Like Nigel Wright, ALL politicians & staffers do “issues management”

Click for project credits.
Click for project credits.

Such hypocrites, the lot of them, from the mainstream media and political pundits, to the opposition leaders themselves. There is near hysteria about the Duffy/Wright/Harper issue even after we know the “PM is good to go” did not mean the PM knew that Wright would be paying for Duffy’s expenses.

I mean, who among them has not “managed issues” to eliminate or reduce bad press? It used to be called “public relations.” Now, more often than not, it’s called “damage control,” “communications” or “issues management.” It’s all inter-connected.

For example:

(1) NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and his staff have been managing the “satellite office issue.” Who, for example, hasn’t heard that the spending of the $2.7 million funds used were following the rules and that they can prove it.  Now read the final paragraphs of a Kady O’Malley CBC column:

If he [Mulcair] can also provide conclusive, compelling evidence to back up his party’s claim that House administrators were fully aware of the satellite office staffing expenses, it will likely shut down any attempts by rival parties to prolong the House-mandated study by calling additional witnesses. Alternately, if the New Democrats appear to be holding back key documents….there’s a good bet that Mulcair’s appearance will do little to quell the controversy.”

Now, for those who have been following the Wright testimony this week at the Duffy trial, doesn’t that sound familiar? Except the above was said in a Parliamentary Committee hearing, not a criminal court’s proceedings.

(2) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his staff have been managing his response to the “not yet ready” issue presented in a Tory ad. Check out this Google search page on the topic that indicates that the Liberal Party has actually put out an ad saying Trudeau “is” ready. Plus he has spoken directly to the matter himself. As well, I have seen red T-shirts with that motto on the back.

My point is that issues management is what all politicians and political staff do. Sometimes strategic plans don’t work as hoped and staffers have to be flexible enough to respond to the punches. Regardless, there is only one man on trial right now and that is Senator Mike Duffy. He is on trial because he is alleged to have expensed his PEI property as his main residence so that he could claim he was travelling while in his Ottawa home. Why he is charged with bribery because Nigel Wright paid for his $90,000 worth of expenses I simply don’t understand.

As far as Wright is concerned, however, what comes to my mind is the old saying: “no good deed goes unpunished!”

Anyway, no matter how much progressives would like it to be true, Prime Minister Harper is not on trial. In other words, the PM has done nothing wrong. For those who claim no one was fired. Actually, someone WAS fired — Nigel Wright — over the fact the PM did not know that it was he and not the Senator himself, who paid Duffy’s expenses. Actually, that is the way it usually works. Wright was the Chief of Staff so he had to take the fall for the misunderstanding. And, yes, that is all it was — a misunderstanding.

Yet, listening to the CBC’s Power and Politics tonight I swear the host Rosemary Barton (who I like) and most of the pundits (other than Rick Anderson) thought the sky was falling and, as a listener, it seemed to me, were throwing out hysterical allegations and false narratives as they went along.

The crux of the matter is that what Wright and those who worked under him in the PMO were doing in the winter of 2013 was simply issues management. Nothing more. Nothing less — regardless of the terminology used by the Defence lawyer on Duffy’s case. Just as Mulcair and Trudeau’s staff and volunteers are doing now day in and day out during this election in their campaign.

Remember that every time you see or hear Mulcair and Trudeau ranting against the PM over the $90,000 bank draft that was used to repay taxpayers.

Remember that when mainstream media journalists refer to this matter as a huge Harper scandal. It is not.

But, most of all, remember what this election is really all about, by checking out my list of “100 reasons to vote Conservative” on October 19th, 2015.

C/P Jack’s Newswatch & thanks to NewsWatchCanada for the referral.


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Sandy is a retired educator, author & former conservative political strategist. She operated the first "Crux of the Matter" from 2006 until 2017 and opened this "Crux of the Matter 2.0" blog in late August, 2018.

56 thoughts on “Like Nigel Wright, ALL politicians & staffers do “issues management”

  1. So after the Liberals absconded with 4 million through adscam and the NDs used 2.7 million inappropriately with their satellite offices how come the scandal is 1 Conservative paying back 90 thousand?


