If the Burnaby South byelection is an indicator of how October’s federal election will play out, then we might be in for a vicious political fight.
Since the byelection was called by the prime minister, in a very short period of time candidates have been at each other’s throats launching direct or indirect attacks.
The four party candidates, Jagmeet Singh (NDP), Richard Lee (Lib.), Jay Shin (CPC), Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson (PPC) have all been directly or indirectly attacked during their campaign.
Here are three times when dirty political tricks entered the 2019 Burnaby South byelection.
Karen Wang’s race politics
Before her campaign even got its feet, Liberal candidate Karen Wang made a fatal error when she took to a Chinese social media platform to encourage voters to vote for her because she was Chinese.
In her now-famous post Karen Wang pointed to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s “Indian ethnicity” as a reason not to vote for him.
Immediately after the general public and the mainstream media hounded Wang for her comments.
Wang was forced to resign from her candidacy and when she tried to save face by asking to be reconsidered, the Liberals refused and chose the current candidate Richard Lee as her replacement.
Jagmeet Singh’s “multi-million dollar mansion”
Even the leader of the NDP hasn’t been impervious to slander and attack ads.
One main point of attack has been that Singh has only recently moved to the Burnaby South riding, renting an apartment in the district. Originally, Singh is from Brampton, Ontario and has served as an MPP in the Bramalea—Gore—Malton riding.
Early on in February, Jagmeet Singh filed a formal complaint with Canada’s election watchdog for a false advertisement that claimed he owned a $5.5 million Hollywood mansion.
During the first debate, the NDP leader referred to the ad as “fake news”. The false advertisement appeared on several local, national and international websites.
The source of the ads were unknown.
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson attack ads sent to voters
In the most recent twist and turn of the Burnaby South byelection, PPC candidate Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections Canada, claiming that the Conservative candidate Jay Shin allegedly distributed slanderous pamphlets to voters.
The brochures pointed to several PPC platform points on marijuana legalization and safe-injection sites and asked whether voters would support such positions.
The elections commissioner has yet to determine whether Shin broke any election laws by distributing the brochure.