03.12.2012 06:31 AM

March 12: another morning Robocon

There’s a reason why God invented the phrase “The matter is being investigated by police/is before the courts and we can’t comment.” Among other things, it’s the truth.

Warren Kinsella, a Liberal pundit and political communications expert, said the Conservatives’ strategy is “a case study in communications mismanagement.” He agreed that the Conservatives should have stuck to one line instead of changing the story everyday.

“This scandal is working because people tend to believe it already. Even before [the story] broke, voters already felt Harper was the kind of guy who would step on a little kid to eke out a vote. That’s the problem with Robocon for the Cons: it neatly confirms what lots of voters already suspected about the Harper regime.”

In addition, Mr. Kinsella said, “Listening to Tom Flanagan is always a good idea. He’s a very smart man. And he’s right: simply say it’s in the hands of the authorities and you can’t comment, because you don’t want the bad guys to get away. Say you are cooperating with the investigation. Then shut up. Now, however, they’re trapped: they started answering questions in the House, and now they will have a hard time explaining why they can’t anymore.”


  1. fred says:

    Tony Cement says the cons will “change the culture in official Ottawa from one of spending enablers to one of cost containers.” I guess they
    won’t be pouring millions into Tony’s riding any time soon. Oh wait, that was already done during the surplus blowing, spending enabling phase.
    Do the libs have any narrative guys working for them? Tony Cement tries to redirect public attention away from canary singing and steps in the
    doggy doo as usual

  2. Ted H says:

    As my mother always said to me ” if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said”.

  3. b says:

    i would not call what they’ve been doing in the House “answering questions”.

  4. ME says:

    Not sure I agree, Warren. It seems to me, that the CPC is using the same (successful) PR strategy on Robocalls, as they did on the contempt of Parliament file last year. They simply said the contempt vote had nothing to do with breach of privilege, but the opposition parties voting to score political points. And they got re-elected with majority. Now there are plenty of reasons for that, but the fact is, they really didn’t take a hit for being held in contempt.

    A year on, they are using the same strategy on Robocon. Again, go on the offensive, turn the “scandal” into a seemingly partisan matter. That’s easy to do on Robocon, because a lot of the complaints are coming from opposition parties. Create enough of a cloud of disinformation and partisan rancour, that your average citizen– or Joe and Jane Frontporch as you call them– throw their hands up the air, and say: Well, I dunno who to believe. Just politics as usual!

    Thus: polls show no change in support.

    You were right to point out the Sponsorship scandal comparison, but I think not for PR strategy purposes. The current Tory strategy works best for them, because by turning this into a partisan dispute, keeps their base onside: Elections Canada investigation, at least among the CPC base, is probably seen as a “pro Lib” government watch dog. I really think only if the RCMP get involved, would this change the minds of the CPC base, regardless of EC’s findings;

    In fact, even beyond the base, the scandal will only have legs is if the RCMP comes in makes some high level arrests; most Canadians trust the RCMP is not partisan.

    Indeed, the reason why Sponsorship ended up with legs, was because– as you pointed out– you had an independent inquiry set up with a judge making findings, giving non-partisan credibility to sponsorship allegations. Thus, so long as the RCMP makes no high level investigation + arrests, and there is no public inquiry, I suspect Robocon will have no long term impact on the CPC or its brand.

    • Michael says:

      The average Canadian does not understand how parliament works. Contempt of parliament doesn’t mean anything to the Tim Horton double double sipper. How many of them could even define what contempt means?

      But this is easy to understand. Someone lied, for personal gain. Everyone can understand and relate to that concept.

  5. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    I have noticed “narrative” is the new buzzword for politicos these days……reminds me of “dialogue” of my youth…….where every journalist, pundit, and his dog used the term whenever, and wherever possible…..now you hardly ever hear the term these days……

    At any rate, its nice to see “Dear Leader’s” teflon coating starting to wear off……

  6. smelter rat says:

    Again you make the same allegation with nothing to support your claim.

  7. Craig Burley says:

    “when one of the investigating authorities is demonstrably biased against you”

    Who is that? Is there some demonstration? This sounds serious!

    “Were this a US grand jury investigation (the proper format for such a case IMO)”

    A U.S. grand jury is the proper forum for investigating a case of Canadian electoral fraud? Because the calls originated in the U.S.? I don’t think you understand the law very well.

  8. fred says:

    Gord, the entire modus operandi of your party is breaching ethics. Thanks for the laugh.

  9. william smith says:

    US grand juries – what a bloody farce they are ever had anybody’s innocence confirmed at one?

  10. Ted B says:

    What bias does Elections Canada have, Gord? Don’t forget the head of Elections Canada was appointed by the one and only Stephen Harper.

    And what “leaks”? All I’ve read appear to be coming from the lawyers of “interested” Conservative parties, Rack Nine and Campaign Research.

  11. Philippe says:

    It’s not just Elections Canada Gord, it’s the world. All secret Liberal sympathizers.

  12. Ted H says:

    Elections Canada is biased against electoral fraud, not one particular party.

  13. Ted B says:

    It does appear that Conservatives and Liberals have dropped the ball in proper identification in their over-use of robo-calling and outsourcing to third party robo-calling companies, for sure. There really should be some firmer rules on this.

    But your smoke and mirrors will not work.

    Electoral fraud is electoral fraud. And misdirecting voters to imaginary polling stations is electoral fraud. Even Conservatives have called it so.

    • Philip says:

      Well if “the Liberals did it too” line is being trotted out, there should be plenty of reasons why the Con Party should call a public inquiry into election fraud. Why the delay?

    • kenn2 says:

      Voter suppression is a cynical, antidemocratic tactic, and in my opinion, if it isn’t illegal, it should be.

      The amount of automated calls that some find unethical or annoying is another and far more widespread thing altogether.

      Let me go one better: The amount of automated calls that some find unethical or annoying, that can be launched by an unverified user. That’s real WTF for me. I have to go through 2 logins to buy $10 worth of electronic junk from ebay using Paypal. How is it possible for an unverified person to use something as disruptive and potentially devastating as a robocall system to broadcast political speech??

      Is robocalling really that easy to do, without any accountability, or is someone blowing smoke?

      • Philip says:

        Somebody is blowing smoke. This goes high up what passes for the Con Party food chain. Companies like Rack 9 and RMG charge a bit more than U of O pocket money or Michael Sona’s allowance. Somebody bankrolled this, somebody set up the script and somebody gave his/her blessing.

        This will get fun when the RCMP starts knocking on doors.

  14. Ottawacon says:

    Don’t think so – the only absolute requirement (which was violated) is the identification of the candidate on whose behalf it is made, and the certification that it is authorized by the official agent. But I believe I can call you up and tell you my name is Dave, and who are you voting for? You would of course violate other laws if you represented yourself as calling on behalf of any sort of organization.

  15. Philippe says:

    So let me get this straight… the guy slinging attacks at the Liberals for Robocalling admits to being a Robocaller? Huh? Is it just me or are these guys starting to border on the absurd?


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