Ontario mayor miffed at Elizabeth May for spreading false rumour about rail incident

Andy Radia

Oh the perils of Twitter.

An Ontario mayor is peeved at Green Party Leader Elizabeth May for a weekend tweet suggesting that the media were ignoring a story about a 20 car train derailment in Sarnia, Ontario.

On Saturday afternoon, May tweeted this:

The 'funny' thing was there wasn't a 20 car train derailment at all — it was just a minor incident with one empty car.

And unfortunately, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley didn't find the erroneous tweet all that funny. After all, he was the one who had to deal with the aftermath.

According to the Sarnia Observer, Bradley had a stressful weekend.

“Very disappointed with your tweeting a rumour...,” Bradley's email said.

“Because she is the leader of a political party, she gives it credibility,” he said. “When she sent out that tweet, it got all the media in a frenzy. There should be a correction out from her office by now.”

Given the potential significance of an incident that large and the recent train tragedy in Lac Megantic Quebec, Bradley said the national media were quick to react to May's erroneous tweet and he fielded numerous reporters' calls Saturday.

May's office refused to disclose the name of the source but she explained herself, once again, via Twitter, on Tuesday

The unforgiving Twitterverse, however, was — well — unforgiving.

This wouldn't be a big deal if this was citizen Elizabeth May who tweeted this — hey everybody makes mistakes.

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But this is MP Elizabeth May who is the leader of the Green Party of Canada. This is the Elizabeth May who wants Canadians to take her and her party seriously. Errors like this don't help her cause.

A call to the mayor or to CN, prior to her tweet, probably would have been the prudent thing to do.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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