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Newspaper ad congratulates aboriginal high school grads for 'sobriety'

This ad was printed, accidentally according to the newspaper company, in an issue of First Nations Drum.
Image Credit: @jacquigingras/Twitter
July 15, 2015 - 2:49 PM

VERNON - A newspaper ad taken out by a Vancouver MP was meant to be congratulatory, but is instead leaving many in shock and disgust.

The ad, which was taken out by Liberal MP Joyce Murray, tells aboriginal youth that ‘Sobriety, education and hard work lead to success.’

The ad is printed in First Nations Drum, a newspaper delivered across the country. But it was a copy found in Vernon that brought the ad into the public eye.

North Okanagan-Shuswap NDP candidate Jaqui Gingras says the ad was brought to her attention by a member of the public who picked it up at the First Nations Friendship Centre in Vernon.

Gingras was quick to post a picture of the ad to Twitter, where it has created a storm of comments.

“I asked myself, how many times have I seen a similar ad locally congratulating our grads? I have never seen such an ad. Why would the message be different for indigenous students? Why would sobriety be the first word in their so-called congratulatory message?” Gingras says. “How can an official have approved such a message and thought this is okay?”

According to Murray, she never did approve it. The MP has not yet returned a call for an interview, but tweeted an apology today, July 15, stating, "I was not aware of this ad and did not approve content." She also said she assumes full responsibility, but it appears the newspaper company has already done that.

First Nations Drum manager Rick Littlechild says the ad was their mistake. He says a salesperson came up with the slogan, which is not believed to have been proofed by Murray. Somehow, the ad made its way through the art department and onto the printed page.

“I don’t think she ever even saw it,” Littlechild says. “I feel really bad that it happened to her… Joyce Murray is one of the most sensitive and supportive people (who advertises with us.)”

The newspaper is now printing another ad, this time, an apology.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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