Fake Fentie hits Twitter

Premier Dennis Fentie has a knack for delivering zingers in Yukon’s legislature. Now he’s transmitting them on the popular microblogging service, Twitter.

Premier Dennis Fentie has a knack for delivering zingers in Yukon’s legislature. Now he’s transmitting them on the popular microblogging service, Twitter.

Or, to be more specific, someone is doing so under Fentie’s name. For a touch of realism, the account sports a real photo of Fentie, alongside Yukon’s coat of arms.

The account’s biographic snippet acknowledges, however, “Yes, this is a parody.”

Most people would surmise as much, based on the content of the tweets, which largely riff on the running controversies faced by Fentie and his cabinet.

“After a long and lengthy search, we’re getting set to announce Craig Tuton as the new YEC chair,” dennisfentie tweeted on Monday morning.

Tuton is a close ally of Fentie’s Yukon Party government, who already chairs the Yukon Hospital Corporation and Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

Appointing him to the helm of the Yukon Energy Corporation’s board as well would be a touch audacious, even for the real Fentie.

But it’s not completely implausible, either.

“I have no problem with Jim Kenyon going to China. Problem is, he keeps coming back,” the satirist quipped last week. Kenyon’s frequent trips to China as Yukon’s economic development minister have become a

long-running joke in the legislature.

Yukon’s Education Minister, is not spared, either.

“Patrick Rouble just walked in and asked me ‘Why do we pay top dollar for teachers and end up with kids who can’t read good?’”

In a message to a fellow impostor, who is posing as Alberta’s premier, Ed Stelmach, dennisfentie wrote: “Have Ted give me a call. I can make him a sweet deal on some asset-backed commercial paper.” Yukon

was caught holding $36.5 million in that paper when the market for it collapsed.

“Gotta call the Peel Planning Commission, I think I found some more mistakes.”

“Wondering if I can prorogue the legislature until 2011.”

“Time for some radical transparency.”

Staff at Yukon’s Executive Council Office want the account’s name changed to “Fake Dennis Fentie.” They’re petitioning Twitter.

“We just want it to be really clear,” said web analyst Sarah Crane. “Beyond that, there’s not much we can do.”

Fake Gordon Campbell and Fake Ed Stelmach follow this convention, she notes. But this may not be for the reason she suggests.

The real Campbell and Stelmach have their own Twitter accounts. It appears they signed up before imposters could beat them to the punch.

And parody is fair game, according to Twitter’s impersonation policy. It states: “the standard for defining parody is, ‘would a reasonable person be aware that it’s a joke?’

It would be hard to argue otherwise in the case of dennisfentie.

“The real Mr. Fentie should get a verified Twitter account,” tweeted Kelly Quocksister of Whitehorse.

He may be right. Twitter offers a “verified” badge to public figures who face impersonation problems.

But that would require Fentie to join the Twitter trend. And, as it stands, he had no intention of doing so, said Crane.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.