This past week some campaign attack propaganda from BC Liberal’s Linda Reimer re-election campaign appeared in my mailbox that I just had to comment on. I thought that a quick markup of the campaign material was in order. Here it is presented below.
I don’t say this lightly but this has to be one of the worst campaign attack ads/re-election campaigns that I have ever seen. Tim Laidler’s Conservative campaign locally from the last Federal election appears to be pure genius in comparison. Versions of this particular attack ad (see below) were previously released on social media from the BC Liberal party itself back in late April.
I mean really. If a single misrepresented statement (Rick was saying that it would be great to focus singularity on one job being an MLA rather than the multiple jobs that he has currently) is all you have and you think that that will resonate with anybody but a select few people that you probably already have votes from anyway, good luck to you. It should be noted that not a single local resident (other than possibly her campaign manager) shared, responded to, and/or liked the above post put out by the troll truck shotgun and former Director of Issues Management for the Executive Branch Shane Mills. Only party staffers, other BC Liberal candidates, and huge outside-of-riding BC Liberal supporters responded to this post which should be telling you everything you need to know about how well your attack ad/campaign is being received.
BTW, anyone notice that yet again the visit locally was once again just another photo-op, this time in an ice cream store with again Ms. Reimer just standing in the background?
Pretty much par for the course eh? Just like prior to the election and many times before. Exactly what you can expect for the next four years if you choose to vote for the BC Liberals Linda Reimer: lots of photo-ops and the toeing of the BC Liberal party line but not much else, especially if any local concerns get in the way of BC Liberal party edicts.
Dear Swing Voter from the 2013 Election who voted for the BC Liberals,
Hi there. It’s me. It’s actually yourself in the future. I am you on May 9, 2017. Yes I look a bit older and I’ve put on a few extra pounds (and thanks for pointing that out BTW) but that’s not what we are going to be talking about here…I do remember it so well. Just like it was yesterday. I remember on May 14, 2013 you, my 2013 self, walking up to the voting booth in the 2013 Provincial General Election and carefully penciling in an “x” besides my local BC Liberal candidate (making very sure to not go past the line), being very happy about my choice, and then going home to watch the results on TV. So why did I do it back in 2013 when all the polls said that I wouldn’t? Well I thought that I would give the BC Liberals one more chance. Christy seemed nice and I had heard her on the radio, and they seemed to be not that bad after all as everyone had told me that the alternative (the godless socialist hordes at the door) were so very, very much worse. I believed that LNG was going to lead us all to a prosperous future and I had faith in the BC Liberals managing the economy and the budget as after all, their budgets were balanced and they were pledging to keep taxes low and I liked that. Moreover I liked what was happening with the schools and Christy Clark’s pledge for an honest and open government. And so like many of my 2013 neighbours I ended up being yet another 10 second BC Liberal/Socred voter.
Well it’s May 2017 now, and I need to let you know now that unfortunately, my 2013 self, you made a big, big mistake voting for the BC Liberals back in 2013. Why do I say that you ask? Oh, where to begin..?
Well, remember the trillion dollar LNG Bonanza that that nice lady from TV said was going to happen?
And remember how the “Strong Economy” was so important to you? Well it turns out that the early 2017 “Strong Economy” is actually in shambles and unsustainable despite what the May 2017 BC Liberals are saying. Massive job losses in other areas are currently being masked by construction jobs in the Metro Vancouver and Victoria fuelled by an out of control speculative real estate market bubble which is pricing out of the market a whole generation of people and on top of that, that bubble is just about to burst (or so my 2021 self has told me).
Anyway, I could go on and on but the point is, my 2013 self, that this is not what you voted for. I, my May 9, 2017 self won’t make the same mistake twice. On May 9, 2017 I will not be another “10 second BC Liberal/Socred voter” like you were as I refuse to make the same mistake that you did again. Fool me once as they say….Oh by the way, the Vancouver Canucks still haven’t won the Stanley Cup but you probably already guessed that.
My May 9, 2017 Self
P.S. Oh and buy Apple and Tesla shares now! I mean it!
