An Experiment: Meme Verifying

The Fort McMurray fire brought with it many tragedies: destroyed homes, burnt dreams, dead pets and a hell of a lot of annoying memes. I’m Facebook friends with a large number of Albertans (I’m originally from there) and ever since Trudeau won last fall, my Facebook feed has been heavy on anti-Justin postings. But since the fire, the number of memes has skyrocketed, targeting not just Trudeau but Alberta premier Rachel Notley, Canada’s liberal elite and of course climate change/science.

Of course everyone is entitled to sharing their opinions but what about spreading incorrect facts? Because at first glance, that’s what these memes appear to be doing. Unfortunately, I can’t easily verify that because there is no Canadian version of Snopes that looks at whether or not a meme is accurate.

But maybe that will soon be changing. I want to create a site that’s dedicated to exploring whether or not Canadian-oriented memes (including those about climate change) are accurate. However, since that’s a lot of work, I’m going to start things on this blog, seeing if I even can find out whether certain memes are true or not.

Let’s start with this one that started making the rounds today.

The Meme
Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 2.28.32 PM


True Or Not?

What’s The Story
The origin of this meme is an interview that Sophie recently gave to Le Soleil in which she said, “‘I’d like to be everywhere, but I can’t. I have three children at home and a husband who is Prime Minister. I need help. I need a team to help me serve people.'” Yeah, that could have been phrased better (and yes, I read the original French version; it’s not a translation issue).

However, at no point in the interview does Sophie say that she wants another assistant. She does though state that she and her current assistant are struggling with their workload. And while there is no plan right now for a second assistant, this Globe and Mail article shows that it’s being carefully considered (apparently Sophie is much more popular than Laureen Harper). Based on that, I think it’s fair to say that the third claim is partially accurate.

The other two claims are also partially true. Both of the above articles mention Sophie having a personal assistant so the meme’s second claim does appear to be half accurate. But I can’t find any evidence that this person campaigns for the Trudeau (unless “campaign” simply means “supports public appearances”).

Finally, the Trudeaus (Trudeaux?) do currently employ two nannies. But Trudeau didn’t cancel the child tax credit, that was Harper. The Liberals did cancel the children’s fitness and arts tax credits but unlike the child tax credit, those were programs that not all parents could take advantage of.

All of this adds up to a meme that’s partially accurate. However, even if it was completely true, it would still be making a mountain out of molehill. From the Globe article, “The PMO has said Mr. Trudeau is using the same budget for household help as his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper.”






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