Daryl Cooper steps down from Sask Party campaign after advancing COVID-19 conspiracy theories

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The Saskatchewan Party campaign will be turned upside down by the resignation of one of its candidates.

On Saturday, the Saskatchewan Party announced that its candidate for Saskatoon Eastview, Daryl Cooper, had resigned.

FULL COVERAGE: Saskatchewan Election 2020

In recent days, Cooper had been criticized for controversial comments he made on social media about COVID-19 that undermined scientific evidence.

“The content and opinions with which Mr. Cooper has interacted on social media are of concern and are not representative of the values ​​of the Saskatchewan Party, our leader or our members,” the party said in a statement. “As such, the Saskatchewan Party accepted his resignation.

His replacement will be announced before the end of the nomination period on October 10.

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In May, Cooper promoted the COVID-19 conspiracy theories on his campaign’s Facebook page in an article titled “The Origin of COVID-19.”

A total of seven theories have been listed, including the lie that the coronavirus is linked to 5G technology, or that sunspots could cause pandemics. Both claims are unfounded.

Screenshot of Daryl Cooper’s controversial Facebook post from May 13, 2020.


Screenshot of Daryl Cooper’s controversial Facebook post from May 13, 2020.


Screenshot of Daryl Cooper's controversial Facebook post from May 13, 2020.

Screenshot of Daryl Cooper’s controversial Facebook post from May 13, 2020.


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As reported and discovered by Press Progress, Cooper also liked several tweets from people sharing the QAnon conspiracy theories.

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Cooper could not be reached for comment, but on Friday he told CBC he deleted the posts because the theories are not supported by science and do not come from credible sources.

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Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe called Cooper’s social media activity “concerning,” although he admitted he “knew very little about the nature of the content” shared.

“This government continues to receive medical advice from (the provincial chief medical officer) Dr Shahab and his team,” Moe said on Saturday during the Prince Albert election campaign.

Moe said the government will continue to receive his advice from health officials, not social media.

“When it comes to this scientific evidence, these are not places we go for advice.”

In recent years, there has been a collision of fake news and real news that goes beyond what we see in the tabloids on supermarket shelves, says Alex Couros, professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina.

“Fake news and conspiracy theories have really permeated our lives, especially on social media,” Couros said. “Sometimes people just don’t know any better. Sometimes they have distant ideas. “

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He said there will always be some people who are drawn to fake news, including those in government or those looking to work for governments.

“There is a certain pressure behind it to reach these people, but at the same time, it is ordinary people who are involved in these conspiracies in general,” Couros said.

“It could be someone vulnerable and not checking the facts. Not all elected candidates or those who wish to be elected necessarily have the critical thinking skills that we might expect. ”

With files from Connor O’Donovan.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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