When Jim Messina, the former campaign manager for Barrack Obama in 2012 and a former campaign strategist with David Cameron’s successful 2015 Conservative campaign in the UK, arrived as a guest for the BC Liberal Convention in November of 2016, you can’t help but get the feeling that he might have been somewhat awkwardly embarrassed by what was laid out before him. What he would have seen was a Provincial campaign (in more than one sense of the word) that would have been awkwardly familiar to him in terms of the campaign materials, the whole “Team” concept, as well as familiar campaign slogans and materials. Let me show you what I mean.
For those that may be unaware, take a look at these campaign materials. Note the numerous similarities in terms of the fonts, the colours, the message, etc.
And what about those “Say Anything John” graphics from the BC Liberal Caucus, remember them?
Here’s the 2015 UK campaign version. And does these remind you of anything?
Below are a few more additional examples of similarities in terms of the digital campaign materials between the Team 2015 and TeamBC2017 campaigns. Again note the similarities in the use of colours, fonts, etc. Not only do they look like they could originate from the same campaign, they look like they could originate from the same digital influencer on the same day sitting at the same computer.
Or how about these two? One of the graphics is from the BC Liberal Caucus and the other from the Conservative Party in the UK.
The #TeamBC2017 Concept
A clearly ripped off borrowed concept is the whole contrived #TeamBC2017 concept. The TeamBC2017 concept is quite clearly a near carbon copy of the “Team 2015” volunteer recruitment initiative in the UK that was originally set up by the UK Conservatives in 2013 in order to organize volunteers to specifically target swing ridings and in an attempt to lure young people to join a largely greying group of Conservative supporters. In the UK, they used a reward system where the top volunteers earned a visit with the Prime Minister and included mass photographs with T-shirted clad supporters and socials timed around specific political events. These supporters were sent around in buses in key seats to campaign for the party similar manner that TeamBC2017 parachutes volunteers into various ridings in which they clearly have very little actual local support.
Here are some images from the Team 2015 campaign in the UK contrasted with the TeamBC2017 campaign. Again note all the similarities.
Here too, similar to the Team 2015 campaign, is the resorting to contests to meet the great leader. Note the contest at the bottom.
As mentioned previously, the Team 2015 concept in the UK included having social events coincided around political milestones. Fast forward to the TeamBC2017 campaign where young BC Liberals actually organized socials around budget day (I kid you not). You would have to think that only the most fervent and ardent of the right wing youth supporters would have turned up for those barnburners.
Familiar Sloganeering and Platforms
Another similarity between the two UK Conservative campaign and the BC Liberal Campaign where similarities can be seen is in regards to the slogans used by the two campaigns and the two party campaign platform documents. In the 2015 campaign, the UK Conservatives utilized this slogan:
Contrast that with the current 2017 BC Liberal Campaign introduced just last week where we have this as a campaign slogan
with this being the access point to the BC Liberal 2017 platform having a similar title and theme. Again, note all the obvious similarities. Seems familiar doesn’t it?
So taken as a whole what is this all indicative of you might ask? It is of course symptomatic and reflective of a party and leader that has become stale and completely devoid of new ideas and that has resorted to stealing lock, stock, and barrel an entire electoral campaign of another Conservative party in the hopes of repeating their electoral success. Can the entire strategy be traced back to Ex-Pat Ben James, part of them BC Government caucus? I would likely say more than likely yes. Whether it the stolen campaign is successful or not remains to be seen but clearly no marks should be given for originality should the BC Liberals win.
Over the past few months, the BC Liberal Party has been releasing candidate-specific, feel good propaganda videos in the “Meet the Insert Name” video series presumably in an attempt to make the candidates for the party of health firings, “Triple Delete”, “Quick Wins”, unlimited big money donation, Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt, Kinder Morgan etc. appear largely more human and sympathetic. The videos all largely share the same format: soothing elevator music playing while the candidate talks about themselves, their accomplishments, and what they stand for and represent over a combination of video montages and still photographs. This past week it was Linda Reimer, the incumbent MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam’s turn. Here’s the video as posted on the BC Liberal official party website and released on April 2, 2017 (Spoiler: be sure watch it right to the end).
