Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Christy's Magical Mystery Tour Just One Bad LNG Trip - Debt Free BC Freak Out!

The longer you look at premier's LGN claims, the more you freak right out, man!  
Christy Clark: Trust me - you'll love the blue LNG pill - you'll feel groovy!
Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday April 24, 2013
By Bill Tieleman
"Roll up for the Mystery Tour/ The Magical Mystery Tour/ Is hoping to take you away"
- The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.

Come on British Columbia -- Premier Christy Clark's Magical Mystery Campaign Tour is dying to take you away!

Just drop a big hit of this free LNG and it will be a psychedelic, far out, groovy good trip -- satisfaction guaranteed!

Jump on the liquifed natural gas fueled BC Liberal Party bus and we'll drive you to fiscal nirvana, baby!

$100 billion in a Prosperity Fund! And "100,000 high paying jobs," man!
What's that? You're not so sure it's safe?  

Don't be such a bummer, man! Hear the Christy word! 

"LNG is the industry that will make British Columbia debt-free," Clark told skeptical media downer-types last week.  

Jumping into LNG is a gas, gas, gas -- that will pay for, well, like, everything, man!
LNG will wipe out B.C.'s entire $56 billion debt in just 15 years -- it will disappear right before our eyes!

What? Well, yes Christy has increased B.C.'s debt by $11 billion in just two years in office.

Uh, yeah, Christy plans to add another $13 billion more debt in the next three years.

Um-hmm, that would make Christy the premier who raised B.C.'s debt by $24.3 billion -- that's 54 per cent in five years -- the fastest in provincial history.
Too many hits

But who cares? This LNG stuff is totally magical, even if it's a mystery when we will see the cash, since there aren't actually any LNG plants being built yet. But don't worry!
And like, I really need one of those "100,000 high paying jobs" from LNG.

Huh? B.C. actually lost 34,800 private sector jobs since Christy launched her B.C. Jobs Plan in September 2011?  

And Statistics Canada shows B.C. is in ninth place for job creation since then?
Wow! You are kind of freaking me out! 

My head is spinning -- maybe I took too many hits, because everything seems totally unreal.

You were right, man, this BC Liberal Magical Mystery Tour is just one LNG bad trip!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why do we dislike BC Premier Christy Clark? Let me count the ways....

Christy Clark has gone from charismatic champion of the BC Liberals to lacklustre leader. What happened?

Premier Christy Clark at Laxmi Narayan Mandir  Hindu temple last month 
Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver/The Tyee column
Tuesday April 16, 2013
By Bill Tieleman
"For every person who says they dislike her because she's too casual, there is another person who dislikes her because she is too formal."
- Angus Reid pollster Mario Canseco on Christy Clark
How do we dislike B.C. Premier Christy Clark? Let me count the ways.
Because with a 65 per cent personal disapproval rating in a poll last month, a 20 per cent gap behind the front running New Democrats and only 16 per cent saying she would make the best premier after two years on the job, Clark is obviously not Miss Congeniality to British Columbians.
Some media pundits have professed it to be a mystery why Clark has gone from the BC Liberals' charismatic champion to a lackluster leader but there's a room full of obvious clues, some that we saw on her half-hour Sunday TV infomercial.
Clark has proven to be a political chameleon who will say and do anything to get votes, with breathtaking arrogance.
Like telling an audience celebrating Philippine Independence Day last year that: "In my heart, I am Filipina." Really?
Or on TV Sunday claiming that since her father left their family debt free, how could she leave B.C. with a debt? And the word "debt" kept getting repeated through the show.
Yet the BC Liberals are on their way to doubling the provincial debt since 2001, from $33.8 billion to $66.3 billion in 2015! But who cares about facts?
Then there's Clark's short shift for TV cameras as a diner "server", her Vancouver Canucks jersey girl pose [jinxing our Stanley Cup run?], setting up Alberta Premier Alison Redford as the "bad girl" on the Enbridge Pipeline proposal and Clark attacking the "sick culture in Victoria" -- despite previously saying she loved the B.C. Legislature.
Or how about Clark, a perpetual federal Liberal Party member who worked in Ottawa for them, cozying up to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- even hiring several of his hard right ex-staff to make her look less Liberal.
Or becoming pals with former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, even attending his "conservative family reunion", a gathering of the kind of people Clark used to denounce as dinosaurs on her former CKNW radio talk show.
'She's willing to say anything': former radio colleague
Instead, Clark now denounces CKNW itself, criticizing several on-air hosts last year at a BC Liberal fundraiser for apparently not giving her an easier ride.
CKNW host Gord MacDonald wasn't going to take it anymore and he let Clark have it:
"We thought she was bright... she sounded articulate... and we all understood when she went left radio to seek the premier's job after Gordon Campbell resigned. Boy, were we wrong. Now, she insults the CKNW listener. Nobody listens to CKNW any more, right?" MacDonald broadcast on air last July.
"Yet again, Christy Clark showed on Saturday she's willing to say anything to anybody to get their vote. But speaking as one who clearly misjudged her talents as a politician, a word of warning. When times get tough, some people stay true to their word. Others, like Christy, don't," MacDonald concluded.
I had my own Clark experience at CKNW when she started guest hosting and I was making regular appearances and guest hosting also.
"You should stop attacking me," Clark told me in the studio off air one day, unhappy with my coverage of her role in the B.C. Legislature Raid case. "We're working on the same team now."
"No, we're not," I replied, rather astonished she would attempt such a blatant effort to influence my reporting.
Negative vibes
Clark is dislikeable for other reasons, with her condescending, self-righteous tone, singularly inability to admit any personal mistakes and lack of vision for the province.
Take her "jobs plan" that incorrectly claimed last fall that B.C. was first in job creation in Canada when it was actually in sixth place -- and has dropped further since then, without ever being corrected.
No matter -- spend $15 million in taxpayer dollars to advertise your jobs plan and spread the misinformation just before an election.
Are there still other ways to dislike Clark?
How about Clark's annoying habit of attempting to sound like a working class hero by deliberately dropping the "g" from words and sounding more like Larry the Cable Guy than Christy the Premier?
"What's needed here is a dose of humility and sort of asking for forgiveness," Hamish Telford, political science professor at Fraser Valley University Telford told CKNW's Bill Good on Monday.
"And for this premier, humility doesn't not come easily but I think it is important -- this lack of humility is why often politicians get turfed out," he said. "Parties rarely win elections in Canada, governments lose them."
And Clark leads a government headed for a humility lesson.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Political Writing Workshop - 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper columnists Tieleman, Fontaine and Yuile dish the dirt Saturday at New Westminster's LitFest at Douglas College

