Caraquet MLA Isabelle Theriault called Blaine Higgs an “ass” in a comment on a Facebook post. Using his personal account he criticized the lack of moose fences in northern New Brunswick.
A citizen of Caraquet wanted to know when the moose fence will be in place along Route 11 between Janesville and Bathurst. So he asked a question on January 28 on Facebook, in a publication visible to everyone.
His MP, Isabelle Theriault, wrote a comment a few hours later using her personal account, not the one she uses as an elected official: “Our *wonderful* Prime Minister responded that we should use our Driving hours need to be changed. What an idiot.”
The liberal politician put his insults in context in an email to AKD Nouvelle.
“After a request (made by my Liberal colleagues) to install moose fencing in the north of the province, Premier Higgs responded that we need to change our driving hours instead. In my opinion, this response is unacceptable,” They said.
In January 2022, Premier Blaine Higgs wrote a letter in which he suggested that Restigouche citizens avoid going outdoors in the evening to reduce the risk of collisions with wild animals.
Last fall, members of the area’s Regional Service Commission (RSC) sent him a letter encouraging him to consider installing deer-proof fencing on Routes 17 and 11.
He made the request following the death of a motorcyclist who hit a native motorcycle in the Charlo sector.
“I find the Conservative government’s lack of respect for francophones, Acadians and residents of northern New Brunswick increasingly offensive. It is my responsibility to protect the area I represent,” says Ms. Theriault.
“Sometimes it happens that my passion for the people of my area takes over.”
Use of insult
Gilbert McLaughlin, professor of criminology at Liverpool Hope University, is careful not to comment on the specific behavior of a Liberal elected official.
“There’s no shortage of insults in politics,” explains the Acadian, originally from Tracadie, who has studied incivility toward candidates in New Brunswick elections.
He recalls that Quebec Solidaire parliamentary leader Alexandre Leduc told his government counterpart Simon Jolin-Barrette in the Quebec National Assembly in December to “fuck himself.”
CBC noted personal attacks made by Canadian politicians against their counterparts from 1863 to 2005.
“Has the use of insults increased? It’s an interesting question, says Mr. McLaughlin. There have been almost no studies on this topic in Canada. In the United States, there are some really interesting things. We are seeing that the number of insults among Congress candidates and members is increasing a lot.
Polarization of politics
The researcher highlights the possible impact of the use of the Internet and social networks. He also noted that Ms. Theriault, along with Kevin Arseneau and Dominic Cardy, is one of the most active politicians online in New Brunswick.
Levi Boxell, a researcher at Stanford University, observed that citizens’ levels of hostile feelings toward parties other than their own increased between 1980 and 2020 in six developed countries. Canada is one of them, even though the phenomenon is less pronounced there than in the United States.
However, Mr Boxell found no link between this trend and Internet use.
Sociologist Gerald Bronner wrote in a report presented in 2022, “Political polarization can only be partially explained by the digital context and we find no concrete answer to the question of the role of social networks in the scientific literature.” French government.
In contrast, Joshua A., professor of political science at New York University, Tucker found a consensus in his discipline: the behavior of elites has important implications for the polarization of politics.