Canadian government agency failed to ban anti-Biden slogan

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Online articles and social media posts in Canada and the United States shared a photo of an alleged leaked email advising Canadian officials that they would face immediate dismissal if they used the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” – a slogan recently popularized to poke fun at US President Joe Biden – in business emails. It’s wrong; the memo is false and both the government agency mentioned in the document and the union representing its employees claim that no such policy has recently been adopted.

“This is an official notice that all government correspondence should be professional in nature and approved by department heads,” reads an email that appears to be from Shared Services Canada, shared as a photo on Twitter and Facebook by social media users on both sides of the border.

“Specifically, the use of the wording ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ and any variation thereof in any circumstances is prohibited by the Canadian public service,” the memo dated October 14, 2021 continues.

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on October 18, 2021

The email refers to an anti-Biden slogan, which has begun after a NASCAR reporter’s live TV interview with the driver; the reporter said the crowd was chanting ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ even though they were shouting ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ while she was interviewing Brandon Brown, NASCAR driver. Brown had just won his first race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 9.

After the interview, “Let’s Go Brandon” quickly spread across the the Internet, used as hashtag or in memes make fun of the American president.

A Government of Canada logo is visible at the bottom of the alleged document featured in the messages, making it appear to be a leaked email from the agency responsible for providing information technology to federal departments.

But Shared Services Canada spokesperson Jamey Gill told AFP: “We can confirm that this message was not issued by Shared Services Canada and does not reflect departmental policy.”

Online media like Canada’s post-millennium, who has since update his article, and American society daily thread, which AFP has fact-checked in the past, also posted the photo of the email.

The posts claimed the new policy was “fully supported by the leadership of PSAC”, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a union representing agency employees.

A PSAC spokesperson said its management “has not signed this letter and cannot confirm its validity. All union members are entitled to representation.”

Other details suggest the email is fake, including missing punctuation in the penultimate paragraph and the placement of the Government of Canada logo — usually displayed at the top of official communications or directly below the email signature. ‘sender.

Additional posts claimed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau disliked singing and was responsible for the ban. Reached by AFP, the Prime Minister’s office referred to the press release from Shared Services Canada.

Some media reported that the image came from a Twitter account based in Virginia, but AFP determined that the probable origin of the hoax was a October 15 article in the closed Facebook group “Justin Trudeau’s Dank Meme Stash”.

November 16, 2021 This article was updated to add a link to an earlier version of the fake memo.