Political Writing Workshop - 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper columnists Bill Tieleman, Daniel Fontaine and Laila Yuile talk politics and prose  

I hope you can join my colleagues and I today - Saturday April 13 - 3:15 p.m. at New Westminster's LitFest at Douglas College for our Political Writing workshop - details below:

You take an interest in politics and you have an opinion on how well, or otherwise, our politicians are doing their job. So why not write about it? This exciting LitFest workshop is just the ticket for you!
The workshop is guided by three experienced 24 Hour columnists:  

1 Bill Tieleman

Bill Tieleman is president of West Star Communications, a strategy and communications consulting firm he began in 1998. Bill has previously been Communications Director in the B.C. Premier’s Office and at the BC Federation of Labour.
Bill Tieleman writes a column on politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper and also in The Tyee online magazine and his popular blog – .

2 Daniel Fontaine

Daniel Fontaine works as the Chief Executive Officer for the BC Care Providers Association in Vancouver. Over the course of his career he has worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors as well as government.
Fontaine is the weekly civic affairs columnist for 24 Hours Newspaper. He appeared weekly on the civic affairs panel for the top-rated Bill Good Show on CKNW radio. He also served as back-up host for the Simi Sara Show. In 2008 he co-founded, one of Canada’s most popular civic affairs blogs.

3 Laila Yuile

Laila Yuile is a columnist, political blogger and commentator. Laila’s work is regularly published in the Huffington Post BC and other community papers around BC and she writes a weekly column for 24 Hrs Vancouver.
In addition to providing political commentary for various media outlets in BC, Laila has broken many provocative stories on her, that have also been covered by national and provincial media. She keeps a close watch on the activities of the B.C government, as well as China’s increasing interests in Canadian resources and technology.
Political Writing WorkshopSaturday April 13, 3:15pm to 4:15pm,
Lecture Hall B (Rm-2203), Douglas College
Entrance Free

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Why negative political attack advertising fails - and why the BC Liberals are taking dangerous chances using it

Negative Advertising Fails  
Concerned Citizens for BC's extremely negative attack ad style
That's what research and British Columbia's experience shows

