The Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Griesbach has threatened to take some Twitter users to court after they accused him of being a racist for associating with a far-right political commentator.
Bashir Mohamed, a 23-year-old Edmonton man who describes himself as an “active citizen,” received a notice from MP Kerry Diotte’s lawyer that said if the two tweets listed in the letter weren’t retracted by 5 p.m. MST on Nov. 7, 2018, further legal action would be taken.
In the tweets, Mohamed pointed out Diotte’s relationship with political commentator Faith Goldy, highlighting past social media posts the MP has made in support of the former Toronto mayoral candidate.
Goldy is a former reporter for The Rebel. She was fired by the far-right online media outlet after appearing on The Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi podcast. She was also a candidate for mayor in Toronto’s recent municipal election.
Mohamed’s tweets referenced a pair of pictures that show Diotte with Goldy in February 2017 and May 2016.
Mohamed told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show that what he wrote came out of frustration over Diotte’s refusal to distance himself from Goldy or denounce her views.
“When I got this letter, it was a bit interesting because I knew that he was seeing this criticism and he was seeing people asking to explain these tweets.”
On Nov. 5, Mohamed said he received the notice from Diotte’s lawyer.
“You know such statements to be inflammatory and untrue,” the notice reads. “You are also fully aware of the danger of releasing such libelous and slanderous statements on a medium such as Twitter, given the ability of your statements to be replicated and rebroadcasted by others.”
Listen below: Bashir Mohamed on The Ryan Jespersen Show
Mohamed said he has retained his own legal representation and is committed to seeing this through.
“Politically, I think it’s kind of awkward for there to be a long court case where Diotte has to explain why he’s not a racist,” Mohamed said. “I think it just looks bad for them politically. But… I don’t think they were expecting someone to be committed to, you know, challenge them.”
At least one other Edmontonian — 22-year-old Haiqa Cheema — has received the same letter from Diotte’s lawyer. She also posted a tweet calling Diotte a racist.
Mohamed said he’s not going to back down.
“I don’t know if he’s listening, but if you are — Kerry Diotte — I am 100-per-cent committed to walk this path with you and to see you in court if that’s what you decide to do. But I also hope that you at least take down those tweets, or acknowledge them, because you used to be my MP and I just hope that we can have some better representation.”
Mohamed said the deadline to retract his tweets has come and gone, and so far he hasn’t received a followup from either Diotte or his lawyer, Arthur Hamilton.
In an email to Global News, Goldy said she doesn’t know Diotte personally, and has only met him in passing at large Conservative events.
“I have never seen any indication in the MP’s work that he holds so-called racist views and for anyone to suggest as much is libellous,” Goldy said.
“As for the blogger in question: I don’t care what he thinks and, judging by his pitiful website traffic statistics, nor does anyone else.”
Global News has reached out to Diotte and Hamilton for a response and so far has not received a reply.