Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read was not back at council for Monday morning’s meetings, but that didn’t protect her from being trolled online, or even as part of the provincial election campaign.
One-page leaflets were scattered throughout areas of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Monday morning, with a photo depicting the right side of NDP candidate Lisa Beare’s face combined with the left side of Read’s. They read: “On May 9, A vote for Lisa is a vote for more addiction facilities, more needles in parks, more needles in schools, more sirens, more theft and no public input.”
Beare is running in the riding of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
Korleen Carreras, NDP campaign manager, said she went to work this morning and saw the pamphlets stewn all over her neighbourhood.
“I picked one up and looked at it, and went ‘Oh my goodness,’” she said. “There were flyers all over the road.”
She said it appeared as though the leaflets had been simply dumped throughout the cities.
“They’re illegal election advertising, and they’re the subject of an Elections B.C. investigation,” added Carreras.
Third-party advertisers must be registered with Elections B.C.
The leaflet has the name Concerned Parents Committee of Ridge Meadows at the bottom, but there is no such group registered and it doesn’t come up in a Google search.
There is no online footprint for the supposed committee.
“It’s fear mongering – a show of desperation,” Carreras said of the leaflet dump.
Read has been off work for approximately a month, and missed a Monday morning Audit and Finance Committee meeting.
Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating online harassment and a personal threat against the mayor during April.
Reached by phone on Monday, Read she will issue a formal statement when she returns to work.
Incumbent Liberal MLA Doug Bing, who is running against Beare in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, said he had no knowledge of the leaflets.
“That’s deplorable,” he said of the message on the pages. “There are a lot of nutty people out there.
“I would never condone anything like that.”
He didn’t have any knowledge of the so-called Concerned Parents Committee of Ridge Meadows.
“It’s typical of cowards to create a false name,” said Bing.
Any of the pamphlets on school grounds went straight to recycling, said Irena Pochop, with School District No. 42.
The school district has a policy that schools not be used for partisan political activities.
She sent a reminder of that policy to schools in light of Monday morning’s leaflet campaign.