BTC: While you slept


Approximate head count from this morning’s Tory briefing.

Employees of the Conservative Party of Canada: 9
Conservative Party of Canada cabinet ministers: 2
Attack ads: 5
Journalists: 7

That about says it all. But a couple other points of emphasis.

First, the press gallery doesn’t seem interested in playing along. Canwest’s David Akin put on his Helen Thomas mask and went after the Conservative environmental plan. Another reporter, from the CBC I believe, asked about the apparent muzzling of Conservative candidates. And this was a day without a major gaffe or controversy for the Conservatives to explain.

Second, the two French ads shown today mocked the Liberal leader as “Professeur Dion.” Apparently anti-intellectualism plays well in Quebec. In one, the narrator at one point mocks Dion with what sounds like “coo-coo.” Jason Kenney and Lawrence Cannon seemed to find these ads particularly funny.

(Related: Stephen Harper laments negative, personal attacks.)


BTC: While you slept

  1. “First, the press gallery doesn’t seem interested in playing along.”

    It’s always been this way. There hasn’t been some halcyon time when reporters took Conservatives at face value, the msm have always behaved in a way that made it seem the Cons were looking to close all orphanages and kick the elderly out of retirement homes.

  2. The old media spin of evil meanie conservatives and their hidden agenda is falling flatter than the pancakes Dion will be making later. There is a fascinating poll on the CTV news web site that asks this question : who do you think is best positioned to attract the undecided voters? 57% say = Conservatives and 19% Liberals = I find this intriguing!

  3. Canadian Press, quoted in Kady’s post on this topic:

    “The pair made no substantive policy announcements, choosing instead to target Dion and the main plank of his campaign platform, The Green Shift.

    Reporters all but ignored the now-familiar attacks and instead questioned the two candidates on gas prices, tax policy and purported attempts to muzzle Tory candidates.”

    So jwl – you seem to be complaining that the press didn’t dutifully transcribe the attacks on Mr. Dion and instead asked about issues relevant to Canadians.

    Sounds to me like they absolutely took the Cons at face value and recognized there was no substance at today’s presser. Where’s the liberal bias there?

  4. …because it shows that right-wing bloggers have more time to distort internet polls?

  5. Help wanted – this is a request for some “real” journalists in Canada.

    I actually heard a reporter question Dion and going after him about his hearing issue – I really heard this.

    From one who has a hearing problem and can well understand Dion’s problem – I am insulted.

    I hope I find out who this jerk is.

  6. Yawn…

    More whinning for the liberal media. David Aiken ha,ha, is that not the same guy that broke the budget lock up rules?

    I think that pretty much sums it up. And let’s face no doubt the Z-list of reporters where there. All trying to be heroes(for real who takes Aiken or the CBC seriously?).

    Don’y worry Wheery I don’t think your even on the list. I just consider you a liberal spokesman.

  7. I guess it would be too much to ask what the Conservative platform is beyond attacking Mr. Dion. Anyone???

  8. Phase 1 is to attack Dion.
    Phase 2 is to blame the ‘liberal, main stream media’ for not taking them seriously (seems they’ve gone into Phase 2 pretty early on……)

  9. TJ Cook

    I actually think our media does a good job when covering Cons because it’s their job to hold politicians feet to the fire

    What I have a problem with is how the media treat the Liberals with kid gloves and completely ignore the NDP.

  10. In fairness, most Canadians completely ignore the NDP as well. :)

  11. These Quebec ads are extremely insulting… to Stephen Harper and his chief advisor, PROFESSOR Flanagan.

  12. Um, JK, what “Liberal Media”? Aside from some toothless dinosaurs at the CBC, The Star and, perhaps, the Winnipeg Free Press, the media people see most in Canada is decidedly centre-right or far-right. You know, CTVGlobeMedia, CanWest, NationalPost, Sun Media, Rogers (who own Macleans, edited by former NatPoster Ken Whyte) … Exactly where is this Liberal Media you refer to? Most people in Canada get their news from the evening newscasts or national papers, which are, again, pro-market and right of centre. Even the Tory Trolls who bash the Globe & Mail on its comment pages ignore the fact that it endorsed the Conservatives in the last election. So again, what is the basis of your claim?

  13. Thanks Baloneyman. Nothing substantive from the CPC ranks — typical.

  14. From Ryszard Kapuscinki’s “Travels with Herodotus”:

    “one of Herodotus’ laws: Don’t humiliate people because they will thereafter subsist on dreams of revenge.”

