MLA deletes Twitter account after Bill 18 debate

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen has deleted his Twitter account after engaging in a heated debate over his opposition to an anti-bullying bill.

Kelvin Goertzen deletes after backlash from opposition to anti-bullying legislation

Kelvin Goertzen deleted his Twitter account over backlash from his opposition to anti-bullying legislation. CBC's Ryan Hicks reports. 1:58

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen has deleted his Twitter account after engaging in a heated debate over his opposition to an anti-bullying bill.

The Conservative MLA has voiced his opposition to Bill 18, new provincial anti-bullying legislation introduced by the NDP.

Goertzen has been very active on Twitter and engaged a number of other uses on a wide variety of topics.

Conservative MLA Kelvin Goertzen deleted his Twitter account after a heated debate about his opposition to anti-bullying legislation. (CBC)

He told a Steinbach news outlet on Tuesday he deleted the account because of negative comments about his position on Bill 18.

Goertzen is among a number of Steinbach officials have been vocal about their opposition to the bill, arguing it infringes on religious freedom.

The bill requires schools to set up gay-straight alliance clubs if requested by a student.

Steinbach’s city council recently passed a motion to ask the provincial government to exempt faith-based schools from Bill 18.

MP Vic Toews and Goertzen have also both spoken out against the bill, saying the law could be challenged under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Royce Koop is a professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba. He said Goertzen may have been the recipient of so much backlash because of the medium he chose to express his views.

"Twitter is not the forum that allows people speak about issues in nuanced ways," said Koop.

Supporters speak out

United Church Minister and University of Winnipeg theology professor James Christie, has said he supports the bill.

Christie said Monday opposition to the bill comes from a desire for societal control, and faith should not be so fragile that it could be shaken by teens who want to form a student club.

Grade 11 Steinbach student Evan Weins has said he will do anything he can to start a gay-straight alliance at Steinbach Regional Secondary School.

Provincial officials have said there will be no exemptions in the bill for religious schools, and the bill should be fully implemented before classes begin in September.