City council to review proposed social media policy


By Emily Rendell-Watson

The city's integrity commissioner has prepared a proposed social media policy for council members to review at the next code of conduct sub-committee meeting.

The suggested principles include guidance on blocking, a distinction between private and personal social media accounts, ensuring conduct on social media complies with the requirements of the code of conduct, and more.

Last fall, Coun. Mike Nickel avoided sanctions for violating city council's code of conduct. Earlier in the year he had called out fellow councillors on social media for "approving 'emergency bike lanes' during the COVID-19 pandemic" resulting in a review from integrity commissioner Jamie Pytel at the time.

(Courtesy of Unsplash/@dole777)

(Courtesy of Unsplash/@dole777)

"Pytel said she found the posts violated the code of conduct for being disrespectful of other councillors, lacking decorum, containing misleading information and not accurately reflecting the facts of council’s decisions. She argued she made her decisions based on the code of conduct that was approved by council back in June 2018," reported the Edmonton Journal.

Following the hearing, Pytel recommended pursuing the creation of a social media policy. Councillors and Edmontonians have already started weighing in online on the proposed guidelines.

"If council passes the current proposed social media policy, I’m going to have to keep city politics off of this account," tweeted Coun. Aaron Paquette, who also asked his followers to follow his official twitter account.

Calgary-based political strategist Stephen Carter voiced his opinion on the subject as well on Twitter: "Speech should not be restricted by councils, especially in election years."

The guidelines will discussed on Jan. 26.

This story has been corrected. An earlier version misidentified Stephen Carter as an Edmontonian.