Rocky Harbour fire chief hopes inappropriate tweets don’t reflect badly on the department

Published on March 15, 2017

The Rocky Harbour Volunteer Fire Department doesn’t want a social media controversy it is involved in to give the community a bad name

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Fire Chief Wilfred Ellsworth hopes controversial posts on a Twitter account attributed to the Rocky Harbour Volunteer Fire Department don’t give his hard-working members or the community in general a bad name.

The Twitter account has now been deleted, but had posts referencing anti-immigration messages prior to its removal.

One of the memes posted stated “it is not racist to protect our borders.”

Another one was critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stating the federal government is accommodating Syrian refugees while “cutting the pay of our men and women fighting ISIS by $9,000 per six-month deployment.”

Ellsworth said the fire department was unaware it even had a Twitter account until notified by the media this week. After looking into it further, he discovered the account was started by a former member originally from the mainland who had left the Rocky Harbour area about four years ago.

Ellsworth said that person had maintained the account from mainland Canada.

The chief, who would not reveal the former member’s identity, said he tracked the man down and got him to delete the account.

“This is not us,” the chief said about the political messages that had appeared on the account. “We’re just here to protect and serve the people of Rocky Harbour and there is no need for anything like that to be out there.”

Ellsworth said the views expressed by the former member do not reflect those of the fire department or its current members. He hopes anyone who has seen the posts doesn’t think it’s a characterization of the department.

He also had concerns about any negative attention from this possibly having an adverse effect on the local tourism industry.

Ellsworth thought the fire department’s Facebook account was the only social media presence the department had. He said they will continue to use the Facebook account.