  2. Good question Joe. Except the Liberals absconded with 40 million. This evening there is evidence that NDP candidates are sweeping their social media accounts clean as well. Where is the media on that one? Now, the hysterical don’t talk about the “$90 thousands. It’s the cover up, the lies, yada, yada, yada. They are making it up as they go. Harper Derangement Syndrome is real, unfortunately.


  3. and the steam boats, and shawinnigate, and nanny gate, and well…. I’m starting to see a pattern here of the lack of media coverage and lack of investigative reporting when it comes to reporting or investigating any of the real facts.

    This would actually be a news story if it was reporting about the criminal activity Duffy allegedly had done regarding miss appropriation of benefits and claiming back funds knowingly…. If you’ve ever watched the BBC “Yes, Minister” you know government is really run by Bureaucrats… They would naturally step in with a plan to pay back $30k they were going to potentially forgive him and pay back internally within the party … but when it actually turned out to not be 30k but instead was $90k… And Duffy still owes the cash!!! And Duffy feels he did nothing wrong, in fact he’s playing the victim here where it’s really the Canadian people and the conservative party of Canada that’s out the $90k

    But you can’t expect reporting from any Canadian media… they are entitled a paycheck without ever actually working for a story… that’s why they so badly want to return to a nanny state


  4. The Media are diseased, utterly unethical and theres no better example than this so called “Duffygate scandal”, its to the point of absurdity. The Media’s desperation to manufacture “scandal” where none exits is truly disturbing, an obvious and blatant attempt to interfere with the election. I get the sense that Canadians will not be conned by the Media’s hysteria. In what world does paying money back to the taxpayer equal “scandal”, honestly the whole Media spin is absurd.


  5. Great post Sandy.

    When Duffy was given the senate appointment he instantly became a pariah among his media peers, they never let it go. This poop storm about $90 grand is all they have to try to build a mountain of it to GET Harper. They’ve had a bad two weeks, it’s fizzling fast, they’ll continue to toss out the screed right to the end, they show no respect for the PM, they’ll never apologize for insinuating he was lying either but they should be forced to do so.


  6. Can anyone see any problem with this letter to the editor that the paper won’t print? Seems the media are in cahoots with the opposition for sure….My letter..below

    Some people won’t be happy. A year on the Duffy Trial and the witness Nigel Wright supports the Prime Minister….this from the trial by Katy from the Ottawa Citizen.

    Note: Last sentence supports the Prime minister

    Kady: And we’re there — at that “conversation” between Wright and the PM, during which Wright explained both the strategy and the risk of establishing a particularly stringent precedent, as far as expenses not only being legal, but “right and appropriate.”

    Following that conversation, Wright says, he” informed his colleagues that they were “good to go” pending one further confirmation.

    “Good to go’ means the points I wanted to raise with the PM had been raised, and we could proceed with the plan,” Wright says.

    Those points did *not* include whether the party would covert those costs, as those were NEVER decisions in which he involved the PM, Wright says.

    PLUS this comment

    Oh, and “no, he tells Neubauer that he DIDN’T tell the prime minister about the subsequent discussions with Duffy and his lawyer over the $90 K.

    He also never expected repayment — from Duffy, that is. “ This all under oath.

    Now onto the next non-scandal to try to discredit the Prime Minister to win an election .


  7. That’s just it Jim Deke. They are not constant lies. It is issues management, spin, messaging, damage control. But, it is not lies because lying must have intent to it. To an outsider it seems like lies but it isn’t.

    Think about this for a moment. NDP candidates are currently deleting or editing their social media accounts so the public won’t know they supported petitions or messaging that was anti-oil sands. It is all over Twitter. That could be seen as deceit. But, I don’t get in a lather over it because it is another case of issues management. That is essentially public relations. To me that is far more serious than a staffer paying taxpayers back for a Senator’s expenses out of his own pocket.

    Lies involve intent. Paying Duffy’s debt but saying he did does not have the intent of a lie. The debt was paid back. That was the main issue. The problem was Duffy himself, he just kept going on talk shows.

    I have worked for an Ontario politician. Issues management was part of my job. No PMO has ever functioned without issues management. Chretien had his golf balls at the Gomery Commission. That was issues management. And, so on.

