Chief Gottfriedson joins list of politicians who self-destruct on social media

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 6, 2016 - 1:44pm

KAMLOOPS — Why is it that politicians are so determined to employ social media to self-destruct? The shreds of once-promising careers litter the political landscape thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The latest victim is our own Shane Gottfriedson, who publicly apologized Tuesday morning for a social media indiscretion that’s hard to fathom.

Gottfriedson is B.C. regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations and headed up its missing and murdered indigenous women portfolio. He has stepped down from that portfolio.

The reason? An Instagram photo of his bare legs and a wide-eyed emoji with red lips positioned near his groin. The photo, posted under the avatar “Chief Bones“ and uploaded to his Instagram account on Saturday, appears to have been taken while he was relaxing on a bed.

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The Native Women’s Association of Canada found it “disturbing” and the Nova Scotia Native Women’s organization called it “sick” and “degrading to women.”

“I offended many people,” Gottfriedson said, admitting it was “not one of my greatest moments.”

No kidding. He did the right thing, of course, in apologizing at an Assembly of First Nations meeting of chiefs and stepping aside from the missing-women portfolio.

Only Gottfriedson can answer why he displayed such a lack of judgment, and if he doesn’t know he needs to figure it out.

It’s possible this misstep might not be politically fatal, but it doesn’t help that the incident has attracted national news coverage and is being compared to the likes of the infamous Donald Trump video and Anthony Weiner sexting scandals.

Gottfriedson has been doing good work for First Nations for more than a dozen years since being elected chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band and serving several terms before moving on to become regional chief last year.

He’s regarded as a strong leader — this past September he was described by Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon as “a guy who wants to get stuff done” and who has “a combination of vision and execution.”

What a shame that he should put it all at risk for the sake of a silly, immature social media post.

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