Conservative MP falsely accuses Trudeau of sending photographer to 'misrepresent' convoy protesters
Facebook post by MP Cathay Wagantall has since been deleted
A Conservative MP joined a chorus of social media users falsely accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's official photographer of misrepresenting protesters at this weekend's demonstration in Ottawa against COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Adam Scotti is being accused online of photographing a protester carrying a Confederate flag during the demonstration in order to smear the protest as a whole.
The Prime Minister's Office says the allegations are false and Scotti did not attend the protest.
"It's unfortunate that the Prime Minister would send his personal photographer to misrepresent thousands of law-abiding, hard-working Canadian truckers and millions across the nation supporting them," MP Cathay Wagantall wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
Wagantall has not responded to a question from CBC News about the deleted post.
Scotti said he did not even attend the demonstrations, which have now run for four consecutive days around Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa.
"I didn't leave the house, and yet, they still came for me. How was your weekend?" he wrote on Twitter.
Scotti also shared a comment posted to his Instagram page by an unknown individual citing the example of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler's personal photographer.
"Being compared to a Nazi photographer really starts your Monday off on the right foot," Scotti added on Twitter.
I didn’t leave the house, and yet, they still came for me. How was your weekend? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ottawa?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ottawa</a> <a href="https://t.co/qZAN1kdxt8">pic.twitter.com/qZAN1kdxt8</a>—@AdamScotti
Those accusing Scotti on social media are using as evidence an image of a photographer taking a photo of a person carrying a confederate flag. They say the photographer resembles Scotti — even though the man's face is almost entirely concealed by his camera and a trapper-style hat.
Another Conservative MP warned last week that the Trudeau government would try to besmirch the protest.
"Watch for Trudeau's gang to pull off false flag operations," wrote MP Cheryl Gallant in a comment on her Facebook page last week.
The protest convoy was billed initially by its organizers as a demonstration against the federal government's vaccination mandate for cross-border truckers. But protesters in Ottawa have expressed much broader grievances against the Liberal government and public health measures.
Trudeau described elements of the protest as "hateful" on Monday. The presence of swastikas and Confederate flags and the desecration of monuments — including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a statue of Terry Fox — have been widely condemned.
Ottawa police have estimated that about 8,000 people have taken part in the demonstrations each day.