Liberal candidate says he was ‘dismayed’ by re-appearance of ads with Abbotsford cop photo

Advertisements prompted discussion between police chief and Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu

Local Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu said the re-appearance of Facebook advertisements showing a photo of an Abbotsford Police officer next to him shouldn’t have happened.

“I was dismayed that the photo appeared a second time after having asked that it be replaced,” he said in a statement emailed to The News Tuesday afternoon.

“I have a great deal of respect for Chief Serr and the members of the Abbotsford Police Department and as a former member of the Abbotsford Police Board I fully appreciate that the Department is nonpartisan and politically neutral,” wrote Sidhu, the incumbent for the sprawling Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding that stretches from north Abbotsford to Cache Creek.

“As the candidate I acknowledge the use of the photo of a police officer and myself at a local event was inappropriate.”

Abbotsford Police chief Mike Serr was set this week to speak to Sidhu about the ads, which featuring photos of the local MP with an officer and the words “Yes, I’m voting for Jati” underneath.

Sidhu had told The News on Friday that the first such advertisement was “not appropriate,” and had been created by a Montreal company drawing on a large file of photos.

Sidhu said the advertisement was taken down after just half an hour, and the Abbotsford Police issued a brief statement at the time stating that it is “politically neutral.”

But two days later, on Sunday, more Facebook ads with the same imagery began to appear in residents’ feeds. The ads were still appearing online Monday morning.

Serr would be “directly in contact” with Sidhu regarding the ad, according to an APD spokesperson. It’s not clear when the discussion took place or its contents.

The News has requested to speak to Sidhu about the matter.

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