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Member of Parliament Kerry Diotte Threatens to Sue Twitter Critics

Bashir Mohamed speaks at an anti-racism rally in August of 2017. Paula E. Kirman

Kerry Diotte, Conservative MP for Edmonton-Griesbach, is threatening a defamation suit against several people who have posted or re-posted tweets criticizing Diotte for appearing in photographs on social media with Faith Goldy, who is widely viewed as a white nationalist and recently ran unsuccessfully as a mayoral candidate in Toronto.

Last week, Bashir Mohamed, a 23 year old anti-racism activist, blogger, and former Edmonton-Griesbach constituent, received a letter from Arthur Hamilton, Diotte’s lawyer who has strong ties with the Conservative Party of Canada. The letter demanded an immediate retraction of Mohamed’s tweet by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7.

Mohamed’s response was to retain his own lawyer, who issued a letter indicating that Mohamed’s tweets “represent fair comment and matters in the public interest” and that Mohamed will not be taking down or retracting his tweets.

The letter from Hamilton and response from Mohamed’s lawyer were posted on Twitter on Thursday in this Twitter thread.

At least three other people have come forward who have received similar letters from Hamilton, for re-tweeting Mohamed’s posts or posting similar tweets of their own.

Diotte was a Sun Media journalist and member of Edmonton City Council prior to being elected as a Conservative MP in 2015. He has been criticized in the past for remarks described as “racist” and “insensitive” according to this story in The Gateway (the University of Albert Student Newspaper). The Gateway story includes a screen capture of a tweet by Mohamed in which he explicitly calls Diotte a “racist who openly associates with white supremacists such as Faith Goldy.”

“You know such statements are inflammatory and untrue,” said the letter to Mohamed from Diotte’s lawyer.

Goldy attracted 3.4 percent of the vote in her run for mayor of Toronto. Her views are widely characterized as “far-right” and “white nationalist.” She was fired from right-wing Rebel Media for being too far right, even for them, after giving an interview to a neo-Nazi website.

The riding of Edmonton-Griesbach includes the Boyle Street and McCauley neighbourhoods.

As of the time this article is being posted, Mohamed has not heard from Diotte’s lawyer again, despite it being past the November 7 deadline. In addition, Conservative Party of Canada (the federal Official Opposition) leader Andrew Scheer has not publicly commented on whether he thinks Diotte’s actions are appropriate.

Boyle McCauley News reached out to Kerry Diotte for comment, but did not receive a response.

Last updated: November 19, 2018

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