The infomercial era

The Prime Minister’s Office is tonight combatting allegations made by unnamed leaders of tomorrow that questions posed during a forum on Parliament Hill today—hosted by Senator Mike Duffy—were prescreened. If any questions were skipped, it’s perhaps only so there’d be sufficient time for Mr. Duffy to get in queries such as the following.

Finally, Prime Minister, we’re looking forward to the G8, G20, Toronto and Muskoka. I can’t help but sort of cast my mind back to those snowy days—well, not much snow some days—of the Olympics in British Columbia and what a tremendous show that was and what a great show of national unity and the pride of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.  So it’s not quite as sexy as Olympic sport, but in a way, in a way it’s even more important, this conference, these two conferences that are coming up because it really is all about the future.

Not to mention follow ups such as what Mr. Duffy offered after Mr. Harper had navigated that provocation.

A little hard to get that same kind of enthusiasm over the final wording of the communique but I’m sure you’re working hard on that.




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The infomercial era

  1. Our Potemkin Leader.

  2. I can't believe Senator Duffy would insult our Olympians by saying a meeting of world leaders is in ANY way more important. Can't we get that scrubbed from the transcript?

    • It was a vile insult. Why does Senator Duffy hate our Olympians? Totally unacceptable for him to suggest that "in a way", a pivotal gathering of leaders of the world's twenty largest economies might be more important than winter sports.

      • Especially since Sid the Kid went top shelf for gold, eh?

  3. Cue the CONbot army's assassination of the leaders of tomorrow's character… in a deep, sonorious voice, "Luke, I am your father."

  4. I`m surprised the PMO didn`t arrange to have Mr. Wherry host the Forum……..some of the locals here could ask their pointy questions.
    Maybe Holly could ask the PM if he was anti-women……..yeah, we would all enjoy that wouldn`t we ?

    • Would I enjoy it? Perhaps.
      Would it at least be a question, and about something? Yessss!

  5. I, for one, would enjoy it.

  6. BREAKING: Politician orchestrates an event to maximize own advantage. Film at eleven.

    • There is, I contend, a qualitative difference between events that are intended to be carefully scripted and those that allege to be open forums but really aren't.

  7. Sadly, I used to think that the brown stuff on Duffy's face was from a chocolate donut.

    I say sadly, because I preferred that image.

    • You have the same stuff all over your face Thwim, only your brown stuff is a bit more orange.

      I mean, if you want to complain about others being political hacks, don't be such a partisan yourself.

      • Clever.

        • Implying someone has feces on their face and making a fat joke is considered clever enough to get a +9, so I guess I just don't get clever.

          • A quick lesson then. (Although this will likely kill my comment rating above.. it's just not as funny if you have to explain it) The humor comes because it's inferred only — Duffy is not directly accused of anything, nor does the comment have any direct attack against the man (it even pulls its own punch somewhat because of the last line.. suggesting that the author regrets what they've learned)

            And, like all humor, it works best if it rings true. One cannot help but look at Duffy and imagine that chocolate donuts probably played some part in his.. formation.

            Similarly, one cannot help but read the quoted paragraph from him and see the brown-nosing going on..well.. it's called brown-nosing for a reason, which is where the inferrence comes from.

            The difference between our comments then, is first that yours doesn't ring true to anybody who's been unfortunate enough to be reading my comments for a while – as while I'm quite openly anti-Harper, I've also criticized Ignatieff, Layton, and May on occasion, and I never display the fawning over any of them that Mr. Duffy has so aptly demonstrated here. Second, is that yours is a direct attack. That pulls it from the realm of "clever wit' to "banal insult".

            Do keep trying though.

          • Gilbert is not funny.

          • Says alot about Wherry's regulars, eh.

          • If I'm not mistaken, you are one of Wherry's regulars, not so?

          • Thus further strengthening his/her point. :)

  8. Is it just a coincidence that on the day where harper's controlling habits have silenced real questions from Canada's future leaders that we learn about Canada's storybook teller's addiction to cocaine and alcohol? I do believe Baird is right as we type whiting out the Munsch books from the Harper family library photos…

  9. As I've said before, Stephen "I can take a punch" Harper simply doesn't have the guts to take unscreened questions from Canadians in an open townhall forum.

