‘I think it was poor judgment’: Nova Scotia Liberal MLA calls NDP ad ‘offensive’

Click to play video: 'Liberal MLA calling for apology from leader Gary Burrill' Liberal MLA calling for apology from leader Gary Burrill
WATCH: Brendan Maguire represents the community of Spryfield, an area that was featured in an advertisement where Burrill discusses poverty. As Jeremy Keefe reports, Maguire says he and his constituents were offended by the advertisement. – Nov 29, 2019

A new advertisement released by the Nova Scotia NDP has drawn the ire of one MLA, who says it unfairly depicts his community as impoverished.

Halifax Atlantic MLA Brendan Maguire took to social media following the release of the advertisement, which shows Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill walking through Spryfield while he speaks about how many Nova Scotians are “crushed by debt, paid less than they’re worth or stuck working two or three jobs to make ends meet”.

Maguire’s frustration stems from what he believes was the use of locations in his constituency to illustrate an undesirable area, while happier parts were filmed elsewhere.

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He says that perpetuates a stereotype that’s been in place for decades that offends those who call the community home.

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“There’s always been a stigma and a stereotype over this community and it still happens to this day,” Maguire said at his constituency office in Spryfield.

“The offensive side of this was it was a conscious decision to come out here to show the have-nots.”

Burrill says their intention wasn’t to single out any one community for good or bad reasons.

In the video, he indicated, he speaks about the province as a whole and the need for more investment to fight poverty across Nova Scotia.

Click to play video: 'NS NDP Leader, Gary Burhill, visits Global News Morning' NS NDP Leader, Gary Burhill, visits Global News Morning
NS NDP Leader, Gary Burhill, visits Global News Morning – Nov 25, 2019

The reason Spryfield was chosen for the video’s opening shots, he says, wasn’t one they made haphazardly.

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“The first part of that ad is shot in Spryfield where I spent the years of my life that I was speaking about in the video itself,” Burrill explained.

“The ad tells a story about something that came to me while I was walking back and forth from my home in Thornhill Park.”

That explanation doesn’t hold water with Maguire, though, who has publicly called for an apology from Burrill to the people of Spryfield.

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People, he says, were hurt by the use of their community as a backdrop for the video.

“I understand what he was trying to do,” Maguire began. “Do I accept the explanation? No.

“They could’ve filmed the entire video out here… they could’ve gone to other places in Spryfield, they could’ve shown the beauty that’s in Spryfield. But instead, they left.”

“Quite frankly, I think it was poor judgment,” Maguire said.

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