A combination of fake news, half truths and complete lies has got under the skin of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and the party is now demanding an investigation by Canada’s elections watchdog.
One of the ads circulating online claims Jagmeet Singh lives in a 5.5 million dollar mansion, this ad surfaced just around the time Singh was gearing up for the Burnaby South byelection. Voters go to the polls on February 25th.
According to a media report, that piece of fake news first appeared in the Vancouver Courier, a so-called community paper. The link took readers to an article titled “13 Super Luxurious Celebrity Houses – They Surely Know How to Spend Their Fortune” on the website Attorney Cocktail.
This was clearly a malicious attempt to discredit the NDP given that affordable housing is a key issue on the party platform.
Jagmeet Singh has been dealing with these kinds of stories for a while now. One such story about his alleged links to Sikh militants was shared more than 5,700 times on Facebook.
According to a news report, the mansions ad was placed by the New York-based advertising company Taboola, which is responsible for many of the “around the web” and “recommended for you” advertising boxes located at the bottom of some online news articles.
A spokesperson for Taboola told The Tyee the company takes ‘fake news’ seriously and would remove the content if it violates their internal policy.
For now Singh’s face appears to have been removed from the Attorney Cocktail slideshow.
Another headline claims Singh is wanted for terrorism in 15 countries.
It links to an article authored by the site Native Born Canadian Movement (NBCM) which claims Singh “is part of the Sikh militant group.” The rest of the story is simply a copy-paste of the Wikipedia entry on the 1985 Air India bombing.
All this comes despite Singh stressing that he accepts the Air India inquiry’s conclusion that Talwinder Singh Parmar was the mastermind behind the deadly mid-air bombing that killed hundreds of Canadians and went so far as to say it was inappropriate for some Sikhs to glorify Parmar by displaying his photo. To be fair, his reluctance to fully state his views on a CBC interview just after he became the NDP leader in 2017 became a source of controversy.
Meanwhile the beleaguered NDP leader Jagmeet Singh can only hope that a win in the upcoming by-election will salvage his reputation and future position within the party.