Backlash to Kenney “Labour Day” tweet
On Sept. 3, United Conservative Party (UCP) leader, Jason Kenney sent out a Labour Day tweet saying, “…thank you to all the working men and women who have made our province great. Also thinking about the nearly 167,000 unemployed Albertans who want to work but are unable to find a job. Hoping they will soon enjoy the dignity of work.”
Four photos were attached to the tweet, two of which came under scrutiny.
Mount Royal University was featured in the tweets; Kenney posted a photo of nursing students with the university logo on their scrubs.
A few twitter users called out Kenney on his usage of the photos. But, the MRU Faculty Association twitter shot back saying, “We are proud of our #MRU nursing students and programs, but question why Jason Kenney thought it acceptable to use this photo? Our photos should not be used without consent and we do not support this.”
The faculty association president, Melanie Peacock says, “The [Mount Royal Faculty Association] is concerned when someone uses a photo along with a posting (without prior permission) as this could imply our endorsement or support, which is not the originally intended use of the picture.”
Peacock told The Reflector that she was made aware of Kenney’s tweet by the Nursing faculty.
Kenney responded days later on Sept. 5, “The photo was used for a respectful Labour Day post honouring working women and men in our province. Obviously no offence was intended – quite the opposite, in fact. Apologies if this has offended.”
The Faculty Association replied to Kenney’s apology by tweeting, “We thank you for apologizing if use of an unauthorized photo was offensive, which it was. As educators who promote and encourage lifelong learning, we trust that this has been a critical lesson and that this behavior will not be repeated.”
Peacock reiterates why they decided to accept the apology. “As educators we chose to accept this apology and hope that this situation has served as a learning opportunity. As educators we support life-long learning and opportunities to enhance knowledge and resulting behaviour. It is our expectation that this type of action … will not be repeated.”
Kenney’s tweet also included a photo with a group of farmers posing in front of farming equipment. Close inspection of the photo reveals ex-Rick Mercer Report host, Rick Mercer.
Mercer has previously been critical of Kenney, especially in regard to Kenney’s comments on Bill-24 and gay-straight alliances.
Twitter user, Michal Grajewski tweeted “Odd that @jkenney would pull a RMR publicity still for his tweet …”
Mercer responded to Grajewski’s twitter saying “I’m not a farmer I just played one on TV.”
Kevin Maimann, a reporter for Star Metro, tweeted that a UCP spokesperson he reached out to comment and they said, “Surely you have actual news to cover.”
The UCP has declined multiple requests from several organizations to comment on the tweet.