National Newswatch

CALGARY — Conservative MP Jason Kenney says a negative tweet featuring Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's face sitting inside the crosshairs of a scope came from an attention-seeking loser.

The tweet on the weekend came from the account of Richard Evans @NoLibs. It described him as "a freedom-loving bright spot in the social cloud that is Canada — now living in the Philippines."

It's being condemned by Twitter users as well as Kenney, a former cabinet minister, who is running for Alberta's Progressive Conservative leadership.

Kenney tweeted on the weekend that the social network should ban what he calls "lunatic trolls."

He told reporters at the opening of his Calgary campaign office Monday that the tweet was deplorable and crossed the line.

"Anything of that nature should be condemned — unequivocally — and I do. Unfortunately there are some crazy people on Twitter and I think that company should block people who ever make a hint or a threat of violence of that nature."

The offensive tweet has been taken down.

"It was an innocuous image that has since been removed. No threats were made," said a tweet from Evans's account.

"What harm was inferred, encouraged or instigated on what leader? What crime have I committed? Is the RCMP going to track me to this island in SE Asia and charge me?"

It was also made clear that Evans is not a supporter of Jason Kenney or the Alberta PC party.

Kenney, who is hoping to win the Alberta PC leadership so he can merge the Tories with the Wildrose party, said he is all for freedom of speech, but not when it intimates violence.

"As a public figure I get a lot of extreme nastiness on social media as well. I just block it and try and ignore it," he said.

"I don't like to draw attention to those things, because those people are just looking for attention. They're looking for an audience and they're just a bunch of losers who should just be ignored by ordinary people."

The NDP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter


Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Kenney is in favour of freedom of fence not freedom of speech.

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