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Kelowna News

JONESIE: Sorry Mayor Basran but I'm not buying it

May 15, 2019 - 3:53 PM



I got a phone call, a text and an email last night telling me there was a death threat on our Facebook page against Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

Comments to our actual site are all moderated. We get thousands of comments on our Facebook posts and like most media outlets, we simply can’t moderate there.

I have complained about this many, many times. It’s a free-for-all in there and if you want to wade into those waters, be my guest. It’s a Facebook problem.

Anyway, I had to scroll through a number of angry anti-Basran comments to find it and I deleted it and banned the man who said: “Someone should put a bullet in this fucktard.” I don’t consider that censorship — you have to have an articulate thought for it to be censored. It was the online version of cleaning graffiti off a wall.

But let’s face it: This is the low level of discourse on Facebook.

I often compare moderating comments to the big magical inmate from the movie The Green Mile, John Coffee (‘like the drink’). Remember when he would suck all the sickness out of a person leaving only the good behind, at great personal cost? That’s the social media editor.

Anyway, I don’t imagine there’s a politician out there who doesn’t know this. Those exact words are used all the time about Trudeau and Trump and Horgan and Notley and anyone else in power. I am pretty sure I have read worse things about Colin Basran before.

I have heard worse things shouted at reporters, heard worse things on playgrounds, I'd argue worse things were said in the last election. Ever hear what hockey players say to each other on the ice?

I’ve never heard of the dimwit who posted the comment but I’ll go out on a limb and suggest he had no intention of causing harm. Still, several people reported him to police, he was arrested and will likely be charged and hopefully that serves as a reminder to all that social media comments can have real world consequences.

It sucks that it happens, but it still doesn’t explain Basran’s reaction. He was so shaken by this that he was ‘in tears’? Maybe — and I mean that word maybe — it has something to do with the story the comment was placed on.

We were late on the story of Colin Basran using his mayoral powers to bring back a defeated development application and somehow managing to push it through.

But we reported in that story that the developer gave Basran’s campaign $1,200. We quoted Basran saying he wasn’t aware of that. We quoted Basran saying he wasn’t aware that Coun. Ryan Donn would agree to vote it through.

I’ll just say, I doubted and still doubt the truth of those comments. We didn’t light it up in a headline because that might cross into an allegation and we didn’t have enough information to support such an allegation. Like John Coffee again, we hoover up all the information we can, sort it, report the good stuff and leave the conclusions to readers if we can’t make them.

Is anyone talking about this development or the donation today? No. They are talking about Basran’s hurt feelings, his anger, his tears. He called a press conference today and refused to take any questions.

It's now about bullying. 

I’m still not making any allegations. I doubt $1,200 to an election campaign would motivate anyone to step in front of the crosshairs like that.

But no. I’m not buying this deflection.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of

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