Skip to main content

Former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

A star Conservative candidate in British Columbia says she didn't mean to fear-monger when she released a campaign flyer warning Vancouver-area voters of jihadi terrorists.

Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts has come under fire after her campaign distributed a leaflet promising that a Tory government would fight terrorists both at home and abroad.

The leaflet included a quote from a video released last year by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant saying Canadians should not feel secure in their bedrooms.

Story continues below advertisement

"Terrorism is a real and serious issue," said Watts in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "ISIS has clearly declared Canada as a target for terrorism."

Watts' Liberal counterpart, Judy Higginbotham, said her office was flooded with complaints after the flyer went out to the voters of South Surrey-White Rock.

"This is kind of meant to provoke and evoke and frighten people into voting, or to bring out the rednecks to vote," said Higginbotham, who described first seeing the flyer as "a shock."

Higginbotham served as a Surrey city councillor for 25 years, working alongside Watts during her tenure both as councillor and eventually mayor. She said the Tory campaign tactic of frightening people into voting Conservative strikes her as inconsistent with Watts' character.

The New Democrats reported experiencing a similar negative response from their supporters to the Tory ad.

"Some constituents came into my campaign office mad as hops with the flyer in their hand," said Pixie Hobby, the riding's NDP candidate.

"These kinds of fear tactics unfortunately seem to be a staple of Conservative campaigns."

Story continues below advertisement

In her statement, Watts defended her party's stance and said the violence inflicted on the people of Syria and Iraq cannot go unanswered.

"I decided to run for the Conservative party because they are the only party that has taken a stand against this type of violence and terrorism," she said.

Both NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have rejected military action against ISIS and urged that Canada stick to providing humanitarian aid in the region.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter