Freedom from negative speech

No more than 2 weeks after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy that claimed 12 lives evoking discourse around the globe on the issue of free speech, hypocrisy has caught up with of all people; the Mayor of Paris.

Anne Hidalgo, in conversation with CNN announced her intention to sue Fox News:

And she’s not the only Mayor suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Linda Hepner, the Mayor of Surrey, is tag teaming it with Anita Huberman, The CEO of Surrey’s Board of Trade in a joint effort to censor a Facebook page:

WTF is this ass-hat of a Mayor and her sidekick smoking?

She starts off by stating: "Everyone has a right to say what they want, or post what they want, through social media outlets" which is promptly discarded with a rather dubious caveat:

"but I think if this person who is running this Facebook page really is a concerned citizen of Surrey, they need to be much more proactive in terms of offering solutions,"


It is my experience that municipal governments beg for resident engagement, right up until the point when they actually encounter it. And when they find themselves engaged and don’t have any clue how to resolve residents issues, or as they put it "offer solutions" they then blame the party bringing the issue to their attention.

How does this ass-hat mayor get off insinuating that somehow this facebook page is not really the work of a concerned citizen?

What other kind of citizen is going to go to such an effort?

The page is itself a solution to a range of problems that Surrey fails to address: It’s the starting off point to recognizing the specific problems and discussing them with other concerned residents, and does so proactively.

Toronto implemented the See, Click, Fix reporting service service back in 2012:

Aurora has 2 open issues on the service dating back to 2013:

I can only assume that this "Only in Surrey" facebook page exists to catch items that are not reflected in Surrey’s See, Click, Fix profile:

If Mayor Hepner had half a brain she would be looking to embrace this effort, not stamp it out.

Commentor "David_a_Johnson" outlines 2 problems with Hepner’s over the top reaction:

1.) Prior to the city and board of trade calling to take the page down, it had less than 10k likes, thats about to explode. Publicizing something bad … only publicizes it more. Ignore it, and few know about it. Bad call Surrey.

2.) Wanting to shut down the page sends a message that all Surrey city and Board of Trade wants to do is hide their community issues. Whether or not they are able to deal with them effectively is irrelevant. What a page like this does is simply shows the issues at hand, and its up to the people to discuss them and choose to deal with them or not. It is not the job of the whistle blower to solve or even suggest how to solve problems, just open the discussion.

This is censorship, only designed to hide the reality from the people, period.

Who cares about Paris or Surrey? you say, that could never happen here in Aurora.

But it already has.

3 residents who were proactively discussing town affairs on a blog were strategically targeted with a SLAPP lawsuit by former Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris.

Taxpayers even funded a portion of the sad affair.

Even when this failed power trip resulted in her being swept out of office some in town preferred the head in the sand approach when dealing with criticism.

Take for example the citizen member of the Town’s Sesquicentennial ad-hoc committee responsible for the event’s twitter feed that decided to make up policy on the spot stating unequivocally that the town run committee had "No time for negativity":

If you refuse to make time for negativity, or like the Mayors of Paris, Surrey and Aurora are willing to go so far as to censor others what we have arrived at is freedom from speech, not of it.

A freedom 12 people in France payed with their lives.

Critical voices are indeed the price of entry to the social web.

Only in Surrey?

Don’t be so sure.


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