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City of Brockville, Ont. to discuss new policy on social media abuse towards politicians

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City officials in Brockville will discuss adopting a new policy centred around hostility towards city staff on social media.

Council will meet on Tuesday night, Brockville Mayor Matt Wren and his staff will discuss how to deal with an uptick in animosity towards local politicians.

"We've noticed other municipalities adopting policies to make a statement about that," explained Wren. "We felt it was time that our city do the same."

In 2021, former Mayor of Brockville Jason Baker resigned over a housing issue, but said he would not have re-run due to abuse on social media.

And just last week, Gatineau Mayor France Bélisle abruptly stepped down, citing a hostile climate in municipal politics.

"There's nothing wrong with respectful dialog," Wren continued. "But when people are making direct, personal attacks on staff and others that are involved with the city of Brockville, we have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace free of harassment for our 200 plus employees."

Social media is a useful tool for the Brockville community. On Facebook, the group "What's going on in Brockville and area" has over 30,000 members, yet the population of the city sits at just over 22,000.

The town of Russell, Ont. has similar concerns, but is taking it a step further.

The municipality is holding a meeting on Monday night, where it will consider abolishing public questions during council meetings, in part, because of the abusive climate on social media. 

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