Ag minister blocking Alberta media & voters on social media

Devin Dreeshen campaigned in 2016 for Donald Trump, who recently incited violence following his defeat in the 2020 US presidential election.

Earlier this week, in light of the violence occurring in the United States capital spurred by Donald Trump’s initial refusal to concede being voted out of office, CTV Calgary assignment editor Kevin Nimmock tweeted out the following:

So, let’s back up a bit.

In November 2016, Devin Dreeshen, now Alberta’s current minister of agriculture and forestry and the UCP MLA for Innisfail–Sylvan Lake, published an op-ed in The Hill Times, a media outlet focused on Canadian politics.

In it, he detailed some of his involvement working on Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 US presidential election. Like the fact that he was assigned to the campaign’s field team, which took him—and Matthew McBain, a former AAFC co-worker he had travelled to the States with—to 28 states over a 10-month period, from February to November. Or that they trained volunteers on outreach and proselytizing techniques to help secure more voters.

The photo Nimmock included in his tweet above is from that campaign, specifically an event celebrating Donald Trump’s election win on 8 November.

Nimmock’s tweet follows comments from prominent Albertans pointing out Dreeshan’s connection to the Trump campaign.

Thomas Lukaszuk, former PC MLA, cabinet member, and PC leadership candidate, for example, had this to say:

Here’s David Khan, former leader of the Alberta Liberals:

Just 8 minutes after sending out his original tweet, Nimmock tweeted that Dreeshan had responded to that tweet by blocking him.

But the blocking didn’t end there.

He also blocked freelance journalist Max Fawcett:

Add the media outlet Progress Alberta

(Full disclosure: I’ve written for them.)

Which shouldn’t be that surprising, given that he liked this tweet from Rebel Media correspondent Keean Bexte two months ago:

But it wasn’t just the media that Dreeshen blocked this week.

Apparently, people spent much of the last two days tweeting at Dreeshen about his now infamous photo and his connection to Donald Trump. His response was to block them. A lot of them.

Here are some examples:

Or you can just do a Twitter search and see the endless stream of tweets from people saying they were blocked by Dreeshen after asking about the photo and his connection to Trump.

His Facebook page wasn’t much different, with people claiming their comments there were deleted and their accounts blocked by page administrators after also asking about the same photo.

Finally, after non-stop pressure from the media and public for a response to the Trump-incited violence in the States, Dreeshen released the following media statement through his press secretary, Justin Laurence:

“Minister Dreeshen denounces all forms of political violence, including what is taking place in Washington, D.C. today. Voters are the ultimate deciders, and that must be respected by all. Minister Dreeshen is focused on the lives and livelihoods of Albertans.”

Denounce the violence, but not the actions or rhetoric that bred the violence.

Nor one’s role in helping elect the person that inspired the violence, both this week and through 4 years of constant undermining, divisive, oppressive rhetoric.

Nor how your views compare to those of Trump or to your own 2016 views. For example, did his government end up “not any more ordinary than his election”, as you had predicted?

Hiding from the public on social media is a lot harder than hiding in the bathroom apparently.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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