Elections Canada paid several social media influencers a total of $325,000 before scrapping the project due to partisan concerns.
The campaign was supposed to rally more young voters to the polls, however the entire project was struck down before it was fully implemented.
A total of $650,000 in taxpayer dollars was budgeted for the project, and nearly half of that amount had already been paid out before the plan was canceled.
“Most of that money has been spent already; we are working to recover some of it,” said a spokesperson for Elections Canada.
According to Conservative MP and Shadow Minister of Finance, Pierre Poilievre, some of the influencers had praised Trudeau as “the ideal man” while disparaging former Prime Minister Stephen Harper as “Hitler” in the past.
When pressed on the issue, Elections Canada claimed that most of the taxpayer funds had already been used up.
“Most of that money has been spent already; we are working to recover some of it,” said a spokesperson for the department.
Among the 13 influencers chosen by the department were:
- Ashley Callingbull, actor, model and First Nations activist
- Andre De Grasse, Olympic sprinter
- Mitch Hughes, YouTuber
- Katherine Levac, comedian
- Elle Mills, YouTuber
- Maripier Morin, TV host and model
- Alex Nevsky, singer-songwriter
- Penny Oleksiak, Olympic swimmer
- Nicolas Ouellet, TV host
- Max Parrot, Olympic snowboarder
- Thanh Phung, lifestyle/family blogger
- Lilly Singh, YouTuber and talk show host
- Maayan Ziv, photographer, disability issues activist and founding CEO of AccessNow
Reports claim that at least three of the influencers made partisan comments in the past.
“If Elections Canada’s CEO knew about the wildly partisan comments of these ‘influencers’ when he gave them money, he is biased. If he didn’t know, he’s incompetent,” said Poilievre about the decision.
It is currently unclear how much each of the influencers received for agreeing to be part of the project.