"Fishing where the fish are," Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire told a group of local businesspeople on Thursday that they should look to Facebook to help meet their advertising needs.
Maguire helped kick off the morning’s Brandon Chamber of Commerce co-hosted event titled "Boost Your Business," during which Facebook Canada promoted their advertising tools for a crowd of about 200.
Maguire’s comments have drawn the ire of local news agencies, who question his support of a United States-based company over those that employ people in Westman.
"It’s disappointing a local political leader who we have representing us in Ottawa is not supporting local business, especially at a local chamber event," CKLQ and Star FM Radio general manager Cam Clark said.
The radio stations are a division of the locally owned and operated Westman Communications Group.
The Brandon Sun’s advertising department shared a similar sentiment on behalf of the news agency, which, while not locally owned, employs 42 full-time, five part-time and 175 distribution staff members — all local.
Responding to this criticism, Maguire clarified that he didn’t intend to promote one format over another.
"Businesses are voting with their dollars," he said. "Not to take anything away, but the reality of the world today is that there are other media communications out there, and businesses are using them, and I think this was just an opportunity for Facebook to do that."
Maguire affirmed his support for local news agencies, clarifying that he spends his advertising dollars with various organizations, including local ones.
However, using Facebook has been effective in his line of work as a politician, he said, noting that it’s allowed him to gather immediate feedback on whatever issue he chooses to post about.
Maguire posts frequently on Facebook and Twitter, boasting 2,496 "likes" on Facebook and 3,119 "followers" on Twitter.
Following Thursday morning presentation, Maguire took to Facebook to continue his promotion of the online medium.
"Companies who view social media platforms as an afterthought are bound to regret it," he wrote.
"Consumers now expect to find information, compare prices and receive better customer service from the comforts of their smart phone or living room."
The Brandon Chamber of Commerce did not respond to a request for comment by press time on Thursday.
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