Conservatives are masters of distraction -

Conservatives are masters of distraction

Fred DeLorey’s fundraising letters are Exhibit A


Adrian Wyld/CP

“You won’t believe what the Press Gallery just did in Ottawa.” —Fred DeLorey, in a letter to Conservative supporters

Fred DeLorey must love his job. The Conservative Party’s director of political operations, the man who signs many of its fundraising letters, need only give the press a whiff of his latest missive to supporters. Then, it’s mission accomplished. Reporters can’t help but amplify every word that DeLorey put to paper. The Conservative mantra spreads, free of charge. Thank you, thank you.

Yesterday, the Conservatives were at it again. Today, go search for “press gallery ottawa” on Google News, and witness how the strategy—again—worked like a charm.

Let’s refocus. Forget that spin, for just a minute. Yesterday, Governor General David Johnston delivered a Speech from the Throne. Aside from its appeal, at times, to just about everybody in the country—a 7,000-word speech had better speak to the entire nation, because holy what a tome—there’s a theory that this was all about speaking to your average committed Conservative.

“Protect the base is the unspoken through-line in this speech,” wrote the National Post‘s Andrew Coyne. “Perhaps the base will be pleased. The Tories had better hope.” That line sounds so ominous because, these days, the Conservatives are sagging in the polls and, for the time being, clinging to that base.

Maybe that possibly restless base was yesterday’s only intended audience. Forget any socialist or bleeding heart or hardcore conservative, never mind the undecided voter who maybe likes Stephen Harper but isn’t so sure. Some of those people may have liked some of yesterday—lower bank fees!—but that’s all a bonus. Two years from now, that’s the time to convince all those people to change their tune. Yesterday was all about making sure the band’s still together. A few weeks out from a party convention, yesterday’s speech recalled almost every recent Conservative hit, and reminded all who listened of the country’s impossible determination, and crystallized this very second as a moment for Canada. And concluded: If you voted for this government, you can share in this moment.

Afterwards, DeLorey did his thing. He lashed out at the press, knew his message would find a wide audience, and probably smiled broadly. Even if the whole country knows when the Conservative Party’s blatantly playing to its base, and even if it looks so transparently crass, what matters is people are talking about it. The more they talk about a Conservative vendetta against the press gallery, or a Conservative play to its traditional base, the less people are talking about other things that really matter. Mission accomplished.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Stephen Harper is expected to finalize a free trade pact with the EU.
National Post The Speech from the Throne lacked clear conviction.
Toronto Star The feds pledged to pass balanced-budget legislation.
Ottawa Citizen The throne speech contained few surprises.
CBC News Barack Obama signed a bill that averted a disastrous default.
CTV News The world breathed a sigh of relief as the U.S. avoided default.
National Newswatch Green Party star candidate Georges Laraque faces fraud charges.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Lac-Mégantic. The struggling railway at the heart of this summer’s rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que., received an extension to operate until Feb. 1, 2014 from the Canadian Transportation Agency. The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has transported 80 per cent fewer dangerous goods since the incident, and no longer sends crude oil along its rails.
THE GLOBAL Bike ban. The Indian city of Kolkata has banned cyclists from 174 streets in the sprawling city, a move that’s infuriated activists who say poor residents can’t afford the luxury of cars—and, besides, the city should be promoting environmentally friendly cycling to mitigate the smog levels that afflict the area. Statistics suggest 11 per cent of residents cycle every day.
THE QUIRKY Yeti. A British scientist, Oxford University’s Bryan Sykes, tested hairs from different ends of the Himalayas and concluded that the modern-day yeti does exist—and is most likely a hybrid of ancient polar bears and brown bears. One of the DNA strands matches perfectly a polar bear jaw bone from Norway that dates anywhere from 40,000 to 120,000 years old.