    You can bet for example that President Obama has a huge issues management team.


  8. Oh, Ontario Girl, they are not finished with this one yet. Read my reply to Jim Deke. The NDP candidates are all deleting or editing their Twitter accounts and the media say nothing. “That should be a bigger red light than a staffer saying Duffy paid back his expenses when someone else did. But…….


  9. Yes Ed, re the union. Liz mentioned that in another thread yesterday. It’s legally allowed in this country but just one more example of why there is so much anti-Conservative media bias.


  10. Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, were my favourite programs awhile back. Hilarious but true. Having worked for a politicians, I know it is true. LOL


  11. One more thing Jim Deke. Harper is not a problem. Only those who suffer from Harper Derangement Syndrome see a problem with the PM. He is one of the best we have ever had. You are allowing yourself to be influenced by the media. They hate him because wait back when — in 2006 — he wanted a list of names prior to the start of a press conference. They had a hissy fit about that. Obama expects the same thing. Yet, no problem.

    No, no PM can do what people attribute to him. He is one man. The bureaucracy run the government. He has a huge staff and they brief him every day. As far as being a control freak, so was Mr. Chretien. They have to be, all PMs, to keep all the ducks in a row. Those that don’t are history in short order.


  12. So true about Duffy being the problem himself. He didn’t catch on the media who were so infuriated with him for accepting the CONSERVATIVE Senate appointment were USING him in their incessant efforts to GET Harper.

    Speaking of lying, outright, blatant lying, I’m guessing there’s no memory of Chretien telling us the GST “was gone”, there is a clip somewhere in the deep caverns. Even Sheila Copps ran and got elected saying it would be abolished, she then resigned and ran again on principle. If my memory serves, Chretien denied he said it, would that be compounding a lie?

    And, when it comes to lying, if breaking promises after getting elected is considered lying, former Ontario Liberal premier McGuinty takes the prize, he did it repeatedly.

    I cannot find any example of lies from the PMO or Harper Jim Deke, maybe your have more info and examples to share, we’d like to have them and check them out.

    For the life of me I don’t understand why anyone would enter politics as a Conservative to be excoriated by the cesspool of talking heads and scribes so obviously out to expunge them right out of the gate. As I’ve said before, they hate Harper and Conservatives more than they care about their country.


  13. Sandy: I sent Ezra’s video about the media unions registered as a 3rd party to everyone on my email list to get the word out. I think our daily newspaper belongs to the union. We have a new opinion writer today…Mark Sutcliffe saying the Conservatives didn’t win the election because the opposition together had more votes and pushing the coalition of the two parties. Then the write up on the Duffy trial is done by Jennifer Ditchburn from CBC;s “at issue”. All articles lately are negative against the Conservatives and the one about David Peterson doesn’t mention the word LIBERAL anywhere in the article about a women suing him for 10 million for sexual harassment . Tondra McCharles from the Toronto Star was unbelievable outside the Duffy Trial courthouse yesterday. It was actually vile. Then we have NDP Charlie Angus and Liberal Dominic Leblanc holding PRESS CONFERENCES outside the courthouse. Lastly, CPAC appears to be onboard with the opposition also. Where is Elections Canada? PM Harper should ask the next reporter if they are asking questions on behalf of their registered union against his party.
    Your right on…they aren’t finished yet.


  14. Mark Sutcliffe has a morning show on CFRA Ottawa, It’s before Lowell Green who is on from 10am to noon and everyone would benefit from listening to Lowell’s call in show, the best we have. Sutcliffe should be ashamed to write such blather. It’s our system, first past the post but the Lefties have been using that line since the Conservatives were elected.


  15. I mentioned this on the Rebel’s site: I’m wondering if having unions register as political parties is all so legal as it seems. Unions get their funding from their members, and paying those dues is mandatory. So these are mandatory political donations. Isn’t _that_ illegal?


  16. When we hear NDP and others ragging on about the majority of voters didn’t vote for the winner as per our system they need to be asked if that would apply if they won. We have three main parties and one waste of time and space called the Green Party, according to this thinking whoever wins the majority must not take power because combined more people voted for the losers. This is another example of the thought process of the Left, they lack the capacity for reasoned thought.


