A couple of items recently came to my attention following the recent all-candidates meetings in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam this past week. While I could have added this items to the A Campaign to Forget Post, I thought that they warranted a post on their own.
First, Conservative candidate Tim Laidler’s comments from the recent Chamber of Commerce Debate concerning his observations of marijuana usage in University made Robert Jago’s video “Conservative Candidates Share Weird Views About Marijuana”.
Robert Jago you may remember is the blogger who runs Meet the Harper Gang Website, a valuable resource for those interested in researching the quality of the Conservative candidates these days. Mr. Jago also you may remember posted materials that lead to the dropping of two Conservative candidates.
Recently an article was published by the National Observer alleging connections between Mr. Laidler’s nomination campaign and a consultant for Kinder Morgan. The article can be found here. This article subsequently inspired a petition and action campaign by the group SumOfUs that can be found here. SumofUs also initiated a radio campaign which has been the subject of objections from Mr. Laidler’s campaign. Below is a screen shot of the top of Sum of Us page.
Subsequent to the publishing of the letter to the editor in the Vancouver Sun, this table (which contained numerous factually incorrect and inflammatory comments/statements) was sent to Conservative supporters in the riding. Where exactly does it say on the NDP platform that they are against all resource developments? What page is that on? Which specific vote in Parliament was regarding Evergreen line funding you may ask? etc., etc.
I could go on but it is somewhat pointless at this point. Apparently exaggerations and inaccuracies are just a routine part of the Conservative campaign strategy locally.
Following closely the campaign of the Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, I have been puzzled as to why Mr. Laidler has seemingly insisted on downplaying his extensive past political experience as it seems to me that when you are running for political office, that one’s past political experience is highly relevant. Instead, Mr. Laidler doesn’t appear to acknowledge any of his past political activities or connections in any of his bios, on his campaign website, or in any of the campaign materials. I think that I finally may now know why.
A review of the recently disclosed candidate financial statements associated with his campaign for the Conservative nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam I believe finally provide clues as to the reasoning behind Mr. Laidler apparent desire to downplay his past political connections. The original raw documentation can be found here. Rather than reproduce the documents verbatim, I have chosen to highlight some selected information.
In regards to Mr. Laidler’s declared expenses arising from the nomination campaign, notable expenses include payments totalling $8,135.40 (representing 86% of the total expenditure of $9,413.68 incurred during the campaign) to ADDO Consulting with the remaining expenses being split between by what appears to be a photographer, Newclear (for a website template I’m sure, seen below confirming the earlier speculation here), his EDA, and two banks.
Who or what is ADDO Consulting you might ask? A quick Google search confirms that the Principal of ADDO Consulting is in fact Mr. Gavin Dew (see below). From the expenses noted, it appears that Mr. Dew was presumably working as Mr. Laidler’s campaign manager during his nomination campaign and took care of almost everything for Mr. Laidler.
Mr. Dew, for those who are not familiar with him, is according to his Linkedin profile, a communications specialist who’s “sweetspot is at the intersection of business, politics, and communications”. He specializes in “business and communications strategy, public relations, corporate communications, political campaigns, analysis, business development, community building, next-generation leadership.” Mr. Dew is “currently consulting on issues management, social license to operate for land development and resource companies, and business planning for startups and fledgling organizations”. As such, Mr. Dew is currently working as a consultant working on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project for Kinder Morgan working on stakeholder engagement and communications for the project. Mr. Laidler and Mr. Dew in fact go way, way back (back to even his UBC days I suspect) with them both being former directors of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) at the same time (see photo below).
Those long time followers of the blog may remember that in an earlier post here that there was speculation that Gavin Dew was in fact Tim Laidler’s campaign manager for his nomination race. The former appears to be confirmed. Not sure if he is the current campaign manager for the election though however.
That actually remains to be established but given the recent gaff regarding the photoshopped campaign sign (see below), I sure for his sake hope not as I can’t imagine that someone as experienced as Mr. Dew would have let anything with Mr. Laidler’s name on it get out of the office without first reviewing it.
Reviewing the actual campaign contributions themselves, there were a total of 41 contributors to Mr. Laidler’s nomination campaign. Of those 41 contributors, 29 individuals contributed less than the $200 reportable amount and 12 individuals contributed more than the reportable $200 amount. Below is a table summarizing the individual reportable contributions over $200.
