A political attack ad featured in two of Vancouver’s largest Chinese-language newspapers is stirring up controversy, after claiming a Richmond NDP candidate will bring “moral decay” to his riding.
The ads claim that electing NDP MLA candidate Chak Au will introduce unisex washrooms and supervised injection sites, turning Richmond into something akin to the Downtown Eastside.
Ian Young, a reporter with the South China Morning Post who has been following the story spoke with Steele & Drex on Thursday.
He says the ads are making baseless accusations.
“These are not issues that Chak Au is campaigning on, to my knowledge. Certainly not issues that the NDP is campaigning on here in Richmond.”
Young’s investigation into the advertisements revealed that they were paid for by the “Richmond Community Development Concerns Group.”
That group is not listed as an ad sponsor with Elections B.C.
Young says this group can’t be identified.
“I don’t really know who’s behind it. Chak Au himself, who is targeted by the ads doesn’t know who’s behind it either.”
Young says the views expressed in the ad are shared by some groups, but they aren’t widespread by any means.
However, he does find the fact that they were published in two popular newspapers surprising.
“The interesting thing here isn’t that these views exist – they do exist in various communities. But I think the fact that these ads exist is troubling.”
Young believes that while the Chinese-speaking voter base is valuable, particularly in Richmond, the kind of attack ads currently running are a step too far.
“I think that specifically targeting, for instance, a Chinese community by political campaigners can be a good thing. But not when that message is designed to exclude others.”