Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are they Tory "scandals", or are they Liberal "strategic errors"?

UPDATE: Check the bottom of this post for the update... part of my prediction has already come true! We can all thank Steve Valeriote of Far & Wide who's gone and put our Rt. Hon. PM (that's "Piano Man") back on the front page of National Newswatch! [END UPDATE]

Been vagely following these "scandals" as the Liberals call them, and I'm pretty uninterested to be honest. But the more the Liberals try to bring these issues up, the more I think the Liberals are making a serious strategic error.

First of all, let me go on record about the novelty cheques... party logo bad, but an MP's signature is just fine by me. He or she is the representative of the riding, and should be able to take a measure of credit for the Budget from which this cash has come. For all I care, if a Liberal MP voted in favour of the Budget, which they all did, they can go and hold their own cheque presentations with their signature in their own ridings. (Oops, wait a sec... they voted against the Ways & Means motion, so I guess they can't. You see, first they were all for it, but then they were against it... most of us just call that a "Flip Flop")

Anyway, the Liberals are doing their best to keep the cheques in the media spotlight. One BIG problem for them, however... all of a sudden, all that media attention we were TRYING to get with those cheque ceremonies, most of which the local media outlets never covered? Well guess what... they're all getting a TON of coverage now!

Think about it... every local media outlet is scouring their photos for cheque presentations in their ridings, and running them on their front pages. That's what you call "Earned Media". Yes, the current spin is "Tory cheques are partisan", when when the volume fades, what's going to remain in voters minds? There's an old saying... "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Two weeks from now, people won't be remembering this so-called "scandal"... what they'll remember is, "TORY MP'S DELIVERED THE CHEQUES". Thank you once again, my dear Liberal Party of Canada... thanks for all the coverage we couldn't get before!

Then I notice today that Steve Valeriote over at Far & Wide has discovered another "scandal"... turns out there's a link on Canada's Economic Action Plan website, up top, that links to the PM's YouTube page. You see, the links at the top, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, they all link to the Prime Minister's social media sites. I mean, he IS the Prime Minister and all, and this Canada's Economic Action Plan is, you know, a major initive of his, so you'd think there'd be no issue with having links about the PM on the site. Anyway, the video currently on display on the YouTube page is of The Right Honourable Piano Man himself!

Hey Steve... thanks for keeping the piano video alive for another news cycle or two!

Seriously... I'm thinking all this media attention that the Liberals are trying to generate is going to do nothing but backfire on them. Yes, they may have some minor impact in the short term, but there's a real likelyhood that they're only going to HELP us in the long term, as the photos and videos that they're pointing to have greater staying power than the accusations themselves do.

Words are often forgotten... images last. And with all the Liberal screaming this past week, they've done nothing but remind Canadians of positive things that Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have done.

Thanks guys! Anyone think we can break 42%, or that they'll drop below 25%?

UPDATE: Excuse me for a sec... BAAA HAA HAA!!! Way to go Steve V!!! You just got Stephen "The Piano Man" Harper back on top on National Newswatch! Like I said... today's spin is one thing, but the image that's gonna remain in people's minds? That's right, it'll be Harper on the piano!!! LOL!!!

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  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 03:46:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thats exactly what I have been thinking. One minute the liberals are screaming that the money is being spent fast enought then the next thing they do is show hundreds of cheques. This can only help. Yeah the logo is wrong, but its not like they were trying to hide it. They were looking for publicity with the big cheques and now they have tons.


  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 04:00:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger NorthWestTory said…

    The liberals are so desperate they're actually making stuff up.

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 06:03:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger CanadianSense said…

    Steve V.(Far and Wide) needs a break from blogging.

    He is very upset and rational debate has left his blog as the Polls turned against his party.

    For months he drank the Iffy kool-aid and bragged about the leader of the Liberal Party and their strategy of refusing any adult conversation was going to work.

    In the June meltdown he revised his position and discovered a few speeches may be necessary to convince those voters who have not consumed the Liberal kool-aid.

    In September to his complete shock those same voters having rebuked his party and his leader with numbers lower than Dion.

    Many apologists for the Liberal Party have been parroting the Liberal HQ for years.

    Self immolation and self loathing has already begun.

    Moderation and deletion on his website takes place when his party get bad news. He has been busy deleting posts.

    He is in denial and blames everyone else for his party's 25% polling result.

    Lib bloggers did the same thing and blamed Dion.

    They have begun to ignore the Liberal leader speeches for novelty cheques "scandals".

    It is going to only get worse. They don't understand how framing works and they are bringing up the Adscam and HR abuses under the Liberals again comparison.