Other than his Mum and a relative, notable contributors to Tim Laidler’s nomination campaign include:
A few things about this list that should be pointed out. First, for a supposedly local candidate with deep local roots and ties to the community, other than his Mum, only 1 of his other 12 major contributors (those who contributed more than $200 to his campaign and therefor reportable under the Elections Act) actually resides in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. Moreover, all of the remaining 10 identified contributors reside well outside of the riding, primarily in Vancouver. This one could argue would be exactly the pattern that one would expect if one was a parachuted candidate who only recently moved back into the riding (by his own admission) rather than a candidate with deep local ties and extensive local support. Moreover, being considered an outsider might also explain why despite outspending his rivals by approximately 2:1 (Bernie Hiller) and 9:1 (Janine Davies) margins respectively, that Mr. Laidler still did not win the nomination until the third ballot. Perhaps being away from the riding so long made it difficult for local residents to remember Mr. Laidler? I’m not sure.
Also notable of course, as you may have noticed, is that four of 12 contributors identified to his nomination campaign (specifically Mr. Angus, Mr., Armstrong, Mr. Siddiqui, and Mr. Sullivan) all have direct demonstrable ties to the NPA party, this being over and above the demonstrated ties to the NPA of both his presumed campaign manager (Gavin Dew) and his campaign financier Katerina Anastasiadis.
So why downplay the NPA associations and your past political ties you may ask? He was a Director of a major political party for goodness sake! Well for one thing, being associated with the NPA may not be considered much of a positive politically these days. After all, this is the same NPA that was the subject of a defamation suit that was recently dropped after the NPA apologized, that was accused of spreading false personal rumours regarding Mayor Robertson during last mayoral campaign, and has been on a losing streak, losing the last two civic elections in Vancouver in a row. Could it possibly be that being associated with the NPA and/or the BC Liberal Party could possibly be seen as a possibly detrimental to Mr. Laidler’s candidacy and being elected in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam given the recent influx of former Vancouver residents moving to the riding especially in the denser parts of Port Moody? Maybe so.
Could it also be that acknowledging your past political experience could bring attention to that fact and might lead someone to research those connections? Possibly. Researching those connections could lead one to the inevitable conclusion that there is in fact quite an extensive association between Mr., Laidler’s current campaign and the NPA in Vancouver, something as an allegedly local candidate that he would understandably want to downplay.
Lastly, could it also be that acknowledging these past political accomplishments and connections does not fit the narrative that Mr. Laidler and his campaign are trying to portray: that of the selfless soldier wanting to pay back the community and support the Conservative government after the treatment that he had received from them while in the Reserves and the support that he had received from them as a Director of the Veterans Transition Network (VTN). Instead, as mentioned previously elsewhere, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Laidler is in fact a highly connected right wing politico who just happens to be a Veteran and as such, he fits perfectly within the Conservatives plans to counter criticism regarding their treatment of Veterans under Harper’s regime while at the same time representing the new young face of the Conservative party, a party that is gradually greying and has largely tapped out their immigrant and minority support as suggested here previously.
It could very well be argued that Mr. Laidler would have been a far more appropriate candidate for the riding of Vancouver Quadra given his long-term residence in the City of Vancouver, his extensive experience at UBC, and his familiarity for the politics in the City of Vancouver at both the Civic and Provincial level. One wonders why Mr. Laidler didn’t choose to run in that riding or some other riding in the City of Vancouver rather than in Port Moody-Coquitlam as he clearly has (as one can see from the preceding) more ties politically to Vancouver? Was it that he thought (or others thought for him) that he would have an easier time getting elected in Port Moody-Coquitlam rather than in Vancouver Quadra or some other Vancouver riding? Did he perceive (or others perceive for him) that it was going to be too difficult for Mr. Laidler to defeat Federal Liberal incumbent Joyce Murray or some of the other incumbents so instead it would be better for him to go “back to his roots”, a place that he hasn’t resided in for many, many years? Difficult to say.
What is clear though is that by not acknowledging his past political connections and his past political experience that Mr. Laidler is not being forthright with the constituents of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. It come down to a question of trust. One has to wonder, if Mr. Laidler is guarded with this type of information, why would we suspect that he would do any better if he were elected to Ottawa? Should we as voters trust him? As pointed out here and many, many other places elsewhere on this blog including here and here, Mr. Laidler’s lack of transparency is a constant theme associated with his campaign. I can only hope that voters in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam will be able to see through the opportunistic candidacy of Mr. Laidler and vote for someone else (whomever that might be). The constituents of Port Moody-Coquitlam deserve a representative in Ottawa working for us not a Harper representative in our riding working for him.
