A Canadian politician sent a cardboard cutout of himself to a photo-op rather than risk getting the coronavirus

A cutout of Raymond Cho (centre) at a donation event in Toronto this week. Courtesy of Raymond Cho
  • Raymond Cho, Toronto’s minister for seniors and accessibility, sent a cardboard cutout of himself to an event celebrating the donation of 30,000 surgical masks.
  • Cho said that, as someone who is over 70, he takes the guidelines on minimising exposure to the virus “very seriously.”
  • Cutouts are common in South Korea, where Cho was born: This month, the country’s baseball league has used photos with word bubbles to replace fans in the stands.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Toronto politician sent a cardboard cutout of himself to a photo-op this week rather than risk infection by the coronavirus.

At an event on Wednesday celebrating the Korean community’s donation to the city of personal protective equipment, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho was represented by a lifesize cutout.

Cho’s two-dimensional stand-in even wore a face mask.

Cho helped broker a deal for the PPEs with a number of the city’s Asian-American business groups – including the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, and the Ontario Korean Businessman’s Association – and the traditional Chinese medicine community, CityNews reported.

Raymond Cho’s cutout. Courtesy of Raymond Cho

The donation included 30,000 surgical masks, 4,800 N95 masks, 1400 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 1,000 COVID-19 testing kits.

Cho said that using the cutout was in compliance with the city’s guidance for limiting virus exposure.

“As Minister for Seniors and Accessibility and as a person who is over 70 years old, I take this advice very seriously,” he told CityNews. “Though I could not attend today in person, I wanted to show that I was there in spirit.” The cut-out, from an old campaign, “was a creative way to demonstrate my virtual presence during this time,” he said.

Cho told Insider he led the drive with the Consul General of the Republic of Korea.

Cho, who is with the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, won a 2016 by-election to become the Member of the Provincial Parliament for Scarborough North.

On Twitter, one follower had a stern rebuke for Cho’s boss, Ontario premier Doug Ford. “After these past two years, I’d rather have cardboard cutouts running this province than the Ford government,” they tweeted. “[There’d be] fewer costs; less corruption; fewer scandals; and they are far less like to give themselves undeserved raises and five-month holidays.”

Raymond Cho (centre) in person at a job fair on March 29, 2019.
Raymond Cho (centre) in person at a job fair on March 29, 2019. Courtesy of Raymond Cho

Another tried to defend the cardboard effigy, explaining their popularity in South Korea, where Cho emigrated from in 1967.

“Cardboard cutout is often used for promotions/events in Korea,” they tweeted. “It’s too bad the campaign manager could not read how it would be shown to public eye in Canada. (due to cultural difference … I guess)”

During the pandemic, South Korea’s baseball league, KBO, has been holding live games in stadiums where the bleachers are filled with flat photos of spectators.SB Nation reported some “fans” wear home-team jerseys and even have speech bubbles to mimic cheering.

FC Seoul, a local soccer team, was fined this month for filling its empty seats with sex dolls.