False ad targets federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in dirty political game

Jagmeet Singh with supporters.

EVEN as federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigns in the crucial February 25 Burnaby South federal byelection, an ad placed on the community newspaper Vancouver Courier website falsely claims that he owns a luxury house – quite obviously to make him appear as a hypocrite even as he fights for affordable housing.

The Tyee (thetyee.ca) exposed the slanderous story with photos that said Jagmeet Singh owns a $5.5-million “super luxury home.”

The Tyee reported that whoever created the fake Jagmeet Singh page did it by doctoring an existing page that shows celebrity Blake Shelton with a Hollywood mansion.

The ad featuring Singh’s image linking to the mansion story was placed by Taboola, an advertising network that pays news sites to host sponsored content by its clients, The Tyee reported.

Federal NDP’s James Smith told The Tyee: “This raises obvious questions, Who paid for it? Was it a third party or a political party, which would create legal questions regarding the Elections Act. This obviously has real implications for the general federal election.”

The Tyee also reported: “A different NDP spokesperson told The Tyee that party officials are also working with Facebook to remove false stories that either say Singh owns a mansion or that he is a terrorist. The Singh-led NDP has been the target of false Facebook posts since fall 2018.”

A Courier spokesperson told The Tyee that in spite of it providing a list of what they do not want on their website, sometimes advertisers “sneak through.”

The CBC reports that NDP’s Director of Operations Jesse Strean Calvert has written to Commissioner of Elections Yves Côté to investigate possible breaches of the Elections Act.

The letter states: “These patently false statements are damaging to our leader, our party brand and most importantly threaten the free and fair election currently under way.”

It adds: “These advertisements are clearly false and are intended to affect the outcome of the upcoming election.”