British Columbia

Grey Cup 'tainted by politics'

The provincial NDP says the ruling Liberals are politicizing the Grey Cup, as the Canadian football champion B.C. Lions tour the trophy around the province.

Liberals politicizing provincewide tour, NDP claim

The provincial NDP says the ruling Liberals are politicizing the Grey Cup, as the Canadian football champion B.C. Lions tour the trophy around the province.

More than 80 per cent of the stops in the Grey Cup tour are in ridings held by Liberal MLAs, the opposition says.

"We're all proud of the B.C. Lions victory," said NDP MLA Shane Simpson. "It doesn't have to be tainted by B.C. Liberal politics."

When fans have their picture taken with the trophy and go to the team’s website to find it, they are linked to the B.C. Liberal Caucus Facebook page, Simpson said.

"It’s disappointing that it appears that the B.C. Liberals have chosen to try and take political advantage of that when in fact when it should be just about community spirit," Simpson said.

Despite the website link to the Liberal page, the team says it’s not intended to be a political message.

"It’s all about the power of sport and getting the Cup, and our messages from our players about becoming a champion and making the right decisions in life," said Lions general manager Scott Ackles.

Using the Liberal Facebook page was the fastest way to get the pictures uploaded, said Liberal caucus chair Gordon Hogg.

"That was the quickest and easiest way to get it back to the fans, and that’s what we were trying to do," Hogg said. "It was a partnership with the B.C. Lions, with their people and our people working together in terms of seeing how it could be done most effectively."

By the time the trek ends in Surrey on Saturday afternoon the week-long, $51,000 tour, funded by taxpayers, will have shown the Grey Cup in 32 different venues in 20 communities.

With files from the CBC's Kirk Williams