    • His ability to take a punch has been taken out of context. The punch he was referring to is of the Hawaiian variety, specifically Bodacious Berry when properly watered down.

      • I thought it was Busty Berry served up at Jaffers (where everybody knows your name)

  10. Aaron I would take these kind of allegations a little more seriously if you were brave enough to call out the CBC when they do the same thing.

    Are the media now resorting to having these "leaders of tomorrow" remain unnamed so that the Conservatives won't discover that they are also Liberal plants like Mary Pynenburg?

    • False Equivalency Alert.

    • The putative collusion between myself, the CBC and Mary Pyneburg is a fabrication . I had no involvement with the selection of the quesiton of the week. The CBC had no idea that the viewer was an ex liberal candidate when they selected the question . I have never met nor had I even heard of Mary Pyneburg before this was pointed out the next day in speaking notes prepared by the government. The question which was suggested was a totally neutral issue which we translated into sound survey methodolgy . The analysis and presentaion of how women and men differ on top issues and the attributes they look in for a leader was completelly unbiased. Respectful disagreement is perfectly acceptable. Citing falsehoods which go to the heart of my credibility as a professional pollster is another thing. I don't blame John g for repeating these allegations but I would like to set the record straight.__

      • Mr Graves,

        For the record I have no complaint with your role in this particular incident. You say you had no idea she was a former Liberal candidate. I take you at your word on this. I am not questioning your research or polling methodology, either for this or for your weekly tracking polls. My complaint has always been with the CBC, not so much with you, and how they present people as neutral when they are clearly not; yourself included.

        You say the CBC had no idea she was a Liberal candidate. My question is why the hell didn't they know? Google "Mary Pynenburg" and her campaign page is the first hit in the search results. It's literally 5 seconds of research to discover this. It's not that much harder to find out she's a vice president at "Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper". Surely at least that level of research could be performed before pretending she is just an "interested viewer"? The optics are particularly bad given the controversy that already surrounded you.

        As to your direct involvement in the previous controversy; you are entitled to your opinions and to donate to the party of your choice of course; but it strains credibility for the CBC to present you as neutral when over the years you donated $11K to the Liberal party, and $500 to the Conservative candidate in the safest Liberal seat in the country. Again there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, given the drop in EKOS government revenues outlined in the government's annual polling reports after Harper took over it perhaps isn't surprising that you would prefer a Liberal government. But the CBC should be disclosing this when you appear. That is all I ask.

        • So the question was biased then? No really, was the question biased against one party or another? Furthermore, are you equally outraged when CBC doesn't disclose Allan Gregg's allegiances? If not, then you're concern trolling and doing a bad job of it.

          • Well I could not find a record of Gregg donating to the Conservative Party in either 2007 or 2008 on ECs website, so he does not seem to be active in the party…should they include that he was a former strategist when introducing him, given that was 17 years ago? Debatable I guess but probably beyond the statute of limitations. Go back far enough and Ottawa talk radio host Lowell Green ran as a Liberal candidate once. No one who has ever heard him talk for more than 30 seconds would mistake him for one today.

          • You've neglected to answer one of my two questions.

            But if you'd rather peddle in cheap innuendo ("given the drop in EKOS government revenues…perhaps isn't surprising that you would prefer a Liberal government") then by all means don't let me get in your way.

    • john g your definition of "same thing" is a patent misunderstanding of the phrase.

    • Translation: These apples would be so much better if they were oranges.

    • First thing I thought too, nifty little Liberal plants…..

      • You think? Surprise to me. Using PM talking points and keeping a binder of everything any MP does isn't exactly thinking.

  11. Funny, I watched that interview, Harper exposed himself more to PC attacks than I've ever seen him do. My theory is that now that he is fifty billion in the hole he figures leftists view him as family now and he's dropped his guard. He spoke to the 2.8 million Canadians living abroad and frankly acknowledged the varying degrees of commitment to Canada our very large expat community; normally that sort of thing sets off the klaxon calls of waaaaaaaaaaaacism. I guess our chumpstream media is too busy getting duped by Guergis to notice what he just said.