  17. I maintain that to win this election the Conservatives need to show that they are the adults, while the Liberals are the Care Bear party (BTW who would Care Bear in Chief nominate as minister of Smurfs and My Little Ponies) and the NDP are the party of kooks. I mean its not like the Libs and NDs are not supplying the ammunition.


  18. Hop over to the latest post on BC Blue if you want to get your anger up to steam. Toronto Star allows a column saying Stephen Harper is worse than ISIS. This is one the CPC needs to take action on, no apologies asked for,sue him for big bucks, this is personal, it’s an insult to all who support Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative party. I’m incensed , boiling mad that we have so much hate in this country coming from the media we count on to keep us informed.


  19. Okay Liz. Yes, I saw the column yesterday. It’s appalling but the headline writer is the one who compared Harper Gov’t to ISIS. The author, the former head of CBC and now head of Al Jazeera teaches journalism at Ryerson. My mother once told me it was like this just before and after the second world war. Appeasers everywhere. Anyway, I believe Canadians will see through the fear mongering, the very thing they say the Conservatives do. Shameful to say the least.


  20. I can’t stand listening to CBC so I tape it and watch it when I am in a relaxed mood to see the Tokyo Rose reports. I just listened to 3 days of “The National”. The bottom line is, CBC is fighting for a raise in their taxpayer funded money promised by the NDP and Liberals. Every word, every article, is a major slam against the Govt. The big news was how the Govt. did nothing for the Canadian teacher in Asia somewhere, charged with sex crimes out of the country but got out of jail after a year in prison. Hannah Thebadault from CBC is the worst along with Laurie Graham from CTV. They complain about only having 5 questions, yet what are their questions? Not any news for Canadians about the Govt. platform…nope…all Duffy smears trying desperately to dis-respect the PM. Then they say. .”Thank you for taking media questions”. As if the PM doesn’t take questions. The CBC’s star go to guy is Kevin Page who was the X_Parliamentary budget officer who was running for the Liberal party . It’s hard to listen too but I do it to see what Canadians are listening to as TRUTH…false truth.


  21. You definitely take one for the team Ontario Girl. I watched the 3 At Issues this week and the power panel on P&P most days. For the same reason you do. To know what average Canadians are listening to


  22. Another question concerning the unions, are unions not tax exempt, if so how are they
    getting away with registering as a political party?


  23. By the way several months ago before SSN went off the air the shiny pony said in a scrum
    that he would cancel senior income splitting, now all of a sudden he’s not…flip-flop anyone.


  24. I think the fact that the CBC employees belong to this union answers questions of why the comments on CBC articles are hate-filled against Mr. Harper. It is perhaps these very union members employed at the CBC who are filling the comment section with their slant, which is often outright lies. There are thousands of comments, and virtually no rebuttals. That is not a cross-section of Canadian thought, so something is suspicious.


  25. Ontario voters who are concerned about Wynne’s pension plan scheme which will certainly kill jobs, businesses will leave or shut down ,should know their only safe vote is with the Harper Conservatives, they are not buying it. She hasn’t a clue what it will cost, apparently that’s not important, she’s only thinking of the money it will pull into her coffers to help keep her mess afloat. No one will benefit from it for 40 years, many never. It’s too outrageous to even comprehend why, in this economic climate,anyone would even dream this up and the suspicious among us smell a rat, the only ones to “benefit” are the financial wizards she has in charge of the provincial purse strings to pad their bottom line, make them and us look richer than we think.

    Sure hope the Conservatives start yelping loudly about this, they need to get some ads going, Ontario needs the Harper Conservatives more now than ever. Ditto Alberta, who haven’t yet felt the brunt of their NDP government.


  26. Actually, the Wynne pension plan is s close as it gets to a Ponzi scheme. We’re being treated like idiots, she hasn’t even bothered to have all the details, the little matter of the cost of this scheme, they’ll make it up as they go, the peons won’t know the difference.


