Gerry Rogers thrown out of House

James McLeod
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Facebook group threats create controversy

Gerry Rogers

NDP MHA Gerry Rogers was thrown out of the House of Assembly Tuesday after she refused to apologize for being a member of  a Facebook group.

The group in question — “Kathy Dunderdale must GO!!!” — has been a centre for anti-government senti-ment in recent weeks, and some users have posted violent messages, including threats on Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s life.

But Rogers said she didn’t know anything about the group until early Tuesday afternoon, when Government House Leader Darin King raised a point of privilege and called her out.

Rogers said she had been added to the group by somebody she did not know — which is possible on Facebook.

“I do not condone violence in any way, shape or form,” she told reporters just after she was forced out of the House by Speaker Ross Wiseman, who held her in contempt of the legislature.

“I did not have contempt of the House. I did not freely and knowingly participate in any way, shape or form in actions against the premier,” Rogers said.

Dunderdale wasn’t buying that.

“If somebody is associating you with something you don’t want to be a part of, you deal with that right away,” Dunderdale said.

“I can’t imagine under what circumstance I would associate with a group of people who would suggest in any kind of a way that somebody would put a bullet through Lorraine Michael.”

The premier said that since the March 26 provincial budget, which implemented sweeping program cuts and layoffs, she has been getting threats, and twice she’s been accosted by angry public-sector workers.

“I’m at a point where I have to be careful about my own safety — where I go and what I expose myself to,” Dunderdale said. “I’d face the devil, but I need to be very careful about what I do with my grandchildren these days.

“You know, when somebody is threatening to blow up my house, and the RNC are taking it seriously enough that this is being investigated, then I have to understand when my children say that perhaps we can’t have sleepovers.”

The day in the House of Assembly started as usual at 1:30 p.m., but almost immediately it changed when King raised the point of privilege.

King pointed to comments on the Facebook group — which have since been deleted — where somebody identified as Adam Maher wrote, “i can’t believe no body jfk’d her already n sniped her out.”

King called the language “vile and contemptible” and asked Wiseman to throw Rogers out of the House for being associated with the group.

In his argument, King drew parallels between the comments on the Facebook group and the twin bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon Monday, killing at least three people and wounding more than 100.

Proceedings in the House ground to a halt for the rest of the afternoon while Wiseman considered the matter.

By the time things got back on track and question period wrapped up after 5 p.m., regular House proceedings lasted for fewer than 13 minutes before they wrapped up for the day.

In his ruling, Wiseman said Rogers had not committed a breach of privilege, but he held her in contempt, which is a less specific censure.

Wiseman ordered her to apologize, but Rogers refused to do so, saying she hadn’t done anything.

“I cannot apologize for something I did not do,” Rogers said before Wiseman ordered that she be ejected from the House.

Immediately after she was forced to leave, Rogers said the whole thing represents a chill for people engaged in political discourse.

Rogers said by painting everyone subscribed to the group with the same brush, Dunderdale was,  “Trying to attack the right to free speech and to gather, whether it is on social media or physically.”

Rogers said she will return to the House of Assembly today.

Twitter: TelegramJames


Organizations: Government House, Boston Marathon

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Recent comments

  • Mike Gurney
    April 20, 2013 - 21:12

    Spin doctors do seem to unite under the guise of political affiliation and bias. A true and cunning bully uses perceived legitimate procedure to arrest and suppress debate at their convenience. The truth is a inconvenient subject when you are the ruling party. They should all take another look at the oath of office, remembering that we operate in democratic society not as a dictatorship. I'm totally discussed with our representatives voted to govern the business of this province.

  • Edward Sawdon
    April 17, 2013 - 20:42

    I want to say that I have and I will support my local NDP M.H.A. Gerry Roger. The Speaker of the House of Assembly was too quick to judge and was acting in a too partisan (non-objective) way in having Gerry evicted from the House. The P.C.'s are having their own form of "McCarthyism" - "Guilt by Association." And Yes Gerry was right in refusing to apologize for a comment she didn't make. Really the Tories are using Gerry Rogers incidence to divert the Public's attention from their own unpopular Budgetary Cutbacks! Of anybody who needs to apologize is the P.C.'s who are making life harder for us "Havenot" people in Newfoundland & Labrador! And, King, Dunderdale, Wiseman et al ought to apoligize for the way they acted against Ms. Rogers

  • enough yet
    April 17, 2013 - 20:16

    so whats next? throwing people out of the province if they disagree with our chosen leaders? is a person really responsible for what someone else says?