    • Did you generate this using some sort of Talking Point App for the iPhone?

    • Well, at least your handle is appropriate.

  12. The scripted PM delivers a stilted infomercial
    The bloated toady fawns and suckles

    It's been done

  13. It's a lot more than prescreening. One of the questioners, named in a CBC report, actually talked about questions having been altered by PMO before being submitted to Dear Leader.

  14. What a coward.

  15. My feelings on Michael Ignatieff are mixed, but I will say the one thing about him – I was rather impressed by was the town hall meetings he held at the universities this past winter. I attended one of them. It was a very open event, no one was screened prior to entering, and anyone was welcome to approach the floor microphones to ask a question. If one was quick enough, they could even get in a follow-up question with Mr. Ignatieff to really quiz him on his views. Just to be able to interact with our leaders directly, and to see a leader be able to discuss policy in such an open and unscripted manner was very refreshing.

    And the reason I share this is because I could not in a million years see Mr. Harper ever holding such a meeting, allowing people to ask him questions without thorough vetting beforehand, or allowing for any possible risk that he may be required to really defend himself.

    • Actually, I would think that the leaders of all the other parties wouldn't be afraid of kids and their questions.

      Harper is a very weak, scripted man and needs a clown like Duffy to help him out.

      How pathetic.

  16. Why does the press corp agree to show up to ANY CPC events anymore?

    I've worked in places in sub saharan africa who have more access to their officials than you guys. You think the Whitehouse Press Corp would put up with this BS? Not for a minute. They would boycott these staged managed events until they were allowed to do their job properly.

    • I think the press coverage of Harper has been anything but fawning. The White House press corps were far more subservient to the Bush Administration, and some of the people covering Obama can only be described as cheerleaders.

      Now, the London press corps is another matter. Those guys are vicious.

    • Because if reporters from one news house don't, the others still will, and then *they'll* have the scoop, and the resulting viewership.

      Remember, private media is not about informing you, private media is about selling your attention to advertisers, and they'll do what it takes to get it

    • You've worked in sub-Saharan Africa? News to me – I would have said it's one of the places on the planet You've forsaken, given the war and famine and rapes and disease and death and all. Perhaps You should revisit the place. It could probably use a little You right about now.

  17. Laughable to think PMO thought Duffy would be a good choice to win over youth. I wish one of the students — heck all of them — had risen to say their question was rewritten and what gives…

    Did Duff wear a leather jacket? Or some other youthful garments, to show he's cool? Or did that fall to Steve to represent the leader of the young and innovative?

  18. “Mr. Burns, your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?”

    • I suppose some industrious housewife just needs to find a Canadian version of Blinky to serve up, then.

      • I thought that was the abortion issue given the reaction it seems to be stirring up in the nation about what Harper really stands for.

  19. Gee, kids studying business don't ask questions about abortion….!
    2 unnamed kids run to a reporter to allege their questions were altered, named kids say that isn't so……

    ''..According to Global Vision director Amy Giroux, approximately forty questions were submitted via email. None were "reworded" — not by the organizers, not by PMO — and she has "no idea where that nasty rumour came from."

    "You have to look at what kinds of kids these are," she explained. "They're studying business, most of them. Look at their portfolios."
    http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/05

    • Hard to believe that out of 40 young enthusiastic students studying business, none of them had questions about green business.

      • Indeed. I also find it surreal that if they chose questions based on "the variety of topics", how it is that all the questions that concerned things other than the economy ended up at the end of the docket, whereupon there was no time remaining to ask them.

        Not a conspiracy, perhaps. But certainly a little odd. Almost as though the organizer didn't estimate how long each question and response would take, or factor in that Mike Duffy would be moderating.

    • Everyone should click on the link that Wilson posted, to see Kady's take on the whole thing.

    • Geez, do you really think that kids studying business can't think about more than one thing at a time?

      Show a little more respect for our youth.

    • Oh. My. Gawd. Future business leaders? So-called Leader, run for the hills — avert your eyes as they may take other forms!
      Or at least figure out your whole 'economic premise' for things about money is really just a ball of knotted string that has no end and no beginning…
      Harper, just so visiting…

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