The True North Strong and Free Advertising Corp paid to advertise on several billboards across Canada for right-whing candidate Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party of Canada. Anti-immigration is one of the main themes of the People’s Party of Canada, and the billboards read “Say NO to Mass Immigration.”
The billboards caused quite a stir, followed by petitions, which eventually convinced the billboard company, Pattison Outdoor, to remove them.
Pattison Outdoor President Randy Otto said in a statement:
“It was never my or Pattison Outdoor’s intention to offend, alienate or in any way insult the public by allowing this ad to be run.”
The candidate supported by the ads, Bernier, has focused on limiting immigration and protecting so-called Canadian values in contrast with more moderate Conservatives, prompting some pundits to refer to him as Canada’s Donald Trump.
Canada will have a federal election on Oct. 21 and immigration has broad support, some polls show. A Pew Research Center report published Aug. 9 found that Canadians have among the highest support in the world for immigration.
Although the People’s Party of Canada was not responsible for the ad, Bernier was upset that it was taken down.
“The message on the billboard is not ‘controversial’ for two thirds of Canadians who agree with it, and for those who disagree but support free speech and an open discussion.”