04.02.2012 05:47 AM

Danielle Smith doth protest too much

For instance, if Ms. Wilkie’s tweet was so offensive, why did Wildrose staffers instantly begin retweeting it? Why did they want to ensure that the breathtakingly immature comments of a low-level staffer in the Premier’s Calgary office to a small number of followers got wider play? For partisan political reasons? That would be a reasonable conclusion.

And when you learn that some officials on Ms. Smith’s campaign started contacting reporters about the tweet and providing information about Ms. Wilkie’s role in Ms. Redford’s office you become even more suspicious about Wildrose’s motivations. They wanted a story. And when no media bit, Ms. Smith sent out a news release the next day.

It instantly created sympathy for Ms. Smith and made the Redford camp look mean and heartless. Ms. Redford’s call to Ms. Smith to apologize shortly after the release went out was unquestionably sincere, but by then the damage had been done.

On Sunday, Wildrose didn’t want to talk about the issue. And perhaps it shouldn’t. The sooner this incident is forgotten, the better.

26 Comments

  1. In short – smart politics. It looks to me like Wildrose is playing to win. I think they just might.

  2. Mark McCourt says:

    The silly personal attack on Alberta Wildrose party leader Danielle Smith by a PC staffer is somewhat reminiscent of the PC Party’s negative ad seeming to focus on Jean Chrétien’s facial defect, which aired very briefly during the 1993 federal election. Notably the PC majority gov’t was reduced to a two seat rump in that election.

  3. sj says:

    This whole thing stinks. But it also leaves Smith open to many queries on other normally personal, off limit, topics. If you want to talk about your infertility problems, then be prepared to be asked about others things later on that maybe less advantageous. This is a great example of oversharing. I blame Oprah.

    • Warren says:

      He had Bell’s palsy as a kid.

      And, Gord, you don’t know what you’re talking about. As I lay out in explicit and sourced detail in one of my books, we did not attempt to publicize what the Conservatives did. We were under orders from John Rae to say and do nothing about it. The media and fair-minded Conservatives publicized the attack all by themselves.

      Smith sought to take public, partisan advantage of something she simultaneously claimed is personal and private. Her staff publicized the very thing they were claiming to object to.

      That’s rank hypocrisy, in my books. You’re just looking at this as a WR fanatic, per usual.

    • Mark McCourt says:

      Mr. Chrétien’s response to the infamous “face ad” was brief and dignified (and brilliant), as was Ms. Smith’s response to the PC twit’s tweet.

  4. And so he in-fighting to proclaim who’s the most conservative and upholds the right ‘family’ values has begun.

    Will it be a mini-Republican style campaign? You know, where the opposition emerges stronger.

    • Olmanhall says:

      I think you’re right Cam. The Wild Rose looks more Republican to me every day. I do think Ms. Wilkie could have asked a more relevant question though. Like is that the same Danielle Smith who was fired from the School Board (along with all the other Board members) a while ago? Is the rumored announcement of royalty cheques under her administration really an attempt to buy our votes with our own money?
      I’ll never vote Republican!!

      • Cameron Prymak says:

        It seems to me that there’s a real risk for conservatives to shoot themselves in the foot like their Tea Party-Republican comrades. I see the federal Conservatives as a conglomeration of social and fiscal conservatives, brought together successfully by Mr. Harper, but becoming more emboldened and impatient by the recent majority win.

        What I don’t think is clear is what damage this sort of in-fighting will do within their key base of Alberta. The federal Conservatives will need to shift further right to mollify emerging, vocal groups if WR is successful.

    • Cameron Prymak says:

      This is fascinating and has many implications.

    • Neil says:

      Gord
      The wildrose would cut a deal in a seond, I know this to be true as I have been part of those discussions. To be honest the WRA and the libs could cut a deal for a two year reform package that would undercut the roots of the PC party and try to restore some form of democracy in Alberta. Leaving the ideology for later but destroying the culture of fear, intimidation and entitlement that the PC’s have.

  5. Reader says:

    “When someone takes a punch at you, you respond with as much force as possible”

    Pretty bad analogy. Or at least, I hope you only apply this mantra of yours to politics. I think you’ll find that legally, self-defence requires that the amount of responding force meet a reasonableness standard. Someone taking a poke at you is not reason enough to run him down with your car. Just saying.