Conservatives are masters of distraction

  1. This may come as a shock to Nick Taylor-Vaisey but people are actually capable of thinking and talking about more than one topic regarding Government. Because DeLorey chooses to pick a fight with the media (oh, there’s a new one) and think that he’s steered Canadian thought towards his agenda doesn’t, for one second, excuse all the other crap this Government has presided over (robocalls, senate expenses, missing $3.1B, and on and on). On the contrary, it adds to the list of reasons why the current CANADIAN (NOT harper) Government needs to be excused in 2015. It sometimes takes a while but democracy will eventually punish dictators.

    • love the dictator part – it’s silliness like that which keeps harper sitting in the PM’s chair as long as he wants to! –

      • Definition of Dictator: bossy person: somebody who is regarded as behaving in an autocratic or domineering way. Tell me Wayne how that is silly or doesn’t describe Harper?

    • All you have to do is click anywhere else on this website to prove that, yes, you’re correct that people are capable of thinking about other things. But the ease with which the Conservatives get free press, which certainly does distract, even for just a moment, still amazes me.

      • I don’t think all the bad press is what they’re looking for Nick.

      • Don’t all Government’s get a level of free press? I hope so. I understand your point. The press is covering other stories and this is just one element of overall story that is this Government. Sooner or later all the bad press has to sink in to anyone except those that treat membership to their party as some kind of cult status.

  2. For those easily distracted perhaps…..

  3. ‘The more they talk about a Conservative vendetta against the press gallery, or a Conservative play to its traditional base, the less people are talking about other things that really matter.’


    • this is why harper secretly loves all this Senate stuff – as long as QP is chock a bloc (forgive the pun) full of Tommy the Beard and Justin the Just Watch Me Kid – ranting about Senate stuff – he keeps on trucking getting his entire agenda through – keep up the good work oppostion parties :)

      • You don’t actually believe that do you?

        • This comment was deleted.

          • yes of course, all sorry “not all” (nice insert) Cons are stupid and the only thing that satisfies them is “hoodwinking” others. not unemployment coming down, free trade deals which will bring in extra cash, law enforcement – sure its the “hoodwinking” that keeps us going. Yes there has been problems, a lot of them if you listen to the CBC, CTV – this is all white noise and a lot of it is meaningless in the grand design. Every gov’t has problems , and it does not matter which party is in charge – but as far as I am concerned as long as unemployment is lowering, taxes are lowering and we have food and a roof, then things are ok. we need to focus on the people who do not have food and a roof, these are priorities, not who wrote what cheque to whom…

          • And literacy. We need to focus on literacy.

          • I agree, just hope that arrow is not pointed at me…

          • Downplaying things they used to scream about eight or ten years ago is another odd thing.

          • nope still screaming about them, our voice is just getting softer in old age…

          • Agreed. They’re easily described as right wing authoritarian voters. Google the term.

          • That erect middle finger isn’t extended towards the Canadian flag, GFMD (but ask not for whom that mocking digit thrusts…)

  4. Yet again the only criticisms of the throne speech have nothing to do with it’s substance. “The throne speech was too long”, or the fact that the media are easily distracted are hardly valid criticisms of the government’s direction.

    All one can conclude is that it was a throne speech that was acceptable to most.

    • To most who cared to watch, 90% of the country changed the channel just as Harper is trying to do, but it won’t work.

      • why because angry Tom says so?

    • Okay how about this for criticism:

      It failed to outline a realistic solution to the Senate.

      It failed to strike a balance between commercial development and sustainability with regard to oil and gas development. It also failed to announce transparent guidelines for determining when foreign investment is, or isn’t, in Canada’s interests.

      It failed to outline a process for including Canadians in a discussion about free trade with Europe as if it is something that will be done to us, rather than by us.

      It failed to address the accountability deficit that exists in Canadian governance
      with regard to access to information by the public, by the Opposition or
      by the Public Budget Office.

      It failed to address a vision or plan for curtailing the overreaching powers that have been assembled in the Prime Minister’s Office, steadily amassed by predecessor governments, but consolidated as the de facto power over cabinet in the Harper regime.