So did you catch that near the end?
At 1:41 she says “Because I felt fortunate, when I look at people whose lives aren’t as good as mine, I have a great tolerance and understanding of them” (emphasis mine).
Here’s the last part again, clipped.
And yes she did say tolerance. She literally said that she tolerates those less fortunate than her. Quite unbelievable really.
For a party that is trying to shake the perception of being the uncaring party of the rich and entitled, the party of the bus pass clawbacks, the party that refuses to substantially raise fixed income rates, etc., it is hard to believe that this tone deaf statement to the plight of those less fortunate didn’t hit the cutting room floor. Think about that for a second, irrespective of the candidate earnestly saying it and believing it (which is another thing altogether), this statement would have had to make it past, the video director, the campaign manager, and then ultimately through the BC Liberal Party’s own vetting services before being posted on the party website. All of these different potential opportunities for someone to raise their hand and say, “Linda, you can’t say that even if you believe that” or “Oh Linda, that really could be misinterpreted” and nobody, not one person, stepped up to say no? What exactly does that say about the candidate, the candidate’s campaign, and ultimately the party infrastructure itself? It says that everyone involved sees absolutely nothing wrong with that particular statement. As someone on social media pointed out, this is not an off-hand, off-camera quip that was captured clandestinely on tape. This is a presumably fully vetted official campaign video presumably full approved and vetted by the party brass and the party’s highly paid communication gurus/experts.
The release of the clipped video understandably caused a swirl of controversy on social media. Here’s a few select comments that were posted:
Not exactly the type of publicity what you would be hoping for if you were running the re-election campaign.
Subsequent to the initial fury caused on social media, the candidate’s campaign manager and the Director of Issues Management for the BC Government took to social media to express their displeasure with the BC Green Party (singling out them for some reason which was curious as they clearly were not alone on this expressing criticism) both saying below that tolerance is a good quality.
Why yes it is, but tolerance implies that what ever you are tolerating is unpleasant at worst and something that you don’t agree with (at a minimum). Tolerance does not imply in any way, sympathy or empathy. Not one bit.
Here’s the definition of tolerance for those who may still be confused.
Talk about doubling down (very typical of the BC Liberal Party when faced with anything that doesn’t make them look bad) and not realizing the magnitude or the essence of the error in posting that particular comment as part of the video.
So rather than taking the video down, taking your lumps, and apologizing for the quite obvious faux pas, the candidate, the candidate’s campaign manager, and the BC Liberal party itself appear to be quite content with letting the video stand as is, thereby representing a testament to the tone death nature of the BC Liberal Party to those less fortunate and a testament to the arrogance of a party that can do no wrong. The election hasn’t even started yet and the Reimer campaign already has one major misstep under its belt. Well done folks.
All in all, the ultimate goal of campaign videos such as these is to raise the awareness of the candidate. To that end, one could argue that the video did achieve that goal but clearly not in the way that the video was originally intended. I’m sorry but the statement “there is no such thing as bad publicity” does not apply to election campaigns, especially for a candidate in a riding that was only won by 437 votes. In a tight race, an incident like this in isolation could be enough to cost you the election. Not a great start to the campaign for the BC Liberals in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. That’s for sure. We’ll have to see if this is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern of campaign gaffs as the campaign moves forward. Given the response to this incident, I am suspecting that latter will be more likely true rather than the former.
Now these types of purely political photo-ops are of course par for the course for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals and they unfortunately straddle that fine line between campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime and doing the work of government. Doing the work of government IMHO would have included having ministers/ministerial staff responsible being present at the event (people who handle the actual files) and having media present at the event that could ask questions but neither of those appears to have taken place. Maybe that’s just me though. The pictures tell the story though as this clearly appears to have been a political photo-op in an attempt to raise the profile of the local BC Liberals MLA running in a tight race for re-election in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Christy Clark amongst younger craft beer-loving voters. I guess we should get used to these purely political photo-ops over the next few months especially locally. Unfortunately, there is not enough time now to submit a FOI request to see whether or not any public money was spent on this event so I will have to assume that the BC Liberals party covered all expenses associated with this photo-op.
The photos taken will of course undoubtedly be used and reused ad nauseam in future government/BC Liberal party promotional materials (yes I do consider them one and the same and I defy you to prove any differentiation/distinction otherwise). You gotta feel for the guys from the four local breweries though as sadly, what the pictures amount to unfortunately is a de facto endorsement of the BC Liberals, local incumbent BC Liberal MLA Linda Reimer, and Premier Christy Clark by local brewers and the BC Craft Brewers Guild via their representation/presence at this photo-op event. Poor breweries guys as they likely didn’t even have a clue that they were going to be used by the Premier and the local BC Liberals MLA Linda Reimer for their own personal political purposes, their own political gain, and to further their political agenda. Probably didn’t even see it coming. The BC Liberals got exactly what they wanted though. Something that they could use to try and sell a tragically unhip older candidate and a largely unpopular Premier to a younger 20-something craft beer loving audience. Thankfully the brewers likely won’t have to worry about seeing the Premier and MLA Linda Reimer for a while now. That is unless they want something else from them again.
I can only assume that the recent CATI polling that was conducted in Port Moody on behalf of the BC Liberal party and/or their supporters (I was called BTW) showed that Linda Reimer was polling very badly (particularly amongst millennials within the riding) and what better way to try to reach that demographic than to associate yourself with one of the passions of locals and particularly local millennials: Craft Beer. I do have to wonder if those present at the event honestly did think that the meeting was only to support local businesses and their industry with no ulterior motives at all? Maybe that is how the event was sold to them? Who knows? You gotta wonder though why did Christy Clark and Linda Reimer choose to visit this particular area at this particular time to discuss these particular issues? To be sure, if this meeting/event had occurred a year ago, no one would have even blinked an eye. Not even for a second. However, it is in the context of the upcoming election that all actions of the Premier and her party must now be perceived and interpreted.
Unfortunately, by agreeing (being duped?) into taking part in an obviously politically motivated event so close to an election (that being only ~3 months away), the craft brewery folks present unfortunately (whether they knew what was going on or not and whether intentionally or not) were involved/engaged in a political event/activity (likely under false pretenses as I say). Ultimately the brewery folks are likely the victims in all this as they will now be in the unenviable position of forever being associated with the party of Quick Wins, Health Firings, Triple Delete, fake balanced budgets, massive budget overruns, fake news, Kinder Morgan, education underfunding, alternative facts, failed LNG promises, baseless allegations of illegal wrongdoing, etc., (one would think/hope) likely not at their own volition. I would be pretty upset too if I was them. One wonders how the whole thing was sold to them originally when they were originally contacted by the representatives of the Premier/local MLA (presumably) and whether or not that it actually lived up to that billing. One would hope that if they knew how they were going to be used that they would have passed on the whole event. I wonder what they would do in hindsight? I would imagine that they would probably not be wanting to have their products and brands associated with one particular political party with an election on the immediate horizon that’s for sure. No doubt about that.
Red Truck Brewery and #BoyCottRedTruck
You may remember that this is not the first time that right wing politics/right wing politicians, and craft beer have become intertwined in B.C. and have been the source of a bit of controversy. Keen political observers will remember that Red Truck Brewery was the target of the #BoycottRedTruck movement back in 2015 after Stephen Harper and entourage, et al. breezed into town and hosted an exclusive (no media) invitation-only event at the Red Truck Brewery in East Vancouver (sound familiar?).
The appearance caused some to suggest that by the brewery hosting the event during the run up to the election that this was a de facto endorsement of Stephen Harper and Conservative Party by Red Truck Brewery and this caused a social media backlash.
