09.22.2011 01:57 PM

An open letter to Chris Blizzard, who I like

Christina Blizzard is a columnist for the Sun.  She’s pretty pro-Conservative – I can’t recall her ever writing anything that isn’t – but I like her.  She’s a good person, albeit a bit politically misguided.

This afternoon, she sent me an email.  Here’s what she said: “I have received a copy of a presentation you have been giving to unions about elections. At the end of it, you advise union members not to just take a lawn sign, but to get involved and “buy an ad.”  I am wondering if it is appropriate for someone who is a senior member of the Liberal campaign team to be advising third parties to do this during the election campaign.”

That was kind of…snarky, and erroneous, too.  In June, I was invited to speak one union, Local 46, the plumber’s union.  The three-hour presentation I gave to them didn’t simply say “buy an ad.”  The folks who asked me to speak wanted to avoid vote-splitting that might lead to another Harris-style government under Tim Hudak.  I spoke to about 200 members, who were described to me as members of all of the political parties – Liberals, New Democrats and Conservatives.  It was a great session, and any member could attend.  Some folks agreed with me, some didn’t.  But it was fun.

So I responded to Chris: “You’d have to send it to me, my friend.  But, before you do that, are you saying that unions should be prohibited from advertising?”

She didn’t answer that.  I did, however, get the deck – which I surmise had been given to Chris by PCs, who are in a free-fall in urban centres, and are starting to full-on panic.  Here’s what she wrote: “[Your] exhortation to buy ads and get politically active is on page 26. It also makes reference to the “Not this time” advertising campaign targeting Ernie Eves.  I am wondering what Elections Ontario would have to say about the connection between you in your position with the Liberal campaign exhorting a union to engage in third party advertising during a campaign.”

That, too, was a bit snarky, given that we are supposed to be colleagues and all that.  But, whatever.  She’s big on the Conservatives, and I understand that.  I also didn’t like the insinuation that what I’d said in my presentation was against the law, but again – whatever.  She has a job to do.

So here’s what I wrote back: “Chris:  I was asked by the union to come and speak to them before the election about how to avoid a Hudak-PC government. I spoke to about 200 people, and they were introduced to me as members of all of the political parties. I encouraged them to get involved in the democratic process in any way they could. One way they could do that is to advertise, and to of course ensure that they followed all of the Elections Ontario rules.  To my knowledge, they have done no advertising at all. Since you obviously intend to write about this, I will place the deck on my web site along with your emails. I prefer to have these discussions out in the open, so there can be no confusion about what was said. Have a great day.”

And, as promised, here’s the deck, every word of it.  If you feel like Chris apparently does – that I urged the union to break the law – I encourage you to promptly lodge a complaint about me with Elections Ontario.  Here’s their email, to save you some time: info@elections.on.ca.  Good luck.

Oh, and Chris?  Like I say: the group I spoke to hasn’t produced any advertising I am aware of – unlike some groups closely connected to Tim Hudak’s PCs.

I look forward to you writing about that, too.



  1. Patrick Deberg says:

    She has tried to say the trade unions are behind the working families advertising last election. That’s silly! Doesen’t she know carpenters, pipefitters electrical workers, tinsmiths, boilermakers and plumbers, espeically plumbers are hatched from pods and never seek mates for their whole existance ?

  2. Patrick Deberg says:

    Oh !

    By the way she will NEVER write about who funds the Back off government crowd. Cause it doesen’t matter to her who funds these deadbeats cause these deadbeats are under full scale attack from the ” MSM” after all. She’s a “Freedomfighter “after all.

    BACK OFF TRADEPEOPLE !! This land is my land !! Only Tories have families !!

  3. AP says:

    Hmm. You know I don’t want to get all lawyerly and all that, but I guess I’ll have to because I am one, but rather than just responding to her complaint: “I am wondering if it is appropriate for someone who is a senior member of the Liberal campaign team to be advising third parties to do this during the election campaign” — which is one giant amorphous blob of a nothingness complaint which can be dissected a hundred ways ’till Sunday as they say, why don’t you ask her — hell I’ll asker her — to properly word her allegation and actually cite the appropriate section of the Election Finances Act R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER E.7 and or The Election Act R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER E.6.

    Oh yeah and cite some case law … gotta cite the case case law. That should keep her busy.

  4. JStanton says:

    … I think you are being charitable. Ms. Blizzard’s pieces are generally long on rant and short on substance. Her tone is snarky and self righteous, and profoundly negative, reflecting what appears to be a profoundly angry person.

    I read the Sun about twice a week, principally so that I have an understanding of how truth is being mis-represented to the little people. I can rarely stomach the manner in which Ms. Blizzard’s tends to awfulize even the most trivial issue. Her unremitting anger at everything, is just too much to bare.


  5. Tyrone says:

    Stanton, you’re dead-on about the profound negativity of Blizzard’s pieces, but Warren is making an interesting distinction that lots of political types do. “Christine Blizzard”, Sun Columnist, is undoubtedly a negative, awful, hideous snark, and her pieces reflect that. She is ever-so-slightly redeemed by the fact that “Chris Blizzard” human being isn’t nearly as noxious. Instead, “Chris” is a sort of clever, somewhat grumpy but more-or-less decent type who reminds you of your tart but lovable aunt. She’s a Conservative, and an obsequious tool in print, but not nearly as horrible in person as she is in print. Faint praise, I know, but still…

    • JStanton says:

      … you are of course correct. Thank you for the reminder. It is too easy to fall into the trap of conflating the person with the product, and one must always give them the benefit of the doubt. But, to mis-appropriate Mr. Freud, sometimes a cigar is actually a cigar!


  6. Dan says:

    Unions deserve credit for growing the middle class in the 20th century. If the middle class is going to come back, we need more unions, and more unions getting involved in the political arena on behalf of all workers.

    There is absolutely nothing illegal about a union running an ad. Companies run ads all the time to advertise whatever bullshit they’re peddling, and whatever rules they want parliament to repeal. If that’s not partisan, than putting out an ad reminding us to protect social security, the minimum wage, and green jobs should be fair game.

  7. Nelson says:

    I can’t stand Blizzard and have given up even looking at her column because even the mere sight of the title wreaks of negativity. I swear that woman has sand firmly lodged in her underpants. I don’t think there’s a more miserable person out there.

  8. Eric says:

    A friend and candidate just posted a link to this website from the UA. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it – and I don’t pretend to understand the election laws. http://www.optc.org/index.php

  9. Michael S says:

    You just want Sun TV to show this deck on-air, in full, for free.

      • Michael S says:

        You know they want to do it. It’s just a matter of time. You’re the crazy ex-girlfriend that they should never call, but they can’t help themselves when bored. The whole point of Sun TV is to drive their devoted foamies into great googly-moogly gobs of rage, and have them come back for more abuse. If you didn’t exist they’d have to invent you.

  10. Adrian ZB says:

    Kinsella 1 Blizzard 0

  11. Transplanted Doerite says:

    Tempest in a teapot really but it does demonstrate, once again, something critical that separates you from other political hacks Warren, regardless of stripe.

    You define the issue on your terms before your enemy does. Proactive not reactive. It’s why you get hired by people and they take your advice.

    Seems elementary really, but it is not shared by some hacks. They don’t sufficiently recognize the importance of getting out in front of stuff. They think they can keep things hidden etc.

  12. tf says:

    I don’t understand.
    If you are campaigning to get your party elected, that is what you do – talk with groups, get them to be involved, encourage those who agree with you to support you by donating or by advertising.
    Isn’t that the reason for being of campaign offices?
    What’s the problem?

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