AUDIO: Natyshak Wants Investigation into Controversial Teacher Ads
The New Democrats are calling on Elections Ontario to investigate a group that placed full-page ads attacking teachers' unions in major newspapers on the weekend.
Essex MPP Taras Natyshak says the ads, paid for by a group calling itself "Vaughan Working Families", may be violating political advertising laws as there's currently two by-election campaigns underway in Ottawa.
In addition, Natyshak says the group has no presence online or on social media and Ontarians deserve to know the money to pay for the ads is coming from.
He says the wording used in the ads matches up with many of the Progressive Conservative talking points.
"It's a full-page ad directed toward teacher's salaries and their working conditions and claiming that they're the highest paid in all the land. These are things that we've heard straight out of the mouth of Doug Ford and his minister Stephen Lecce as attacks on on teachers throughout the bargaining process."
Natyshak says there are many red flags.
"To see a group pop up out of nowhere, seemingly, and to have $150,000, or an estimated $150,000, to place those three ads really raises a lot of alarm bells and red flags as to whether they're a legitimate organization and what their motives are."
He says the ads were poorly put together.
"This is a group that no one has ever heard of. The ads that were placed claim to be representing Vaughan working families when, in fact, the photograph of the woman that's supposed to a working mother is a stock photo from a woman from Poland. So we know that they aren't representing real people in Ontario."
The ads, which ran in the Globe and Mail, National Post and Toronto Star, stated "Teachers' Union leaders are risking student success," and "Teachers' Unions should stop using our children as pawns for personal gain."
Natyshak says he was given confirmation from the province's Chief Electoral Officer that his complaint has been received — but no word yet if an investigation will be launched.