I received an advance draft of a fundraising letter that is going out to Conservative members soon in order to raise money off of the CBC/Graves relationship. Here it is.
Here we go again.
Yes, I am writing to you about the CBC. Canada’s national public broadcaster. A Crown Corporation that receives over one billion dollars per year from taxpayers. A network with a mandate to serve all Canadians.
In recent days we have learned that the CBC’s pollster on party politics, Frank Graves, has been providing both money (at least $10,762.81 since 2001 according to Elections Canada) and strategic advice to the Liberal Party of Canada. His contributions are huge and his advice is incendiary. Graves wants the Ignatieff Liberals to wage a divisive “Culture War” that would pit East against West, young against old, and urban Canada against rural Canada. He even suggests that if people don’t like the Ignatieff Liberal vision of Canada they can move to the United States (an odd statement given Michael Ignatieff’s fondness for America).
Week after week Graves expresses opinions about Canadian politics under the guise of being the CBC’s neutral pollster on party politics. And just until recently viewers have been kept in the dark about his Liberal contributions and his Liberal advice. But the CBC continues to stand by Graves, their “neutral” pollster.
This episode demonstrates – once again – that we Conservatives are up against a powerful array of vested interests. Vested interests who want to go back to the days of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. Back to higher taxes. Back to a weakened military. Back to political correctness. And they’re willing to support a highly divisive “Culture War” to take us back.
We can’t afford to go back. We can’t afford to let Frank Graves and the Liberal “Culture War” to prevail. Because Canada, after years of drift, is once again moving forward. Our world-leading Economic Action Plan is delivering results. Our military is being re-built. And there’s a new spirit of national pride taking root across the country. These changes did not happen by accident. They are a result of strong Conservative leadership. Never before has the choice in national politics been so clear.
I am asking you to do two things.
First, write to the CBC and tell them it’s unacceptable to present Frank Graves as a neutral pollster on party politics. You can reach the CBC’s ombudsman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 1-416-205-2978.
Second, please make a contribution to the Conservative Party of $200 or $100 right now by following this link. Unlike the Liberals, we can’t count on the vested interests. We rely on donations from proud patriotic Canadians like you.
Mike Duffy knows your name! Or at least the automated Duffy has a whole bank of names to read from in the Conservative Party’s latest innovative fundraising and voter ID widget that is scheduled to roll out later this evening.
The folks at Conservative Party HQ sent me a preview of their new product which includes the senator and former newsman outlining the Conservative record, while asking for your ranked issues, feedback, postal code and email address. The product also is customized to deliver localized content via geotargeting.
A senior Conservative explained that the the shiny new Duffy-gram is the brainchild of the party’s executive director Dan Hilton who has been moving the party to find new ways to push the envelope in the online space.
Also of note is a new slogan for the party which may yet brand a national campaign if we see one in the coming weeks. “Moving forward” suggests momentum, progress and an ongoing job. Contrast this with the Liberal Party slogan of “we can do better” which suggests failure of the incumbent, inclusion of Canadians and the Liberal Party “we” to solve a problem. Both slogans acknowledge a difficult situation and while the Conservative slogan is more punchy and complete, the Liberal slogan leaves a question open: “better than what?”. Further, the Liberal slogan opens them up to attack as a Conservative narrative is that Michael Ignatieff thought he could do better abroad rather than improve his career among Canadians looking to do the same.
Conservatives have led the Liberal party in databasing Canadians and their levels of partisan and issue-based support since at least the late days of the Alliance. The Liberals have had quite a time playing catch up as they’ve gone shopping for proven software, even approaching the Obama campaign in the Dion days. Yet, while Liberal national director Rocco Rossi is paddling up the Rideau Canal asking folks for money along the way, the Conservatives are showing that they continue to innovate.
The latest installment of the “will there or won’t there be an election?” drama of As the Hill Turns, the Canadian Press reports that Quebec Liberal candidates at an election readiness workshop had their election “mug shots” done — these are the official photos that Elections Canada and the media will use to report on the election (and while these are Quebec Liberals, I say “mug shots” for lack of a more descriptive term).
Will they or won’t they? — that is the question that has the media scrambling to fill their columns and air-time. Today, I was on Montreal drive-time talk radio and despite mentioning that party leaders themselves ratchet up election timing rhetoric to fundraise and to fill nominations, we still chatted about the prospects of a fall election. I fear that I didn’t play my role and let the audience down when I explained that all of this election talk is just the empty thrill of a cheap drama. I explained that prior to the summer break, Michael Ignatieff had just six additional nominations filled beyond his caucus compliment. Further, despite healthier second quarter fundraising numbers — buoyed largely by Liberal leadership convention fees — the Liberals still have a steep hill to climb when it comes to fundraising. Party leaders (or their proxies) amp up imminent election talk to create a sense of urgency that compels people to give and to act.
As for those Quebec Liberal candidate photos that were snapped — indicating that we just be going for it soon — it’s pretty standard fare, I’m sorry to say.
Though I fear this will fuel even more election speculation, the Conservative candidates — all of them — had their election mug shots snapped at the Conservative training convention early last month.
A summer of communion wafers, G8 photo-ops and inuktitut spelling gaffes has professional flacks looking for something else, and instead of hopping on an expensive jet to cover news where its happening, most of the bubble-locked Ottawa media are in a standard holding pattern and doing their best as bit players in a show about nothing called When is the next election?
Because perhaps when those glorious days come, they’ll have something more to talk about.