  • Kate
    April 17, 2013 - 19:06

    "In his argument, King drew parallels between the comments on the Facebook group and the twin bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon Monday, killing at least three people and wounding more than 100." So, King is comparing a person being unknowingly part of a Facebook group with over 1500 members, in which one of those members made a threat that was removed by the group's administrators for promoting violent and illegal actions that the group in no way supported, to an act of terrorism that killed three people? The comparison is unwarranted, shameful, and despicable. King, not Rogers, is the one who owes the House of Assembly -- and the voters of this province -- an apology.

  • clay
    April 17, 2013 - 17:03

    king and jackman has to go as cabinet ministers, you have better men in the back ground. please listen

    • CB voter
      April 17, 2013 - 20:23

      Yet another example of how bad this government really is. The minister of justice actually wastes time to make this an issue in the House. The speaker, exceeds his authority and refuses to allow a sitting MHA to explain (something that an honorable and ethical speaker would do), and the team's captain, our illustrious premier actually equates this to bullying. Does everyone remember when Jerome Kennedy told a member that he had not finished grade 6 and that he was a fool? He had to be asked to apologize more than three times, and the final time, he engaged in a childish stare-down, an act that can only be described as an overt attempt to intimidate and show contempt. Hey Ms. Dunderdale, you live in a glass house, becareful with those stones!

  • Anon
    April 17, 2013 - 16:45

    So if I make a death threat (and what was quoted on facebook was not a threat by the way) does that make everyone on this public forum complicit in that threat? Should you all be held accountable and made to apologize because of a strangers actions that you had no knowledge of or association with? Can't wait til election time. I might even rip up a few election posters... but of course if I did that, you'd all be guilty by Darin King and Ross Wiseman's logic.

  • Old Wisdom
    April 17, 2013 - 16:07

    Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.

  • ben
    April 17, 2013 - 14:40

    I am just wondering how Gerry Rogers would hv reacted if an MHA was part of a grp condoning violence against gays and lesbians. She would have been in a twitter for sure! Personally I find the threats very disturbing and cannot believe someone in a public position would stay connected to a group condoning this type of behavior. I guess we have to wait for something drastic to happen before people take this serious. This is very sad!

    • Bob
      April 17, 2013 - 19:32

      What is Gerry Rogers complaining about again. Every time she opens her mouth, I could throw up. She knew all along what was posted, she did not report it, therefore she is as guilty as the person that originally posted. Go away Gerry, you are making yourself look stupid.

  • jon
    April 17, 2013 - 14:32

    For some peoples information you can be added to groups on facebook without your knowledge, it happens all the time. The speaker acted and looked like a fool not letting Gerry Rodgers speak to defend herself after all its 2013 "mr speaker"

  • Ruth Seeley
    April 17, 2013 - 13:16

    How Gerry became a 'member' of this Facebook group is really quite easy to determine. When I checked out the members of the closed group minutes ago, this message appears: 'Added by Christine Kirby last Thursday.' This is neither rocket science nor hard-hitting investigative journalism.

  • CBGirl
    April 17, 2013 - 13:01

    Heaven forbid if Mel Gibson or Russell Crowe follow them on twitter then. Hate to be painyed as anti semitic or a supporter of Robin Hood, that theif. I get added to groups against my will, be it closed vacation groups or public recipe groups. Most People on Facebook has had that happen to them, and the resultant notifications. Gee.

  • Political Watcher
    April 17, 2013 - 12:25

    I bet the all Government members are so proud of themselves today; not many people will come out so publically and demonstrate just how stupid they are.

  • West coaster
    April 17, 2013 - 12:14

    Good riddence should have know better!

