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Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Monday, May 9, 2016

What's the Deal with the Gordon/Gibson Twitter Kerfuffle?

After the previous meeting, a nice quiet productive meeting was on the books as council discussed matters of two planning applications and an endorsement of $5,000 in support for the victims of the wildfire in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas. And then Councillor James Gordon raised a point of order. 

Gordon did not like the tone of some tweets that Councillor Dan Gibson said in reply to one posted by Gordon Friday while at the State of the City breakfast at the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre. But what happened in the first place? As the situation escalated quickly, there wasn't much time to visit the background, but here's the exchange on Twitter that became the new fiery flashpoint at tonight's council meeting. 

Gibson, in his response to Gordon, focused on the word "vision", and referred back to a blog post on the Ward 2 blog maintained by James Gordon. The excerpt Gibson read in council:
As we approach the one year anniversary of this term of Council, it’s worth noting the lack of long-term visioning and leadership for our community on economic development.
Yes we’ve seen lots of selfies and talk of austerity; but where’s the vision and the plan? Where will the new jobs come from?
The actual post was not written by Gordon, but by Gordon's predecessor as Ward 2 city councillor Ian Findlay in the form of an open letter. (In the interest of transparency, I'll say here that I work part-time at Thomas Video, which is owned by Findlay. He's my boss. But we have an understanding of a 'church and state' relationship between my employment as a clerk at his video store, and my work with Guelph Politico. Still, there it is.)
Gibson apologized in open council, and Gordon accepted, but for those hoping that council might have cleared the air after the rake out two weeks ago, it seems that there's still a lot of work left to be done. 


BK said...

Granted, except in the hands of a few masters, Twitter is not the place for nuanced political discussion, but i can't make heads or tales of this exchange from your excerpts. My best guess, one (rightwing) councillor misread something and said something passive aggressive to another (leftwing) councillor on Twitter, then had to apologize in council. Wow. Not your fault, but I have a hard time following these pointless ongoing micro dustups. :)

Candice Lepage said...

Gibson fell victim to Twitter's ridiculous non-chronological way of posting tweets. I'm sure he saw Gordon's tweet after the breakfast and felt it was a sub-tweet about the content of Guthrie's speech. It escalated quickly and he was right in the end to apologize for it, but it might have come earlier if anyone had been prepared to welcome an apology or acknowledgement of a mistake earlier. All parties immediately put their defences up.

I don't want to see councillors not using Twitter, but I think they need to remember that it is all public. If they wouldn't start throwing jabs at each other on stage at the State of the City address than they shouldn't throw jabs at each other on Twitter.

Adam A. Donaldson said...

@BK you nailed it, and @CandiceLepage summed up the situation well too.

Robert Routledge said...

Probably not surprisingly, I don't see what the problem is? Did someone say something offensive? Or act disrespectfully? It seems like one councillor (probably erroneously); publicly critiqued another councillor...isn't this even a gpod thing in its own way? We have a council with deep divisions, that we elected. I'm glad they are publicly airing those differences, because I think the alternative is they do it quietly or behind closed doors, and we won't know who to hold accountable or support in the next election. I'm for more heated discourse, not less.