Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Communication Strategy? Casuistry

In my previous post I spoke to the result of a story that broke today. That result was Harper showing his vicious self guised as a diversionary tactic.
The story itself is a bit more interesting though, it's complicated therefore the details will not likely resonate with most Canadians. The essence of it should though. That would be the absolute hypocrisy of this government exposed, once again.
This photo depicts Dimitri Soudas. He is Harper's deputy press secretary. Apparently in August of 2006 he arranged a meeting with the PMO and Public Works to put forward an argument to ease up on a company, Rosdev, who was being sued by Public Works. Rosdev is a Real Estate developer who owns buildings that the government inhabits. The buildings went into a state of disrepair and the government asked that Rosdev fix what was wrong. They agreed, but did nothing so Public Works took them to court. Are you yawning yet? Yeah I know it's boring but it's important to understand the context of this issue.
Michael Rosenberg is the President and Chief Executive Officer of this company and apparently he has quite a bit of influence in Montreal, specifically Outremont.
So, let's go back a bit. Harper wins the election and all of the postmortems suggest that he needs to make more headway in Quebec. Well! Here they have a person who might help can they help him? Soudas decides that it would be good for the Con's to try to give this guy a break. He decides to arrange a meeting with the PMO and Public Works officials to intervene in the case. He apparently suggested that perhaps mediation would be a better way to go. Remember, he's talking to a department that is suing this guy and the case is before the court. Do you smell, yet again, the odour of influence? Clearly, he was looking for clout in Outrement.
The mediation route was not chosen, as the case is still before the courts but that is not what is important. The fact that they thought they could hold sway, is what is disturbing. Anyone who thinks Soudas did this without the ok from the PM is dreaming. What we don't know, yet, is if the government is still pursuing the case as it was started.
Here's the thing. Soudas is not an elected individual, but he certainly has an in as it relates to the PMO. The head of Public Works is not an elected individual, but, oh wait, he's attached to Quebec. Since when do staffers have the right to summon two arms of government to meet? It's pretty standard fare for MP's to plead cases to the PMO, but a deputy press secretary?
This is all about Quebec strategy and an attempt to influence the perception of Harper in that province. It's reported that Soudas was influenced by Leo Housakos.
Soudas was asked to intervene by Leo Housakos, a Montreal city councillor and longtime political ally who also organizes for the Conservatives federally and Mario Dumont's Action Démocratique du Québec party provincially. Housakos was appointed by Harper's government last month to the board of Via Rail.
Gee, I don't think we need Columbo here do you?
Harper of course is sloughing this off as having happened a long time ago and then he felt the need to divert this subject with his ridiculous comments about ethnicity. The fact is this government said they were going to be lily white. They were less than disingenuous. Example, upon example tells us that was yet another lie.

Sandra Bucker and now Dimitri Soudas. Communications aren't faring too well for Mr. Harper but it's clear who he likes in that position. Those that can spin a speedy response to the hypocrisy they employ.

I don't know if this story will have legs, because it's not simple, but trust the communications group on Harper's team to break it down to a few syllables. The sycophants can't cope with much more than that and he must feed them.

Isn't it sad that we've come to this?


Scotian said...

You know, I really didn't want to believe that the Greek slur was purely for distraction value to try to divert attention from this scandal, I even said so when I wrote about it earlier today at Saundrie. I don't like Harper, I don't trust Harper, but I have a hard time believing anyone, even someone like him, has so totally sold themselves to complete amorality in pursuit of power. Especially when in his earlier days he clearly tended to practice what he preached, which was one of the reasons the Grewal fraud and the way he covered it up when it fell apart so shocked me, before then I still violently disagreed with his aims and the way he wanted to play politics, but I thought he was an honest one (ideologue that is, not politician, those are about as common as unicorns and not just these days that is a truth/reality that I know goes back generations whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not). Grewal showed me otherwise.

Now, we have this incident, and I cannot find fault with your reasoning in this post. I want to, but I can't. Indeed, I am going to add it as the basis for an update before I crash tonight. I really didn't want to think this was true, I was watching live when he did so with my wife and we were both shocked, and neither of us are fans of his nor are unfamiliar with how low he can go (Martin supporting child porn being an excellent example) when going after his foes. This, though, this honestly so shocked me I couldn’t initially come up with a reason why than as to deflect from the scandal you are talking about but I thought it was a weak explanation because it would show a level of desperation from him that this is something truly dangerous to him and yet this outrageousness of the act would only draw more attention to it and he is a smart enough operator to grasp that basic principle of politics. So I guess that this means either there is something fairly serious here that he (normally I'd say they referring to a govenrment but this really is a one man government unlike anything I've ever seen before) is desperate to hide or that Harper is feeling so cornered by current events that his basic political judgment completely snapped to say something he had to know was this ugly when he said it.

I wish I could say thanks for this confirmation of my worst fears for why Harper did this but to thank you would not feel appropriate given the absolutely horrible and disgusting appeal to racism just to deflect from the scandal (after all ethnic baiting and race baiting are at heart the same thing, calling it ethnic is a less semantically loaded term and closer to a neutral descriptive term) you are describing and it fits everything I've seen myself surrounding this act and the underlying scandal behind it. What makes this appeal to that ugliness so particularly egregious/offensive was that there was absolutely no indication/hint/whiff of ethnitity to this story or it being a factor in it until he raised it.

This is a sad day in Canadian politics when a PM does such a thing like that. With the Gagliano example by Chretien at the beginnings of Adscam/Sponsorship that some Conservatives appear to be thinking of (because I suspect that is where Harper and his brain trust got the idea for this, and his delivery felt too prepared for this to have been spur of the moment invention, at least that is how it felt/read to me) Italians and Italian Canadians had/have a negative sterotype as mobsters in society(between the real mafia and the widespread fictional mafia presence in our entertainment) I know of no such equivalent for Greeks or especially Greek Canadians unlike Italian Canadians.

RuralSandi said...

Is it me or does Harper say stupid things like the Greek issue and attacking Keen in the house when's he caught and rattled?

Dame said...

To ruralsandy .

It is the Primitive Reaction of a very Primitive Mind...
You can predict it now at any circumstances..
Even we should be able to trigger it whenver we feel like it...

knb said...

Obviously I agree with you Scotian. That the Con's kept it up today and worse, (Van Loan accused both the Bloc and the Lib's of discriminating against the Greek community), was even more vile.

To be honest, I didn't appreciate Chretien's comment either but I take your point on how it was arrived at.

The government, when caught out either turns the facts on their head, blames someone else, or says that Lib's did it too.

knb said...

Sandi and Marta, it's who he is and who he reverts to when he is caught out or is faced with a situation that he had no control over.

Scotian said...


I didn't think much of Chretien's point with Gagliano at the time either, but at least I could see some basis for it. This though, this had none whatsoever. I missed today's QP (although I taped it for later viewing, I just got back in from a long day out of the house) so I am behind the curve at the moment on this, but I cannot say I am surprised to hear that this government continued down this dark and disgusting road.