PSAC Shuts Down Anti-Stephen Harper Website With Apology

Canada’s largest public service union, PSAC, recently risked a vicious public backlash by a new protest strategy against budget cuts that backfired hugely on Thursday, resulting in an online stunt leading to the prime minister being targeted for unpolished racist and sexist attacks.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) recently released a new website on Thursday, with the name of harper-says.ca, allowing users to envision secret thoughts of Stephen Harper and visually depict them to a photo of the prime minister. However the site, as part of a larger Harper Hates Me campaign, was shut down within hours because PSAC asserted that it was unable to the efficiently keep the comments moderate. Users were allowed to create their own “thought bubble” and write them on a photo of the prime minister and anonymously submit their creation. Some entries related Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler, had him pondering nuking Quebec, discussed putting student protesters in cages and imagined Harper trying to choose between eating, beheading, selling or jailing the recently donated pandas from China.

Soon after 5 p.m., around when the website was shut down, PSAC tweeted an apology “to everyone who was offended by the Harper Says website. The website was contrary to PSAC policy and values.” A former Tory candidate for Ottawa Centre and a current professor of business strategy and public policy at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, Ian Lee, evaluated that PSAC is “risking a backlash” because, he pointed out that Canadians “don’t tolerate personal attacks against the family of a politician … that’s a no-go zone.”

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