How the media use pollsters as propagandists for Canada’s Liberals

Read this Canadian Press article dated December 1st, 2013 with the misleading title: “Liberal lead solidifies as pollsters predict significant voter shift underway.” Wow! Talk about media and Harris Decima propaganda. The Justin Trudeau Liberals are not solidifying their lead.

In fact, one of the first sentences in the article, regarding the pollster, the writer admits that the Liberals have dropped from a high of 37% support prior to the recent by-elections to 34% now. So, how does a drop of 3% voter support show a voter shift towards the Liberals is underway — regardless of the 3% being within Decima’s claimed margin of error.

Plus, in the recent by-elections, the Liberals won only the two seats they have held for decades. Sure, they came second in Brandon Souris (Manitoba). But, sorry, second doesn’t count, particularly when the Liberal candidate (Rolf Dinsdale) had a very popular, beloved name. His father Walter served 11 terms as a Conservative MP.  Meaning, the only thing the increase in Liberal vote in that riding indicates, is that many of the voters supported the Dinsdale family.

So, no, there is absolutely no evidence that Liberal support is solidifying — particularly west of the Ontario border!

Then, there is the ridiculous claim in the article that the Harris Decima poll shows that the Conservative base are deserting the Conservative Party of Canada and the Conservative Government in Ottawa. Specifically: “He [Gregg] says traditional Liberals — the so-called professional class and women — are returning to the fold, while stalwart Conservatives — men and rural voters — appear to be wavering and expressing disappointment with the Harper government.”


As a former researcher myself, I have to say that there is no way any pollster can extrapolate the personal intentions they claim to have done from a few questions. So, it seems to me that this article and the Harris Decima poll are something else entirely.

Merriam Webster defines propaganda as “ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, or a government.”

Does this poll truly indicate what the pollster claims? Or, is the media simply using its questionable generalizations to develop a positive Liberal and Justin Trudeau narrative in an attempt to influence voter intentions for 2015?

Obviously the answer is yes, it is pure pro-Liberal propaganda, since, as I said at the start of this post,  a decline of 3% Liberal support is not an improvement. In fact, even if we were to accept the 3% margin of error, it still leaves Liberal support static, not shifting upwards.

C/P Jack’s Newswatch. Welcome readers.

Beware McGuinty Liberal govt’s spin strategy called “Project Vapour”

Updates October 25th, 2012: After continually reading about all the broken promises the Ontario Liberals and Premier McGuinty have told since coming to power in 2003, I have revised this post slightly.  Also, yesterday, not unexpectedly, McGuinty finally ruled out a federal Liberal leadership run. Here is a Google page on that topic.

Original post starts here: Continue reading

David Akin compares CPC “In and Out” to Sponsorship Scandal?

The Ottawa Sun headline reads: “Tory transparency fails?” The subtitle reads CPC “In and Out” scandal smacks of the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal? How? Because it involves the purchasing of advertising! Pardon me? At the time of the “In and Out” there was a Liberal government in power!

So, I have no idea what David Akin can be thinking (or his headline writer), first by trying to compare and link the current Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) to the Sponsorship matter, and second that it reflects a lack of transparency in the Harper government — which promised to do better than the Liberals.

Well, apart from purchasing advertising during the 2005/2006 federal election campaign, when the CPC was still the official opposition, there is nothing to compare. It is apples versus bicycles.  For example:

  1. The “In and Out” is about the Conservative Party during the 2005/2006 election campaign. It has nothing to do with the transparency of government. Neither the Conservative party nor Prime Minister Stephen Harper had won an election yet. That would happen after that election campaign, not during the campaign.
  2. It is my understanding that the funds used by the CPC during the 2005/2006 election campaign was NOT taxpayers money. It was private donations by conservatives — a big difference to that of the Sponsorship Scandal.
  3. Given the information in Akin’s column today, some of the money that was spent in the “In and Out” matter was spent on actual advertising, not for work of little or no value. Again, the opposite of what was recorded as happening in the Sponsorship Scandal.
  4. All political parties in Canada have used the “In and Out” approach in the past. So, why is Elections Canada and Akin only going after the CPC — when all the parties have changed their practices as a result of this case?

Was the “In and Out” practice tacky? Perhaps. But ultimately it was money that was donated by Conservative Party of Canada supporters. For instance, as a donor in the 2005/2006 election, do I care if my $100.00 or $200.00 went to the national campaign or my local campaign? No, I don’t.

So, it sure is stretching Akin’s credibility as a professional journalist to compare the “In and Out” matter with the Sponsorship Scandal. For those who don’t remember what the Sponsorship Scandal was about, also referred to as Adscam, here is a Google page with 125,000 entries, including some to the conclusions of the Gomery Inquiry. 

The crux of the matter, however, is that no matter what the media or the current Liberal party says or writes, the more they try to compare the Sponsorship Scandal to something the current federal Conservative Party or the current Conservative Minority Government (which are quite different and Akin should know that)  have done, the more it keeps it uppermost in the minds of Canadians.

And, lets face it, the polls are showing that Canadians are tuning out all these faux scandals because, frankly, we are sick and tired of them, particularly given the more important and urgent issues facing us in Canada and world today.

Endnote: I have noticed that both CTV and Global are presenting news and opinion much more balanced of late. Particular kudos to Don Martin at CTV and Dawna Friesen at Global National. Their professionalism and fairness is appreciated — in contrast to what I have written on this topic before.

C/P at Jack’s Newswatch.

Globe’s Radwanski thinks McGuinty’s “education record” key to re-election in 2011

What is it about so many Canadian professional journalists that they feel they have to continually promote Liberal governments, even when they are doing a bad job of governing? And, yes, the McGuinty-led Liberals have done a bad job of governing Ontario, particularly given the number of e-Health-like boondoggles, wind energy and other money sucking green initiatives, the HST and other tax increases (e.g. the health premium and eco-taxes come to mind), as well as ever rising hydro rates. In fact, the Ontario Liberals have taken Ontario from “have” to “have not” status in just a few years, requiring equalization payments be returned to Queen’s Park. Meaning, that Ontario is no longer the economic engine of Canada. 

Yet, plugging for the Ontario Liberal Party is exactly what Adam Radwanski seems to be attempting in today’s Globe and Mail (H/T Catherine). I say “seems to be attempting” because, while he does provide several reasons for the McGuinty Liberal government to stress their record on education in order to get re-elected in October 2011, he also presents several caveats as to why that may not happen.  And, on those points, I would agree.

Endnote: Post shortened on Friday, December 23rd, 2010. C/P at Jack’s Newswatch.