Thursday, August 07, 2008

Timing is Everything

Do you recognise this woman? It's Jennifer Wright from Green Shift. You know. The one that is suing the Liberal Party.

Well, if memory serves, she said her biggest problem with the Lib's using that term as the title of their carbon tax program, was that she did not in any way want to be associated with anything political or any political party. In fact, when you click on the above link, the front page of their site makes that kind of clear.

So isn't it a bit strange that she will be visiting Guelph today? Yes that's right. Smack dab in the middle of a federal by election, Ms. Wright thought it would be a good time to speak to a newspaper about her non-political stance and her fight with a political party.

Unbelievable. Anyone care to tell how she's not gaining publicity for her company?

At the very least, it would be nice if the Mercury asked her some real questions, such as, how much business has been lost? How many actual customers have expressed real concern and horror that their green actions might somehow be mistaken for agreeing with a federal tax plan? Are hundreds of people still calling and e-mailing daily asking to speak to someone in the Liberal Party?

Of course, since she's taking this matter to court, she can't really speak to such issues can she? Which begs the question, why do an interview?

The real question for me is did she call the Mercury or did they call her. If the paper called her, I'd like to know what her issues have to do with Guelph? If she called them, well that would be telling.

You'll notice on the blog link to the Mercury, MacKay is also going to be in town. I wonder if he'll offer Ms. Wright his support for her plight?

That would be one heck of a photo op wouldn't it? ;)


jaybird said...

LAM: I realize that blogging doesn't require that you follow any journalistic standards but it might be a nice idea...

Currently I am in Toronto, there are also millions of others in Toronto at the same time - gasp - that must mean that somehow I am in cahoots with each of them and what they are doing?

Ms. Wright didn't insert herself into the political scene, in fact she specifically requested that Dion and his advisors not use her company's name to avoid being drawn into the political fracas. Now that the LPC has forced her into the scene they (and you) can't complain.

Finally, at this point no one knows whether or not the Mercury sought an interview with her or whether she offered. Either way, I don't think it makes much difference since she made it clear she would fight to protect her brand and so far that seems to be what she has been doing.

I am not a lawyer so I have no idea whether Ms. Wright has a winnable case so I will not speculate. I will say that Dion and his advisors have made a complete cock-up of the roll out of carbon tax plan and you just have to read the thread over at the LPC website on this issue to realize how pissed Liberal members are about more membership dues and party funds being wasted on completely avoidable lawsuits.

Scott Tribe said...

That would be interesting Jaybird, except the doesn't have a message forum that I can see where you're seeing all this supposed "discontent"

Also interesting that someone using the handle of "j" made the almost exact same comment at my site.. it's a tad coincidental that you're typing the exact same thing over here.. so it appears we have a troll running around the Liberal blogsites looking to
comment on this issue.

KNB: One correction - the Guelph Votes site says she'd down there today, unless they've changed it.

knb said...

I presume your opening is in reference to my closing line?

It was a joke.

She most certainly is inserting herself into the political process by going to Guelph.

I don't know if she has a case or not either, but I have found this entire thing to be ridiculous from the beginning.

By all indications she interpretted e-mails and calls sent by conservative bloggers as a threat to her reputation.

The LPC didn't force her onto the scene. That was her decision, likely prompted by the CPC.

knb said...

Thanks Scott.

jaybird said...

Scott: not sure what this is
but it is definitely directly connected to LPC...

jaybird said...

I suppose it depends on how you define troll. J = jaybird - yup that's me. I am not an LPC supporter but I didn't realize that I had to be to comment on liblog posts.

I just think that it is rich to be criticizing this woman for involving herself in partisan politics by the supporters of the party that dragged her in.

knb said...

jaybird, I'm familiar with the site. Which thread are you referring to?

jaybird said...

You can check out a number of threads on this page that catalogue a list of disaffected members but the thread specifically addressing the lawsuit is 'Liberal Party being sued...again"

BTW - I appreciate the civility. I can sometimes engage in overly partisan typing but I really try to be civil most of the time and don't much appreciate the troll tag. If bloggers don't want comments from dissenting voices they should do what Impolitical does and not have a comments section.

knb said...

Thanks for the info jaybird.

Civility is always preferable and for the record, Scott is a pretty civil guy.

wilson said...

Oh my gawd, it's a conspiracy:
Jack Layton's coming to town (Guelph) tomorrow. Layton, McKay, Wright and the same town, during a byelection.
They'll likely meet tonite in some out of the way hotel, and plot against the Liberals....puleeeeze quit with the paranoia.

Steve V said...

I can't wait until September 9th :)

jaybird said...

Generally I have found Scott to be civil that is why I was a tad disappointed but as I said, I am not immune to partisan typing so there you go.

The thing that is true for most of us is that during (by)-elections activists/bloggers tend to get punchier and less willing to hear what may be valid criticisms of their party of choice.

I get that it sucks that Ms. Wright is making a plan that is already difficult to explain all the more difficult. But I continue to believe that isn't her fault but the fault of the LPC for going ahead with the use of a name that they knew (or should have found out) would be problematic.

