Public Security Minister calls on Twitter to act after CMA president is the target of online abuse

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on Twitter called on Canada to address the online abuse targeting the president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Katharine Smart.

Smart was the target of abuse on Twitter on December 22 for a poster he tweeted about “seeing” the doctor and his family “for weeks.”

In a letter addressed to the managing director of Twitter Canada, Paul Burns, Mendicino, called for the tweet to be removed.

“The clear intent of the tweet was to intimidate Dr. Smart and her family and interfere with her work during the pandemic,” Mendicino’s said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

In response to last week’s abusive post, Smart tweeted “@TwitterSafety told me this tweet [emoji] he did not violate its rules ”, also condemning that“ threats, harassment and intimidation are not acceptable ”.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the identifier for the Twitter account “@ AskTheBrownDoc1” had been removed, according to the Canadian Medical Association.

In response to the Star’s questions, a spokesperson for Twitter Canada said: “We recognize the concerns that healthcare professionals have regarding social media and are committed to creating healthy experiences on Twitter. We have had a regular dialogue with the CMA during the COVID-19 pandemic ”.

In an email to the Star, the Canadian Medical Association said: “We are working with authorities to identify and minimize any risks. We also ask social media platforms to increase efforts to ensure their spaces are safe. “

Smart has reported the tweet to the police.

In a statement on the Canadian Medical Association website, Smart said: “The federal government passed legislation last week to prohibit harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers and patients.”

Smart refers to the amendments to bill C-3 of December 17, which strengthens the protection of health workers and describes new crimes of intimidation and obstruction or interference with access.

“What we need at this time is not the ignorance and hatred of a small minority, but the kindness, patience and goodwill that most Canadians continue to show,” Smart said in the statement.

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