It has been in many ways a campaign to forget for Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate in the newly-established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.
First, there was the notice of the Annual General Meeting for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam in which the name of the riding was repeatedly misspelled).
Then there was the page on the Turf Mark Holland website (TMH2.org) that posted a webpage encouraging support for Mr. Laidler (likely without his knowledge) that by implication associated him with some of the more extreme elements of the anti-gun control lobby (reproduced below and since deleted) since those with moderate views do not tend to garner endorsements and support from these kinds of websites.
Then there was the use of this very awkward and cringeworthy picture that appeared as part of a sponsored ad on Facebook showing Mr. Laidler with Steven Harper and a young Asian girl with the ad talking about families yet there is no family in the shot. Awkward.
Then there was the line of questioning in parliament where mentor James Moore had to defend Mr. Laidler after being identified repeatedly photo bombing numerous taxpayer funded events including the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Modi at the airport in Vancouver, an official government funding announcement in Vancouver with Minister Candice Bergen, the official PMO Chinese Lunar New Year event in Richmond, etc., leading him to be the subject of media scrutiny and forcing James Moore, the former Minister of Obfuscation, to deliver this ridiculous non-responce in Parliament:
Then there was the revelation that prior to retiring from the military, that Mr. Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservatives was possibly in violation of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics.
Then there was this campaign sign that was put up on Aug. 1, 2015, the day before the writ was actually dropped, advertising a candidate for an election that hadn’t been called yet in a riding that didn’t exist yet.
Then after the campaign signs went up, Tim Laidler’s campaign signs were apparently intentionally targeted and the subject of repeated vandalism.
Then there was the campaign office location selection gaffe where the choice of the campaign office location lent itself to some embarrassing sign placements by rivals.
Then there was the badly photoshopped sign that appeared in internal riding party propaganda which leaked out and became the subject of subject of local and national media posts (see here and here) as detailed in the post here.
Then there was the Terry Fox funding announcement/photo-op gaffe with James Moore and Laureen Harper which I’m sure all sounded good originally but then went horribly wrong where Mr. Laidler’s mentor James Moore was caught incorrectly stating that the Fox Family was fully supportive of the funding announcement stated in reference to the Fox Family, that “They’re enthusiastic and they think it’s great.” Mr. Moore then doubled down on his apparently incorrect statement a full 17 hours later on his personal Facebook account after Mr. Moore had more than ample time to reconsider his words after initially being questioned about the nature of the Fox family’s support for the announcement (see below).
The claim that they were “enthusiastic” and that they thought it was “great” was quickly denied by the Fox family with a Fox family friend suggesting that:
“There is no place in the fight against cancer for politics. This (the announcement) is poor taste, bad timing and so wrong on so many levels. Also to say the family was enthusiastic is incorrect, to say the least. I would be remiss if I did not say something.”
Subsequently, the Terry Fox funding announcement was of course widely criticized by the Fox family and others as well as local media and editorial boards, with many lamenting on the brazen Conservative politicization of the Terry Fox Foundation’s campaign.
Then there was the rather odd photo-op in Port Moody at which no member of the public was allowed to attend and to which only a few select media were invited. A missed opportunity it seems. However, given that it was only a few days after the Terry Fox Foundation announcement gaffe, I suppose that is understandable.
Then there were the gaffes at the recent Chamber of Commerce all-candidates debates including when Mr. Laidler suggested that he had had friends in University that had tried marijuana and ended up in the Psych Ward (as seen at 12:10 in Part II).
In the same debate, Mr. Laidler inexplicitly felt the need to try to refight the last Port Moody civic election (of all things) by bringing up (repeatedly at 3:14 and 6:00 in Part II) the accusation that Fin Donnelly had run a slates of candidates in the civic elections in Coquitlam and Port Moody and had meddled in civic politics locally (something repeatedly denied by Mr. Donnelly and described by two local pundits in the Tri-City News as a “Red Herring”). I had no idea that the Conservative Party of Canada was so concerned about civic elections. Do they take such an interest in all civic elections? The meddling comment from Mr. Laidler is especially rich coming from Mr. Laidler considering that Mr. Laidler himself as the declared Conservative candidate at the time for the riding had meddled in civic politics by repeatedly posting tweets to local media concerning the local election thereby clearly meddling in local politics.
The comment is also a bit rich considering that one of the members of the Executive of the local Conservative riding association appears to have been heavily involved in the “NoSlateTriCities” print and social media campaign during the last civic elections in Port Moody and Coquitlam as detailed here which incidentally appears to have been largely funded by local developers including Wesbild, Polygon Homes, etc.
Then there was the revelation that Mr. Laidler hired as his campaign manager for his nomination campaign a consultant who works for Kinder Morgan.
Most recently, it appears that an official letter was recently sent out from Tim Laidler’s campaign (dated Oct 2. 2015) (see below) asking for support for Mr. Laidler but which also contained misleading information regarding the other candidates in the riding and which also talks about “income spitting” (rather than income splitting presumably) (see second to last paragraph).
While I know that “income spitting” is obviously a typo and I’m sure that there are many, many on this blog (believe me I know as I keep finding them all the time), this letter represents an official communication from an official Federal party during an election. Surely someone could have proofread and fact-checked the letter before it left the office? Then again, I suppose if the Conservative party HQ can do it as seen below (see below) and the PMO can do it (see below), why would we or should we expect any different from the party at the local level?
With less than a week left in the campaign, I’m going to have to keep this blog post open and update it as we go in order to accommodate additional gaffes. Don’t get me wrong though as there have been many positive highlights for Mr. Laidler in the campaign including repeated endorsements from high level Conservative party members including the Prime Minister himself and being able to work with one of the largest war chests in the country (search here if you are interested). It remains to be seen though whether Mr. Laidler and his campaign can pull the current campaign out of its current tailspin and secure a victory despite all the numerous gaffes detailed above. Some of the obvious pandering announcements targeted at least in part to the sizable local Korean population in the riding and various other efforts at vote pandering to the Korean community (such as that below) may help.
Stranger things have happened and you can never, ever underestimate the Conservative war machine especially in an area that has traditionally voted Conservative. You do so at your own peril as we have seen repeatedly over the past few elections. Will a campaign with a decided focus on doorknocking be able to overcome a mean-spirited, fear-based campaign on the part of the Conservative Party and their leader Stephen Harper? That remains to be seen. Up to you Tri-City voters. The seal training has already begun if that is what you are looking for.