    CPoC conservatives may delight at the continued humiliation directed at Mr. Dion (and by extension all progressive voters in Canada), but decent people – including those on the right – understand that ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of those without ideas, character or the courage of real conviction. Those who have been paying attention are sure to retaliate on election day.

  15. jwl:

    Actually, what you said was “…the msm have always behaved in a way that made it seem the Cons were looking to close all orphanages and kick the elderly out of retirement homes.”

    In other words, you accused the msm of slanted/biased reporting. So which is it? Are they properly holding the government’s feet to the fire or are they pursing an anti-Con agenda?

    As for treating the Libs/NDP with kid gloves – can you back that up at all or is this just standard right-wing whining about “liberal” media?

  16. TJ Cook

    I should have written that msm does good job questioning Con pols but goes too far in their slant.

    Of course the media is liberal. Other than Coyne, Gunter, Goldstein and maybe one or two others, there is a remarkable uniformity to what reporters and opinion writers believe.

    There’s a nice mix of reporters who support the Martin-wing or Chretien-wing of the Liberal party but it’s all a variation of the same theme.

  17. jwl: Perhaps the issue isn’t the media’s bias, but reality’s?

  18. jwl… I think there may be a bit of semantics at play here, and it all depends on your definition of “liberal”/”Liberal”. In general, Canadians are more left-winged than folks from the US, for instance. So, to a Democratic party supporter from the US, Canadians media would be seen almost exclusively (save the Western Standard/Ezra Levant) as “liberal”.

    I think the fact that there are few Ezra’s in Canada has more to do with the fact there are few hard-right (to Canada’s standards) supporters in Canada, therefore the market is smaller and the talent pool smaller still.

    There are certainly a lot of number of media outlets who lean to the right, or waffle between the Liberals and the Conservatives.

    Perhaps the fact that there’s no media outlet 100% rah-rahing the Conservatives has more to do with the fact that no one can support their record/platform 100%, due in part to some inate contradictions in the platform (cutting taxes while increasing spending greatly, etc).

    To that end, you’ll find every media outlet being somewhat critical of the Conservatives — even some the hard-right Alberta talk shows! Similarily, I don’t think you can find a media outlet that 100% fully supports the Libs or NDP or Green — the issues are too complex.

    But ultimately people will hold their nose and vote despite their misgivings, and media outlets will throw their support behind one or the other despite their reservations.

  19. I expect the media to ask Harper tough questions. Even questions out of the blue, or not related to the point of the press conference. That is all fair game.

    But what annoys me is the extent of the nitpicking regarding everything Harper does or doesn’t do. For example, we get: “Oh yah, another attack ad, but where’s the policy ?”.

    Come on guys, don’t insult our intelligence out here. This is day 2 of a 36 day campaign ! We all know the policy announcements will come.

  20. Calgary Junkie:

    1) Why should reporters ever spend precious time and resources on attack ads during a campaign? They may be a necessary evil and a political reality but the press has no responsibility to help disseminate attacks from any party.

    2) The Cons have been running non-stop attack ads since Dion was elected. By that measure, the Cons’ campaign has been running for almost 2 years. I think it’s time to de-emphasize the clown show and talk some policy.

  21. Who here believes that each of the absent journos independently decided not to show up? This was an organized boycott by people with their own agenda.

    Instead, I think they should all have attended and, at the commencement of the event, dropped their pens and walked out, chanting “Donna Martin graduates!”

  22. Calgary Junkie:

    We all know that, after The Five Priorities (TM) from the last election – only 3 of which were accomplished – the Cons have been kind of rudderless, jumping from issue to issue wherever they see a chance for political points or to drive a wedge among the Liberals. To the extent they have even tried to accomplish anything, it has been minor minor stuff.

    Up until last week, there were always at least 3 to 4 times as many photos of Dion on the Conservatives own website.

    And it was Harper who broke his promise by calling an early election on the supposed grounds of not being able to get obeissance from the opposition parties to support his fall agenda.

    So what is the Conservative agenda? I think most Canadians have come around to the view that the problem with the Cons is not some hidden agenda, but the lack of an agenda.

    And that is what they call leadership? Maybe by comparison to the opposition, but by comparison only.

  23. Oh, and $5 to the first journalist who gets Harper to answer a question about what happened to 2 of the 5 priorities. Only five. You would think that was a pretty clear agenda… so what happened to it?

