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'Say NO to mass immigration' ads pulled, Bernier blames 'leftist mob'

Last Updated Aug 26, 2019 at 8:36 am PST

A billboard featuring Maxime Bernier's face and a slogan advocating against mass immigration is removed in Vancouver. (Kurtis Doering, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

A national billboard campaign calling for an end to mass immigration to Canada is being pulled

People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier claims free speech is being undermined after his ads were pulled

The billboards featured Bernier's photo and the words 'say NO to mass immigration'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Citing overwhelming public backlash, Pattison Outdoor Advertising is removing a series of nation-wide ads promoting People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, and his stance on immigration.

The billboards — featuring Bernier’s photo and the words “say NO to mass immigration” — had been a source of controversy after they popped up in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, and Regina. The ads were paid for by True North Strong and Free Advertising Corp., a registered third party.

For Anne Cooper, who lives in East Vancouver near where one of the billboards popped up, the message doesn’t reflect what she thinks Canada should be.

“I don’t want that, I don’t want people attacking me or my family — you know, no to nuclear families or no to this, no I don’t want that,” she said.

Early Sunday, Pattison said in a statement the campaign did not contravene the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, and that it was not up to the company to be “the judge or arbiter of what the public can or cannot see.”

But hours later, company president Randy Otto reversed course, saying “it was never my or Pattison Outdoor’s intention to offend, alienate or in any way insult the public by allowing this ad to be run.”

Otto promised to review the company’s advocacy guidelines relating to political messaging, and inform True North Advertising the ads will be removed as soon as possible.

“Fantastic, well good for them if they’re going to take a stand,” Cooper said after learning the billboards were being taken down due to public backlash. “It shows the power of the people.”

Reacting to the statement on Twitter, Bernier accused the company of caving in to the “leftist mob”, adding “the authoritarian Left want to censor and silence anyone who disagrees with them. They will fail.”

The People Party of Canada is so far not being allowed to participate in the upcoming federal leaders’ debates. A final decision on Bernier participation will be made by mid-September.