Randy Hillier criticized for blocking voter on social media

A second politician in eastern Ontario is coming under fire for apparently restricting access to his social media accounts.

Jeff Collver says his access to the MPP's Facebook page was restricted after cap-and-trade disagreement

Randy Hillier is being criticized by one of his constituents who says his access to the MPP's Facebook account was restricted after a disagreement over the government's decision to repeal cap-and-trade. (The Canadian Press)

A second politician in eastern Ontario is coming under fire for apparently restricting access to his social media accounts.

Randy Hillier, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Lanark–​Frontenac–​Kingston, is being accused by one of his constituents of blocking parts of his Facebook page following a disagreement over his government's decision to repeal Ontario's cap-and-trade system.

That constituent, Jeff Collver of Perth, Ont., said he was inspired to go public with his complaint after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was served with a lawsuit last month by three people he blocked on Twitter.

Watson later unblocked his detractors.

"I'm a voting citizen. My taxes pay for [Hillier's] office's computers," Collver told CBC News Thursday.

"When they put things out there, the intention is to provide information and to obtain input. And it seems to me that ... the only input he's interested in getting is accolades."

A screenshot of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier's Facebook page. Hillier says the page is not his 'official communication channel' and that 'no one has a guaranteed right to access its contents.' (Facebook)

'It's a public forum'

Collver said he noticed his access to Hillier's page had been limited in October, after he had an email exchange with Hillier about the cap-and-trade decision and then posted critical news articles on his Facebook page.

When he later tried to return to the page, Collver said he couldn't access anything he'd written. He said while he can still see Hillier's posts, he can no longer comment on them.

"It's a public forum that is supposed to be available to all," said Collver, adding that he'd voted for Hillier in the past. "It appears to me that it's only available to those that support the government."

Not an 'official' channel

In an email to CBC News, Hillier said his Facebook page was "not an official communication channel for my business as an MPP," and that "no one has a guaranteed right to either access its contents or post to it."

"I have a moderation policy on my page to keep discourse on topic and have the right to remove content I deem inappropriate, coarse, vulgar or defamatory in nature," Hillier wrote.

"My Facebook page is set up as a public convenience. There is no requirement for me as an elected representative to have a Facebook page."

The page features the logo of the Ontario PC party, as well as the name of Hillier's riding. Many of the most recent posts — but not all — touch upon events Hillier has attended in the riding, as well as stances taken by the provincial government.

Hillier said people who "do not have access to my social media" can still call, email, write, fax or visit his office.

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