PPC mailer draws criticism but is within Elections Canada rules

An election flyer that includes unsubstantiated claims does not violate the letter of the law, but a few residents accused it of violating the spirit.

Looking through his mail Wednesday, Pemberton Heights lawyer Mike Barrenger initially believed a People’s Party of Canada advertisement was from Elections Canada.

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One side of the flyer featured links to Elections Canada web pages and an invitation to “call us” at an Elections Canada phone number.

“I’m a naturally skeptical person and it fooled me initially,” Barrenger said.

On the flip side, the promotion features a grid contrasting the platforms of four parties.

There is a risk that first-time voters and Canadians for whom English is a second language will mistake the flyer for official correspondence, Barrenger said, noting the words: Authorized by the Official Agent of Azmairnin Jadavji appear in “tiny font” on the flyer.

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The inclusion of links to Elections Canada web pages and Elections Canada phone numbers initially convinced one resident the PPC flyer was sanctioned by Elections Canada.

Jadavji, the North Vancouver PPC candidate, explained they omitted the NDP “in the interest of making things readable.”

Jadavji also said he didn’t see the NDP as direct competition.

Calling the flyer “dirty pool,” NDP volunteer Ben Belshaw complained to Elections Canada about the flyer. “They just left the NDP off of it, which I’m honestly kind of thankful for,” he said.

As the flyer includes the source of the advertising, Elections Canada does not consider it misleading, according to a release from the agency.

The flyer does not feature a photo of Jadavji or a large PPC logo.

 “We’re a new party so we’re selling people on our policies rather than on colour,” Jadavji said.

The flyer includes the debunked rumour that the Liberal government would place a 50 per cent tax on the sale of a principal residence.

“It is a lie,” responded North Vancouver Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson recently. “There is no proposal in any way. . . . Mr. Jadavji should remove it from his campaign literature.”

“There is truth to it,” Jadavji said. “We don’t know. . . . They’re the ones that are investigating it.”

The grid includes the unsubstantiated claim that the Conservative Party – despite not stating a specific number – would welcome 300,000 immigrants per year.

“They don’t want to decrease it, they haven’t talked about increasing it, so we went with they want to keep the status quo,” Jadavji explained.

The grid also makes the unsubstantiated claim the Green Party would allow 400,000 immigrants per year.

Saying he was “appalled,” Barrenger said the PPC, like every other party, “should be running on its own merits.”

– with files from Jane Seyd

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