Maybe it was the draw of the award-winning climate action plan, the large deer population or the hotly debated farm stands, but U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has been spotted in Saanich – sort of.
Following the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 20, an image of Sanders attending the ceremony in a beige ski jacket, medical mask and large mittens went viral. In the photo, the senator is sitting with his legs and hands crossed and looks very cold and a little bored. It wasn’t long before people began photoshopping the seated Sanders into comical situations, famous artwork and stills from T.V. shows and movies.
Saanich, on Vancouver Island, jumped on the bandwagon and photoshopped the senator into an innocuous photo of municipal staff in a meeting. The image was posted to the district’s social media accounts along with an unassuming caption reminding residents to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols laid out by the provincial health officer and noting that everyone visiting or working at municipal hall must wear a mask. Those scrolling through their news feeds may have missed Sanders’ appearance in the photo but eagle-eyed followers took notice.
|The Campbell River Mirror news staff got in on the fun and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a photo of their office. (Black Press Media photo)
Communications manager Kelsie McLeod said the photo was a nod to the viral trend and part of the communications team’s efforts to keep things fresh on the municipality’s social media. Staff understand the importance of finding new and exciting ways to keep municipal social media interesting, she said. And with the one-year mark of the pandemic fast-approaching, many have also begun to feel “communication fatigue.”
Sanders was edited into photos from other parts of Vancouver Island too. The senator was “spotted” sitting outside the Campbell River Mirror newspaper office and also taking part in some pandemic-friendly firefighter driver training in a ladder truck at the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department. Firefighters joked that they were “questioning how safe those mittens are when it comes to steering.”