OPINION: Of sinking ships and other tweetable clichés

The Twitterverse reacted fast and furious to Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon's decision to bow out of politics (for now?)

Saying so long after 12 years in office.

There are times when the social network Twitter functions like an unruly Grade 9 classroom where everyone’s passing notes behind the teacher’s back.

Which is why it’s fun.

Last week’s announcement by B.C. Liberal cabinet minister and Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon that he won’t be running in the next provincial election was one of those times.

Uncharacteristically, he took to Twitter to break the news – just as he was facing reporters at the Aug. 29 press conference telling them the same thing. A multi-tasker through-and-through.

“After 12 yrs in public life Im stepping down as Min of Fin & not seeking re-election. Thx to my colleagues/constituents,” he posted to his nearly dormant official @KevinFalcon account, apparently surprising no one.

In an official statement on his website, Falcon cited a desire to spend more time with his growing family (baby number two is expected early in the new year).

Reactions on the social media network ran the gamut, from sincere to supremely cynical to downright nasty.

Most went with a nautical theme:

“Shorter Kevin Falcon: I remain completely loyal to the inept captain of the sinking ship I just abandoned,” Neil Khare said.

“The resignation of Kevin Falcon from Cabinet really signals the downfall of the BC Liberals,” tweeted Bryan Crockett. “Doesn’t want to go down with the ship.”

Said Liz Blackwood: “What’s that they say about sinking ships… who will be next? Abbott?”

(Bingo! Prominent Liberals former solicitor-general John Les and education minister George Abbott followed suit the next day, eliciting more concern about the buoyancy of the party.)

Others remembered Falcon’s legacy as transportation minister, when major road improvements rolled through Cloverdale’s 176 Street bypass.

“Goodbye Kevin Falcon every time I see the mega truck highway cutting through the best birding area in Canada I’ll think of you,” @TheGodspotband wrote.

Some found it hard to feel sorry, noting Falcon’s first year pension will be $62,893 totalling $1.09 million over his lifetime.

Still, there was no call for this type of response:

“One less slimeball in local politics; I hope he doesn’t go federal,” Lee Hendy said.

Or this:

“Good riddance to bad rubbish! Kevin Falcon to jump from sinking BC Liberal ship.” Note to self: don’t get on Ryan Stewart’s (@trawetsnayr) bad side.

Falcon hasn’t been a huge Twitter user, at least not on his official account, although he did tweet the happy news of his daughter Josephine’s birth in 2009, along with bland rebroadcasts in 2012 of B.C. Liberal party initiatives.

On May 17 there was a bright spark:

“Thanks to the kids from #Cloverdale Catholic School who came for a visit at the Legislature today!” along with a group photo taken on the steps of the leg.

Over on the Cloverdale Reporter’s Facebook page, voters were much more sanguine: Pam Tennant commented, “Thank you for your years of service Kevin. You will be missed.”

That’s a nice place to leave things for now.

– Jennifer Lang is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter

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