Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Don’t get angry, get Google

Stephane Dion has a new communications guru in the OLO, one Nicholas Ruszkowski. I wish him luck, I’ve not exactly been alone in saying the OLO could use a communications shake-up.

It seems Nicholas joins the Liberal dream team from Fleishman-Hillard Canada, where he was a registered lobbyist for a number of clients. Now, you may think it would be pretty ballsy for Conservatives to get on their high-horses over lobbying given stories like this, this, this, this or this. Silly you, we are talking about Conservatives after all…

Enter the Angry Steve Janke and his “investigative” skills. He seems quite shocked Dion would hire a lobbyist! Maybe he just thinks we should have learned something from the poor job performance of Steve Harper’s communications maven, Sandra Buckler. Not only was Ms. Buckler a lobbyist until the last election, she was a lobbyist for….Fleishman-Hillard Canada! (h/t Bizrro)

At least it won’t be all new people on the Hill for Nicholas, maybe him and Sandra can go for coffee, show him where the washrooms are, and so on.

Now, Steve seems to make quite a bit about one of Nicholas’ clients being Royal LePage Relocation Services. Hmm, wonder who Sandra lobbied on behalf of. To Google, and the Lobbyist Registry!

Would you be surprised if I told you one of her clients was…Royal LePage Relocation Services? Oui, c’est vrai.

Ms. Buckler also lobbied for CCFDA, Resolve, Coca-Cola, Canadian Association of Community Financial Service Providers, Conocophillips Canada, IGM Financial, Power Financial Corp., Great-West Life Assurance, CNR, Rogers Wireless, DeBeers Canada, Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association and BioCap Canada.

Think any of those companies might interact with the government? Have they ever called Sandra? Blah blah and so on…

Anyway, I don’t care that Buckler and Ruszkowski used to be lobbyists. I actually think we need more former journalists working in Ottawa (we’re way better than lobbyists) but whatever, just as long as everyone behaves aboveboard. Now, making a former lobbyist, say, defence minister…

…but what makes me angry…nah, just annoyed really…is that this is example 1,365 of the gap between Conservative rhetoric and Conservative action…apparently it goes lobbyist becomes Dion communications guy = bad but lobbyist becomes Harper communications gal = fine, if you’re scoring at home.

Canada’s Conservative Party, our Principles Apply to Everyone But Us.

P.S. Wondering who is now handling Royal LePage's lobbying needs for Flieshman Hillard? To the lobbyist registry! It looks like it's one Kevin MacIntosh...Scroll down and you'll see Kevin and Nicholas tag-teamed it for awhile.

Until joining FH, guess who Kevin worked for? Well, while the Cons were in opposition Kevin was executive assistant to Conservative MP Rob Nicholson, who now, of course, is now the Justice Minister.

Small world, non?

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bigcitylib said...

Lobbied For Royal Lepage? Oh my! That's almost like lobbying for Satan!

Olaf said...


You make a good point about Janke, and rightly zing him. However, this I take minor offense to:

Canada’s Conservative Party, our Principles Apply to Everyone But Us.

This is a common blogging technique: to take a supporter of a certain party as somehow representative of that party's views generally. It happens all to often across the political spectrum, and is frustrating beyond words. Indeed, I think it might even happen more often at the BTs, where someone will dig up something Cherniak or you or Ted or whoever says, and somehow paints it as an attack on the Liberals in general or Dion in particular, which is of course completely nonsensical.

If Harper came out and bashed Dion for doing what he himself did, sure, go after Harper. Until he does, it makes more sense to level your indignation at Janke and not try to make it somehow a sweeping blight on the whole party.

ps Incidentally, this is a favourite tactic of Canadian Cynic, although he uses a different form. He'll often take a quote from one "conservative", and then take a contradictory quote from a completely different "conservative" (often from different countries, different strands of conservative thought, different periods of time, etc.) and self-righteously decry the "hypocrisy" of it all.

It's actually pretty hilarious how good he feels about himself afterwards, as if he got the scoop of the year when in fact he only proved the obvious - that some conservatives, like some social democrats and liberals and siamese twins, disagree on specific issues on occasion.

Jeff said...

Olaf, with that end note I did mean to refer to Janke so much as Conservatives at large. The government establishment (PMO, MPs, staffers, spinners, and so on) have made it common to campaign on one thing and then do the opposite. It started on day one when Harper appointed an unelected Senator and put him into cabinet, when he made a former defence lobbyist his defence minister, the list goes on...So while it's a partisan point, I don't think it's an unfair one.

Olaf said...


with that end note I did mean to refer to Janke so much as Conservatives at large.

I see... it's a common mistake. Sometimes, I mistakenly call Jason Cherniak "the Liberal Party of Canada", when that's not his name at all... boy does my face turn red! Steve Janke and the entire Conservative Party of Canada are two physical entities that are easily confused - I remember last election, when the CPC released their platform, it was mistakenly reported in the Toronto Star as "Steve Janke's election platform"...

Anyways, I don't think the confusion was a honest mistake, is what I'm saying - you tried (perhaps unconsciously) to spin this as further evidence of the hypocrisy of the CPC, when neither the party at large, it's officials, or it's leadership was in any way involved or aware.

So while it's a partisan point, I don't think it's an unfair one.

I'm not saying it's unfair, just that it's irrelevant to this post, which does nothing at all to bolster such an argument. You make it sound like Janke's opinion is just another example of Conservative Party hypocrisy, although it's really only just another example of Janke's opinion.

It's a pet peeve of mine, as I imagine it is with you, when this or that obscure Liberal supporter says something controversial and it's incredibly cited by a grasping BT as evidence of Dion's personal incompetence.