Update (Wednesday, May 25, 2022)
The Twitter account of Ontario Party leader Derek Sloan has been reinstated less than two weeks after the account was suspended.
According to a press release from Sloan’s office, the account was reinstated “without notice” on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Sloan, the current Ontario Party candidate for Hastings-Lennox and Addington in the upcoming provincial election, noted that Twitter had communicated that the suspension of his account was “final” and the account “will not be restored.” It is unclear why Twitter reversed that decision, though Sloan pointed to the support he received following the suspension as reason for the reversal.
“My team and I committed ourselves to fighting this unjust ban. After significant attention in local, national, and international news, and also grassroots action by our supporters and others who support openness and fairness in democracy, we were able to create great awareness on social media using hashtags such as #bringbacksloan. Many of our supporters messaged Elon Musk directly. Our efforts appear to have caused Twitter to reverse their decision, fully reinstating my account,” Sloan said in the release.
“I am pleased Twitter decided to correct this censorship of a party leader during an election cycle. Social media must always remain a free and open tool for discussion and debate – particularly during election times,” he continued. “It is unfortunate that other party leaders in Canada, or other candidates running in the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington did not unequivocally condemn the censoring of a provincial party leader by social media. Censorship and lack of debate hurts us all.”
“We hope other candidates and party leaders will stand strong for free speech, open debate, and transparency,” Sloan concluded. “I look forward to taking the case forward in the last remaining two weeks of this election as I show the citizens of this province that I am standing with them for Freedom, Family, and Faith.”
In a media release Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the Ontario Party (OP) announced that Derek Sloan, party leader and local candidate in the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington (HL&A), has had his Twitter account suspended, just like his consultant and friend, Trump advisor Roger Stone.
According to the OP, Sloan’s Twitter account, @TrueDerekSloan, was suspended on Sunday, May 8, 2022, which the party called a “direct attack on democracy.”
The OP surmises that the tweet which triggered Sloan’s account suspension was one in which he falsely accused Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, of attempting to cover up COVID-19 vaccine injuries, and stated, “Public health isn’t on your side.”
Asked for comment, Sloan said, “The status of social media censorship in our country is real. I’ve been suspended multiple times now for sharing articles from mainstream news sources.”
“There’s no procedural fairness in terms of being able to know what you’re being ‘charged with’; you have no procedure to respond. You have no idea of what the timeline is,” he complained.
Sloan stated that this is particularly unfair because we are in the middle of the provincial election. “It’s the right thing for Ontarians to know who’s running and to be able to see what they’re doing. So, the idea that we would be silenced three and a half weeks before an election day is very troubling. Whether… someone likes me or doesn’t like me, it’s very troubling for democracy.”
Recently, the Ontario Party announced that it was getting advice from Roger Stone, the American political consultant and longtime friend of Donald Trump. Stone was banned from Twitter permanently in 2017.
In an ironic twist, Stone, the self-described “dirty trickster,” attempted to rejoin Twitter last month by creating a new account and tweeting, “Well bitches I’m back on Twitter. I’m anxious to see how strong [new Twitter owner] Elon Musk’s commitment to free speech is.” He was promptly banned again from the platform.
Asked if working with Roger Stone goes against the Christian family values that Sloan tends to extol, Sloan responded, “Roger is not the same guy that he was 20 years ago… It is true that he used to live, as a routine, a kind of hedonistic lifestyle. That is a fact. But I’ve been friends with Roger for about a year now… The man has had a conversion… I’ve had some very close conversations with him. So, the man is… is a kind of born again believer.”
Sloan was then quick to point out, “Obviously, I don’t just work with Christians, but I’m just saying this to say that he’s not the same kind of libertine that he was before.”
In November 2019, a jury found Roger Stone guilty of seven felony counts, including lying to authorities, obstructing a congressional investigation, and witness intimidation. In February 2020, a judge sentenced Stone to 40 months in federal prison and a $20,000 fine for his crimes. However, just before leaving office, Donald Trump pardoned Stone of any crime.
Sloan defended this decision: “I do not believe that [Stone] has broken the law or behaved unethically from a political standpoint… if you look into the specifics around him getting charged, it is basically politically motivated, and I can prove that very easily… He was charged for lying about collusion between Trump and the Russians, which the Mueller report later said never happened to begin with. So, if that report had been available during this trial, the prosecution would have collapsed.”
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller would disagree with this statement, writing in a July 16, 2020 op ed for the Washington Post, “Uncovering and tracing Russian outreach and interference activities was a complex task… [Congress] investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress… And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands… Claims to the contrary are false.”
Sloan, however, expressed sympathy for the “very tough times” that Stone went through at the trial.
“[Stone] basically lost almost the shirt off his back; his wife went through a severe bout with cancer. So he’s been through a lot. And I believe that his acumen is still there, but he’s a different person than he was maybe a few decades ago,” Sloan said.
But how much money is Stone pocketing working with the OP? Sloan said his friend is giving them a deal, but “obviously, I’m not going to say exactly what we’re paying, but it’s very reasonable, and he’s basically doing us a favour.”