Today (August 20, 2015) I became aware of what appears to be first poll results from the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. The poll, which was apparently commissioned privately by the group Leadnow and conducted by Environics, took place between August 15-18. The summary results of the poll are posted on their website here (and reproduced below).
Details concerning the poll can be found here. The results suggest that the NDP’s Fin Donnelly is currently leading in the riding with 54% of the decided vote, followed by the Conservatives’ Tim Laidler in second place with 27%, the Liberal’s Jessie Adcock with 14%, and the Green Party’s Marcus Madsen with 5%. These values are interesting as they largely mimic the projections provided by ThreeHundredEight.com (reproduced below) which suggest that the NDP’s Fin Donnelly is currently leading in the race with a median estimate of 45% of the vote (range 43.2% – 48.7%) followed by the Conservatives’ Tim Laidler with a median estimate of 32% (range 30.4% – 35.2%), the Liberals’ Jessie Adcock with a median estimate of 16.5% (range 14.9% – 17.7%), and the Green Party’s Marcus Madsen with a median estimate of 5.4% (range 4.9% – 5.8%), and “other” with an estimate of 1.1% (range 0.4% – 1.3%). The ThreeHundredEight.com website currently estimates that there is a 78% chance of a NDP win in the riding. A NDP win for the riding is also the predicted result according to the ElectionPrediction.org website.
Now, a few caveats must be expressed about the Leadnow poll results and the projection provided by ThreeHundredEight.com. First of all, it must be remembered that we are still very, very early in the campaign with almost none of the candidates having quite yet hit their stride campaignwise. Moreover, as a local pundit will I’m sure be quick to point out, we have the experience in our recent memory locally where the polls were decidedly incorrect (cast your mind back to the Province headline that said Adrian Dix could kick a dog and still get elected below).
Past experience has shown us that campaigners on all sides should not be complacent in regards to the polling result provided by Leadnow and/or the projection put forth by ThreeHundredEight.com as we still have a long, long way to go in this race. That said, the Leadnow poll results and the ThreeHundredEight.com are useful in themselves as they at the very least, provide a baseline from which subsequent polling results may be compared and evaluated.
Edit: A second Environics poll conducted Sep. 18-21 was recently published for the riding and can be found here. The second poll shows the NDP dropping by 13 points but still maintaining a 7 point lead over their nearest rival the Conservatives, who gained 7 points and are now sitting at 34% according to the poll. The Liberals increased their support by 5 points and are now sitting at 19% while the Greens have increased their support by 2 points and now sit at 7%. Overall the results indicate the same relative placement in terms of the standings in the race and an overall tightening of the race. At the same time, the poll also suggests that a substantial undecided vote still remains. One must remember that this second batch of polling data would have taken into account the NDP Syrian refugee controversy with the effects of that now being factored in. Conversely, the poll took place before the Conservatives’ politicization of the Terry Fox announcement, which will likely affect the local Conservative vote, especially amongst right-leaning swing voters.
The above graphic displays the most recent results plotted against the results from 2011 showing a slight increase in NDP and Green support from 2011, a drop in Conservative support since 2011, and an increase in Liberal support since 2011.
My prediction? Looking forward and barring any major gaffes, I am expecting a strong surge in Liberal support in the riding given the recent performance of the Liberals nationally and as such, in my opinion we are very likely to see a split on the right in the riding with a fairly substantial core NDP vote in Coquitlam augmented by a core NDP support in Port Moody/Anmore likely carrying the day. On the right, the two Port Moody/Anmore-based Liberal and Conservative candidates will likely split the vote in what has traditionally been a Conservative area. That said, irrespective of what happens in Port Moody/Anmore, it should be remembered that Coquitlam numerically dominates the Port Moody/Anmore area so ultimately whoever carries Coquitlam will likely, as I say, carry the day and at least for the moment, for various reasons, it appears that that likely will be the NDP. Only time will tell of course. Just ask Adrian Dix.
