Last week, the Conservative Burnaby North-Seymour Constituency Association Facebook page shared an image of Mercer with text urging people to vote Conservative. Their candidate for the riding is Heather Leung.
“Take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people all around the world are dying to do. Vote Conservative,” the quote attributed to Mercer reads.
Mercer fired back with a post on Twitter directed to the Tories on Tuesday to clarify that the quote did not come from him.
“Not true. All fake. Please Stop,” he wrote.
Dear @AndrewScheer & good folks at @Cpc_hq - Your candidate in Burnaby North Seymour is distributing a Meme on social media with my face and the words "Vote Conservative" indicating it is a quote from me. Not true. All fake. Please Stop. #WhoAreThesePeople? #Cdnpoli#yuck— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) September 17, 2019
Nope. Not real. Just a straight up fake by the candidate i guess. https://t.co/0jkypY3S9W— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) September 17, 2019
In an emailed statement to HuffPost, a representative of the Conservative Party said the post has been deleted.
“The individual who shared it is not involved on the local campaign,” the statement read.
Part of the quote originally came from a 2011 edition of “Rick’s Rant,” where the comedian wrote about the significance of the youth vote in that year’s federal election. However, the original quote urges people to vote in general, not specifically to vote Conservative.
“So please, if you’re between the age of 18 and 25 and you want to scare the hell out of the people that run this country, this time around do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people all around the world are dying to do. Vote.”
Ironically, the original rant hints at criticism of then-prime minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper.
“So there we have it, we are heading into an election or, as Stephen Harper calls it, a dangerous and unnecessary exercise. Because as we all know, Canada is one of the world’s greatest democracies and the greatest threat to that democracy is that we get to vote. But vote we will.”
Watch: Behind the rants of Rick Mercer. Story continues after video
This isn’t the first time during this federal election campaign that Leung has drawn controversy for a meme posted to her riding’s political Facebook page. On Sept. 8, the same page shared a meme aimed at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. The image showed Trudeau at the edge of a cliff with the title “Choose forward” and text that read: “Trudeau urging Canadians to move forward.”
“We need a strong wind to push him to his death,” one of Leung’s supporters commented on the meme, which has also since been deleted.
Leung has also been heavily criticized in the past for pro-life and anti-LGBTQ beliefs.
She was a vocal opponent in 2011 of a school board policy designed to prevent discrimination against gay, lesbian and queer staff and students in Burnaby schools.
“What is being recommended in this draft is a deliberate and systemic strategy to indoctrinate our children with a controversial moral teaching that should be left for families to decide on and wrestle through,” she said at a 2011 meeting.
Controversial campaign team member
Burnaby North-Seymour was a closely contested riding in 2015. Liberal candidate Terry Beech took 36 per cent of the vote, with the NDP and Conservative candidates following 29 and 27 per cent respectively.
Beech is seeking re-election against Leung, NDP candidate Svend Robinson — who was the area’s MP from 1979 to 2004 and the first MP to come out as gay while in office, Green representative Amita Kuttner and PPC candidate Rocky Y. Dong.
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