It turns out social media stars don’t necessarily make for unbiased voter influencers. Elections Canada's social media influencers ad campaign has now been scraped after the social media stars failed the vetting process. According to CBC, they have ditched their previous plan of hiring social influencers to help get young people to vote in the fast-approaching federal election.

The original idea was to put out two videos, one English and one French, featuring 13 famous online personalities, such as music icons, TV stars, and even former Olympians, all to help bring in young voters before October’s federal election.

It might sound like a good idea, right? It was, until four rounds of in-depth examination revealed that the “past activities” of several of the online celebs could be seen as being biased towards one side of the political spectrum. According to Chief Electoral Officer Stephanie Perrault, the risk of using partisan influencers led to the decision of shutting down the initiative.

According to CTV, the project came under fire from Conservatives MP with some even going as far as to label the agency a Liberal “lapdog." Perrault refused to respond directly to those allegations, but she still did have something to say:

"It's important for Canadians to understand and know that Elections Canada is a completely independent agent of Parliament, that we are non-partisan, that everything we do, including the media campaign, is done with that in mind. But it's not for me to respond to politicians and start engaging in what would become political debates with politicians."

Here is the full list of influencers that would’ve been featured in the campaign. You probably know at least a few of them:

  • Ashley Callingbull, actor and model

  • Mitch Hughes, YouTuber

  • Andre De Grasse, Olympian

  • Katherine Levac, comedian

  • Elle Mills, YouTuber

  • Maripier Morin, TV host

  • Alex Nevsky, singer

  • Penny Oleksiak, Olympian

  • Nicolas Ouellet, TV host

  • Max Parrot, Olympian

  • Thanh Phung, blogger

  • Lilly Singh, talk show host

  • Maayan Ziv, CEO of AccessNow

"It was clear from the outset that it had to be beyond any reproach, beyond any possible interpretation that, whether for lifestyle choices, or comments, or pictures, that these could be tied to a particular partisan point of view," Perrault said during an interview with Chris Hall of CBC Radio's The House.

No details have been provided about the biased activity that was brought to light during the influencer vetting process, or which influencers were considered partisan.

Elections Canada originally planned to spend $650,000 on the videos. Most of the budget was already spent before the campaign cancellation. The agency is reportedly working on getting some of that money back, but it is uncertain at the moment whether they will be able to recover their losses.

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