British Columbia

Sikh group offended by Conservative anti-Trudeau ads

The B.C. Sikh Gurdwara Council says a Conservative ad campaign targeted at Chinese and Punjabi-speaking voters in Vancouver and Toronto is a "malicious" attempt to manipulate those communities into believing falsehoods about the Liberal Party’s platform.

The B.C. Sikh Gurdwara Council said the ads are manipulative and 'inconsiderate' to 2 large minority groups

A new Conservative Party ad aimed at Chinese-speaking voters in Vancouver makes several claims about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. (CBC)

A non-partisan Sikh organization in B.C. said the Conservative Party's recent ads that target Chinese and Punjabi-speaking voters in Vancouver and Toronto are a "malicious" attempt to manipulate those communities into believing falsehoods about the Liberal Party's platform.

"This is something that makes us feel that we're being targeted in a lowly way — that we can actually be manipulated into voting just through scare tactics and almost fear-mongering," said Mohinder Singh, spokesperson for the B.C. Sikh Gurdwara Council.

"[The Conservatives] are being inconsiderate of two very large minority groups, and pretty much Canadians in general."

Ads can cause confusion

The Conservatives' ads, in the Chinese and Punjabi languages, claim that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau supports the sale of marijuana to children, the expansion of supervised injection sites and the establishment of neighbourhood brothels.

The B.C. Sikh Gurdwara Council, which represents eight gurdwaras (Sikh temples) across Metro Vancouver, discussed the ads in a meeting on Oct. 13.

Singh said the discussion focused on how the Sikh community views the Conservative Party after these ads, and said the council will be speaking more about this issue at various temples in the coming days.

He said that, by focusing on drugs and brothels, the ads show that the Conservative Party thinks the Punjabi community "can be manipulated," and that the community doesn't seriously consider all the issues affecting Canada as a whole.

"Growing up in an immigrant home, I know how difficult it was for my parents to understand what was going on in politics, and I see that this is a chance for the Conservatives to actually come out and manipulate the community."

Harper defends ads

A spokesperson for Conservative leader Stephen Harper told CBC News that the party doesn't comment on its advertising strategies — but Harper defended the campaign in a written statement from his office.

"Justin [Trudeau] refuses to acknowledge the damage that drugs do to families and communities," said Harper.

The Conservative Party has repeatedly tried to shut down Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site, while Trudeau has spoken in support of supervised injection sites, and backed Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre's call to open four in that city.

If elected, the Liberals intend to legalize marijuana for people over the age of 18

Harper has spoken out against easing marijuana laws, even though the majority of Canadians say they would support such measures.

The Liberal Party has never said it would legalize brothels.

To hear the full interview with Mohinder Singh listen to the audio labelled: Sikh organization says Punjabi and Chinese-language ads are malicious and inconsiderate to those communities

With files from Richard Zussman


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