Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I feel for Calgary-Bow MLA Deborah Drever.

The 26-year-old  University student, who was elected to the Alberta Legislature earlier this month  has found herself in hot water over a controversial social media post she made over a year ago.

Drever was drummed out of the NDP caucus after an image posted on her Instagram account featuring PCs Ric McIver and Jim Prentice with the phrase “Gay boyz” written underneath it, surfaced.

Despite her long held beliefs in true equality and support for  LGBT activists, the flippant Instagram post and "homophobic" remarks have been her undoing.  Drew's social media footprint includes a number of other controversial snaps. At 19 She posed for in front of a T-shirt promoting marijuana, there is a picture of someone  giving the finger to the Canadian flag and a controversial album cover for a band that critics say promotes sexual violence against women.

The human search engine means that youthful indiscretion and errors of our youth can come back to bite. Revisionist hacks and the politically correct police can dig around and play gotcha with anyone looking to serve the community.

Social media is leaving behind records that are written in real-time, are less filtered, and tend to discuss the detail of what we were doing or thinking at a particular point in the past. And, in many cases, they can be seen by anybody – without us there to explain where this particular record fitted into our lives at the time; without context.

We all evolve. I grew up in a fairly homophobic culture in a small outport in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Slang words like "queer" and "gay" were interchanged as insults. Was it right? No. Did we know better? I do not think so. Do I know better today? Yes. Has my behavior changed? Yes. Do I find homophobia intolerable today? Yes. Should I be judged on my youthful indiscretions - certainly not.

However, the issue of everything you post in the digital world sticking around should alarm you. Those pictures of youthful drinking, smoking pot, flashing your unmentionables or online posts & tweets are floating around just waiting to be used against you in some future job interview...or after an election.

Deborah Drever was vetted as a New Democrat candidate. This social media content was available. She says she regrets the comments and the images. Turn the page.

Uvetted, without context, our  social media records provide a view of our pasts than we might no longer  portray. Intolerance is a two way street! 

No comments: