Thursday, December 13, 2007

When You Live In A Glass House...

Harper thought himself quite clever, when he commissioned an independent investigator to look into the Liberals polling practices. The motivation was clear, embarrass the Liberals and reinforce the corruption theme for electoral advantage. Small flaw, the investigator did the work and actually ended up hurling criticism at the current government, which forced the Conservatives to sit on the report:
An independent investigator hired by the Harper government to look into past Liberal polling practices has wound up shining an unfavourable light on the Tories' penchant for polling.

Daniel Paille notes that the Conservative government commissioned more than two polls per business day in the past year, a figure he calls "quite astounding.''

His report shows that the government spent $31.2 million on opinion research in the last year -- more than any previous year and almost twice the $18 million spent on average during the Liberal years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Paille, a former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, last April to conduct a probe of federal contracts for public opinion research between 1990 and 2003.

The objective was to determine whether a judicial inquiry into the previous Liberal government's polling practices was warranted.

But Paille's report -- which was released Thursday after sitting for two months in the government's hands -- concludes "it would not be worthwhile'' to pursue further in-depth inquiries into public opinion research contracts during that period.

Mark Holland, the Liberals' public works critic, said Harper's intended "partisan witch hunt'' into Grit polling practices has backfired on the Tories.

He said that explains why Fortier sat on the report for two months before finally releasing it late on the same day that all eyes were on former prime minister Brian Mulroney's testimony before the Commons ethics committee.

"Clearly, they didn't want anyone actually paying attention to this report,'' Holland said.

A combination of gall and arrogance, the Conservatives fail to see the obvious pitfalls of a probe, while they are spending money in an unprecedented fashion. In the end, no dirt, a self-inflicted wound, a waste of taxpayer money and the unseemly appearance of hiding the conclusions. Nice job. And we wonder why these characters can't get into majority terrority.


Canajun said...

You just gotta love it! The media has had periodic reports of Cons overspending the Libs on polling for a while now, so this should really hit the fan. At least we can hope it will!

ottlib said...

Those damned Liberals appointees... Oh, wait.

canajun, do not count on the media running with this story. It will be a one day story buried at the back of newspapers and in the middle of the 11 o'clock news and then it will disappear.

Of course if Mr. Paille would have found something against the Liberals it would have been a three day story and Chantal Hebert would have found some way to blame it on Stephane Dion.

Hell, she may still do that as she has long ago stopped letting facts get in the way of a good screed.

Anonymous said...

Notice the report came out when parliament closed down for the Xmas season?

We're stil waiting for Wajid Khan's report as well. I read a while back that it was also not favourable to Harper and his handling of the Middle East issues.

The short attention span or our media is frustrating.

Ti-Guy said...

Where's Wilson? Spinning this would her time to shine.

Steve V said...

"Where's Wilson? Spinning this would her time to shine."

It's been a hard week, she's pretty dizzy.

Gayle said...

The BT's are far too busy screaming about CBC-gate, which apparently is FAR MORE important.

The Journal reported this story, but I did not see it on either CBC Newsworld or CTV Newsnet this morning. Perhaps they ran it last night.

The whole "Dion is not a leader" thing has lost its legs - at least for now. Can we now look forward to actual news reaching people?

Steve V said...


The funniest comment I read on Taylor's site, was someone saying that Canada needs a conservative media outlet. Do these people pay attention at all?

On the CBC, I don't recall the outlet giving the Liberals a free ride during their "scandals". And, if you look at the regulars on the "At Issue" panel you see Hebert, who hates the Liberals, Coyne who's hardly a "lefty" and Gregg, who worked for the Conservatives. Pretty slanted isn't it? Get a grip BT's.

Gayle said...

Steve - any media that run any criticism of Harper is biased. Don't you know that?

I find the whole CBC thing silly since the guy who broke it (Duffy) backed off by the end of his show yesterday. Craig Oliver dismissed the whole thing (although I suppose he is in cahoots with the liberals too :)).

I totally agree about the At Issue panel. In fact I found their constant focus on Dion's leadership issues frustrating. They only got off that subject when the rest of the country started looking at Schreiber instead.