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 07:55:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1. Please ask yourself this question: If the situation was reversed, and it was the Liberals who were doing this, how would you react? [It wouldn’t be hard in cases such as these to replace the “if” with a “when”]. I know this seems like a cheesy cliché, but I think it is important and political leaders these days certainly do not act as if they have given this question any thought. (Examples are everywhere: the Conservative response to the cheque scandal, or the Liberal response to the body bag scandal, etc).

    2. Are they Tory “scandals” or are the[y] Liberal “strategic errors”?
    I don’t think that we should conceive of these as two mutually exclusive choices. I’m sure you’re right that, in making such a fuss, the Liberals have inadvertently created a lot of “free advertising” for the Conservatives. A strategic error to be sure. But the fact remains that Conservative MPs are making it look as if the government’s money (the people of Canada’s money) is being disbursed by the grace of the Conservative party. It fits with their strategy of identifying themselves as much as possible with the country as a whole, such that any opposition to them can then be framed as opposition to Canada. I think that this sort of strategy is successful, but in the long run unhealthy for Canadian democracy. It also makes me think that Stephen Harper was not serious when he opposed the “one party state” that he accused the Liberals of having formed. Perhaps the problem was not that Canada had become a one-party-state, but that the one party was not his party?

    3. On Flip Flops. I don’t know anything about the Ways and Means motion you mention. But I think that Harper is as “guilty” of “flip flopping” as much as any other politician. He doesn’t look like a flip flopper. But I’d argue that’s only because whatever he says, he says with such conviction.

    4.“I mean, he IS the Prime Minister and all, and this Canada's Economic Action Plan is, you know, a major initive of his, so you'd think there'd be no issue with having links about the PM on the site.”
    Can you really attribute this just to the PM or the Conservative party? Please bear in mind that before the economic action plan came out, the government said that the economy was fine, and that there would be no deficit. It was only after the liberals and NDP agreed to form a “coalition” that the government took this sort of action on the economy. I don’t think that nearly as much stimulus money would be disbursed if it were not for the opposition parties. You said yourself, not that long ago:
    “The left has FORCED us to spend, and Canadians see that.”

    5. Northwest Tory: You say that “The liberals are so desperate they're actually making stuff up.”
    Are you talking about the “cheque” scandal or something else? The cheque thing seems hard to dispute given all of the (apparently un-doctored) photos. If you are referring to the cheque scandal… then I’m reminded of something Stephen Harper said about the “coalition” at the end of last year, in the House of Commons:

    “…we had those three parties together forming this agreement, signing a document and they would not even have the Canadian flag behind them.”

    The Canadian press reported “Video confirms that Harper was technically right. There wasn’t a Canadian flag behind them. There were two.” To me, this seems completely wrong. I think the presence of the flags shows that Harper was technically wrong, twice. For the record, this moment was a turning point or tipping point in terms of my views of Stephen Harper.

    This sort of argument (Harper’s on the Canadian Flag, and Northwest Tory’s on the cheque scandal, if that is indeed what he is referring to) is downright Marxist. It seems to be in complete agreement with the following Marxist line: “Who are you going to believe, me, or your own eyes?” And yes, that is Groucho Marx-ist (as opposed to Karl Marx-ist).

    Am I being unfair?
    - Anon1152

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 08:41:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You guys are unethical. Seriously, is it okay for taxpayer money to be used on a website that pushes Harper playing a piano? You guys should get medals for hyper-partisanship.

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 09:27:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Michael Harkov said…

    Stevie is a hack. Is that really all the surprising? :D

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 10:08:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Thoughtful questions as always 1152.

    1) If roles were reversed, which they were for the previous 13 years don't forget, yea I would be fine with it. The various "Government of Canada" TV commercials used to really cheese me off, because the "Government" at the time was a Liberal one, and the ads were touting Liberal platforms and policies which I opposed. Did I refute their "right" to do so? No, but I still hated it. Likewise when they flew around the country taking credit for spending announcements. I hated every single one of those photo ops, but hey, they were the guys calling the shots, and they had every right to toot their own horn.

    An MP having a photo op with a dummy cheque, with their signature on it, is 100% fine with me, regardless of who's in the driver's seat. Putting the Party logo on it is of course a no-no, I don't know why that's not a no-brainer. Don't forget... THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN TWO INSTANCES OF CHEQUES WITH PARTY LOGOS ON THEM. The 181 that the Liberals are touting are just regular photo ops with prop cheques, which aren't an issue at all. Basically, it's Liberal spin trying to make two errors look like a bigger deal than it is.

