MPs should con­sult women about on­line con­duct: Cullen

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Kristy KIRKUP

OT­TAWA — Women and so­cial-me­dia com­pa­nies should be brought into a crit­i­cal dis­cus­sion about how par­lia­men­tar­i­ans con­duct them­selves on­line, says vet­eran Skeena–Bulk­ley Val­ley MP Nathan Cullen.

Many MPs in­sist that what they say and do on so­cial me­dia is per­sonal, not part of their pro­fes­sional lives, Cullen said Thurs­day, but said he sim­ply doesn’t buy it.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans get train­ing that fo­cuses on their day-to-day in­ter­ac­tions with other par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and staff, he said, but it doesn’t in­clude enough ma­te­rial on what ap­pro­pri­ate on­line be­hav­iour looks like.

“This as­pect of lik­ing (on­line images), trolling, I don’t re­call it be­ing talked about,” Cullen said af­ter the so­cial­me­dia ac­tiv­ity of for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter and long­time MP Tony Cle­ment came un­der fur­ther scru­tiny in Ot­tawa on Thurs­day, see story page 10.

“It is an­other layer but it is strik­ing. This is not the first on­line sex­ual story that’s hap­pened.”

Speak­ing with women about pat­terns they ob­serve and how they feel tar­geted would be valu­able, Cullen said.

Com­pa­nies like Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram could also help, he added.

“They’re deal­ing with this as com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions and could be a part of the con­ver­sa­tion as to what they’ve seen,” Cullen said.

Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer kicked Cle­ment out of the party cau­cus on Wed­nes­day af­ter rev­e­la­tions that he’d shared sex­u­ally ex­plicit images with some­one who later tried to ex­tort him for money.

Cle­ment is­sued an open let­ter to his On­tario con­stituents on Thurs­day to apol­o­gize to any­one who felt he crossed “on­line bound­aries” in a way that made them feel un­com­fort­able, with­out his know­ing. Cle­ment also ad­mit­ted he en­gaged in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­changes dur­ing a time of “per­sonal dif­fi­culty and weak­ness,” and he en­gaged in acts of in­fi­delity.

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