Mark Critch: Candidates, get off the internet — right now

If you are a political candidate and you are reading this on a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet, stop and delete everything because you’re probably about to be in the news.

22 Minutes comedian urges campaign hopefuls to get off the internet, for their sakes and ours

These silhouetted people are probably typing something that will ruin their political careers before they even start. For the good of Canada, drop the device! (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

If you are a political candidate and you are reading this on a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet – STOP!  Delete Twitter, Facebook and SnapChat right now. Oh, and you might as well delete the CBC App, too, because you're probably about to be in the news.

At this very moment, some low-level intern from another party disguised as a "blogger" is searching through the bowels of your twitter account to find that one Tweet from 2011 that reads: "Hey! @charliesheen You have some great ideas. I'm with you man! #$@! the Haters! #winning #TigerBlood #unelectable"

Just this week, two more candidates have been "un-liked" by their parties because of social media. The Liberals dropped Alberta candidate Chris Austin and on Tuesday the Conservatives dismissed Newfoundland's Blair Dale. He was the fifth candidate lost to social media. Sixth if you count CBC's Marketplace as social media. Maybe you follow Tom Harrington on Twitter.

The NDP's director of communications even told the Pope where to go bless himself on Twitter. I was shocked. I thought, 'Wait… even the Pope has a twitter account?" I hope the Pope never has to step down over "some terrible things I tweeted about the Archbishop of Canterbury. My bad."

Candidates have tweeted about their distaste of lesbian haircuts, compared Mulcair to Goebbels and a government agency to the Gestapo. (People in twitter wars love to call people Nazis. I wish computers would make people google Nazis every time they type "Nazi.") 

Nothing gets the blood pumping like sitting on your ass and typing for hours. Much like a drunken person when the bars close, there is something about social media that makes you want to fight.

Social media is like alcohol. You will say and do things while using both that you would never ordinarily say or do. But like the guy at the office party who tells off his boss, the political candidate who goes on a ten tweet rant about Muslims is saying things he shouldn't say but he's saying what he is REALLY thinking. We should NEVER say what we are really thinking. "How do I look in this?" "What did you think about my new haircut?" "What's in your browser history?" These are questions we should never answer truthfully. 

Politicians have been dropped not only for things they have said but also for things they have SHARED.  We over-share when we drink too much. We'll tell a work acquaintance all about a breakup or who we dislike at work or, worst of all, what we think of them. But that's nothing compared to the oversharing that goes down on Facebook: Listicles, articles about sex, which celebrity you look like (you don't) and it goes on and on. You might as well share "Top 10 reasons not to vote for me."

I can't even fathom the number of candidates who are now turning to people in their camps and saying, "Wait – how did they know I liked that? Other people can see what I liked? What? I need to get on a computer!"

Nothing gets the blood pumping like sitting on your ass and typing for hours. Much like a drunken person when the bars close, there is something about social media that makes you want to fight.

@Conservative_Twitter_User : I think Stephen Harper is a good candidate.

@NDP_Twitter_User: Hey! @Conservative_Twitter_User! Good Candidate? For what country? NAZI GERMANY????

@Conservative_Twitter_User: Hey @NDP_TWITTER_USER! The country of CANADA!!! The one you & @NeilYoung & @NaomiAKlein want to destroy!!!

@NDP_Twitter_User: Oh, yeah @Conservative_Twitter_User: LOL! It's too late! You've already destroyed it with the Tar Sands.

@Conservative_Twitter_User Oil Sands!


@Conservative_Twitter_User OIL SANDS!!!


@Liberal_TWITTER_USER: NAZIS!!!!!!!!!!!

The number of candidates that have imploded due to the Internet is staggering. And what's more amazing is that in this day and age people aren't torching their social media accounts before running for office. If I was to run I'd go all the way back to Friendster, Hi5 and MySpace and DELETE, DELETE, DELETE – that is, if I could only remember the passwords.

And there are more social media trainwrecks yet to come. It's gotten so bad that I think the Mounties should step in before more people get hurt.

Mountie: Excuse me, sir. Do you know why I stopped you? You appear to be typing erratically. Have you had anything to tweet tonight, sir? No? What's that in your hand? Did you plan to take any pictures of your penis tonight, sir? I see. I'm going to have to ask you step away from the phone and go over there and play some Frisbee for an hour and get some fresh air, okay? What? No. No, you can't post a selfie with me. You know what? Forget it. You're on your own.

The candidates of the future are pretty much doomed. Lets just be glad that the candidates of the past didn't have social media. Jean Chrétien? John Crosbie? Oh, the horrors.

@Sir_John_A_MAC: Hey @louisriel leave me railway alone, ya NAZI!!!

@louisriel uh… @Sir_John_A_MAC are you drunk again? What the hell is a NAZI?

Mark Critch is a comedian and a cast member of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. (9 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador) on CBC Television. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCritch.


As This Hour Has 22 Minutes' anchor and roving reporter, Mark is one of the hardest working comedians in show business, winning multiple awards for both writing and performance. In addition to 13 years starring on 22 Minutes, Mark has appeared in CBC's Winnipeg Comedy Festival, is the host of CBC’s Halifax Comedy Festival and has written for and appeared in CBC's world-renowned Just for Laughs series. His role in the highly-acclaimed feature film The Grand Seduction, garnered him the ‘Best Actor Award’ at the 2013 Atlantic Film Festival.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?