In the post, Kenney referred to Ogbogu as an “NDP law professor.” “Sad to see how deranged the left has become,” Kenney said
An Edmonton academic is calling for Premier Jason Kenney to apologize and remove a social media post he considers defamatory and false.
In a post Thursday, the premier’s Facebook account shared a screenshot of a tweet from assistant professor in the faculty of law at the University of Alberta, Ubaka Ogbogu, who wrote that he will “wear a mask now to spite Kenney. Staying healthy and protecting my community are now secondary objectives.”
In the post, Kenney referred to Ogbogu as an “NDP law professor.”
“Sad to see how deranged the left has become,” Kenney said.
In an interview with Postmedia Friday, Ogbogu said he is not affiliated with any political party, and the premier’s post, which left him stunned, is false, defamatory, and ultimately dangerous.
“I think he intentionally put it there as a way to generate attacks against me and hate against me,” he said, adding the premier, with his public reach, has a responsibility not to attack a private citizen.
“I feel like a sitting duck,” he said, adding that in cases of defamation a retraction and apology are usually enough to resolve the issue and are his first concerns, but he is considering taking the issue to court if the post is not removed.
“It can’t just live there forever,” said Ogbogu, who said Kenney’s comments were posted to Twitter but deleted.
Kenney’s office did not respond Friday to requests from Postmedia for comment about a potential lawsuit or whether the Facebook post would be removed.
Ogbogu appealed to Kenney to delete the statement and apologize on Twitter Thursday.
“I hope I don’t need to explain to you how dangerous it is to use falsehoods to frame my public statements in a way that directly endangers my life and health. You should know better. Delete the post immediately please,” he said, adding the point of his original post was a joke, to say the government is wrong and dictatorial to change the Municipal Government Act, and force the city of Edmonton to remove its mask bylaw.
Ogbogu often criticizes the government’s policy, and has been met with pushback from government staffers.
“That has led to terrible consequences for me,” he said, adding that in the past, he has had to remove his contact information online over safety concerns.
In the wake of an online clash with government staffers in 2020, Ogbogu said he faced racist messages and harassment.
Kenney’s post was condemned online by academics and politicians around Alberta Thursday, including University of Calgary political scientist Melanee Thomas.
“As someone who’s been through this, I stand with my colleague 100 per cent, and repeat his request. The premier should delete the post, apologize and do better. Critique our ideas and our work. Stop sending ad hominem partisan attacks our way,” Thomas wrote.