I also wouldn't be surprised if there was an organized effort on the part of the blogging tories when Dion announced the plan. I just don't think that Ms. Wright should be penalized for this given that she had no control over their behaviour.

The thing that is striking for many (partisans and not) who feel for Ms. Wright is the seeming arrogance of the LPC and some supporters. It is a narrative that repeats itself in many ways and this is only the most recent example.

Libloggers should certainly defend the use of the name but unless or until there is actual proof that Ms. Wright is working with a political party (and I would not include having partisan people donating to a defense fund) than I think that allegations that she is partisan are unfair and unwarranted. This is not the first time that Ms. Wright has tried to protect her trademark and if the LPC had bothered to do more research they likely would have realized that and perhaps chosen a different moniker for their plan.

Scott Tribe said...


It appears anyone can leave messages on that forum, not just Liberal members. For all we know..those could be just planted Conservative trolls leaving those. Forgive my scepticism that anything on that form represents the majority opinion of Liberal Party members.

jaybird said...

Scott: fair enough, I didn't realize it was an open forum. But I wouldn't be so quick to shrug off the discontent on the threads as simply the work of trolls.

We all know that forums will attract the discontented of any party (I am sure that many of you have read the GPC blog posts) and I know that dip bloggers and folks at rabble sometimes take the NDP to task. That said, I was a little surprised by the number of comments on the lawsuit and other Green Shift threads from folks that were clearly LPC members and clearly not happy campers.

Steve V said...


You make valid points, although I could counter, but that's not my point. What I don't understand here, why JR finds it necessary to interject herself into a by-election, which makes her political, which implies that she is trying to hurt the Liberals in this riding. Now, no matter your opinion of her lawsuit, surely any fair minded observer can see how the timing here isn't exactly pure, how this goes beyond her lawsuit, how she effectively politicizes herself with this sit down. Now, all this is mute of course,if it was the Merc that contacted her, although that suggests other motives. And, why not a phone call, why does she physically need to travel to Guelph to "discuss"?

knb said...

wilson, kindly quit with making things up.

There is no paranoia in my post.

knb said...

jaybird. Just to clarify, I do not think she is working with a party per se, I think she was duped.

I neither wish her nor her business any ill will and I don't think there would have actually been any problem had the freeping not gone on.

The point of the post really is to understand why she is going to Guelph now? Did she call the Mercury or did they call her?

If they called her, one has to wonder why. Her issue is hardly something that speaks to the citizens of Guelph. If she called them, well that's worse isn't it?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I wonder how much business the company has gained as a result of the publicity windfall. I know of at least one organization in my small town (pop 3000) that has a catalog and price list and is in the process of selecting products for a community hall.

What sort of environmental activist travels all the way from TO to Ottawa with an entourage just to deliver a handful of documents? Real environmental activists use a courier service unless their personal appearance is required. In the case of serving the LPC with a letter of intent to sue, Purolator would have been the green method of delivery. But then, the Ottawa press corps wouldn't be on hand to photograph her and interview her if she'd handed the package to FedEx, would they?

Methinks she doth protest just enough to milk the publicity for all it's worth. It's called guerrilla marketing and she's doing a great job of it.


ottlib said...


There are no coincidences in politics.

So, it is perfectly valid to question this women's motives in this case.

The interesting part about this is what does this do to her lawsuit?

One of the key claims in her lawsuit is the use of Green Shift by the Liberal Party risks politicizing her company so what does inserting herself into a by-election do to that claim?

I am certain the lawyers for the Liberal Party are looking very closely at her visit from that angle.

knb said...

Jimbobby, good point about the travel.

I wonder if any of the Guelph campaigns bought her stuff?

knb said...

ottlib, I had a similat thought re the Lib lawyers.

I'm looking forward to the interview.

jaybird said...

Jimbobby: maybe she is benefitting but maybe she isn't we can't know, she is not a public company so there will never be an annual report for us to check.

I have seen your complaint before that her traveling to Ottawa somehow invalidates her as an environmentalist and I am sorry but I don't buy it.

Lots of environmentalists (Gore, Suzuki, May, etc.) travel for events and media related reasons. If I were advising her on a communications strategy, I would have told her to go to Ottawa because that is where the offices of the LPC are and that is where the national political press live. At the time, she was still trying to pressure the LPC into changing the name of the plan. You need press if your going to succeed.

We have no idea how she traveled (train, car, or plane), or whether she made any effort to mitigate her carbon emissions through the purchase of offsets, etc.

It just seems to me that it isn't fair that lib activists have merciless attacked her since she first went public with her complaint. I have only seen her defending herself and her trademark against an awful lot of personal invective and innuendo.

JimBobby said...

Lots of environmentalists (Gore, Suzuki, May, etc.) travel for events and media related reasons. If I were advising her on a communications strategy, I would have told her to go to Ottawa because that is where the offices of the LPC are and that is where the national political press live. At the time, she was still trying to pressure the LPC into changing the name of the plan. You need press if your going to succeed.

