After a local barbecue fell under social media scrutiny for initially marketing the event as a fundraiser for Richmond First, the slate is now speaking up about the event.
“Richmond First councillors and candidates were not aware of the event hosted by the Richmond Farmland Owners Association,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, a member of the Richmond First slate.
On June 30, the association, which is typically known for its opposition to limiting home sizes on Richmond’s agricultural land, hosted its first annual summer barbecue. However, posters released on social media stated the event was a “fundraiser for the Richmond First City candidates Peter Liu, Derek Dang, Bill McNulty, Sunny Ho, Andy Hobbs and Linda McPhail.” Attendees were invited to “come and enjoy good food, live entertainment and lend (their) support to our candidates.”
However, the poster was later changed to remove details about the event being a fundraiser. Ben Dhimon, director of the Farmland Owner’s Association said the original poster was a mistake.
“That was not what was authorized to be put out there,” Dhimon said. “It was just a Richmond Farmland Owner’s Association barbecue and it was for our membership.”
McNulty expressed his frustration over the slate’s name being used for the event’s initial advertising.
“It’s concerning to us that somebody would go ahead and utilize names with a perceived intention that we don’t know anything about,” he told the Richmond News.
“We did not give permission for the association to put our names on the invitation because we were not there. We were never invited to the event, in fact, none of the Richmond councillors or candidates attended the event.”
However, some noted that a publicly available Facebook photo showed council candidate Peter Liu at the event in a post titled “Richmond Farmland Owners Association Summer BBQ.”
“That would have been another event there. I understand there were a number of events at the same site,” McNulty said.
“He was at another event, probably. But not that one because I checked to see if he was at the Richmond Farmland Owners Association event and he said he was not.”
McNulty stated that Richmond First did not receive funds from the event, adding “I don’t even know who the association is.”
“I want to be very, very clear we have not received any money, nobody has approached us and we wouldn’t accept it if (they) did, if they did offer us,” he said.