    2) I think my answer here is covered in the above already. Logo is a no-no. That being said, of course the cheques and the backdrops are gonna have a BLUE theme... no duh, and I don't see any big deal with that! As for a "one Party state", I oppose that, regardless of who's Party is the dominant one. I think that the ebs and flows we have in our current system are healthy, and prevent us from being swung too far one direction or the other. I think, however, that having one party dominate for too long is very UNHEALTHY... take for example the damage done by Trudeau that we're still facing today.

    3) Yes, some positions have had to be changed, to be sure. The perils of governing in a minority. However, the "Way & Means" motion I'm referring to is a standard part of the Budget process. Once the Budget is passed, the funds for that Budget have to be released by Parliament for the Government to be able to spend it. That is done I believe via two "Ways & Means" motions later on in the year. Basically, it's a re-passing, or final authorization if you will, of the Government's spending based on the Budget. By supporting the Budget back in April and letting the Government survive, and then voting against the "Ways & Means" five months later, it means that the Liberals voted in favour of the Budget, and then voted against it. Perhaps Harper has "flip flopped" on various issues over time, but the Liberals did so on the Budget in fairly short order!

    4) "Spending if necessary, but not necessarily spending". ;-) I think you summed that up for me, and no, I don't think it's contradictory at all. Back in November of last year, the Canadian economy looked stronger, and "stimulus" wasn't as necessary as the left said it was. The Coalition wasn't formed due to the lack of stimulus spending, don't forget... it was all about the political subsidies.

    More later, need the laptop for something else. ;-)

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 10:20:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger CanadianSense said…

    Great post Christian Conservative

    The opposition rose up to stop the political subsidy.

    The other two issues were adopted in January by MI without blinking.

    We both agree the oversized cheque is overblown. The logo on 1-2 cheques in not a scandal. Just lazy staff who should follow the rules regarding communications.

    The auditor General has a list of several scandals.

    I did not want the extra stimulus or the auto bailout but understand the government are in a minority and agreed to provide additional stimulus per the G20 meeting.

    I am confident many projects will have some problems and wasted taxpayers dollars will be found by our AG. I expect heads to roll after we have proof.

    The polls reflect the disapproval of the opposition more than approval of the CPC.

    25% for the Liberals is not the floor and they are breaking historic lows.

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 10:34:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Back 1152...

    5) "all of the (apparently un-doctored) photos" Again, it's TWO photos with the logo we're talking about... not "all the photos" as in the 181 the Libs have come up with, spinning in an effort to make this look bigger than it is. Right now, it's two staffers who got overzealous with Photoshop in designing the cheques, and two MP's who weren't thinking things all the way through when they stood next to those cheques. Mistakes happen, but THAT'S IT on this one.

    As for the Harper flag-flap, it was an easy mistake... the initially most published photo of the Three Amigos did indeed have ZERO Canadian flags in the shot... likely the one Harper was referring to. Subsequent photos showed he was incorrect. His insistence later was I'd assume because no one thought to show him one of the other photos... but it WAS a blunder, albeit a minor one. Some photos had no flags, some had one, some had two, it all depended on which photo you'd seen.

    Examples with Flag:

    Examples with No or Obscured Flag:

  • At Fri. Oct. 16, 11:11:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous jgriffin316 said…

    I'm not sure why the Conservative logo on the cheques is such a big deal. I used to be a regular practice of the Liberal government. Was there some sort of new rule created that I missed?

  • At Sat. Oct. 17, 12:15:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger CanadianSense said…

    Yes the CPC logo on a 1-2 Novelty Cheque is a serious matter for the Liberal Party and their partisans.

    In the 1990's the auditor general found many projects that were mismanaged.

    The Liberals are trying to connect the dots. They are desperate to change the channel of the polling of the Liberal Party and their leader.

    They have been trying for months to suggest the CPC have been using advertising, funding to reward their own ridings.

    When the ridings are held by other parties they suggest the CPC are "buying" votes. It is a no-win situation.

    The disconnect for the Liberals is now they criticize the three levels of Government in agreement on the specific project. The Liberals are attacking the provincial and municipal levels who have agreed to the project. It makes little sense to attack what you supported in EAP. The Polls reflect the new historic lows for the Liberals.

  • At Sat. Oct. 17, 03:17:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Jerry Prager said…

    It's illegal. It's against a law created by the Tories, woe to you Pharisees and hypocrites, you spend so much time lying about stuff and thinking Canadians don't care, but someday, Harper will end up like Mulroney, despised for being a liar who never stopped lying, or apologized.

  • At Sat. Oct. 17, 06:09:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1a. If roles were reversed, which they were for the previous 13 years don't forget, yea I would be fine with it.
    I want to say something similar myself—though I’d say if it were my side doing it, I would object. You are in a different position; I envy you in that you have a political leader you can believe in. But I digress. I find it hard to believe you completely. And I’m certain I don’t believe myself completely. I’ll try to remember this. But if I forget, please remind me.

