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!
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.
The recent release of the “real-time” donations to the BC Liberal Party for 2016 on their website in PDF form has created some unique opportunities as the recently released data can be used in an attempt to identify the donors present at specific BC Liberals fundraising events and to attempt to identify the fundraising haul garnered at these events well in advance of when you normally would be able to so (once the full fiscal year filings have been submitted to Elections BC). As such, the analysis of this data can be attempted well in advance of the upcoming election and I must thank the BC Liberals braintrust for that opportunity.
Examining the names, amounts, and dates of donations and cross-referencing this data with the known big money fundraising events that took place in 2016, one can use the data provided in order to attempt to reconstruct who was at certain fundraising events and how much money was donated at each of these events. A simple compiled search by date provides one with the amounts donated on that date and identifies the specific people and corporations that more than likely would have been present at any of the specific fundraising events that took place last year. Of all the possible cash for access events from the past year sponsored by the BC Liberal party that I could have choosen to examine, I choose to focus on the BC Liberals Annual Interior Leaders Golf Invitational Tournament that took place at Predator Ridge Golf Course on September 22, 2016.
For those that may not be familiar with the event, the Interior Leaders Golf Invitational event is billed as one of the biggest fundraisers for the year for the BC Liberals. The big money price structure for attending the event is presented below.
As you can see, for a mere $4,000, your foursome would receive a round of golf, dinner, a $400 voucher for accommodation at Predator Ridge and, wait for it, the opportunity to have a BC Liberal MLA be your caddie. Yes you read that right. In BC you can literally “pay-to-play” and have a BC Liberal MLA even carry your bags (this is nothing new I must say as this event has been taking place since at least 2014).
A few caveats regarding the data presented below and its interpretation:
First, it is possible that the resulting data provided by the “date only” search possibly includes people and corporations who just randomly happened to have donated to the BC Liberal party on September 22, 2016 or had their donation processed on September 22, 2016 and as such, there may be many represented in the table below that were not actually physically at the golf tournament itself. In some cases, this is entirely possible, while in other cases, I’m pretty sure that those individuals were at the golf tournament given their ties to some of the major sponsors (I’ll come back to this point later on). Secondly, it should be noted that only daily donation totals are provided in the data set provided by the BC Liberal party. As such, there are no breakdowns of the amounts donated. Accordingly, a $10,000 donation on that date could represent a single hole sponsorship or two $5,000 hole sponsorships, donations as a result of successful bids on the accompanying silent auction (side note: are those auction items a taxable benefit that should be declared if the money used to purchase them is tax deductible as a political donation?), etc. Hard to tell really so I will just try to guess at what the amounts could have been for. Anyway enough of the caveats and on to the data itself. Below is a table containing the top 16 (those over $1,000) of the 161 donations reported on September 22, 2016 listed in descending dollar amount order. The entire list in descending order is presented at the bottom of this post.
A quick review of the data suggests a number of things:
First, despite the perception that corporations are lining up and falling over themselves to ante $50,000 up to be a top sponsor at these types of events, this does not appear to be the case as it does not appear that there were any takers for the title sponsor roll despite it being offered. There were only five exactly $50,000 donations to the party (see below) and all of these took place well (many months) before the golf tournament date so it is unlikely that any of them represent top sponsor donations for the tournament.
Second, it appears that there could only have been one possible Crystal Sponsorship (from Encana) and only one possible Platinum Sponsorship (from a Patricia Trottier, who appears to be the spouse of former Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan) at the event (assuming that they actually paid for the sponsorship rather than just making a straight up donation of course). That Calgary-based Oil and Gas giant Encana (and related folk) likely represent the largest singular source of donor money at the event should surprise no one as Encana has been a major contributor to the BC Liberals for years and with no restrictions on out of Province or Out of Country donations, it is all entirely legal and on the up and up in BC Liberals #NotRealWorld.
From there it is quite difficult to establish with any certainty who paid for what as while the $10,000 donations made by Canadian Forest Products Limited, Chevron Canada Limited, Interfor, London Drugs Limited, McElhanny Consulting Services Limited, Terminal Forest Products, and West Fraser Mills Limited while all noted on that day, could possibily represent putting hole sponsorships (@$10,000), multiple hole sponsorships (@$5,000 a crack), regular foursomes (@4,000), or sign sponsorships (@1,000) or some combination thereof potentially with some cash donations possibly being involved as well. Or as noted previously entirely random donations on that date (I do have to accept that possibility).
It is interesting to note that the listed $4,000 fee for a foursome (including having an BC Liberals MLA as a caddie no less) does not appear in any of the donations listed on September 22, 2016. One could assume that either they had no takers for this guilded pay- to-play opportunity (highly, highly unlikely) or that the fee was somehow raised to total $4,500 on the tournament date or that the donors were asked to also donate the room values that went along with the fees (more likely given the $4,500 donations from Imperial Metals Corporation (of Mount Polley fame), Neptune Bulk Terminals, Pretium Resources Limited, and Raymond James Limited) or that it was some how topped up to make it $4,500 rather than $4,000 as listed. I suppose it is also possible that the foursome fees could have been subsumed within some of the larger donation amounts rather than being for specific holes, etc. or that the $4,000 fees were processed on other dates. Can’t really say for sure.
