Election Meddling? Trudeau Liberals Paid Out Roughly $325,000 Directly to 13 Social Media “Influencers”

Election Meddling? Trudeau Liberals Paid Out Roughly $325,000 Directly to 13 Social Media “Influencers”

Elections Canada paid roughly $325,000 directly to 13 social media “influencers” who were supposed to star in a campaign to boost voter registration.

But the agency won’t be asking for any of that money back after the video campaign featuring the influencers was abruptly scrapped over concerns that some had previously been involved in activities that could be deemed partisan.

“The influencers will not be asked to return the money as they fulfilled their contractual obligations,” a spokesperson for the agency said in an email.

“Under their contract, participating influencers were also required to abstain from any partisan comments, statements or activities for the period of the election and for one year after. Most of the funds have already been disbursed, but we are working with the agencies to recuperate some of the costs.”

Global News was the first to report on Thursday that Elections Canada had already paid the influencers despite ditching the planned $650,000 video campaign aimed at encouraging groups — like youths — who tend to vote in lower numbers to register to vote in the fall election.

While a spokesperson for Elections Canada said at the time that “most of that money has been spent already,” it was not immediately clear exactly how much of the total budget went to the controversial influencers themselves.

Now, Global News can confirm that “about half of the total amount was paid specifically to the influencers,” according to Elections Canada.

Elections Canada has not confirmed how much each individual influencer received.

If each had been paid the same amount, the payments would have worked out to roughly $25,000 per influencer.

But Elections Canada says the amounts were not equal and would not disclose how much each influencer received out of the total amount or even a range of how the amounts varied between the influencers who received the most and the least.

“As influencers were not all paid the same amount, and for contract confidential reasons, we will not provide specific amounts,” said the agency.

The 13 influencers set to feature in the video included Olympic sprinter Andre De Grasse, Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak, First Nations activist and model Ashley Callingbull and YouTubers Lilly Singh and Mitch Hughes, among others.

Final vetting of some of the influencers turned up past activities that Elections Canada said on Thursday could be deemed partisan.

Read more from Global News here

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