Steve V said...


As I commented on Taylor's site, there is a delicious irony in watching Duffy admonish others for questionable journalistic integrity. Duffy is the biggest Mulroney apologist on the air. A few months ago Duffy interviewed Mulroney, and the man was just gushing all over him. Just retire.

Scotian said...

I hate to have to ask, but what are you folks talking about regarding Duffy first trumpeting then retracting a CBC/Liberal scandal? I stopped watching Duffy months ago because I could not take the open partisanship being passed off as serious political journalism. If he wants to be a commentator only that is one thing, but if he wants to be considered a political reporter he cannot be seen as obviously favouring one party over another. I've seen mentions that there was some sort of fraux scandal regarding the CBC and one of the Liberal MPs on the committee yesterday, but that is about it, and I won't do BT blogs anymore because I don't trust many of the operators.

Thanks for your aid.

Steve V said...


I caught the part where Duffy was hurling accusations at the CBC, but missed the retraction. I can only watch so much :)

Gayle said...

He didn't retract - that was just my poor description.

Jean Lapierre claimed on Duffy that the questions Pablo Rodriguez asked Mulroney were scripted by a CBC reporter. Rodriguez denied it on Duffy, and then Duffy claimed a liberal staffer had partially confirmed it by telling Duffy the reporter had suggested a line of questions, but that the liberals had written them.

Comartin from the NDP and Craig Oliver from CTV both dismissed the allegations, and Duffy pulled back a bit at that point. I think that is because it is obvious that if anything happened, it was that a reporter gave suggestions to the liberals, which the liberals claim happens all the time with all the media, including CTV.

The line of questions in question were directed towards the recent wireless issue, which is why the whole thing is so silly - as if the liberals need the CBC to tell them to pursue that issue. Rodriguez has been asking these questions in the House, so he needs a reporter to tell him to ask Mulroney directly?

The conservatives, desperate to turn the story back to the dirty lying filthy scumbag liberals, wrote a letter asking the CBC to investigate. Naturally, as an honourable news organization the CBC is doing just that, and the BT's are claiming victory, even though the CBC has described this as a reporter sniffing out a story possibly using improper means to do so.

Scotian said...


Thank you for that, it has been a bit frustrating seeing accusations thrown without being able to make sense out of what they are about.

I mean I watch QP whenever I can and I have watch PR ask questions on that prior to this "scandal" emerging so I have to say I find the idea that CBC is the one that fed them to him for the committee hearing on Thursday rather hard to buy into. It is good to know this though, and I must say that if Craig Oliver slapped Duffy down for it t must have been particularly obvious what he was trying to do. Namely manufacture Liberal scandal of collusion with his main competitor so as to harm the competitor and deflect some of the attention away from his Conservative buds and his main man Mulroney. I had already been aware of how much Duffy was working to undercut any examination of the Mulroney scandal that Schreiber is a part of so for him to go to this extent is not surprising if alas more than a little disturbing from someone who is supposed to not act in a partisan fashion. It was because of his blatant siding with the Cons that I stopped watching his show, before then I watched both his and Newman's show so as to be able to get maximum information, but if it is going to be tainted that extensively by the hosts partisanship it isn't worth it to me.

For all the complaints I see about how partisan CBC and especially Don Newman's is from the Con side of the online world I've never been able to tell who he votes for or supports, I find him to be remarkably evenhanded and consistent in how he deals with issues and politicians. Indeed, I think that may be at the heart of why they think he is partisan, because he won't cut the CPC any more slack than anyone else especially as it regards to factual accuracy, and you know the modern conservative’s motto these days, if you aren't with/for us then you are against us and with the enemy. That one sentence does so much to explain the Con disconnect to reality I find.

Steve V said...

Anyone who thinks the CBC is Liberal biased just has to look at the hand-picked "At Issue" panel. The most anti-Dion, anti-Liberal columnist in the country, a former Mulroney employee and the former bigwig of The National Post.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

Don't let reality and the facts confuse you like that, if you do then the vision of the Liberal biased CBC fades away like smoke in a wind...:)