Incumbent Mayor Lisa Helps chats with Tracy James (right) and other supporters at her Fort Street campaign headquarters Aug. 7. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

Social media attack ads a ‘distraction from democracy’ says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps

‘Elections are won on the doorstep. Elections are not won on Facebook,’ says incumbent mayor

Keyboard warriors are out in full effect targeting Mayor Lisa Helps in a series of attack ads on Facebook that the incumbent is calling a “distraction from democracy.”

“It’s too bad for everybody running in this election that these kinds of ads are showing up,” Helps said when reached by phone Tuesday, en route to her campaign headquarters to host a Q and A live on Facebook.

RELATED: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps calls for audit on Johnson Street Bridge project

With the appearance of the attack ads this week calling the mayor a “money launderer” among other choice words – so far, no one has claimed responsibility for them – Helps sees the whole approach as a “weird negative filter that is put over something as amazing as democracy.”

It’s the anonymity that is dangerous and disappointing, she added.

In March, Helps made headlines when she announced she had deleted her personal Facebook account because she felt the social media platform had become a “toxic echo chamber.”

Her personal Instagram account is still active and in her hands, she said, but Twitter has been taken over by her campaign team.

“Social media is very useful,” Helps said, “for sharing info, and for connecting people who would not be connecting otherwise – but is the cost too great?”

RELATED: It’s complicated: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps breaks up with Facebook

In a Facebook post, View Royal Mayor David Screech called other Facebook groups dedicated to negatively portraying and attacking Helps “sleazy” and “completely and utterly unacceptable.”

He called out the anonymity of the posts saying, “if you have a position then have the courage to put your name to it.”

Because the Facebook group affiliated with the ads was registered as a “political organization,” Helps is interested to see what approach Elections B.C. takes. New election rules state groups who classify themselves under that banner must register as third-party organizations.

Meanwhile, attendance has been steady at the mayor’s weekly drop-in sessions, which she invites the public to attend and stressed she is always available via text or email, when she’s walking or biking, or even at the grocery store. “I’m constantly in public. That’s how I want to interact with people.”

Helps said her team is not tracking the ads or looking to reveal the source from which they came. Instead, they’re focused on the campaign, namely, door knocking.

“We know that elections are won on the doorstep. Elections are not won on Facebook.”

@kristyn_anthony

kristyn.anthony@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Esquimalt council approves building, dog areas for Gorge Park

$7 million in funding for waterfront improvements goes to multipurpose building and dog park

Plant-based pizza restaurant to open its doors in Victoria this December

Virtuous Pie has locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Portland

PHOTOS: Trangender flag raised for first time ever outside of B.C. Legislature

Nov. 20 marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, honouring those who have been murdered

Ocean swim challenge shines spotlight on Crystal Pool plight

Ultra-marathon swimmer sends tongue-in-cheek invite to Victoria council

Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

Most Read