Tweetergate? Meatergate? For heaven’s sake, stop her before she Tweets again!

Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith Tweeting “let them eat steaks” over the worldwide web. Injudicious Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The offending Tweet; the real Ms. Smith.

Alberta Opposition Leader Memo to Self: Whatever was I thinking?

Whoever does Wildrose Party Leader Danielle “Marie Antoinette” Smith’s Tweeting for her – and one can’t really shake the sinking feeling that it might be Ms. Smith herself – needs to memorize a new adage for the online era: Tweet in haste, repent at leisure.

Well, maybe leisure isn’t exactly the way to describe Ms. Smith’s at times panicky, at times cranky, always voluble responses to Tweetergate, or maybe that should be Meatergate, her scandalizing if not quite scandalous suggestion via Twitter on Sunday that the potentially E. coli-riddled meat XL Foods is dumping by the truckload in a Brooks landfill ought to be given instead to the hungry.

“We all know thorough cooking kills E. coli,” Ms. Smith Twittered innocently in that first blush of success that comes with the thought of a terrific riposte that really ought to set Premier Alison Redford’s Tories back on their heels. “What a waste!”

To put that another way: The peasants are rioting because they have no rib eye? Let them eat tainted chuck steak!

Didn’t take long for the seething responses to start rolling in: “UR KIDDING, FEED TO THE HUNRGY WHY NOT FEED IT TO UR PARTY INSTEAD,” said one countercheck quarrelsome to what Ms. Smith must have thought was just a modest quip. From there, while the rest of us chuckled, it was all downhill from Ms. Smith’s perspective.

And really, who can blame her opponents, having been handed an opportunity like this one, right down there with federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s famous “death by a thousand cold cuts” crack in 2008, the last time a case of unwholesome tainted meat broke wide open in front of Canadians?

Like Mr. Ritz, Ms. Smith is a member of a far-right fringe party with a reputation for a serious lack of empathy. Of course, in the case of Mr. Ritz’s Conservative Party of Canada, the lunatic fringe is in power, which is troubling to say the least. At least Ms. Smith’s Wildrosers are still merely baying at the gates.

Maybe the trouble was that what Ms. Smith seemed to be suggesting sounded suspiciously like what XL Foods, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and all our various stripes of conservative politician wanted to do when the U.S. Customs Service discovered a problem with the steaks from Brooks: Hand them off to the dumb Canadians!

Through the day Sunday, Ms. Smith Twittered away, explaining that some of the beef being dumped had tested negative for E. coli, that cooking works really well to get rid of the stuff and that NDP Leader Brian Mason was surely being insensitive for calling her out for her insensitive Tweet.

She finally gave up yesterday, retreated to the familiar and sympathetic ground of talk radio, and issued a half-hearted apology – trying to spin the heated reaction to her glib suggestion as proof folks here in Alberta don’t trust “officials,” whomever they may be.

Well, good try, I guess. But it sure sounded like it was “Danielle Smith, c’mon down,” the Angry Birds of Twitterland were Tweeting.

The thing is, we live in a global village now, and at the centre of the village is a virtual Place de la Révolution. Even if your name isn’t Marie Antoinette, that’s not a place you want to be making a trip!

So here’s some free advice for Ms. Smith, worth what she paid for it: Just shut up before the virtual tumbrels start to roll for you!

Then again, here’s your BlackBerry. Let those Tweets fly. Go ahead and make my day!

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In other Alberta news, meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally got around yesterday to setting a date for the Calgary Centre by-election, so the campaigning will now begin in earnest – except for the NDP, which strangely had not planned to pick a candidate until Oct. 27. On Sunday, the NDP changed their nomination meeting date to today.

This seems likely to all but cede the bulk of the opposition vote on Nov. 26, when the by-elections are to take place in three Canadian ridings, to either Liberal candidate Harvey Locke or Green Party candidate Chris Turner.

Well, so be it. The candidate nominated by the Conservatives, former journalist and market-fundamentalist hawk Joan Crockatt, still comes to the contest with a significant edge, thanks to the inexplicable voting habits of Calgary electors.

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3 Comments on "Tweetergate? Meatergate? For heaven’s sake, stop her before she Tweets again!"

  1. daveberta says:

    Hey David – The NDP nomination date was moved to October 23 when the writ was dropped last weekend.

    - Dave

  2. david says:

    NOTE: This post has been modified to reflect the change in the NDP’s nomination date, as pointed out by Daveberta above. DJC

  3. Sam Gunsch says:

    tweets human dignity free context:

    August Strindberg: “All charity is humiliation.”

    excerpt: “On the last week of February, and five months into the Calgary Food Bank’s (CFB) budget year, there were only 2,500 jars of peanut butter left in the warehouse–enough for just one more week. For CFB’s 147,000 regular clients, that may mean having to switch to a very different diet very soon.”

    Alberta: Corporate profits over the last decade almost double the rates of the comparable jurisdictions. (source: Follow the Money, Kevin Taft).

    some backstory: Alberta is Energy, Stelmach cement shoes, royalty review, D Smith’s funding; AB corporatist politics include Social-Darwinism intellectual foundations in oilpatch wildrose country where Alberta is Energy includes foodbanks feeding the moochers and their children in oilpatch towns, cities, while democracy is kept in corporate tower storage under board room tables via petro-donations to political parties.


    excerpt: “Instead of seeing society’s obligation to help the poor on a collective level, we focus instead on the woefully insufficient, temporary gestures of either giving out some of our chump change (making us feel good about ourselves), or the equally self-congratulatory and media-friendly public-relations maneuver of corporate charity.”

    excerpt: “Writing in an era similar to ours – the Victorian age … where there was a big gap between the rich and poor, and a smug, condescending, social-Darwinsim-like attitude towards the poor – Oscar Wilde said, “We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best among the poor are never grateful (his emphasis). They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so…

    Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table.””

    excerpt: “In our slowly dying age of Globalization and economics-as-a-religion-for-our-political-leaders, charity has made a comeback from its Victorian days as a misguided force for dealing with poverty. Canadian philosopher-historian John Ralston Saul puts it simply: “for reasons of dignity and realism, charity should not and cannot fulfill the needs of a society’s poor, nor can it get the mass of those affected out of poverty.””

    from Charity: A Solution to, or Symptom of, Poverty? by Hogan Jan. 6, 2009

    “Charity is a feature of globalization simply because in a free-market system most economic matters are taken out of the hands of goverment – the public sector – leaving economic inequalities to be taken care of by the completely inadequate (precisely because it’s optional) funds from the private sector, whether individual or corporate.”


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