As many will have heard, over the weekend Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore posted a tweet saying the Vancouver Canucks are Canada's team in the NHL playoffs. Denis McGrath wrote a response titled Tweets Have Consequences, which I retweeted on Sunday night. By Monday, the story took off, with national media coverage and politicians from several parties chiming in with their views (Globe, Canwest, CBC, CP).
I must admit that I think the hockey part of this story is a bit silly (as a long suffering Toronto Maple Leaf fan, I just want some playoffs, or a high draft pick, or…). What is much more interesting is McGrath's use of the tweet to argue that Moore should take his iPod earbuds out of his ears and spend more time listening to the public. McGrath adds that from his cultural sector perspective, Moore "gets an awful lot wrong."
Moore uses Twitter regularly to promote funding announcements. But spending taxpayer dollars on department programs is the easy part. The hard part is listening to all stakeholders – even those who may be critical – and developing policies that reflect Canadian interests. McGrath may be right that Moore does less of that. For example, Moore has reportedly blocked Twitter followers such as ACTRA after they used Twitter to criticize him. Further, last week I wrote about the growing sense that Moore did not do much listening during the national copyright consultation as he is promoting a return of Bill C-61. An openness to a wide range of perspectives (and not just those giving thanks for the allocation of public money to their cause) is obviously crucial and why the attention on Moore's hockey tweet has some value.