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

Arenas, fitness centre ready for action after significant flood at Saanich recreation centre

Library branch, archives remain closed after Thursday night flood

Busy summer has Oak Bay High on track for big year

Principal talks capstones, curriculum and back-to-school

Camosun mechanical engineering project solve real-world problems

Showcase included projects that confound conventional wisdom, garner industry interest

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Midway will open early at the 2019 Saanich Fair

This year the fair will pilot a “sneak peek” and the main stage will feature April Wine

VIDEO: Gender transition of Victoria’s ‘Penny Girl’ detailed in short documentary

Frankie Edroff’s transition and perseverance highlighted in film

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

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

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Most Read