Ottawa

Meehan 'crossed a line' with angry Facebook response, resident says

Councillor-elect Carol Anne Meehan is apologizing for responding in an "angry manner" to a resident who complained in an online message board about bus service in Riverside South.

'Give me your address, or I will go and find you,' councillor-elect tells resident

Carol Anne Meehan speaks with reporters at her election victory party on Oct. 22, 2018. (CBC)

Councillor-elect Carol Anne Meehan is apologizing for responding in an "angry manner" to a resident who complained in an online message board about bus service in Riverside South. 

The former television anchor and private radio host will be sworn in as the new councillor for Gloucester-South Nepean in December after she beat Michael Qaqish in the Oct. 22 election.

Meehan, who claims she was harassed by members of the online group, later apologized and said she needs to "grow a thicker skin."

But the resident who was the target of Meehan's angry response said the apology falls short. CBC is not naming the resident because she's concerned about being targeted over the online comments.

Beefs about bus schedule

The comments were posted as part of a long thread on the Riverside South Community Association Facebook group about how often the Route 99 OC Transpo bus is behind schedule.

In one comment, the resident wrote that it seemed Meehan never rode the bus and wouldn't care about the issue. In another, the resident accused Meehan of being "good at smiling for the camera and taking photo ops, which ironically is what she slammed [Qaqish] for doing."

Early Monday evening, Meehan responded to the accusations from her Facebook account. In a lengthy post to "set the record straight," Meehan said she's not rich, is a widow and worked hard on a shoestring budget to win the election.

Resident 'shocked and stunned'

The resident said she guards her privacy, has an unlisted phone number and didn't open her door to Meehan when she came knocking during the campaign.

She said she was therefore "shocked and stunned" when Meehan then divulged the name of her street and threatened to track her down.

How on earth did she get my information? She really crossed a line.- Resident

"Give me your address, or I will go and find you on [street name], it's not that long a street," Meehan wrote.

"I would love to have a face to face, because you certainly like to slam me here. Let's see what kind of guts you have. I have the guts and courage to succeed YOU will never have."

"I had to read it a couple of times before it processed in my head. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, coming from a public figure," the resident told CBC.

"How on earth did she get my information? She really crossed a line."

Meehan apologizes

CBC contacted Meehan to ask how she had obtained the resident's street name, but Meehan did not respond.

Candidates have access to a voters' list in their wards during the election campaign, but provincial law dictates the information is to be used only for election purposes, and cannot be posted in a public place.

Councillor-elect Carol Anne Meehan issued this apology Tuesday. (Facebook)

The Facebook threads have since been removed, and by Tuesday morning Meehan had posted an apology on the Riverside South Community Association Facebook group. She refused to provide further comment to CBC.

The resident called Meehan's online apology "disingenuous." She denies her posts about photo ops and bus schedules met the threshold for harassment, and said they didn't warrant such an "over the top" response from the incoming councillor.

Meehan's apology should have included an acknowledgement that she breached the woman's privacy, the resident said.