What immediately struck me when looking at the larger donations listed above on this particular date was what appears to be a significant representation (or over representation if you will) of major forestry industry players who appear to have been possibly present at this particular event. Was there a concerted, conscious, and coordinated effort by major Forest Industry Players to schmooze and/or lobby the BC Liberals at this specific event on this specific day? Who knows? Maybe. At the very least that is certainly a possibility. Or did they all just randomly donate to the BC Liberals that day? Dunno.
So in total, the BC Liberals took in on September 22, 2016 (whether all at the golf tournament or not) a total of $144,975.99 or a total of less than approximately 1.2% of the entire yearly fundraising total for 2016. Interestingly, this amount doesn’t even really rate when you plot donations by date (see chart below and the table below that). In fact, the donations on September 22, 2016 come in a modest 28th out of the total 88 donation days reported.
Still, while ~$144,000 is not a bad haul for a single day, but as can be seen from the chart above and the table below, it certainly does not appear to represent one of their biggest fundraising dates or events of the year unlike what the BC Liberals appear to suggest. They certainly could quite easily have gotten away bowing to public pressure and cancelling the event without affecting their bottom line in any shape or form but that just wouldn’t be the BC Liberals way would it?
describing a topic that noted BC Liberals apologist Don Fast said that no one but “no jobs” lefties cares about.
Sorry Mr. Coleman (Minister of Natural Gas Development, Minister Responsible for Housing, Deputy Premier, and Minister Responsible for General Chortling) and Mr. Fast. Having your government called out for corruption and being open to influence peddling is not laughable, especially when the author is demonstrably correct. As Mr. Levin suggests, this type of pay-to-play access would be illegal in most other jurisdictions within Canada and the United States. But the BC Liberals disagree. I guess it is true that those closest to corruption can’t see it.
Well there’s my kick at the can. Other events could be given the same treatment so I encourage others to take up a different event and see what results you get.
Technical Note: For those interested, here is a link to download a Microsoft Excel sheet which appears to include all of the donations listed in the original PDF published by the BC Liberal Party. It is in a much easier form to manipulate and search rather than the original PDF distributed by the BC Liberal party. I do not and can not in any way vouch for the absolute accuracy of the file or the data presented here or above but will say that my by hand search for the donations on September 22, 2016 produced the exact same results as the Excel file linked. I created the file after stumbling across a comma delineated data set on the net and then manipulating the data a bit as there were commas in the original donor field that made the first stabs at importing the data problematic. Have at it.
I don’t know what that exactly means other than there seems to be a discrepancy of ~$316,316.00 with the BC Liberals seemingly over reporting their 2016 contributions by this amount. And why this differs from the media accounts and where they got that ~$12.3 figure originally I don’t know.
Lastly I will leave you with this, a list of the largest single donations to the BC Liberals $10,000 and above in 2016 in descending order. Have a scan through the list. These are the big money people and corporations who call the shots in the Province B.C. Not you or I.
This apparent #1 Priority confusion is not exactly new for Christy Clark too. On July 30, 2012 at a Women-only gathering hosted by the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, Christy Clark is quoted as saying her “My #1 Priority is Liquefied Natural Gas.” Showing this confusion in the same speech at the same event (no less) she is noted as having said that families must be considered Priority #1 by Victoria.
So what can you say about all this apparent Priority #1 confusion?
Well, it appears in most cases that what is stated as being Priority #1 for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals depends on the audience and the situation in which it is being stated. In practice though it really depending on the perceived political bonus points that could be scored with the audience to which the Priority #1 message is being conveyed. An evaluation of whether or not saying it could be considered a “quick win” if you will. A “tell them what they want to hear and hope that nobody notices” kind of strategy. Could the more recent confusion and shifting of Priority #1 status signify a change in direction policywise and a tacit admission and realization that with the failing fortunes of LNG and no hope in that regard on the immediate horizon that the BC Liberals need to prioritize and rejig their message and downplay the importance of LNG to have any hope of being re-elected? Not really sure. Possibly though.
Then what really is Priority #1 for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals? Quite clearly, Priority #1 is to get re-elected at any and all costs. It is a do anything and say anything free-for-all in that regards where the ends justify the means (as we have seen in the Triple Delete scandal). Want to ignore WCB regulations to get a photo-op in?
Edit: I happened to come across a letter written by Rich Coleman to the Major of Fort St. John which continues the storied tradition of the BC Liberals in telling the audience what they want to hear. In the letter, Mr. Coleman states that “LNG remains the highest priority of the Province” (see below). Old habits die hard. And the Trumpian “BCFirst” mantra unveiled while instigating a new tax on foreign investors. Please. Just more of the same old, same old.