Calgary physician Joe Vipond at a protest against the Alberta government’s lax approach to mitigating COVID-19 in Edmonton last summer (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m pleased to report Dr. Joe Vipond’s Twitter account was restored to him 21 minutes after this post was published. I’m not taking credit. I rather imagine it was all the tweets Twitter received yesterday and this morning. DJC

Calgary Emergency Room physician Joe Vipond, who has been a thorn in the side of the Kenney Government with his effective and accurate criticism of its COVID-19 response, has had his Twitter account suspended. 

Dr. Vipond may have been the victim of a campaign by unidentified supporters of the government to create conditions that would cause the shutdown his account and shut up his commentary, which has been detailed, science-based, and has a history of making worrisome predictions that turn out to be accurate.

The current state of Dr. Vipond’s twitter account (Image: Screenshot).

Dr. Vipond was one of the first commentators to call for general masking regulations at a time even government health officials were pooh-poohing the effectiveness of mask wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Twitter users who follow Dr. Vipond were shocked when his account disappeared yesterday, and many have called on the U.S. social media corporation to restore his privileges. “Canadians who care aren’t impressed. Dr Joe Vipond is a decent, wise, outspoken physician colleague in Alberta,” said a typical comment yesterday. “He was shut down by social media trolls. Waiting for this to be fixed.”

“Right-wing ‘freedom fighters’ despise cancel culture, unless it’s them doing the cancelling,” said well-known broadcaster Ryan Jespersen. “This is embarrassing, @TwitterSupport. Dr. @jvipondmd has done more for public health over the past 18 months than the Alberta government and health authorities combined.”

In a communication sent to several people, Dr. Vipond said his troubles with the account started on Saturday, when he noticed “a new fake twitter account popped up using my name and image.”

“I thought, oh, maybe I need to get a verified account now? So applied for one, only to find out I don’t qualify (not enough followers they said). 

“So I reported the new account, and mentioned in the report, ‘by the way, there are multiple fake jvipond accounts.’”

He was informed by Twitter at 4:40 p.m. yesterday that his complaint had been acted on, and the fake account was suspended. “Two minutes later my account was suspended as well, and the email I got announcing it used the same case number.”

“So, I think that the twitter algorithm caught my real account in the net of fake accounts,” Dr. Vipond said generously, suggesting the suspension was not the result of malfeasance, but an algorithmic error that when recognized will result in his account being reinstated. 

Well, it could be an algorithmic error. Nevertheless, Dr. Vipond has been trolled in the past by UCP supporters.

Last summer, he organized a series of well-attended and well-publicized rallies calling on the province to abandon its plan to eliminate most testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, and the requirement for infected persons to isolate.

This obviously got under Premier Jason Kenney’s skin at the time, prompting trolling by Matt Wolf, the premier’s soon-to-be-departed “executive director of issues management.” Mr. Wolf used information from a public database to attack the physician for his past donations to the NDP and suggest to media this made him an inappropriate critic of the government’s policy. Other UCP political staff and their allies in media joined the attacks. 

The latest development, however it came about, appears to have been more successful at muzzling Dr. Vipond on a social media platform used by many who follow Alberta politics and health care issues. 

Meanwhile, Premier Kenney told a news conference yesterday he supports a “moderate” relaxation of rules for indoor holiday gatherings, international concerns about the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus notwithstanding. “He says he’s concerned many people won’t follow the rules if they aren’t relaxed,” CTV reporter Kevin Nimmock tweeted.

Twitter users demanding the restoration of Dr. Vipond’s access to his account are using the hashtag #BringBackJoe. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Let me get this straight. Kenney the Libertarian says he’s scared people will stop following the rules if they stay like they are. So he’s gonna make the rules less strict. How well did that work in Wave 2, Wave 3 and Wave 4?

    It’s past time to stop coddling the anti-vax, anti-mask holdouts. Get the jab, wear your damn mask in public–or stay at home. Don’t like it? Big fines or jail time. Alternative sentencing: you work for 3 night shifts as an orderly in an intensive-care ward with lots of Covid-19 patients. That way, you get to see the results of your selfish stupidity up close and personal.

    Regarding Twitter, I don’t do social media. But from what I’ve been reading, this doesn’t surprise me at all. Dr. Vipond was lucky to get his account restored as quickly as it was. Twitter, Facebook et al are built on the desperate need to generate revenue by generating clicks. Like anti-vaxxers, it’s long past time for the anti-social tendencies of Twitter et al to be curbed–hard.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.