Never erase the past
Today, local newscaster Barb Higgins entered the race for Mayor in Calgary. Unfortunately, she or her campaign team have chosen to hide her old Twitter feed.
Now, admittedly, there was nothing particularly interesting in the feed (not very many tweets on there — I had read through it a few days earlier when rumours of her candidacy started cropping up again). I doubt there was any “sinister intent” in this action. They may very well have just been trying to prevent people from confusing her old Twitter account with the new one for the campaign.
But, for me, that’s not the issue. The issue is transparency and accountability of those in, or vying for, public office.
Rather than leaving up an inconsequential record of some things she had previously said publicly, she has chosen to try to wipe the slate clean. If this is how she treats the record of the past on things that wouldn’t have any negative impact for her, what could we then expect of her in future if there is something consequential she does or says that she later wants hidden from the public memory?
I believe strongly in the value of putting everything on the table “warts and all.” I think it’s a critical practice on the part of everyone, especially politicians, if we are to have any chance at a well-functioning democracy.
(This motivates one of my core long-term plans for the Calgary Democracy project. I hope to develop it into an ongoing archive of all public information about our politicians — both candidates and those actually elected.)