Red Truck claimed at the time that they only were renting out the space to any and all takers and that the use of their facility was not an endorsement of right wing politics or any right wing politicians in any way. Then interestingly, the BC Liberals also chose to use the same location and utilized Red Truck for the Richmond-Steveston BC Liberals’ June 26, 2016 fundraiser on behalf of John “Quick Wins” Yap, Minister of Selfies, and Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform Policy to the Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.
As such, it seems that the BC Liberals appear to be taking a page directly out of the last Conservative campaign book by staging exclusive politically motivated photo-ops on the taxpayers dime away far from the prying eyes of the media.
It should be noted that the breweries of Brewery Row themselves for the most part appear to have been largely mum on the whole event that took place at Yellow Dog. No mention of the event to date has been made on the Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts of the three breweries involved with only Yellow Dog mentioning the event at all. One has to wonder why? If this was such an important discussion and an important event, why no mention of it/pictures of it? Given the above I would have to think that they are all pretty steamed about the whole thing and it is totally understandable why they would not want to dwell on such a series of unfortunate events.
So was it all worth it? Yellow Dog in response to a query on Facebook made the following statement:
So to sum up: Nothing concrete came of it, they will continue to talk, and the BC Liberals leave with the photos from the photo-op as they originally wanted/intended.
To be fair, as noted previously, I can not emphasize enough how much I have to acknowledge that the local brewers of Brewer’s Row and Ken Beattie of the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild may have been totally and completely unaware as to the extent that they were going to be used by Christy Clark, their local MLA Linda Reimer, and the BC Liberals for a photo-op for purely political purposes. As such, I really do think that it would be incumbent on everyone involved to also invite local candidates and the leaders from other political parties to also sit down and discuss the “beer industry and issues” in the same manner as they did with Christy Clark so as to indeed demonstrate that they are/were completely non-partisan and that they didn’t intentionally wish to effectively endorse/be associated exclusively with the BC Liberals in the upcoming election. If they choose not to, then I guess that you can pretty much put them in the same category as Red Truck Brewery. That’s OK if you like to have right wing politics with your beer. That’s your prerogative. But for others, that may leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Edit: I recently came across the standard consent and release from the Provincial Government regarding the use of images. I do wonder if all of the local craft beer folk that were used for propaganda purposes indeed all signed the waiver. If not, they would have every right to have the images removed if any one person in any of the images objected to the use of their image.
It has become abundantly clear that the BC Liberals have set on their strategy for the upcoming Provincial election. Their strategy (which is in many ways is similar to their strategy in the last election) is to pre-emptively try to portray and define the BCNDP and their leader as inconsistent and “everything to everyone”, representing the “Party of No (development)” while at the same time trying to promote Christy Clark in contrast as being a strong leader with a strong/clear and consistent record and message (as above). But is the latter actually true? Have Christy Clark and her government been “strong/clear and consistent” or is in fact the opposite true? Have she and her government been anything but strong/clear and consistent but have been just saying as much to try to convince the voting public (and in some ways their own supporters) that this is in fact the case? Let’s have a look at a few selected issues over the last couple of weeks and see if that “strong/clear and consistent” claim holds up to scrutiny.
The Famous 5 Conditions For Heavy Oil Projects (well really the 4 consistent conditions and the one that seems to be in flux)
The BC Liberals and Christy Clark have repeatedly claimed that they have always been clear and consistent on the 5 conditions (as below). But is that actually true?
A search for the 5 conditions provided in various news releases and articles since then suggests that, for the most part, the 5 conditions have indeed been fairly consistent. Yes fairly. Not completely consistent. Just fairly. Why would I say that? Let me explain. You may remember that the Premier on November 30th released a statement regarding the five conditions following the Kinder Morgan announcement by the Feds. I’ve reproduced the statement below. Notice anything different? Why yes. Condition #4 appears to be completely different. “Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed” is no longer part of Condition 4 in the statement issued by the Premier instead the Premier describes Condition #4 as “Indigenous participation”.
“Five conditions have to be met, three of them are environment, one is about making sure First Nations are participating (emphasis mine), which is an obligation set by the Crown, and then the last is making sure British Columbia gets it s fair share so all of them are equally important and they all have to be met, not just one.”
