A word about Jean Pelletier

January 12, 2009

So former Jean Chrétien Chief of Staff Jean Pelletier is dead.

It is traditional to say something nice about the deceased, so here goes: I really liked his relationship with the media.

The guy spent 12 years as Mayor of Quebec City, a position that requires a lot of public exposure. He gives hundreds of media interviews.

Then he’s drafted by Chrétien to be his Chief-of-Staff – he closes up like an clam and disappears from public view. He stays away from reporters, he doesn’t leak. He doesn’t badmouth anybody from his own party either, which is a nice contrast from the curious brand of political operators the Liberals currently employ.

If Jean Pelletier merely disliked you, you would never hear about it – and certainly not from somebody else. But if you screwed up, the only noise coming from Pelletier’s office would be the sound of a swiftly falling axe blade (and then it would be too late). No smear campaign, no wink-wink-nudge-nudge with reporters, no character assassination by anonymous sources.

I met the man once at a social function, years ago. He took the time to talk and be kind to me even though I was a nobody (still am). Perhaps he disliked me, but kept it to himself. So I guess what they say about him being a gentleman is true.

Further reading: Paul Wells’ comments on his blog.

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Liberal-NDP coalition agreement signed

December 1, 2008

I’ve been spending as much time watching CBC Newsworld as I could this afternoon, with the indulgence of my boss and colleagues. Whatever will happen in the next week, the day’s events will make history.

An agreement has just been signed between the Liberal, New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois allowing a Liberal-NDP Cabinet with the support of the Bloc. Contingent upon the Conservatives losing power, of course… The agreement would guarantee a stable government until at least June, 2010.

Kudos to CBC reporter Rosemary Barton, who was able to translate as she read from the French copy coalition agreement she was given by the liberal flacks, before the English version reached her.

To spice it up further, the Conservatives have released the transcript of a telephone conversation involving NDP leader Jack Layton, prompting accusations of Watergate-like phone tapping.

Whatever the Conservatives had in mind with last week’s stange economic statement, it failed miserably. I’m the first one to be surprised at seeing their strategy fall apart. The PR moves of the next few days will need to be consistent with clear communication objectives if they are to regain the initiative. Their first reflex – “it’s a coup!” – does seems to be somewhat of a gaffe. The Conservative pundits I’ve seen so far look somewhat befuddled and don’t seem to have clear speaking points. Is there a problem with the Conservative spin machine?

See also: Liberal-NDP coalition agreement signed, post 2


Conservative propaganda won, I lost: Dion

October 20, 2008

Liberal leader Stéphane Dion just announced he will step down as soon as another leader is selected.

Interesting tidbit: he says Canadians bought into the image Conservative advertising has been trying to impose. “Trying to change this image would be an enormous effort and risk for my party.”

True enough. The Dion brand has huge negative perceptions attached to it. Time for the Liberals to put somebody else on the market.


Netroots and Netroops – post 2

September 2, 2008

Prof Elmer reports on a conversation between Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and the party bloggers. Looks like Dion is mobilizing his Netroops.

Also see: Netroots and Netroops.


Liberals put Adscam behind them – now for the bad news…

August 30, 2008

This little bit (pdf warning) from the latest Angus Reid poll seems to be confirming that the federal Liberals have put Adscam behind them. Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s “Honesty and trustworthiness” rating is at 30%, to Prime minister Harper’s 31%. If Liberals should not have to worry too much about their past relationship with shady admen when they go door-to-door next week, they have their leader to thank for this. Also, Canadians are telling Angus Reid that when it comes to environment issues, they trust Mr. Dion a lot more (45%) than Mr. Harper (27%) – all Dion’s doing (he’s been campaigning on this since the leadership race).

But that’s all the good news the Liberals are going to get from this poll.

Approval ratings: Harper 32%, Duceppe 39% (Qc only), Layton 30%, May 21%, Dion 11%. The approval rating is like Homer Simpson falling off a cliff: every time you go down a position (“doh!”), it hurts more and more. Dion is flat down at the bottom, hurting.

The campaign starts in a few days. Let’s see how these numbers move.


The Liberals’ leaky blabbers strike again

August 7, 2008

This from this morning’s Globe:

“At the last strategy meeting a couple of months ago, one insider said Mr. Dion spent more than an hour trying to explain his environmental plan, which was so complicated even his top aides had trouble understanding it. Some Liberals feel that if it’s too difficult to sell in 30 seconds at the door, voters will tune out.”

What is it with Liberal “strategists”, can’t they keep their mouth shut? Have they all been infected with the “ahah, I know something you don’t” virus? No blabber control.

UPDATE: Okay, I’ve got 22 hits on this post in the last 7 hours, which is way more than my little PR blog usually gets (except for this post of course). Who’s telling their friends to come and see, angry Liberals or giggling Tories? Don’t be shy to post comments, I approve anything that isn’t offensive (and some that is slightly offensive) and I don’t check your IP addresses.