  27. Still waiting on the Conservative worker bees to take some action re the writer of the Star column saying the PM is worse than the worst murderous gang, in the world today, this is beyond free speech, this is rooted in extreme hatred. People who write this stuff have to believe it, a written article is not a slip of the tongue in anger, it’s got to be seething hatred. It’s hate speech of the highest order. We are living in dangerous times, this is serious stuff, we have a lot to lose if this is proliferated in our Colleges and our Universities where socialist creep has become full blown.


  28. We shouldn’t get discouraged. There is still good news out there. This Canoe (Sun Media) article says the PM won the second week of the campaign. Check it out here.


  29. Yeah, but there again it’s the Duffy trial figured in. Not discouraged but it’s disappointing to see such awful stuff gotten away with when we know for sure this would be front page headlines if any Conservative were to utter anything close to it.
    It’s also a feather in PM Harper’s cap that he’s steady as he goes about his campaign without getting down and dirty with the mud slingers, he’s showing maturity, he’s a cut above the rest.


  30. Justin is going to write a letter to the PM to get answers he refuses to answer in public and Mulcair says the whole Duffy affair is Harper’s fault…….who needs courts and lawyers?


  31. The good news is that it’s summer and most people aren’t paying attention to Duffy or the Senate stuff, AND, it’s been spun out so badly by the MSM as to be annoying to most.

    Now here’s something that needs a wider audience because for most of us and apparently to this American paper Stephen Harper is truly an amazing leader….and there’s not much the MSM can do about it.


  32. Does anyone wonder why the PM got so involved with Duffy’s problem with Senate expenses? Why did he not just ask Duffy and the others involved to step aside until the whole thing was dealt with within the Senate and the courts ? I’ll wager Chretien would not have immersed himself into it, he would have whistled off and let the chips fall where they may, far away from him.

    Now the media and opposition are using this as an election issue because they have nothing to offer and little else to get Harper on. Now they’re not believing Harper knew nothing about the $90 grand offered Duffy by Wright which means they’re calling him a liar which the media will make stick.

    Also comparing this to the Sponsorship scandal is pretty rich, another example of how Chretien whistled off, tossing some $40 million to the winds of Quebec, taxpayer millions lost and unaccounted for forever.


  33. Wonder if PM Harper came out and tossed a few questions back at the media smarties. play them instead of letting them call the shots and get away with treating him like a nobody? Maybe he could take a small page from Donald Trump, who takes no crap from the media, instead of being tight and letting them set the agenda. He needs to do better at calling their BS what it is, we need to see more fight from him, fight like he really wants the job.


  34. I hear you Liz but Canadians are different from Americans. If Mr. Harper started getting aggressive, our media would make mincemeat out of him. He has to act like a Prime Minister. Trump is a joke and, while he may have struck a cord because people are fed up with political correctness, he won’t be the next President because he would need to be able to be diplomatic as well and I am not sure he can be. LOL Enjoy listening to him though.


  35. Not to worry, no chance of Mr Harper channeling Donald Trump but Mr Harper does have a sense of humour, with intelligence, we’ve seen it on several occasions. As for The Donald , given the politics in the US right now anything is possible. He could also be killing the Republican chances and we’ll have more of the same which means no to our oil and pipeline. However he sure is hilarious to watch, he’s shaking things up, he can afford to play the game.


  36. Watching PM Harper taking questions from the media today from NB….5 questions…4 were like media speeches(not questions) and PM Harper answered them all calmly. I really think this Duffy questioning is backfiring on the media. It is now showing them up for how biased they are. After every question PM Harper answered he got BIG APPLAUSE from the smart people in the room. The media are looking foolish now.
    Lastly, NDP Mulcair today, looks like he had botox to keep the permanent phoney looking smile on his face, trying not to be “angry Tom of the past” It is starting to look frozen…too funny.


  37. Progressives never consider the opportunity cost of their policies, assuming somehow they’re costless, like a kid thinking money grows on trees.


  38. The media just keep drumming on how the Duffy trial is dogging the PM everywhere he goes…well H-E-L-L-O, they are the ones who are dogging him, the trial is not an animate object. The Duffy trial has been made into a Nigel Wright and Stephen Harper trial in the media, they’re making this an election issue to fuel their anti Harper agenda which they’ve been feeding at every opportunity since Stephen Harper became PM, among the lowest being “Wafergate” at the funeral of a former GG, nothing could be more pathetic than that, or so we thought!

