Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MP cancels his Twitter account

Martin in hot water over comments

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OTTAWA -- Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin has sworn off Twitter after getting himself into hot water again with a tirade of tweets Wednesday night, personally attacking Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and calling Conservatives "rat-faced whores."

"I apologize for my regrettable and inappropriate language yesterday," he wrote on Thursday. "It seems some people shouldn't tweet, so with this, I sign off."

The tweets began Wednesday as Martin sounded off about complaints he'd heard that the new Youth for Christ Centre for Youth Excellence, at Main Street and Higgins Avenue, was mostly unused. The centre opened a year ago with $3.2 million in funding from both the city and federal governments. Youth for Christ had to raise another $3.2 million privately.

The centre targets an active lifestyle for Winnipeg youth but was criticized by some who felt government funding should not go to a religious organization. Martin was not one of its fans, and around 9 p.m. Wednesday tweeted: "All the money for inner city youth went to USA Youth for Christ. Big building, no benefit. Vic Toews Mr family values. What gives?"

He addressed the topic several more times in the next half-hour, accusing donors to the project of being Toews' "donors and buddies" and said "it's a disgrace that Vic Toews gave ALL the money for inner-city youth to his evangelical Youth for Christ. That got me going."

Martin received some support for his comments and then turned his attacks on Toews to a more personal level. He also swore at a Twitter user who wondered if Martin was "cruising for another lawsuit."

Martin also was irate about not being invited to an event in his riding this week.

"I'm not 'worked up' so much as 'fed up' with the rat-faced whores in the CPC who neglect to invite me to ancements in my riding," he wrote.

Then he added: "Look... Given the parliamentary session we've just endured, the term 'rat-faced whores' is using a great deal of restraint."

Martin told the Free Press he was really angry about not being invited to the event about refugee housing. He said the former Liberal government always invited opposition MPs if the announcement was in their riding but the Conservatives never do.

Before noon on Thursday however, Martin had apologized and closed his Twitter account.

Toews issued a written statement on the incident Thursday. He took issue with Martin's claims about Youth for Christ and called them patently false.

"For a sitting member of Parliament to attack an organization with blatant mistruths is both irresponsible and disgraceful," Toews said. "The new facility that Youth for Christ operates from better serves the Winnipeg region and allows it to expand its reach and capacity."

Toews also lambasted Martin regarding the lack of an invitation to the event earlier this week, saying other MPs have contacted Toews about issues in their ridings, but Martin never has.

"Given that the bulk of the money was allocated by the provincial NDP government, I have to wonder why they also chose not to invite him. Clearly, even his own party doesn't want him at events."

Martin's party was not impressed with his tweeting. "These comments were simply inappropriate and unacceptable. Mr. Martin agrees and we understand that he has decided to stop using his Twitter account," said Karl Belanger, principal secretary to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2012 A3

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Updated on Friday, December 21, 2012 at 8:14 AM CST: replaces photo, adds fact box

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