are all sheep they can herd and whip into whatever direction they want. This government has unveiled the wolf within us that has been hidden in sheep wool for far too long. Lets take this province back people!!!!

  3. The "Age of Accountability" is on us .... and more importantly... it's on the politicians (them),
    and there's NO CHOICE.... they just have to learn wear it, even when it fits like a bad suit.

  4. I cannot believe the contempt for the people from government , media , and other persons against those of us who have become fed up with the mismanagement of our public funds , legislation, and freedom of speech and action.
    Newfoundland is a province that has bitten it's tongue and held its civility for a long time while suffering injustice from other nations, our own government and representatives of various departments for a long time. I really don't understand how it's taken this long for even this peaceful type rebellion to surface ,with what has been enacted upon the people of this forced confederation of a province. It has been a complete faux confederation from the viewpoint of both the Nflders & labs and Canadians forced upon both by Britian and Canada for the betterment of both and used as a pawn. The province's youth have been reared in this stigma of a forced marriage of confederation and lived their lives watching and listening to a provincial government trying to justly and unjustly run the affairs of this great province of NL with a deck stacked against it due to the small population we have and lack of representation in the federal scene ,which resulted in a back and forth change of political parties fighting to represent us with a pittance to offer.
    The youth of this day finally have had enough now with this last amount of mismanagement by our own leaders ,namely Williams and now Ball, who simply slammed this province and its people into a deep fiscal mess and deceitful promise of a better future with instead leading us to nothing but a bankrupt system. The time has come whereby the youth and middle aged of our population know that something has to change now and this system of government has had its day and must be dealt with hell or high water. Rather than many splinter groups popping up everywhere now, the persons who know we need and want change of representation of government , should meet and work together as one now instead of as mentioned breaking into splinter groups. We cannot expect to enjoy a justified and equal benefit of governance in this confederation with the representation we have in this federation and it was marred at the signing of the terms of union which was noted by a few of the reps we had at the signing who opted to drop out at that time.
    I would advise the youth and others wanting this change of our political system to continue and never get discouraged in the drive to make this needed change and once others see the determined drive ,there will be others who will jump on board of this movement and support it financially as well , which will be a necessity in order to gain momentum.

    1. I was not born in NL, but grew up there from the young age of 2 to the ripe old age of 40! Since my retirement, I have been living in NS......however, I still have friends in NL whom I visit when I can.

      I totally agree with you Angus Gillingham and have been watching MF etc. unfold for quite sometime.

      Now is the time for NL's to stand up for what they believe in......Opportunity Knocks!