‘Hateful display’ against Peterborough-Kawartha MP on Lansdowne Street electronic sign

Monsef campaign following up with Elections Canada about legality of unauthorized third-party advertising

An electronic sign on Lansdowne Street West between Goodfellow Road and The Parkway in Peterborough displays a message associating Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef with the death of 158 Canadian soldiers during Canada's 12-year mission in Afghanistan against the Taliban. Contrary to Elections Canada rules for third-party advertising, there is no tagline indicating who authorized the advertisement. (Photo: kawarthaNOW)
An electronic sign on Lansdowne Street West between Goodfellow Road and The Parkway in Peterborough displays a message associating Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef with the death of 158 Canadian soldiers during Canada's 12-year mission in Afghanistan against the Taliban. Contrary to Elections Canada rules for third-party advertising, there is no tagline indicating who authorized the advertisement. (Photo: kawarthaNOW)

The heightened nastiness of the federal election has come out of the social media shadows, now crystal clear for all to see as they traverse one of Peterborough’s major thoroughfares.

An elevated electronic sign located on the south side of Lansdowne Street West between Goodfellow Road and The Parkway, owned by a Peterborough businessperson, is rotating through a number of messages, one of which reads “Monsef’s ‘brothers’ murdered 158 Canadian sons and daughters!” accompanied by an image of Canadian Forces members carrying a flag-draped coffin.

That particular message is a reference to Peterborough-Kawartha Liberal MP Maryam Monsef’s August 24th news conference on the Afghanistan evacuation crisis during which she said “I want to take this opportunity to speak to our brothers, the Taliban.”

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Met with harsh criticism from not only her political opponents and the media but also from Canadians across the country, MP Monsef clarified the intent of that reference on August 25, saying “The reference to brothers is a cultural reference” while making clear her condemnation of the Taliban and terrorism in general.

kawarthaNOW reached out to the sign’s owner for comment but has not heard back.

However, in a statement issued exclusively to kawarthaNOW, MP Monsef makes her feelings clear.

“This doesn’t represent the Peterborough-Kawartha I believe in … the Peterborough-Kawartha I know we can be,” she writes. “Our community and our country need to decide if this is who we really are. I don’t think it is.”

Missing from the messages in question is clear or readable authorization information — name, email address, and phone number — as required by law of third-party election advertisers.

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According to Elections Canada, there are three types of regulated activities during an election period: election advertising, partisan activities, and election surveys.

Election advertising is defined as the transmission to the public by a third party, by any means during the election period, of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered political party or candidate, including taking a position on an issue with which the registered political party or person is clearly associated.

Meanwhile, issue advertising is the transmission of a message to the public that takes a position on an issue with which a candidate or registered political party is clearly associated, without identifying the candidate or party in any way. Issue advertising is regulated only during the election period. Like any other election advertising, it must include a tagline.

Accordingly, as the messages identify a particular candidate, it falls under the election advertising regulation and, as such, must include authorization information.

“As this advertisement does not have an authorization tag on it, we do not know who is responsible for this hateful display,” says MP Monsef campaign spokesperson Karen August. “We are following up with Elections Canada and considering other avenues.”

 

This story has been edited to clarify Monsef’s quote about the Taliban.