  24. I like the Tories new approach of hiding from the media by putting two Cabinet members in front of journalists every morning. Devious. Chess-playing-like deviousness…

    Are people looking for the Tory agenda on their website? A lot of political parties put their promises etc. there these days. Or you could look at the Advantage Canada document that sets out the Government’s longer term objectives. Or you could go by Harper’s actions over the last few years: lower government revenues and a federal government more (but not exclusively) focused on federal responsibilitie, allowing more room for the private sector and the provinces.

  25. To those clamoring for Tory policies …

    I repeat, this is day 2 of a 36 day campaign !

    You can keep second-guessing Harper’s strategy about what he does, when he does it, how he does it, which cities he visits in what order, whether journalists should report it, how it gets reported, and so on.

    But it will all play out in due course. Sheesh, talk about impatience. And like I said, nitpicking taken to ridiculous extremes.

    I’m not clamoring for Dion to release attack ads. Or put out a fully costed four year projection of revenue and expenses under his Greenshift. I’m sure that will all come out when he is ready to do so.

  26. Indeed, I encourage all voters to look at Harper’s actions over the last few years. Take a look at arctic sovereignty and the fleet of ice-breaking defence ships coastal patrol boats an icebreaker to be cancelled delivered in 2009.

    Take a look at how he’s concentrated the federal government on looking after Canadian Safety by running pilot programs at the Maple-Leaf factory to let industry self-police itself, and the resulting investigation he has said will be started in which “Investigators will not express any conclusion or recommendation about civil or criminal liability of individuals or organizations.”

    Let us focus on his actions in protecting the Canadian softwood lumber industry by ensuring that they will not comprise more than 34% of the american lumber market, no matter how efficient they are, and by having them pay a billion dollars to their american competition to compensate the American lumber industry for deciding to sue us.

    Also, look at his actions in cabinet choices. Bernier as foreign minister making our troops lives harder by forcing the Afghani government to save face by keeping a corrupt official in power. Unelected/Unelectable Fortier as Minister of Public Works, putting a friend into the position most known for its ability to shuffle hundreds of millions of dollars around to friends.

    Oh heck, just look at Mr. Harper’s record in following the law. Bribery, Election cash-grabs, election timing, etc. Perhaps a better look at his record would be found by examining the 10 percenters, where MP’s from Alberta have mailings going out to people in Ontario on the tax-payer dime.

    If there’s one thing these conservatives are hoping for, it’s that people do *not* look at their record.

  27. We can’t give Harper all the credit for the softwood lumber deal – Emerson negotiated most of it while he was still a Liberal. Hey, isn’t Emerson a former lumber industry executive? Does he just live to sell people out?

    The food safety action plan (over $100M over the next three years, announced in the Budget) does seem to include the potential for more self-policing. But this is the first time I’ve heard that pilot programs were in place at Maple Leaf. I’ve only briefly looked at google but it would be great if someone shared a reference for this.

    I agree looking at Harper’s policy record is a great way to figure out his beliefs. I don’t know that gaffes, political tactics and Liberal policies are the very relevant though. Although they are entertaining.

  28. Tories have policies? I thought policies were the work of out-of-touch latte swilling BMW driving elitists from Toronto who shun hard work and hate America.

    Policies are best left to those aristocratic lefties and their culture-funding anti-Canadian professors, academics, economists and others.

    What the Conservatives will give everyone are solid solutions to all of the countries problems.

    What are these solutions? Good honest hard Western work and remembering;

    Family is everything.

  29. From the Globe & Mail:

    A leaked cabinet document that outlined plans for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to give the food industry a greater role in the inspection process raised the ire of opposition politicians last week.

    However, some of the plans have been in place since March 31, according to a CFIA manager and an official from the union that represents the federal inspectors.

    At the Maple Leaf plant behind the listeria outbreak, a single federal inspector was relegated to auditing company paperwork and had to deal with several other plants, the manager and the union official said, contradicting the impression that officials had left last week that full-time watchdogs were on-site.

    Under the new system, federal inspectors do random product tests only three or four times a year at any given plant. And meat packers are required to test each type of product only once a month.

  30. Thanks, the article goes on to clearly confirm what you said earlier too: The Maple Leaf Toronto plant was one of the plants where the CFIA began testing the new inspection system a year ago.

    It also says that Canada failed to adopt the tougher measures the US implemented in 1998. Which I haven’t really tried to confirm but would suggest a long-standing need to update Canada’s system.

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