Billboards have gone up in Edmonton, Calgary and Regina discouraging people from voting for local Liberal Members of Parliament.
The signs say: “send Trudeau a message. Vote out Amarjeet Sohi.” Similar ones name Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale.
An Edmonton political scientist said he believes the ads are purposefully policy free to keep them simple and link the politicians to the prime minister.
“It appears third parties are targeting these local MPs in an effort to tie them in with the prime minister to do maximum damage during the election campaign,” MacEwan University professor Chaldeans Mensah explained.
A Regina-based group, called Canada Growth Council, funded the ads.
“There’s been a lot of MPs that were elected to stand up for the west, they’re western Canadian MPs in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and they haven’t done a very good job doing it,” spokesperson Derek Robinson told Global News.
According to Elections Canada documents, the group received a $10,000 contribution in May from oil executive Craig Lothian. A $5,000 donation was made by a holding company controlled by Eric Clark, who also registered Canada Growth Control.
“I can go and look at the website and see that they’re from outside of the province, that it’s Sasktchewan Party operatives or the upper echelons of the Sask Party that are doing this,” said Boissonnault.
“So it’s far-right money coming from out of province trying to push a Liberal out of office.”
He said the billboards will not tempt him to distance himself from Prime Minister Trudeau, even though the group is vowing more advances are coming.
“There’s clearly going to be more billboards, more digital, we might see some mail outs and that sort of thing as well,” said Robinson.
That, and what was widely seen as a nasty provincial election campaign, have one expert saying this is just the beginning.
“I think this is a reflection of the coming campaign. It’s going to be very contentious and the third parties are trying to see areas of vulnerability for the Liberal party,” said Mensah.