A photo of unelected Port Moody-Coquitlam Conservative candidate Tim Laidler greeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport in Richmond (above) recently appeared on Mr. Laidler’s Instagram page. A great shot to be sure. Very statesmanlike. One wonders about the source of the photograph given that it is clearly taken from behind the security line and without any official photo credit. A quick look at some of the raw video of the arrival provided by Indian journalists accompanying Prime Minster Modi appears to show the source of the photo. Follow the video along here as this very interesting sequence transpires:
At the start of the official receiving line is a veritable who’s who of Conservative politicians starting with of course, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, then James Moore, Jason Kenney, etc. At the 1:38 point of the video, Prime Minister Modi is directed to proceed on to the public greeting area. At 1:47, the video cuts to the public receiving line. Now over the following section of video, please keep your eye out for the bobbing Jason Kenney as he positions himself to get just the best view of Mr. Laidler. As the camera backs away, Mr. Laidler comes into view at 2:28 along the public receiving line and at 2:38 you can see that Jason Kenney has already aligned himself ready to take the anticipated shot. It seems pretty clear that Mr. Kenney had moved himself up the receiving line in anticipation of the shot knowing (I’m sure) that Mr. Laidler was there waiting in line. For the next 20 seconds you can see Mr. Kenney nervously fidgeting and fussing as he aligns himself to make sure that he gets just the right shot. Unfortunately, the raw video footage kicks out at 2:50 just before the magical moment takes place.
I highly doubt that Mr. Kenney just happened to fortuitously notice and recognize Mr. Laidler and position himself for a photo. It seems pretty clear that it was all arranged so that once Jason Kenney had greeted Prime Minister Modi, his job was to make sure that he had positioned himself in advance of the dignitaries so that he could get just the right angle so as to capture the photo of Mr. Laidler and Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumedly for future political purposes. One wonders if James Moore was in on it too? Given his rather close ties to Mr. Laidler, I would suggest that it is fairly likely that Mr. Moore knew exactly what was going to transpire once the Indian Prime Minister’s plane landed.
Here in its purest form is Jason Kenny and Mr. Laidler (and presumably James Moore) using the official visit of a dignitary for partisan political purposes. Hardly a revelation given the parties involved but kind of interesting nevertheless. Still it does indicate that the promotion of Mr. Laidler is continuing at the very highest levels of the Conservative Party.
(Edit: A higher quality version of the video can also be seen here. This one captures the magic moment):
Updated: Upon closer inspection, it turns out Mr. Laidler wasn’t the only one set up for the photo op that day. I give you Marshall Neufeld, Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan–West Kootenay, with the awkward miss. You may remember Mr. Neufeld from this post.
Here too is Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Cloverdale-Landgley City), standing immediately adjacent to Tim Laidler. Again note that the photo was taken from behind the security line, likely the handiwork of Jason Kenney.
Here’s Mr. Drysdale’s current webpage. You’d think that he might want to insert the picture into the page that displays “Need photos for here” on his website. Just suggesting. Also might want to have your picture taken in different suits. Again, just saying.
And can someone tell me why a Conservative candidate deserves to get a photo op with RCMP in full dress uniform in a secure area that they will later post on their candidate Facebook page?
Here are Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton) and Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), this time in a photo from behind the security line which appears on Dean Drysdale’s Facebook page. So obviously not the work of Jason Kenney this time.
Seems that there may have been some sort of a pecking order in terms of who got the great staged shots from Kenney from behind the security line and who was forced to take ridiculous selfies such as the one above from Harpreet Singh and the one below from Kenny Chui (Conservative candidate from Steveston-Richmond East) who used this ridiculous shot on his official twitter feed. Mr. Chui didn’t even manage to get President Modi in the shot.
Here’s Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway) standing waiting for Prime Minister Modi.
And here too are Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Cloverdale-Langley City), Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton), Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), all enjoying themselves at what must have been a second event. All at no cost to the taxpayer right?
Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Cloverdale-Landgley City), Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), again seemingly enjoying themselves and sporting passes that were of no cost to the taxpayer I’m sure. Right?
Please note, James Moore, that of the above identified candidates, only Tim Laidler and Dean Drysdale are veterans. As such, pointing all this out does not constitute an attack on one or more veterans. In reality, the fact that Mr. Laidler and Mr. Drysdale are veterans is actually irrelevant except of course if you are discussing whether or not it is appropriate for the current Minister of National Defense to be taking pictures of Tim Laidler, an active member of the Reserve Force (at least he was as of March 12, 2015 according to his testimony before the standing committee on Veterans Affairs before Parliament) for political purposes on the taxpayers dime. Then I believe the fact that Mr. Laidler being a veteran is relevant. This is assuming of course that Mr. Laidler hadn’t resigned his position with the Reserves after March 12, 2015 and effective prior to April 16, 2015, the date of the photo op at the airport. If so, then it would just be the regular run of the mill inappropriate behaviour that we would be talking about.