On Oct. 19, as the Liberal Party of Canada won a landslide majority government with Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister, two UVSS directors took to social media to voice their dissent — by sharing memes jokingly advocating for killing and eating him.
Both directors’ posts were captured in screenshots provided by a concerned source that wished to remain anonymous.
Both Chairperson Brontё Renwick-Shields and Director-at-large Brydon Kramer shared an image from the Anti Oppression Network Facebook page, which shows Johan de Witt, the Dutch “Grand Pensionary” — prime minister, effectively — with the caption, “In 1672, a mob of angry Dutch killed and ate their prime minister.”
Renwick-Shields shared the photo with the comment, “At least we have options . . . ” Kramer shared the photo with a similar sentiment, commenting, “Legitimate option?” He originally posted the photo without commentary, but edited it in after the fact — according to the screenshot.
Kramer made a post about an hour later saying, “Trudeau is a fuckboi.” It was deleted shortly after, says the source.
The Martlet emailed Renwick-Shields for comment, asking if there is any sort of social media policy in place for board members that would permit — or prohibit — posts of this nature. Such a policy would be relevant in light of a long Federal election campaign marked by numerous political candidates withdrawing from the race after incriminating Facebook posts were made public after the fact, Victoria Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas being one of them.
The Martlet received a response from Kramer on the morning of Oct. 20. He said, “The comments on my personal Facebook page are not a reflection of UVSS policy and were intended to be humorous.” He also apologized if the comments were received as offensive.
In a later email, Renwick-Shields also responded to the Martlet’s inquiry, saying the UVSS doesn’t have a policy in place that “polices or monitors UVSS directors as they engage in social media in their personal lives.”
Although the Martlet was informed of the post by a concerned member of the Society, Renwick-Shields continued to say that UVSS directors were uncomfortable that the Martlet was “monitoring [their] personal accounts,” and stressed that any comments made by directors on personal social media accounts “are their personal opinions and they have the right to voice those opinions.”
When asked for comment, the source said, “It surprises me to see posts such as these coming from Brontё and Brydon. They ran on a platform of ‘involving’ students — a platform which I supported in many ways. These posts involve little more than cheap shots at the expense of other students’ political views.”
Update 12:52 p.m.: Brontё Renwick-Shields has contacted the Martlet to clarify her remarks were not aimed towards Justin Trudeau. “I would like to recognize that I never mentioned Trudeau in my post,” she said, “nor did I post it when the election had been called . . . In reality I was speaking to Harper . . . and while I still understand your concerns with partisanship I don’t think its fair to name a candidate in a post and elude [sic] that I was speaking about the current Prime Minister when this was not made clear in the post.”
Renwick-Shields also apologized that her comments were taken to be offensive, and said she would be more considerate of her social media use in the future.