    1b. Did I refute their "right" to do so? No, but I still hated it.
    I think this is not the right (or at least, not the only) question to ask. Having a “right” to do something and “doing the right thing” are very different. I would like to see people coming up with a procedure or practice that all (or almost all) sides could accept; something that would stop this sort of thing from happening in the future. I’m of the opinion that juries or “citizens’ assemblies” could or should be put to work here. I think they would stop some problems before they start, act as a filter of sorts to separate “real” scandals from mere distractions, and prevent “real” scandals from being turned into mere distractions.

    Take the eHealth thing, for example. You know far more about this than I do, but it seems as if the entire project has been or is being derailed. If so, then far more money will be wasted than initially supposed (i.e., money wasted on stupid/needless/expensive/superfluous things).

    I haven’t looked into this further (and you have to double or triple check nearly everything you see/read/hear these days), but I will take your word for it. For the most part, I find anything labeled a scandal in the news rather boring. And, as I argue above, I’d rather see people discussing potential solutions (as well as initially discussing the problem, what exactly makes it a problem, is it a problem, how serious is it, etc). I’m reluctant to support the Liberals (or whoever) if their solution is to put themselves in a position to do the same thing.

    Just before the 2006 election, I overheard a conversation in the grocery store. A man said: “They [the Liberals] have been picking our pocket for far too long. It’s time someone else did it!” Perhaps his wish came true.

    2. I agree with almost everything you say here. I would add what I say above about wanting to find a solution to this sort of problem, other than to have a regular turnover of parties who do it. I will not comment on the last half of your last sentence “take for example the damage done by Trudeau that we're still facing today.” I’m too logorreic as it is. I may ultimately agree with you, (but I suspect for different reasons).

    3. I’m not aware enough of the specifics to comment. I suspect, however, that the liberal “flip flop” here could be made consistent with the same sort of argument you present in #4.

    4. Maybe not. I don’t think my point here was that there was some sort of logical contradiction or flip flop. Rather, I think that the government is taking credit for spending that is at least in part due to the opposition. I think that the government wants to pretend that it was all their idea if the issue is framed in terms of helping Canadians and the Canadian economy, while blaming the opposition for any long-term debt. “The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.”

    I don’t think that the economic situation changed as quickly as you suggest. The government’s position on the economy shifted almost overnight. To say that the change in outlook had nothing to do with the opposition is about as believable as me saying that the political subsidies had nothing to do with the coalition. (Be that as it may, I don’t think that the subsidies were their only motivation. I’d be more likely to believe you on this if the opposition and the government didn’t have such different economic policies/philosophies/preferences).

  • At Sat. Oct. 17, 06:10:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    5. The flagless photos have very little room for anything other than the three leaders. One of them only has room for three heads. Another is a picture taken FROM behind them. To my knowledge, there was no apology of any sort issued. And given Harper’s willingness to work with the Bloc beforehand, I found the accusation particularly disingenuous. (Though I’d never know it from just watching/listening to him). I agree with you that as “blunders” go, it was minor. Even the word “minor” might be too strong. But something about it affected me.


    (Thank you for taking the time to respond, by the way. I’m starting to feel guilty).

  • At Sun. Oct. 18, 05:41:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Canadian Press reported on Friday, Oct 16, 2009:
    On another ethical front Friday, a non-partisan group asked the ethics, lobbyist and elections commissioners to investigate a fundraiser organized for Tory MP Rick Dykstra.
    Democracy Watch said Dykstra hosted 60 “friends” last month in the owner’s box at Toronto’s Roger’s Centre for a Blue Jays baseball game. The donors got tickets to the game, access to the owner’s suite, food and drinks, an opportunity to attend batting practice and meetings with unidentified federal cabinet ministers and Blue Jays players.
    The group wants to know what, if anything, Dykstra or the party paid for the various perks – particularly the owner’s box which can’t be rented and is only used with permission of owner Rogers Communications Inc., a company which lobbies the federal government.

  • At Sun. Oct. 18, 08:28:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger CanadianSense said…

    Democracy Watch is the same group who sued and lost 2x regarding the "illegal" election?

    Democracy Watch also listed 15/20 complaints against the Liberals.

    I don't think anyone is disputing 1-2 cheques will be found in violation of the new communication policy.

    Regarding the majority of other novelty cheques I am not sure they are in violation of the communication policy.

    I look forward to the Ethics Commissioner rulings and the Liberals crying "wolf" again for partisan reasons.

    I again think the Auditor General will find waste and some problems in 2011, but nothing like the $ 1 Billion HR Jane Steward boondoggle or $ 350 million Adscam scandal.


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