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver/The Tyee column 

Tuesday April 9, 2013
By Bill Tieleman
"The research clearly shows that negative ads are not more persuasive than positive ads."
- Bill Benoit, Ohio University communication studies professor
New Democrat leader Adrian Dix is taking the biggest political risk of his life -- and his party will win or lose this election because of it.
No, it's not by promising well in advance that an NDP government would increase the corporate tax rates or put a minimum tax on banks and financial institutions nor is it an ill-advised policy in the party's forthcoming platform.
Dix rolled the dice a year ago when he publicly pledged the NDP will not run negative or personal attack ads, period.
The NDP has not and will not respond in kind to the vicious $1 million assault on Dix's own character launched by Concerned Citizens for BC, a BC Liberal-linked group led by Jim Shepard, an ex-Christy Clark advisor and former corporate CEO.
But is Dix being risky or is it really Clark's team taking dangerous chances by gambling everything on the success of negative advertising?
After all, the NDP is 20 points ahead of the BC Liberals and Dix's approval rating is miles ahead of Clark's, according to the last Angus Reid poll.
The focus on negative ads may be because while political operatives strongly believe negative advertising works, those who actually empirically study advertising for a living say the research tells a different story.
Confused consultants
"Everyone remembers the races where a negative attack or series of attacks appears to have been decisive. That's the kind of knowledge candidates and consultants have -- it's anecdotal evidence. The scholarly evidence doesn't back them up," says Stephen Craig, professor of political science at the University of Florida.
"Here's the deal -- why are there so many negative ads? Because candidates and consultants believe they work," Craig says.
"If you've got a powerful negative message that resonates with voters, then yeah, it's going to work. But if it's about something voters don't care about, if it's a message that's poorly presented, then they're not going to be moved by it."
"Can it work? Yes. Does it work? Sometimes," Craig sums up.
Another expert who has done the research says policy trumps so-called "character" issues time after time.
"It would seem that the candidate who talks more about policy may be more likely to win," says Bill Benoit, an Ohio University communication studies professor who studies negative political advertising.
"We found public opinion data from 1980 through 2000 where they asked voters what's the most important determinant of your vote for president and more people said policy or issues than character or image."
"So in fact, the candidates who talk more about policy are more likely to win than if you stress character," Benoit concludes.
Familiar weapon, new era
I know firsthand that negative advertising can work very well -- because I was Premier Glen Clark's communications director when our NDP campaign used it against then-opposition leader Gordon Campbell in 1996. And my colleague then was Clark's chief of staff, Adrian Dix.
The NDP launched a pre-emptive negative TV advertising strike against Campbell that started before Clark was even chosen leader in Feb. 1996.
Those ads, brilliantly created by NOW Communications, featured grainy black and white photos of a scary Campbell with an ominous deep male announcer's voice talking about BC Liberal plans to slash public services, then asking: "Gordon Campbell: Whose side is he on anyway?"
In the election campaign that followed, the NDP slogan was "On Your Side" and it was illustrated by the government freezing tuition fees, BC Ferries' fares, ICBC auto insurance rates and increasing the minimum wage.
All of that was counter posed to Campbell's agenda to cut 15 per cent from the BC budget, sell BC Rail, reduce the number of rural seats in the BC Legislature and generally shake up the province.
The BC Liberals ill-advised slogan -- "The Courage To Change" -- even reinforced the NDP message that bad things would happen if Campbell were elected.
The combination of heavy negative advertising against the BC Liberals – who initially held a 30-point lead -- and positive action by the NDP government combined to give Glen Clark a stunning upset victory.
'We need to bring people back to politics': Dix
Clark won more seats but fewer votes than Campbell's battered crew.
But the approach Dix takes to politics today has evolved since 1996.
"A lot of people think the way to respond to negative ads is to run negative ads ourselves," Dix told the Parksville Qualicum Beach news last May.
"The reason we are not going to do this is very simple. First, 1.7 million people didn't vote in the last provincial election.
"We are not going to bring anybody back to politics by deciding the winner of an election is the person with the best ad agency to run the nastiest negative ads. We need to bring people back to politics and that means offering some hope that change will happen," Dix argued.
And despite being the target of extensive personal attack ads, Dix has not wavered.
For their part, the BC Liberals surprisingly say they aren't going to go negative either.
Mike McDonald, the BC Liberal Party campaign director, claims his team is going to play nice.
"We're not going to run a nasty campaign," he told The Province's Michael Smyth.
"A campaign is where you debate. You talk about your strengths and your opponent's weaknesses. That's what we intend to do and we'll do it in a very fair, honest and factual way," McDonald says.
But even if McDonald is correct, he leaves unsaid the role of CC4BC and possibly other BC Liberal supporters running third party advertising.
Big turn-off
Regardless of that, other academic research should also concern the BC Liberals and their ad buying allies in CC4BC because it shows that increased repetition of negative advertising has the reverse effect on voters -- they are turned right off by it.
A new study out last month showed participants a series of ads, including negative political attack ads.
The study found that "after three exposures, participants had more favorable opinions of the candidate who sponsored the ad. But, after five airings, viewers' opinions became increasingly negative."
Juliana Fernandes, an assistant professor at the University of Miami in Florida who specializes in political communication, conducted the research and cautions that those using negative ads "should use negative ads strategically, not overwhelmingly."
Whoops -- that doesn't seem to have been the CC4BC approach with its carpet-bombing negative ad campaign.
But don't just blame political parties and advocacy groups for going negative – blame the media, says Benoit, who has extensively studied both American and international elections.
"We know that news coverage is always more negative than the candidates and the news coverage does not emphasize policy as much as the candidates do – the news focuses on horserace first and then character," Benoit argues persuasively.
Will Dix's boycott of negative advertising not only help the BC NDP win the election but also change the channel from nasty politics to policy?
If so, Dix will become the second B.C. opposition leader to easily win an election without running a single negative attack ad. Ironically the first was Gordon Campbell in his 2001 landslide victory over the NDP.
Disclosure: Tieleman supported Adrian Dix's NDP leadership bid.