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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

All of Matt Whitman’s strangest tweets (since January)

Councillor ordered to apologize for his inappropriate social media posts.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 9:49 PM

Councillor Matt Whitman (centre). - VIA MATTWHITMAN.CA

Matt Whitman found himself in a far more serious form of Twitter jail this week, and will now have to apologize for the way he's been tweeting.

The Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets councillor met behind closed doors with his fellow councillors for over three hours to discuss two letters of complaint submitted to the city about Whitman's social media use.

One of those came from neighbour and RCMP officer Scott Warnica, who sent an official complaint about the deputy mayor’s social media use to city hall and also took his crusade to the media in order to hold the councillor “accountable” for inappropriate comments.

Richard Dooley explains:

“The matter came to a head for Warnica on Tuesday when Whitman tweeted with the hashtags '#powertrip' and '#getalife' in reference to a man ticketed by the RCMP for operating an ATV on a roadway.

The all-terrain vehicle was equipped with a plow and the man was cleaning up snow on the public roadway in his cul-de-sac. It’s illegal to operate an ATV on a roadway in Nova Scotia and the man was issued a $406 fine.”

The municipality’s code of conduct hold that elected councillors treat everyone with “dignity, understanding and respect.” Warnica asked for Whitman to be removed as deputy mayor over the damning hashtags (amongst other allegedly inappropriate posts) and also tweet a public apology.

Today's in camera meeting was to determine, in part, if Whitman had acted inappropriately. At the end of the night council found Whitman's tweeting "did not show the respect expected of a public official" and a motion was passed unanimously for him to issue a public apology.

Whitman had previously told Metro’s Yvette d’Entremont he planned to address the matter publicly.

I’ve been told letters of support have also been sent to the city in favour of Whitman’s prodigious, if sometimes bewildering social media use. The District 13 councillor is one of HRM's most engaged public officials on social media. This is the man who (jokingly) called himself a “new barometer” for social media savviness in city hall, after all.

But for all his positivity and innumerable retweets, Whitman’s unfiltered content clearly rubs some citizens the wrong way. The councillor is also quick on the draw to block other users—everyone from media outlets to angry HRM residents and anyone he perceives as “being negative.” In an age where Twitter is the most direct way to reach public officials (especially Whitman), that can be an infuriating (though not always inappropriate) strategy.

As an aside, a few months ago I asked for a list of any muted or blocked accounts by @hfxgov, @HfxRegPolice or any other municipally-owned Twitter profile. There were none, according to the city. The police had “mistakenly” muted one account, which they quickly un-muted.

Anyway, with respect to today’s weirdness, here are our favourite Matt Whitman tweets from the past six weeks.


1. When he IMDB'd The Departed

2. When he threw shade at The Darkside Gallery

3. When he reminded us cat food cans are recyclable

4. When he was happy Keith Richards was still alive?

5. When he got in a spat with Halifax Magazine editor Trevor Adams

6. When he memorialized David Bowie

7. When he realized where HRM is

8. When he reminded us he speaks street

9. Umm...

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