The most interesting story this week was the stretches: I counted 13 of them. Among them, the several times Singh took credit for pandemic aid measures. It’s impossible for me as a fact-checker to really know how much the NDP influenced the Liberals’ pandemic policies, but it’s a clear stretch for any opposition leader to take unilateral credit for the government’s actions. Even if the opposition party did fight for the change, it’s obviously too much for Singh to take credit by claiming the NDP doubled CERB, or that the party increased the pandemic wage subsidy. They simply weren’t in a position to do so alone.
The stretches also came from statements that were rooted in ideological, quintessentially New Democrat beliefs, like the importance of making the big guys pay their fair share. For example, we saw this when Singh claimed Amazon pays “not a penny of taxes” in Canada, when the company undoubtedly pays property and consumption taxes, among others. I also really have no way of knowing how much Amazon pays in corporate taxes — its tax returns are not public — and I don’t think the NDP leader does either.
In total, I found five false claims in 231 minutes of public appearances. I also deemed 13 claims to be a stretch, meaning the claim was broadly true but not in the specific context in which Singh said it.
That works out to a “dishonesty density” of about one false claim every 46 minutes, with every repeated falsehood counting once for each time it was said. For reference, Paul’s dishonesty density was one false claim every 47 minutes.
When we factor in stretches, Singh said something that wasn’t entirely truthful about once every 14 minutes.
As I continue on to fact-check Conservative Erin O’Toole next week, followed by Liberal Justin Trudeau, this is the measure I’ll use to compare the leaders.
With files from Jesse McLean and The Canadian Press