    We can only hope people listen beyond this sad media circus and do their homework on the issues that affect us all in our daily lives and it’s not who did what, when or why in the Mike Duffy trial.


  39. How about that, the Teachers’ union is going to campaign against Stephen Harper……a “Heave Steve” campaign?
    Are they gone mad or what? Since when has the Federal government been involved with the administration of provincial education. It’s looking like they’re getting desperate and are out to confuse as many people as possible at this election writ period.


  40. Jim, the problem I have with this is to understand what exactly was wrong with Nigel Wright giving Duffy the $90k to pay back the expenses. Since I can’t understand what is illegal about it, then why are folks so excited about a “cover up”. Surely it is mostly hype where a biased media is an accomplice to the opposition pols. It’s perfectly natural for the opposition to spin it for what it is worth; it’s borderline immoral for the media to not criticize the opposition spin and help us understand better the significance or lack thereof of the whole affaire.


  41. How about this whopper from CBC “veteran journalist ” Hannah Thibedeau:

    “Thibedeau stated that Wright and others concocted a “deliberately deceptive” tale about Duffy’s repayment that Canadians believed.” Oh really, where is the evidence to support the assertions of this “veteran journalist’s” beyond innuendo, prejudice and Harper hating rabies?

    OK she isn’t technically a lying piece of s**t, but her actions are unethical, biased and unprofessional imho. She obviously has no hesitation engaging in rumour, misrepresentation and spin to discredit our PM, but is clearly not interested in the “truth.” She should apologize to PMSH and her employer. I know, not going to happen.

    I have no problem with tough questions or an apology from the Harper team to her and other “reporters,” but it’s good to hear of some pushback from the troops. Maybe now the other leaders can answer some “tough questions.”


  42. hell…look at the media coverage about the man who called out the CBC and CTV media girls today. People at the rallies are sick of the media bias. We keep hearing how PM Harper doesn’t take questions….Tokeyo Rose FALSE … PM Harper takes his questions. Soo, what are the questions from the media. DUFFY< DUFFY< DUFFY< DUFFY. Not about his announcements on platforms affecting Canadians. NADDA.This has been going on for weeks. This is nothing more then media campaigning in this election against the Govt. Media have y registered as a 3rd party in this election against the Govt. Seems to be a defection so Canadians won't get answers on the platforms which are not funded by the opposition. HOW YOU GOING TO PAY FOR ALL YOUR PROMISES?????? That's the questions Canadians want to hear about from the opposition. NOT those soft ball questions that Trudeau and Mulcair are being asked by the 3rd party registered media guild. Where do Canadians go for honest media reports? That's the million dollar question. We are totally screwed by the left media. How do you fight them when they won't even print your letters to the editor??


  43. And please, what is the actual issue with Duffy repaying questionable (but perhaps not illegal expenses ) with the help of Nigel Wright? I don’t understand.


  44. I completely agree. I am often texting to CJAD in tough questions about their biased coverage and find that these points rarely get discussed. I get the impression that Bell Media is on the take some how or just PO’d at the CRTC which is trying to open up access to the airwaves.


  45. Neither do I James, neither do I. Someone pays back Duffy’s expenses and the sky is falling. I don’t even know why Duffy was even charged. Faulty Senate rules and misplaced entitlement is not against the law. Or so I thought. Sheesh!


  46. Anyway I sent e-mail to the programming director at CJAD and Tommy Schnurmacher about the ridiculously biased coverage. If i don’t hear back soon, I will lodge a complaint with the CRTC.


  47. James in QC, I think there are actually dozens of charges, one of them accepting a bribe if you can believe it. You’ll have to do Google search to find out.


  48. Another day and the news media continues reporting every hour on the hour that “Harper” is still being dogged on the campaign trail by the Duffy “scandal” when they are the dogs doing the dogging.

    Problem with this whole Duffy media circus is you’d be hard pressed to figure out who did anything wrong. I feel sorry for Nigel Wright, getting hauled over the coals for being a good guy, ensuring we got the money owed by Duffy back into the coffers.


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