Remarkable consistent with her November 30th release and over four years apart no?
So is it just that the Premier being succinct as some apologists have suggested? Hardly. A graphic produced by the BC Liberal Caucus on day prior to the release from the Premier (as seen below) was very succinct indeed and yet still managed to capture the entire essence of Condition #4 (both indigenous rights and opportunities).
As everyone knows, official statements such as that made by the Premier above are gone over with a fine toothed comb. Was this is the first step in priming the public to garner support for ignoring a critical aspect of one of the original 5 conditions? Or did the communications staff for the Premier drop the ball on this one yet again as they did in 2012? Is the Premier’s office at odds with the party over the interpretation of condition 4? Not exactly sure. Whatever the reason, have the BC Liberals and Christy Clark been consistent on their Five Conditions? Well the answer is clearly and obviously no. Probably best to be clear and consistent if you are claiming to be clear and consistent. Just saying.
Other jurisdictions have shown strong and consistent leadership by doing what was best for the people first as people were literally dying in the streets (see Alberta), not so much the BC Liberals. The BC Liberals sat on their hands seemingly not wanting to upset their base or (god forbid) acknowledge that the BCNDP were ever possibly right on anything (on pill presses, etc.).
Oh yes, and please do go ahead do congratulate yourselves. Congratulations again for doing nothing when people were and are literally dying in the streets and then taking the credit for the actions of others. Please do.
At the recent Dec. 9 Premier’s meeting on Climate Change Premier Clark told reporters and anyone who would listen that BC would sign the plan as BC had concerns that other Provinces with a cap and trade system would not be able to reach the price the plan calls for by 2022. This was after of course in September of this the Premier writing in a statement on September 26 that “other’s may choose a broad-based cap and trade system and that’s fine. We recognize that either system will achieve emission reductions”. Well that doesn’t seem consistent does it?
Then at the recent carbon tax meeting she said that it was not OK in its current form and then later that same day after getting assurances that the system would be reviewed in 4 years, an about-face from the Premier occurred with the Premier saying that everything was all good now and saying that she would be signing on to the agreement after all.
The usual BC Liberals cheerleaders were quick to praise her “clear and consistent leadership” even though her position quickly had changed many times (twice in one day in fact).
Those far right observers who originally were quick to congratulate Premier Clark for her “strong stand” for Western Canada along side climate change denier Conservative Brad Wall,
were quick to see that flip flop in her position and call it for what it was, disingenuous political posturing.
Indeed. Rather than actually showing strong and consistent Climate leadership, the BC Liberals just say that they are doing that and hope that no one notices. The fake nature of their climate leadership announcement has now become both an iconic and ironic “tell” in so many ways.
So would strong and consistent describe the bizarre political performance art performed by the Premier at the Premier’s conference on climate change? Hardly.
On a side note, it is interesting to note that the BC Liberals were (and still are) exuberantly celebrating having an independent review of the carbon tax in 2020 while at the same time being so resistant to any suggestion that Site C be the subject of an independent review via the BC Utilities Commission etc. Again hardly clear and consistent. All actions by this government appear to be completely inconsistent and completely politically motivated.
Bill 27 Flip Flop: Human Rights Code Amendment Act Changes in Regards to the LGBT Community
Lastly, and then their was their flip flop and the controversy surrounding Bill 27, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act. Here is a video that eloquently details the flip flop and includes BC Liberals MLA for Chilliwack-Hope (Laurie Throness) empassioned speech against the legislative change to explicitly protect the LGBT community.
Do remember too that despite Christy Clark turning up for the photo-op for the event on the legislative steps (see below)
So there you have it. Eight relatively recent examples all showing clearly inconsistent statements and leadership, weather vane politicking, and flip flopping by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals. By just saying that your leader and party is “clear and consistent” or “strong and consistent” just doesn’t make it so. That may play to your base but the electorate out there (if you haven’t noticed) is angry and not stupid. They know. Believe me they know. And they can see right through you.