  • Clay
    April 17, 2013 - 11:55

    Everything Darren King touches turns to you know what. He screwed up the fisheries and now he got his hands in the justice system. What's next? its time for the priemier to take him out off cabinet if brains was dynamite he would not have enough too blow is nose.

  • taxpayertoo
    April 17, 2013 - 11:25

    Here we go again, it amazes me how many folks out there really do not understand how all this social media really works. Anybody ever hear of a hacker. Unfortunately in this day an age no one can be responsible for things that are posted online, unless you are doing the posting. Everyone is taking all this way too seriously, so what if her name is on the posting, her along with many others. I had not even heard of this group before now. How many times do you have to be told, what you read online is not reliable...anyone can post anything they want and claim it's true......meanwhile what happened to innocent until proven guilty....I do not see anyone producing any evidence here and what's more what happened to Freedom of speech??? I think Geri should be our next premiere!!

  • mediawatcher
    April 17, 2013 - 10:56

    should be a case study for pr students. Talk about backfiring - all this did was show how out of step cabinet is about social media and highlight how low public perception has dropped. Every media outlet is now repeating how angry people are with the current government - to the point of death threats. Not exactly positive messaging. Terrible communications strategy.

  • Good Riddence
    April 17, 2013 - 10:45

    Good. In this world of online bullies, someone needs to be held accountable. Gerry Rogers was part of the group that did the death threats, she is guilty by association. If she claims she did not know, she was in the group, she obviously does not pay much attention to what pops up in front of her eyes.

    • Horace
      April 17, 2013 - 17:46

      Lee Pitts tonight on CBC says the Premier has a link to a porn site on her account. I don't know even how to check it. But I guess that makes her the Premier of Porn. Right Good Riddence.

  • Joan Hiscock
    April 17, 2013 - 10:20

    If Jerry Rogers was not knowingly a member of this group then she should legally pursue pursue who actually signed her up to the group. Removing the page from Facebook does not delete it and it can be traced thru IP address. The person who signed her up can be traced by their IP Address. She has legal recourse and the freedom to pursue it. Being in politics is not easy on anyone member or their families as they are always targets for verbal and physical abuse. Premier Dunderdale is doing the job the people of this province elected her to do. That is to run a profitable province and not put us deep in debt as past governments have done. Put the blame where it lies on the back of the bureaucrats who spend the money and blame it on the politicians. Base your budget on low price of oil and not the high price. Deputy Ministers and ADM's run the province and the financing not the Ministers and Politicians who are only the figure heads. How can a Minister possibly know everything that goes on in a department when they move into that portfolio. Place blame where it belongs and smarten up people when it comes to social media. Once it is on the web, it stays there forever.

    • Horace
      April 17, 2013 - 17:52

      Unfortunately,it must be beyond the Premier's ability to do a good job like the people elected her to do.

  • Was PC......
    April 17, 2013 - 10:10

    What a childs game,Gerry Rogers don't have time for that foolishness,,take a good look at yourself Cathy D. SHAME ON YOU Mr. speaker lolololololololololol.

  • Ben
    April 17, 2013 - 10:10

    I wonder how much longer it will be till PC members start to cross the floor and show that they still have a backbone like Tom Osborne did.

  • gerry
    April 17, 2013 - 09:54

    all that's missing is a band playing 'march in the clowns'....

  • EDfromRED
    April 17, 2013 - 09:46

    Why do the PC MHA's sound and act like five year olds? To qualify for membership in the provincial PC's you must have to have a lobotomy and have your common sense removed. You would not see such blatantly stupid theatrics tolerated in an elementary school. These fools are our leaders!? God help us all!

  • Mike Fitzpatrick
    April 17, 2013 - 09:45

    For the record I abhor the violent threats that our Premier has reported to have received and here's hoping that the police get to the bottom of it. But shame on Minister King and Speaker Wiseman to make a political football out of it. Gerry Rogers is an honourable person and would never be party to anything of the sort she is being charged with in the House of Assembly. She has been the victim of Harperite like smear political tactics. I see it as another good reason why all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will see the provincial tories for what they really are...near fascist like in their quest to remain in power by attacking the opposition.

