Canadian provincial legislator suspended from her caucus due to social media postings

Here’s one where a series of social media postings will have a highly detrimental effect on someone’s long-term political career.  What makes this one particularly interesting – and depressing – is that the postings covered here were much more than “youthful indiscretions.”

Deborah Drever, 26, had been elected to serve in the provincial government (MLA) of Alberta, Canada, as a member of the New Democratic party.  The election took place on May 5, and shortly afterwards, pictures began to surface from Drever’s social media accounts.  These included:

  • A picture of Drever, in dark glasses, beside a marijuana t-shirt.
  • Another showing a hand (not hers) flipping the bird at the Canadian flag.
  • A picture of Drever appearing to be assaulted with a bottle.

However, it was the last picture that proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back:

Deborah Drever Instagram

That photo came from Drever’s Instagram account and features leaders of the Conservative Party with hearts drawn on them and captions that make them appear to be in love.  The “Gay boyz” comment was made by Drever.

As a result of that last picture, Rachel Notley, Preimier-designate, suspended Drever from the NDP party.  She will still be a member of the MLA, but will have to sit as an independent.  In a statement, Notley said,

“I apologize to all Albertans for the homophobic statements contained in this image, which are completely contrary to the views of our party and our future government. I hope Ms. Drever will take to heart our conversation earlier this week about her responsibility to speak out clearly on issues of violence against women, and homophobia. If she does so as part of her duties to her constituents, I’ll review this matter in the coming year and consider whether she has a future in our caucus.”

In an earlier interview on the subject, Drever said, “I am very disappointed in myself that I let (people) down. I really want to prove that I can do a good job.”

This particular issue wasn’t just a matter of one mistake – there were clearly many here, and all of them showed acceleratingly bad judgement on Drever’s part.  This proves, once again, that everyone has to be very careful with what they allow themselves to get pictured with.

I’ve said previously that everyone is going to have to get more forgiving with youthful mistakes that appear on social media, and I still maintain that.  However, Drever’s “mistakes” were multiple and recent, not one-off “errors in judgement.”  There’s a difference there.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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