Elections Canada has cancelled a costly $650,000 plan to pay 13 social media influencers to push their young fan bases to vote.
The 13 influencers included the following individuals.
- Ashley Callingbull, actor, model and First Nations activist
- Andre De Grasse, Olympic sprinter
- Mitch Hughes, YouTuber
- Katherine Levac, comedian
- Elle Mills, YouTuber
- Maripier Morin, TV host and model
- Alex Nevsky, singer-songwriter
- Penny Oleksiak, Olympic swimmer
- Nicolas Ouellet, TV host
- Max Parrot, Olympic snowboarder
- Thanh Phung, lifestyle/family blogger
- Lilly Singh, YouTuber and talk show host
- Maayan Ziv, photographer, disability issues activist and founding CEO of AccessNow
The plan was cancelled after complaints from some people that the influencers could have had potentially partisan pasts or messaging on their social media platforms, which could seriously hinder the non-partisan nature of the Elections Canada campaign.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre for example harshly criticized the plan, by calling the move “gross” and tweeting that it was “hard to trust the Liberal lapdogs at Elections Canada.”
Sadly, while the plan has been cancelled, Elections Canada has already paid over $300,000 to make content which will never be used. As a result, even though the content will not be used as planned, the odds of getting the money back are low if not nonexistent.
The reckless loss of taxpayers’ money here is worrying, but perhaps what is most worrying is the initial decision first taken by Elections Canada. Namely, having people begin work on a non-partisan campaign before checking their backgrounds.
Should there have been less blow back earlier on, this project could have potentially been rolled out to completion.
Had that occurred, many in Canada would have forever lost faith in our electoral system, some potentially forever. There is no understating how dangerous that is.
There is no space for even the perception of partisan decision making when it comes to an organization like Elections Canada, which is responsible for some of the most critical functions of our democratic system.
With an immense mistake, the country needs answers.
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