  • John Carrick Greene
    April 17, 2013 - 09:37

    Hats off to Gerry Rogers to standing up to extremism and the threat to her personal liberties. The government behaviour towards her is an abuse of power rivalling that which was typical of the Smallwood years. It's incumbent on everyone to speak out when one's liberties are threatened as they are in this case. But there is another story here too. If any person threatened to blow up the Premier's house, then that person must be arrested. That type of conduct is not legal or moral either and it's the responsibility of all of us who condemned the former course of action to label this one as "crossing the line" as well.

  • Police Investigation Outed By The Minister
    April 17, 2013 - 09:36

    Why did the Minister of Justice Darin King publicly comment on a police investigation that the public was not yet aware of? He did it for cheap partisan reasons that have come back to make him look like a fool. Our Justice system is under enough stress caused by the actions of this incompetent Minister.

  • Newbie
    April 17, 2013 - 09:35

    Firstly, a person can post just about anything on any public forum…like this one. I can’t expect anyone to be held accountable for my comments but myself. Granted, when one is on the business of politics, your public persona’s integrity should count for something, but Gerry Rogers shouldn’t be expected to apologize. AS FOR DARREN KING: I think it’s absolutely reprehensible that he should liken Rogers’ “non-behavior” to that of the individual or individuals responsible for the bombing in Boston. I think next time DR. King should keep his sophomoric opinions on society and its problems to himself. He’s just using a terrible tragedy as a soapbox from which to talk down to his fellow politicians. Give me a BREAK!!

  • Lord High Prosecutor
    April 17, 2013 - 09:18

    I see, Ed Fry, that you are part of a comment string that includes anti-government sentiments. You should have made yourself aware of these comments before you contributed. You will report to the nearest police station to explain your treacherous activities.

  • David Wilson
    April 17, 2013 - 09:13

    Lock the door and dont left her back in. LOL

  • Doug
    April 17, 2013 - 09:04

    Ed Fry - A.K.A. Paul Lane or Stevie Kent, ha, ha

  • Mike
    April 17, 2013 - 09:00

    Politicians must be held accountable for their actions....but they must also be held accountable for their someone who was inadvertently added to this same group in question last week I immediately removed myself when I saw the extremist language being used.Gerry Rogers should have known better!

  • Don
    April 17, 2013 - 09:00

    ll have to say is "HOORAY."

  • john lynch
    April 17, 2013 - 08:46

    Three things are wrong with this picture. First how can the speaker fairly rule without having evidence or some burden of proof or a clear breach of protocol? Second, I listened to Conservative Darrin King castigate Rogers by again being accusatory with no evidence. Last, anybody can sign anyone else up on a social media network and falsely represent that person by association. I don't like that fact but I'm intelligent enough to know it is a reality. Typical bumbling and spin doctoring that dominate politics nowadays on all three points

  • Me
    April 17, 2013 - 08:14

    ED Fry - A.K.A. Darren King, lol

  • ceehann
    April 17, 2013 - 08:12

    I find it sort of ironic that because of brave acts, like the one taken by ms. Rogers yesterday, that we are legally allowed to post these comments. You cannot keep democratic rights and freedom of speech without constant vigilence. If Ms. Dunderdale honestly thinks this is guilt by association, than how come her members knew of this site but ms. Roger's didn't...........Gerry is too strong a person to fall to your intimidation tactics.

  • Cityboy
    April 17, 2013 - 08:03

    Wow, then let's ban the entire NDP and liberal parties from politics. Let's bring all the unions up on battery charges. I'm sure there have been slanderous comments made against the government by members of both parties and affected unions. Getting thrown out of the house for contempt for not apologizing for something someone didn't do. I wouldn't even treat my kids this way and grown adults are doing this to each other. How quickly can we call for a nonconfidence vote and put in a new bunch of miscreants? This group has outlived its usefulness. Oppps am I now going to be banned by cabinet ministers wasting their time trolling for these comments. Good job on promoting the facebook group.

  • Jack
    April 17, 2013 - 07:59

    Gerry Rogers should return to the house, but under no circumstances, apologize as its considered an admission of guilt in this province. If she is ordered to apologize, Gerry should say no and tell Ross Wiseman to "see you in court.".