      It failed to provide a solution to military procurement which has been bungled repeatedly since Trudeau was in office but not to the exponential degree that this government has sunk.

      It failed to present a vision for sustainable national healthcare.

      It failed to present a vision for relations with First Nations governments,
      especially in terms of its reference to First nations education, and to First Nations accountability. It failed to indicate how the government will address the ineptitude and lack of accountability in its own department of Aboriginal Affairs, referenced by successive Auditors General.

      It failed to announce any real plan for addressing climate change.

      It ignored the debt problem that has been created at the provincial level as if federal policy and spending has nothing to do with that.

      Instead it rambled on about petty policy initiatives that the Government previously cancelled, voted against or made necessary by its omnibus stupidities.

      • a lot of good items stated here, thank you –
        oil and gas is our bread and butter, will never agree on this –
        foreign investment is like any business deal, it depends on who and how much, unable to create a box that covers everything, must be deal by deal –
        involvement in free trade with EU, when has any go’vt put together a committee of citizens for any trade deal –
        current gov’t needs to put the confidential stamp away and let people see things, agreed –
        the PMO has too much power, and has for years – agreed but when you call our democratically elected gov’t a regime, you loose me a bit –
        military procurement, I think they addressed this and have move most decisions to another dept that has been successful, but since you brought up Trudeau not bungling procurement, well that was easy, he was too busy cutting the military to buy anything for it –
        1st Nations is a disaster internally, so once they get their crap together we can have a grown up conversation (billions spent – chiefs make millions and the citizen gets very little, but more than you or I get –
        climate change – UN report, ice cap grown 60%, temp not rising as fast as originally stated, but we also need our neighbour to the south to get their crap together so we can work on something together –
        provincial debt has not been affected as much by the current gov’t as it was by Chretien/Marin as transfer payments are up compared to then – speaking for ON, the debt is due to idiots in charge.
        transparency is important, we need more – they have a majority this should give them the confidence to speak more openly. But overall this is a mid term report, still two years until an election. So overall things in Canada are not 10 out of 10, but are a solid 7.
        have a great day in the greatest Nation on the globe…

        • We can agree or disagree about how well the government is progressing, but my point is that very few of the issues of the day are in the Throne Speech, which is supposedly the agenda for this session of parliament. To me that means the government either plans to avoid the main issues of the day, or they are going to deal with them ex parte as if they are none of our business.

    • “Yet again the only criticisms of the throne speech have nothing to do with it’s substance. “

      I think the remedy here would be to produce a throne speech that actually has some substance.

    • I don’t know what kinda newspapers and websites you visit, but there has been lots of criticism of the throne speech — beyond its length and its distractive qualities. I’m not saying you have to agree with the criticism, but to say there’s been none is laughably inaccurate.

    • You might want to read Ivison…

  5. Distraction ? Personally, I’m focused like a taser .., er, laser,yes,laser
    on the finer points of 19th century social conditions. Prepared I will be.

  6. Check out the new book ‘shopping for votes’. ‘Lower bank fees’ is NOT “all a bonus”, it’s the entire strategy. And yes, to the average voter, it sadly might be enough.

  7. Good lord, what a horrible article! I am far from a Conservative fan and I agree they are masters of detraction, misdirection, but the article is nothing but ear wax in print.

    • How far away are you from a Conservative fan- 2 or 3 feet?

      • 10 feet as the saying goes

  8. I note that Mr. T-V seems to be falling into his suspicious old pattern of everything the CPC does is a sign of devious brilliance, while everything done by the other parties is a bumbling mistake.

  9. Non Conservatives can think of more than one thing at a time Nick. Don’t confuse us with those plodding Conservative supporters.

  10. Thanks to the CPC I now know the meaning of obfuscation, sigh.

    Here’s to a change in 2015 Canada.

  11. The distraction may not be enough. In order to land the EU deal Harper had to sell out dairy farmers. This will not sit well in rural Ontario and Quebec.