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RCMP investigating newspaper ads attacking teachers' unions

Last Updated May 4, 2021 at 6:54 pm EDT

A full page ad placed by Vaughan Working Families in four national newspapers suggests parents support the government during a tense round of contract talks with provincial teachers’ unions. CITYNEWS

The RCMP is investigating an Ontario group that ran newspaper ads criticizing teachers’ unions after the provincial elections watchdog found it violated campaign finance rules.

The police force said it’s probing the matter but wouldn’t comment further because the investigation is ongoing.

The full-page advertisements published last winter accused teachers’ union leaders of using children as “pawns” in contract talks that led to rotating strikes.

Elections Ontario was asked by the provincial NDP to probe the ads last year.

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The elections watchdog later determined that the group behind the ads, Vaughan Working Families, contravened the Election Finances Act by failing to register as a third party, according to a letter sent to the NDP.

New Democrat ethics critic Taras Natyshak had argued to Elections Ontario that the ads violated spending rules because they ran when two byelections were underway.

He also alleged at the time that the ads mimicked government talking points and that Progressive Conservative government supporters may have purchased them.

The opposition NDP called on Tuesday for the premier and education minister to participate in the investigation and share they know about the ads.

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