  • Michelle
    April 17, 2013 - 07:54

    Gerry Rogers has more class in her little finger than the entire PC govt put together! What an embarrassment Darren King and the speaker were to themselves, both should resign and making parallels between some stupid Facebook comments and the explosion in Boston this week is in very bad taste.

    • Cher
      April 23, 2013 - 10:17

      Gerry Rogers has no class to stay connected to the hate site in question. She is a member by choice and I bet my last dollar she is behind the hate flyers as well....Gerry Rogers and Lorraine Michaels are terrible people. Shame on you Sister?

  • Ed Power
    April 17, 2013 - 07:16

    Just one more sign of a government in freefall and desperately grasping at any straw in an attempt to reverse the slide. As If poll-padding and call show stacking weren't enough, now we have a Cabinet Minister - the same one whose astonishing incomptetence was revealed in technicolour during the recent post-budget debacle - devoting his time and the resources of his office to trolling Facebook pages looking for nasty comments. The tragedy of Mr. King has now descended into farce..

  • Michelle
    April 17, 2013 - 07:06

    I truly believe this is a travesty. What better way to take the focus off a bad budget but to put it on an innocent victim. I don't agree with what was said on this facebook page but to throw someone out of the house because she wouldn't apologize for something that had nothing to do with her? Are we talking the school playground or the House of Assembly? She was added by someone else. All you have to do is check out the page and it tells you whether people were invited (and accepted the invite) or were added by someone else and she was added by someone. Whoever scopes out the facebook pages for government should take another look and then apologize to Ms Rogers as this is where the injustice has been done. Sad...very sad.

  • Kent
    April 17, 2013 - 07:06

    Clearly Dunderdale and her cabinet do not understand Social Media technology. It is quite easy to make a Facebook user a member of a Facebook group without their knowledge, and it is impossible for Facebook members to control this. God help us....If the Government don't understand something as simple as Facebook, surely they don't have a prayer with a project like Muskrat Falls.

  • Ed Fry
    April 17, 2013 - 07:00

    Yeah, riiiiight....she didn't know she was a member of that group. If she was at all familiar with her own FB account she would definitely know. More than likely, she joined the group and now regrets it. Now that she has been thrown out of the House, how about keeping her out? She has got to be the most sanctimonious, annoying, politician ever. And, if she ever forms part of a government, we are ALL screwed.

    • Steve
      April 17, 2013 - 08:33

      Ed, unlike you and your dozen facebook friends, I believe Ms. Rogers has thousands of facebook friends - probably mostly constituents. Unlike some in the House of Assembly, she doesn't spend all her time sitting in front of a computer clicking a mouse all day. With that many facebook friends, she probably gets notifications all the time, but it's just impossible to keep up with that many when you have real work to do. Besides that, remember that this group was "Kathy Dunderdale Must Go!" - there's nothing wrong with being on such a group, intentionally or not. Just because a few idiots take it too far does not mean that you agree with them. I'm sure the vast majority of the members of that group (I believe it's 2000 by now) simply share the view expressed in the title of the group, and not those of a few individual members.

    • Robb
      April 17, 2013 - 12:01

      Hey are on the money when you say "Yeah, riiiiight".......easy to see all the liberals and ndp jumping all over this one, but yeah, riiiight....if she is on facebook, she knows, but now that she is caught its "oh, it wasn't me", and bring on the puppy face. Fact is, if you are on this media crap, you better have good controls in place, if not, then it shows how you control everything around is obvious that the ndp have much to learn with technology and especially economics......oh wait, they have no concept of economics and would just give it all to the unions anyway. I am posting here as vocm no longer posts any comments that support the govt, and is typical of the caliber of their credibility.

  • Bayman
    April 17, 2013 - 06:59

    Darrin King knows his head is on the"cutting block" in the next election due to all the cuts in Justice...THis is just his way of taking the spot light of his underacheving government.Ross Wiseman as the Speaker of the House is a Joke.I follow NL Polictics pretty well and in my option the speaker of the house should be a person of non-polictical strips...