Have you been blocked by a politician on social media? Did you ever question their post with facts or a counter-opinion to their bill of the day? Did you harass them with ignorant comments or ‘call them out’ with colorful metaphors? Did that lead to an eventual ‘block’ which is starting to become somewhat common towards constituents as of late?I’ll get right to the point. In my opinion politicians don't have the right to block any of their constituents nor deny their ability to leave comments about a specific policy, whether those people voted for them or not. An elected representative will always face some criticism, so they must be prepared to accept it as part of the job. In other words, having thick skin is in order! Anything less is a failure to acknowledge the importance of free expression, more so when it comes to political discussion. Of course, the exception would be if a particular constituent is continuously, unusually belligerent or harassing. Then blocking may just be in order. An alternative is to avoid further discussion with that person. But eliciting some disagreement with any one policy should be expected. Social media was intended to bring people together in ways we could've only dreamt of in the past. It offers the opportunity to connect with long-lost relatives and classmates, to open conversation with strangers and openly share best ideas with the world. But, as luck would have it, some people are hiding in anonymity. And others with multiple accounts for trolling have somewhat ruined it for the rest of us who generally comment with civility as if we were face-to-face.Some politicians have angrily ‘snapped back’ at their constituents when presented with a differing view to their own. The fact that some do react in that manner reflects their lack of respect for engaging in open conversation. As elected officials representing us, it is expected they should always stand for themselves as professionals. To do less is showing a lack of respect for Canadians who pay their salaries with taxpayer dollars along with any social media engagement. In many cases, it is highly likely you are not conversing with that politician exclusively on any social media channel, but very possible that one of their staff members is replying on their behalf to most social media conversations. If that is the case, the politician should ensure that individual is fully qualified to professionally answer for them in a manner that represents their position as an elected official.An exception to the opinion I’m sharing would be if it is the politician’s personal account vs his government account. If it is, then they have every right to block or mute whomever they choose. I recently communicated with one of our provincial politicians (or was it one of his staffers?). The interaction was based on policy failures in the past that affected my business for years. I frankly didn’t expect a response, but received one that insulted my ability as a businessperson. Unlike that respondent I have ‘thick skin’. I followed up as professionally as I could and ended our exchange. To my knowledge, I haven’t been blocked, regardless that others have been. But if I am, I really could not care less! It would mean I made my point and maybe they will re-think their reaction prior to responding to others.All political parties in Canada are expected to have a code of conduct for their representatives to follow, which should also include upholding an expected online code of conduct. If you feel they’ve breeched that conduct, ranting about it to other followers achieves nothing other than boasting about being blocked. Reporting it through the proper channels would garner much better results and likely some meaningful results.A few months ago, Rebel News won a court case against Energy Minister Stephen Guilbeault. He, or one of his staff, decided that blocking the Rebel was a suitable reaction to their disagreement with the opinions and the eco-ideology they were sharing with the public. I suspect several Canadians we're quite satisfied with the court’s ruling. After all, they are public servants who chose to run for public office which daily places them in a ‘fishbowl’. And, in my opinion, they do not have the right to willfully block their constituents because they disagree with their expressed opinion. They have the choice to not reply or mute that individual rather than play the role of gatekeepers of popular opinion.To summarize, blocking a constituent reflects a failure to recognize the value of free expression in Canada, when it comes to political discourse. I don't believe anyone, elected or otherwise, should be subjected to repeated harassment in person or online. An elected representative will always experience some harsh, outrageous or otherwise rational and eloquent criticism. If the narrative they gave is deceptive or just incorrect, an elected representative can update it, but silencing critics is not the solution.If social media is used to connect elected officials with their Constituents, then ‘the good' must be balanced against the ‘not so good.’As a frequent user of social media, I too will only tolerate so many nasty comments directed at me and besides the block feature on the platform, the mute button has become a favorite tool to use for those anonymously trolling any form of social media. Personally, I maintain social media platforms need to verify every account via government issued IDs to avoid troll accounts from participating (see my past article on cyber bullying). As I come to the end of this column, I can’t help but think that Bills C-11 and C-18 were implemented for no other purpose than a retaliation by the governing party to halt any disagreeing public commentary on the direction they are taking the country. Surely, I am misreading their intent! Was it a suitable reaction to their disagreement with the opinions and the eco-ideology they were sharing with the public?