A Conservative MP joined a chorus of social media users who mistakenly accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official photographer of misrepresenting protesters at this weekend’s demonstration in Ottawa against COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Adam Scotti is accused online of photographing a protester with a Confederate flag during the demonstration to smear the protest as a whole.
The Prime Minister’s Office says the allegations are false and Scotti did not take part in the protest.
“It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister would send his personal photographer to misrepresent thousands of law-abiding, hard-working Canadian truck drivers and millions across the country who support them,” MP Cathay Wagantall wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
Wagantall has not responded to a question from CBC News about the deleted post.
Scotti said he did not even take part in the demonstrations, which have now been running for four consecutive days around Parliament Hill in central Ottawa.
“I did not leave the house, and yet they still came after me. How was your weekend?” he wrote on Twitter.
Scotti also shared a comment that an unknown person had posted on his Instagram page, citing the example of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler’s personal photographer.
“Being compared to a Nazi photographer really starts your Monday on the right foot,” Scotti added on Twitter.
Those who accuse Scotti on social media use as evidence an image of a photographer taking a picture of someone wearing a Confederate flag. They say the photographer looks like Scotti – even though the man’s face is almost completely hidden by his camera and a catcher – style hat.
Another Conservative MP warned last week that the Trudeau government would try to defile the protest.
“Beware if Trudeau’s gang performs false flag operations,” MP Cheryl Gallant wrote in a comment on her Facebook page last week.
The protest convoy was originally billed by its organizers as a demonstration against the federal government’s vaccination mandate for cross-border truck drivers. But protesters in Ottawa have expressed much broader complaints against the liberal government and public health measures.
Trudeau described elements of the protest as “hateful” on Monday. The presence of swastikas and Confederate flags and the desecration of monuments – including the tomb of the unknown soldier and a statue of Terry Fox – have been widely condemned.
Police in Ottawa have estimated that about 8,000 people attended the demonstrations each day.