  6. Neil says:

    Gord: She absolutly wanted to talk about this. I will bet you dollars to donuts that the answer to this question had been written weeks ago. It was two well written and smooth to have been done in haste.
    They were fairly sure that this issue would come upat some point, Maybe during the Debate when Redford woud say something like “As a mother I know”
    They are now protected from that kind of reasoning and also changed the idea that Smith someone who has spent her whole life trying to be a celebrity back, now she is sympathetic and that will help her with the female vote, an area where she is very weak.
    I have even heard speculation that this kid, a former Smith employee, was planted in the PC party to do something just like this and except for the hyper competence argument it is a reasonable claim.
    The point is that something this perfect could not have come at a better time for Smith.

    This is of course ignoring the appalling topic that was raised, that never should have been yet Smith comes out of this waaay better then goin in.

    • JenS says:

      The (completely appropriate) response wrote itself. Anyone with an ounce of common sense and any Comms background would have been able to push that out in five minutes.

      Pwithout those without uteruses were unaware, but “Why doesn’t she have kids?” can be an absolutely incredible hurtful question – no matter what your politics.

      • JenS says:

        Should read “Perhaps those without …”

      • Neil says:

        No Jen not true. the idea of talking about the treatments and the failure would have been talked about for a long time before being put out. It should be, sharing that would not be an easy decsion. No disagreement that it would still be hurtful and horrible but it was absolutly thought out calmly and cooly

  7. Attack! says:

    A better question may be whether this was all a ‘Trojan Horse’ set-up:

    what the ever-indignant Gord leaves out is that Amanda Wilkie, the young lady in question, actually worked for Ms. Smith and the Wildrose Alliance

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/alberta-election/government-staffers-tweet-makes-fertility-an-issue-in-alberta-election-campaign/article2388261/

    e.g., she’s listed here as the person to receive the money & issue the tix for the March 2, 2011 leadership dinner.

    http://www.wildrosealliance.ca/media/2010/12/Edmonton-Ticket-Order-Form-and-Sponsorship.pdf

    So what if the Premier’s Office either didn’t know that or she’d faked having a falling out, and she’s been spying on them & was planted to do damage in the campaign with this little bomb, all along?

    If she lands on her feet working for Wildrose again will YOU be apologizing to Mr. Mason, Mr. Tulk?

    • Attack! says:

      p.s., that Globe article I linked above from Saturday clearly states the “young staffer [has] “no role in the campaign whatsoever”” which you should have – or maybe DID know – before raising your latest BS “questions being raised,” you rumour monger.

    • Jon Adams says:

      OBVIOUSLY! It also proves Worf is a mole for the Klingons!

    • Attack! says:

      no, I’m stating that you’re a stinkin’ hypocrite on dirty tricks & attack-ad related matters (incl. being a two-faced rumour monger when it suits you), & a none too bright blight on humanity.

  8. Conservative Socialist says:

    The tweeter shouldn’t have made the stupid tweet in the first place.

    I’m not certain why many here are defending the Alberta PCs in this case. Wouldn’t vote splitting on the right benefit the Liberals or the NDP in Alberta?

    • David_M says:

      I don’t live and vote in Alberta but I think you safely wager that the provincial liberals and ndp won’t benefit too much from a split on the right.
      More than likely you’ll see progressive voters scamper over to the PC party if WR starts leading in the polls.

    • Cameron Prymak says:

      They believe they don’t have competition in AB, probably right. But the implications federally would be larger.

  9. ASME says:

    A bunch of shrill women playing in the sand box….all of them. If they don’t change their tactics, I won’t be voting for either one of them. Just a bunch of emotional drival. Where are their platforms?

  10. GPAlta says:

    I would never defend the AB PCs for anything. They are complacent, they are bullies, and they are letting AB descend into petro-authoritarianism by undermining education and devaluing individual achievement by undermining the income tax system in favour of royalties (just as Thomas Friedman describes in other petro-authoritarian states). But Wildrose, like the AB Liberals, AB NDP, and Alberta Party, are not prepared to govern, just as the AB PCs are no longer qualified to govern. It is a desperate situation, and a similar situation is beginning to develop in Ottawa, I think.

    In this case, I think Danielle Smith was extremely lucky that this criticism came out this way, rather than from the right wing of her party. I personally know (not “know of,” but know personally) a number of religious Albertans who believe very strongly in the woman’s duty to procreate at any and all costs, and now she doesn’t have to justify her work outside the home to those voters anymore. Before anyone accuses me of generalizing about all Albertans, or all religious Albertans, I’m not, (I’m a religious Albertan after all) I’m saying that there is a small but distinct segment, whose votes may become critical in this election, who will have to consider which female candidate is less offensive to their anti-feminist moral code, and Smith has now locked them in.

    I predict a very slim PC majority, if no more of these kinds of mini-scandals occur for the PCs.

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