Press Progress just posted (on September 23rd) a comical post highlighting what appears to be a farcical attempt by Tim Laidler’s campaign to Photoshop Tim Laidler’s name over another Conservative candidate’s sign for promotional purposes. Have a look here. Below is the original context of the photo in question. Vancitybuzz.com also subsequently posted on the same topic. It’s all very funny until you consider this: If Mr. Laidler is willing to be part of something like this during an election campaign, what would he be capable of should he ever make it to Ottawa? Some food for thought.
Some more photos from the event showing the Thind sign present.
What this incident shows is that if reality doesn’t fit and it suits you as a Conservative, just Photoshop it (badly) and make it part of the new Conservative reality. Maybe no one will notice? Again, if people like this are willing to do these kinds of actions as part of an election campaign (and against a candidate from their own party no less), what would they do once in Ottawa? Why would we ever let them back into Ottawa? We have already seen that ethics are not the Conservatives’ strong point. Fool me thrice?
Edit: Subsequent to the publishing of the Press Progress and Vancity Buzz posts, the following statement appeared on the Vancity Buzz post:
UPDATE: A representative from Tim Laidler’s election campaign has confirmed to Vancity Buzz that a communications volunteer did in fact photoshop Laidler’s name over top of another candidate’s sign, but that “no harm or misrepresentation was intended”.
“…no misrepresentation was intended”? Really? Looks exactly like intended misrepresentation to me.
I must say that I do feel for the communications volunteer in question as that probably was not a good day for them (when the graphic came to light and the posts began to appear). However, that said, the fact is that there is no way that that graphic like that should have left the office. It is a failing of the campaign manager and the candidate in question to not attend to and/or review everything that leaves the office with the candidate’s name on it. It is not a failing of the communications volunteer as I’m sure they were only trying to help. The incident instead speaks to poor internal communications and a lack of attention to details, something that you would hope someone seeking office at the highest level would be good at. Identifying the source of the graphic as a communications volunteer also speaks to a lack of taking responsibility for the campaign by those in charge. The campaign essentially just hung the volunteer out to dry. For the communication volunteer, that must not have felt very good. Not cool.
But first, I wanted to acknowledge the excellent editing work done on the video showing Jason Kenney bobbing, fidgeting, and fussing in order to get just the right shot of Mr. Laidler at the airport. Absolutely love it. Well, well beyond my video editing capabilities. I still get a chuckle watching the raw footage but this was even better. You’d think that a Cabinet Minister with a portfolio that includes two large and significant ministries would have far more important things to do than cheap partisan politicking but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Of more importance (and relevance going forward), I wanted to acknowledge that for whatever reason, that I had missed the Oct. 1, 2014 Toronto Sun article in which Tim Laidler was the only quoted commentator on proposed changes at Veterans Affairs introduced by the then Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino. Mr. Laidler provided an entirely positive review of the proposed changes in the article. As noted by Press Progress, one should keep in mind that at the time of the publishing of the Sun article (and definitely not disclosed in the article), Mr. Laidler was already the declared Conservative candidate for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam (for 2 months) and had been endorsed by Mr. Fantino during his candidacy (5 months earlier). This theme, (Mr. Laidler’s repeated lack of disclosure of his candidacy for the Conservatives and his refusal to disclose this fact voluntarily, and by not doing so, his not acknowledging and/or considering the potential murky ethical dilemma that that puts one in when providing a formal opinion for the official record) has come up repeatedly (as the Press Progress article points out and as pointed out on the blog here) and will be the subject of a detailed upcoming blog post as a new and troubling example of this theme has just come to light (thanks very much in advance to the veteran who brought this example to my attention).
From the review of Mr. Laidler’s Twitter feed (before he blocked me of course), it looks like Mr. Laidler is now aware of what he is getting into in running for the Conservatives. Do a quick search of Twitter by @LaidlerTim to get an idea of how things went for Mr. Laidler yesterday upon the publishing of the Press Progress post. Probably wasn’t a really great day for him.
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.