Canada passport redesign targeted with false claims about colors
Canada redesigned its passport to include colored vertical stripes representing the four seasons, according to federal officials. Social media posts claiming the document was updated to include the LGBTQ Pride flag are false.
"These new Canadian Passports are an absolute DISGRACE They removed Terry Fox and Vimy Ridge for a f*cking PRIDE FLAG??" says a May 11, 2023 tweet with more than 3,900 likes.
Screenshots of the tweet and similar claims about the passport spread on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
"Canada is Dead. A RAINBOW IS IN THE CANADIAN PASSPORT NOW," says a May 13 Facebook post. "LGBTQ REPLACED A WW1 PHOTO WHERE 10,000 CANADIANS DIED."
Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, and Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development, unveiled the new passport on May 10.
Politicians including Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre decried the removal of famous figures including Terry Fox, who ran for 143 days across Canada to raise money for research after he lost his leg to cancer. The Royal Canadian Legion also criticized the new design for excluding imagery of historic sights such as the Vimy Memorial, which honors Canadians who fought in France during World War I.
The photo shared on social media matches one from the government (archived here) that shows the inside front cover of the passport. But the posts are incorrect in claiming the redesign features the LGBTQ Pride flag, which includes six or more colors.
"The four colors on the inside cover of the new passport represent the four seasons of Canada -- the theme of the new passport," said Julie Lafortune, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, in a May 23, 2023 email. "The color groups are: Winter: violet/blue, Spring: green, Summer: yellow, Fall: red/orange."
She added that "within each season, specific symbols, flora, birds, animals, marine life and/or human activity are illustrated within the foreground."
In a press release (archived here), the federal agency says the passport celebrates the country's "heritage and identity with iconic images of Canada's natural beauty throughout the four seasons." A Service Canada video similarly describes the new document.
AFP contacted the Canadian Bank Note Company, the business contracted to design Canadian passports, but a response was not forthcoming.
More of AFP's reporting on misinformation in Canada can be found here.