Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, ignited controversy with a tweet containing several pieces of false information.

In response to an opinion piece by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in the Toronto Sun, Ahmad wrote: “When he was Prime Minister, Stephen Harper refused to meet with Premiers. His government froze funding for services like health care, childcare, & housing. He refused to work with provinces on climate change. His ministers disrespected Indigenous governments & communities.”

Let’s dissect it line-by-line:

“Refused to meet with Premiers”

  • It’s true that Harper didn’t attend meetings with an assembly of Canada’s premiers for the last six years of his time in office. But he did meet with premiers individually during that time, including former Ontario Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne.

“Froze funding for services like health care, childcare, & housing”

  • The claim that Harper froze health-care spending is misleading. As Global News reported in a fact-check of an ad making a similar claim in 2015, that funding actually increased — however, Harper did change the method used to calculate the amount of federal money going to the provinces for health care, meaning that the amount would increase by less. The provinces estimated they would receive millions less under the new formula as opposed to the old one.

  • Harper didn’t freeze child-care spending. Though he did cancel the previous government’s national child-care program, he also introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit, which gives Canadian families a monthly cheque. There’s some debate about whether Harper’s plan was as effective as the one he scrapped, but the current Liberal plan is a different version of the same general idea.

  • The Harper government didn't actually freeze spending on housing — but it did make cuts that resulted in protests. As reported by the Georgia Straight in 2012, the Harper government initially added billions of funding for social housing, then cut those programs.

“He refused to work with provinces on climate change.”

A recent tweet by Justin Trudeau's director of communications contained five pieces of false or misleading information about former prime minister Stephen Harper. Fact check by @EmmaMci #cdnpoli
  • Though there are legitimate critiques of Harper’s work in the area of climate change, it’s not accurate to say that he didn’t work with the provinces on the file. His government consulted the provinces on a 2008 emissions reduction plan, among other moves.

“His ministers disrespected Indigenous governments & communities.”

  • Harper did come under fire for his relationships with Indigenous communities. Though he issued an apology to residential school survivors, Indigenous communities remained frustrated with several other aspects of his record — including the First Nations water crisis, which became a major election issue in 2015. Some were also frustrated after he said a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women wasn’t high on his radar.

Overall, that’s five out of six claims that were at least partially incorrect.

“I could have included more context,” Ahmad said in an email to National Observer, adding that he was “making the point” that Conservative politicians tend to cut the services outlined in his tweet.

“Just look at Doug Ford, who is slashing health and education services on a five-year cuts plan, the same timeline Andrew Scheer is promising.”

If talking about indigenous commitments, probably important to focus on the Kelowna Accord, which was rejected by the Harper government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelowna_Accord

Hmm. Fancy use of language here. Partially? I think your writer took huge liberties with her information. I believe the original tweeter was more honest with his word “context”.
I will not be renewing my subscription to the Observer. In fact I now look at the home address of every piece of info that comes to my page and if it says. B.C. I cross it off the list. Just as bad as the right wing garbage being strewn about. I now equate extreme left and right wingers as useless as is this piece of opinionated drivel. Do you people learn anything at university about honesty and integrity. I am so very done.

Sometimes outliers *are* the ones with integrity.
To exclude what anyone says on the basis of domicile doesn't seem any better to me than any other kind of discrimination on the basis of grouping.
BTW, while I don't know where all the writers are domiciled, people post comments from all across Canada, and possibly beyond.

Hmm. Fancy use of language here. Partially? I think your writer took huge liberties with her information. I believe the original tweeter was more honest with his word “context”.
I will not be renewing my subscription to the Observer. In fact I now look at the home address of every piece of info that comes to my page and if it says. B.C. I cross it off the list. Just as bad as the right wing garbage being strewn about. I now equate extreme left and right wingers as useless as is this piece of opinionated drivel. Do you people learn anything at university about honesty and integrity. I am so very done.

How helpful is it to say these tweets are inaccurate when your own research indicates they are partially incorrect but mostly correct? Is that not a form of spin. I think the headline is very misleading. I do hope you improve this feature because as it is right now -- Not Accurate, Not Unbiased and therefore Not Helpful. This election I am undecided. I was hoping you would be useful in helping me to decide.

as an addendum I am right now sorry that I helped fund this project if this is the best you can do.

There are enough hair-raising facts about Mr. Harper without resorting to "fake news". And it appears that he keeps improving his (right-wing) CV with fresh affiliations and nominations.