Yet another example of the Conservatives’ shameless use of public resources for partisan political promotional purposes was provided today (March 25, 2015) by Candice Bergen’s (the Minister of State for Social Development) announcement of the Harper Government’s (emphasis mine) (note not the Government of Canada’s) upcoming legislation in the coming days to enhance the Universal Child Care Benefit. The announcement was made earlier today at West Side Family Place in Vancouver, a non-profit “family resource centre that offers parenting support and child focused programming for families with children from birth to six years”.
As part of the announcement Minister Bergen and/or her staff at first tweeted out a number of innocent enough looking photos showing Minister Bergen interacting with various kids at West Side Family Place (a place interestingly not supported by Federal funding in any way according to their Funders page) as well as various staff members (see below).
Fair enough. Entirely appropriate. However, for some inexplicable reason (other than for partisan political purposes of course) all of a sudden two currently unelected, young Conservative candidates, Jojo Quimpo, the Conservative candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway, and Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate for Port Moody-Coquitlam, appear in a photo with Nicky Scott (Chair of the Board of Directors for West Side Family Place) and Minister Bergen that was subsequently tweeted out by the Official Twitter page for the Ministry of Employment and Social Development (see below) and is now part of the official announcement and record for the event (see below). Neither Mr. Laidler or Mr. Quimpo are identified as Conservative candidates in the photo leaving the false impression that the two gentlemen are either workers at and/or directors with West Side Family Place and/or that they staffers with the Ministry because otherwise why else would they be in the photo?
You may ask yourself what these individuals were even doing at the announcement let alone why they were included in the official pictures of the event other than for political purposes? The answer is nothing of course as Mr. Laidler specializes in the treatment of veterans with PTSD and Mr. Quimpo, whose candidacy interestingly is not without controversy, apparently is a paralegal, cultural event organizer, and musician (assuming his resume issues have been sorted out), neither of their areas of expertise on the surface appear to be appropriate to West Side Family Place.
Subsequent to the tweeting out of the photo by the official Ministry of Employment and Social Development account, Minister Bergen then tweeted out on her own official account (entirely appropriate of course) a tweet identifying Mr. Laidler and Mr. Quimpo as Conservative candidates and suggesting that it was good to see them and that she “can’t wait to work with them in the House of Commons”. Entirely appropriate as this was on her own account and not the Ministry’s official account.
While this may all seem like much ado about nothing, please remember that Mr. Laidler (an Afghan veteran) is a repeat offender when it comes to being part of the shameless partisan use of public resources to promote Conservative candidates as he appeared in a shameless bit of partisan promotion put out by Erin O’Toole and the Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs (detailed in the post All on the Public’s Dime) where Mr. Laidler is again not identified as a Conservative candidate but appears in official Ministry communications (in that particular case the actual news release) (see below). The continued use of official Ministry accounts and therefor public resources to promote Conservative candidates, particularly young candidates, is troubling.
While the promotion of Conservative candidates particularly young Conservative candidates by sitting Conservative ministers on their own personal pages is commonplace (as detailed in the posts the CPC’s Youth Appeal Strategy for the Upcoming Election and Revving up the CPC Machine) and for the most part entirely appropriate, the promotion of Conservative candidates using public resources clearly is not appropriate. One would have hoped that Mr. Laidler would have been above being again part of the shameless promotion of his candidacy using public resources but that clearly does not appear to be the case. Shameless promotion, again All on the Public’s Dime.
Edit: Interesting that all of the inappropraite tweets and photos shown above have since been deleted from the Ministry Twitter feed and from Minister Bergen’s Twitter feed. If there was nothing wrong with them (from the Ministry and Minister Bergen’s perspective), why delete them?