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MP cancels his Twitter account

Martin in hot water over comments

New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin

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New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin (CHRIS WATTIE / REUTERS ARCHIVES)

OTTAWA -- Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin has sworn off Twitter after getting himself into hot water again with a tirade of tweets Wednesday night, personally attacking Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and calling Conservatives "rat-faced whores."

"I apologize for my regrettable and inappropriate language yesterday," he wrote on Thursday. "It seems some people shouldn't tweet, so with this, I sign off."

TWITTER REMORSE

Pat Martin is not the only politician whose thumbs got them into trouble this year

Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau

In June, Brazeau objected to a story written by CP reporter Jennifer Ditchburn about the fact he had the worst attendance record of any senator. His tweet?

"while u smile Jen, others suffer. Change the D to a B in your last name and we're even. Don't mean it but needs saying."

Brazeau did apologize to Ditchburn personally for the comment. A few days later, he left Twitter but not for long. Less than a month later he tweeted:

"Must have been a slow season to have the media comment on my "break" from Twitter. I'll be nice from now on... I promise."

 

Manitoba Conservative youth president Braydon Mazurkiewich

Last week, Mazurkiewich was forced out of his job after he used both Twitter and Facebook to post racist comments about the potential sale of the Kapyong Barracks land to Treaty One First Nations.

His tweets included saying the site "was built for hard-working men and women of the military, not freeloading Indians." He also suggested putting a "freaking reserve" in the middle of Winnipeg was making the city "the laughing stock of the entire country."

Mazurkiewich did apologize for the comments but he was asked to step down from his volunteer post anyway and he did.

 

Treasury Board President Tony Clement

Clement is one of the most prolific tweeters on Parliament Hill, but last January he was forced to apologize after he swore at a 15-year-old boy from Parry Sound, Ont. The exchange began when Clement tweeted "Coach's Corner gave me a lot to think about tonite." Then Keith Pettinger tweeted back: "@TonyclementCPC: Coach's Corner gave me a lot to think about tonite. "Tonight"... if you can't spell how can you run Canada's treasury?"

Clement's response was to call Pettinger a jackass.

Clement sent Pettinger an apology via direct message and later said he didn't know Pettinger was only 15.

The tweets began Wednesday as Martin sounded off about complaints he'd heard that the new Youth for Christ Centre for Youth Excellence, at Main Street and Higgins Avenue, was mostly unused. The centre opened a year ago with $3.2 million in funding from both the city and federal governments. Youth for Christ had to raise another $3.2 million privately.

The centre targets an active lifestyle for Winnipeg youth but was criticized by some who felt government funding should not go to a religious organization. Martin was not one of its fans, and around 9 p.m. Wednesday tweeted: "All the money for inner city youth went to USA Youth for Christ. Big building, no benefit. Vic Toews Mr family values. What gives?"

He addressed the topic several more times in the next half-hour, accusing donors to the project of being Toews' "donors and buddies" and said "it's a disgrace that Vic Toews gave ALL the money for inner-city youth to his evangelical Youth for Christ. That got me going."

Martin received some support for his comments and then turned his attacks on Toews to a more personal level. He also swore at a Twitter user who wondered if Martin was "cruising for another lawsuit."

Martin also was irate about not being invited to an event in his riding this week.

"I'm not 'worked up' so much as 'fed up' with the rat-faced whores in the CPC who neglect to invite me to ancements in my riding," he wrote.

Then he added: "Look... Given the parliamentary session we've just endured, the term 'rat-faced whores' is using a great deal of restraint."

Martin told the Free Press he was really angry about not being invited to the event about refugee housing. He said the former Liberal government always invited opposition MPs if the announcement was in their riding but the Conservatives never do.

Before noon on Thursday however, Martin had apologized and closed his Twitter account.

Toews issued a written statement on the incident Thursday. He took issue with Martin's claims about Youth for Christ and called them patently false.

"For a sitting member of Parliament to attack an organization with blatant mistruths is both irresponsible and disgraceful," Toews said. "The new facility that Youth for Christ operates from better serves the Winnipeg region and allows it to expand its reach and capacity."

Toews also lambasted Martin regarding the lack of an invitation to the event earlier this week, saying other MPs have contacted Toews about issues in their ridings, but Martin never has.

"Given that the bulk of the money was allocated by the provincial NDP government, I have to wonder why they also chose not to invite him. Clearly, even his own party doesn't want him at events."

Martin's party was not impressed with his tweeting. "These comments were simply inappropriate and unacceptable. Mr. Martin agrees and we understand that he has decided to stop using his Twitter account," said Karl Belanger, principal secretary to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, December 21, 2012 at 8:14 AM CST:
replaces photo, adds fact box

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