A spurious claim that Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre misused music by The Tragically Hip at a weekend political rally has been debunked by the band but it hasn’t stopped a social media flame war in its tracks.
It all began when an anonymous anti-conservative Twitter account tagged the famous Canadian rock group in a tweet asking if they were aware that Poilievre was using their music at a Hamilton event.
Soon after the tweet, band guitarist Paul Langlois chimed in: “We certainly did not know this – highly offensive if true (we’ll wait to make sure and potentially confirm this) and if so, this will be stopped.”
Yet on Monday, the band officially put out a statement saying that the venue which hosted the event was, in fact, licensed to play its music.
“When we began to see posts and tweets from the event this weekend, the specifics were unclear. It has now been confirmed that Saturday’s event took place in a venue licensed by SOCAN, which means the venue pays a fee to ensure artists and musicians are compensated appropriately when music is played on site. As such, specific permissions were not required in this case,” the band wrote.
“We did not have the full details in our earlier posts — and now consider this matter resolved.”
Still, prominent Twitter accounts, including Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen insinuated that Poilievre’s rally had misused the band’s music. Gerretsen has yet to delete his tweet.
Chiming into politics seems to not have paid off for the band, as many Canadians on Twitter expressed disappointment in the decision.
“Highly offensive? What makes it ‘highly offensive’ that your music is being played by a party that represents a huge slice of Canadians? Please do elaborate,” wrote user Michael Thomlinson.
“What’s highly offensive is standing beside the people destroying the common folk. Awful,” wrote user Ann Rolle.
“I see the Tragically Hip are having a Rage Against the Machine moment where the band’s politics don’t necessarily line up with some of the fan base’s politics,” wrote user Tim Querengesser.