As the federal election campaign officially kicked off on Wednesday morning, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer took the opportunity to once again call out Justin Trudeau for his involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Following Scheer’s appointment with the press, the hashtag #TrudeauMustGoToJail reappeared on Canada’s Twitter trends, but all wasn’t actually as it seemed.
Speaking to the media this morning, Andrew Scheer accused the Prime Minister of losing the “moral authority” to govern, after a Tuesday-night report in The Globe and Mail suggested Trudeau was attempting to obstruct justice in the RCMP’s investigation of the SNC-Lavalin case.
Scheer told the press, "What today shows is that you just cannot trust Justin Trudeau," he said. "He will say anything to cover up his scandals and he'll say anything to get re-elected, and Canadians cannot believe the things he says."
Shortly after Scheer’s comments reignited the hashtag #TrudeauMustGoToJail on Twitter, it became clear that not everybody who was using the hashtag actually believed that Trudeau should be punished further, in fact, many people were actually on the Prime Minister's side!
Using the hashtag to make their point, one Twitter user wrote, “The right wing trolls really try to make it seem like Trudeau broke the law... tell me WHERE did he FORCE anyone to do something illegal. Was it inappropriate to voice opinion as PM, maybe but doesn’t mean he ABUSED his executive powers. #ScheerHypocrisy."
Another used the hashtag in a similar fashion to stand up for Trudeau, writing, “I love how my search for #TrudeauMustGoToJail ended in various level-headed opinions about their take on the Trudeau situation and calling out this shitty propaganda-ridden hashtag. Go, Canadians!”
In fact, it seemed that it wasn’t just Liberal supporters that had the Prime Minister’s back on Twitter, but several Conservative voters too. One Canadian explained, “I am not voting Liberal in this election. However, I think that the #TrudeauMustGoToJail hashtag is stupid."
Another shared a similar post, writing, “Look, I don't want him to get re-elected, but this silly hashtag business is EMBARRASSING and [ineffective]! [sic] Can we please get back to acting like Canadian adults?”
Many of the people using the hashtag were even using it to call out Andrew Scheer and Doug Ford, sharing their beliefs that there was a bigger evil than Justin Trudeau.
One person said, “I see #TrudeauMustGoToJail trending and all I can think is #FordMustGoToJail should be trending instead. People who think Trudeau is corrupt clearly are not paying attention to Doug Ford and Ontario.”
Another Canadian added, “I would accept the SNC Scandal as long as the Liberals continue to be major players in Climate Change initiatives. You know very well that a Scheer government would do f*ck all. Keep that in mind. We need a planet for our kids and their kids to live on.
Whether you agree that the hashtag #TrudeauMustGoToJail is embarrassing, or whether you think the Prime Minister should be held more accountable for his involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, it is clear that Canada is feeling pretty divided at the moment in terms of how they feel about the Prime Minister.
With the October federal election now only 39 short days away, it remains to be seen how much of an effect all of this will have on Canadian’s votes.