Tories remove Heritage Minute branding from parody ad that criticized Trudeau
The decision comes after Historica Canada, which creates the Heritage Minutes ads to promote Canadian history, criticized the video.
In a tweet Monday afternoon, the party explained: “Our intention was simply to use a recognizable and often-parodied segment to highlight Justin Trudeau’s many ethical breaches.”
“However, we did not intend to draw negative attention to Historica Canada. They do great work profiling Canadian history and we wish to maintain our positive relationship with the organization,” it added.
The video details scandals Liberals have faced, including Finance Minister Bill Morneau being fined $200 for not disclosing a villa he owned in France, an investigation into Treasury Board President Jane Philpott’s spending on a limo service — in which she was not found to have broken the rules and the money was paid back — and Trudeau’s violations of the Conflict of Interest Act.
A disclaimer before the video now reads: “The following video is a parody. While it depicts actual events, it is not associated with Historica Canada in any way.”
After the original video was posted, Historica Canada pushed back, saying the video uses “phrasing and images long associated with the real Minutes,” and while the organization welcomes other parodies, it does “not approve of them being used for partisan political purposes.”
In a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday, the organization described itself as a non-partisan charity that often works with governments at various levels regardless of political affiliation.
Later in the day, the CPC reposted the video in a series of tweets the specifying, “The original version of this video was intended as a parody.”
“We wouldn’t want it mistaken for a real production by Historica Canada, which typically showcase prouder moments in Canadian history. The original has been removed. This video has been edited to ensure viewers are aware this video is not a Historica Canada production.”
Historica Canada followed up saying the disclaimer wasn’t enough, saying the “very partisan mock Minute” was counter to the spirit of the minutes.
“While the Minute has a disclaimer that makes clear it was not produced by Historica Canada, it is counter to the spirit of the Minutes — and the traditional support for them provided by the Conservative Party,” officials said on Twitter.
“Our reputation for non-partisan, fact-based programs is the key to our support. The production in question is the opposite of that.”
Anthony Wilson-Smith, the CEO of Historica Canada, said he really wants no part in the “political mudslinging.”
In a message to Global News, Wilson-Smith said they are open to legal action, but are more focused on getting the Tories to remove the ad.
“We are more focused at present on having CPC delete the ad. We don’t rule out investigating legal steps, but that’s our main point of interest right now,” he said.
— with a file from the Canadian Press
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