You need the press if your publicity campaign is going to succeed -- not if your lawsuit is going to succeed. You have essentially reinforced the argument that she's milking it for PR. Good business sense. She knows she hasn't got a chance with the lawsuit but she'd be a fool not to take advantage of the free press.


jaybird said...

Jimbobby: although as i said I am not a lawyer BUT have worked with a lot of them and have close family who are lawyers. Some lawsuits absolutely need publicity. Her goal to get the LPC to not use her name, trying to pressure them via the media prior to filing the lawsuit was absolutely a legitimate tactic. I don't know if it is a smart tactic once the lawsuit is filed but I know of many david vs goliath civil cases where the aggrieved party uses the media (Jane Doe vs Toronto Police, George Hislop case re: CPP - actually countless gay rights court cases, etc.)

So it is possible, depending on what Ms. Wright says in her interview, that she might hurt her case but again, I would bet the farm on it if I were you.

Anonymous said...

Suzuki and other environmentalists go to political events, yes, but they are not involved in legal suits.

You can be damn sure the Liberal lawyers are watching and yes it is political when you are in a legal situation to get yourself involved in a by-election.

I wonder if she's being helped by the CPC - perhaps an RCMP investigation would be in order because it sure smells bad.

jaybird said...

Anon: this is exactly the innuendo I was referring to. Yes she has a fight with the Libs but it doesn't mean she is doing this on behalf of another party. If all she does is answer questions about the lawsuit and doesn't comment about the by-election I wonder how much it would hurt her case.

And again.....did she call the "Merc" as Steve V calls it or did they call her? I think they have already done a piece on the lawsuit so it would make journalistic sense for them to do a follow up interview during the by-election. Which again....would be her responding to not seeking to insert herself into the political environment.

JimBobby said...

I wonder what the author of a book published 1996 thinks of the commercialization of his phrase.

How about the publicly traded Greenshift Corporation of NYC? They seem to be in the same business as DotCOM's and dotCA's are easily confused.

Perth County has a Green Shift program, too.

There are other earlier examples from businesses and government programs in the USA and Britain.

Anyway, I won't bet the farm. I don't have a horse in this race. I've been a self-employed small business owner for 30 years and my observations are based on marketing and publicity -- not from a partisan viewpoint. I'm a Green Party member. The LPC may have lifted the name from Jennifer; they lifted the whole policy from the GPC.


jaybird said...

Jimbobby: I admit, I have no idea whether she has a case but that is for the courts not for me to decide. I am simply pointing out that she shouldn't be subjected to accusations of partisanship without proof and that she has the right to fight this case and finally that the LPC and Dion would have been smarter to think up a different name when they realized there could be a problem with the one they first chose. These are my only (admittedly now oft repeated points) which so far have not really been refuted in their specifics. But LPC/carbon tax supporters are not likely to see it this way so I guess it is pointless to continue the discussion. Cheers all its been fun (mostly ;)

knb said...

If all she does is answer questions about the lawsuit

How can she discuss the lawsuit without laying out her case?

I mean no malice, but watching that presser, she didn't strike me as someone who thinks before she speaks, so I do think there is a risk she'll do herself some damage legally.

As to the Mercury following up on an earlier story, one then must ask the about the objectivity of said paper. They've been decidely bias against the Lib's from what I've read. Not all, but many contributors, including the editors.

What are your thoughts if she contacted them?

Face it jaybird. I don't say this with arrogance, but all publicity really is good publicity. I agree with Jimbobby on that count, she's a smart business woman.

What's really interesting is what a small audience this really has.

Political junkies like us, perhaps environmentally tuned in groups? I've yet to see outrage from any of them, nor any one running to her defense outside of Con bloggers. Outside of that, most people are enjoying their summer.

So, she's going where she'll have an audience, a political setting that she so wants to avoid.

JimBobby said...

Yup, fun. :-) FWIW, I don't think she's acting in a partisan way. I think she's making the most of the situation and I actually tip my hat to her marketing prowess. I hope she doesn't get nailed for court costs or if she does, her PR campaign will have been worth it.

knb said...

Jimbobby, with Lizzie's blessing ;).

knb said...

jaybird, no one is accusing her of being partisan.

I've said repeatedly that she was duped, imo.

To be frank, if I was to affiliate her to a party, it would not be the Con's.

JimBobby said...

Jimbobby, with Lizzie's blessing ;)

Sure. How else are we gonna get our policies enacted? We ain't delusional like the Dippers. We know Lizzie May ain't ever gonna be PM.

knb said...

I think it's called thinking about the real issues and the common good.

Anonymous said...

Simple - why is she placing herself in the middle of a by-election if it isn't political?

RuralSandi said...

If memory serves me correctly, isn't she using a former communications guy for the CPC for her communications advice?


knb said...

anon, that about sums it up.

knb said...

sandi, that particular detail has left memory banks.

Do you remember the name?

jaybird said...

KNB: regarding Merc bias - have to say given that I am a Toronto dipper - cry me a river ;) I have to suffer through the bias of the Star. I have no idea whether Merc is biased but i would argue that bias or not it is a legitimate story to follow up during by-election.

Again, the politics is inherent in the story because a political party chose to use her trademark for a plank of their election platform. She wouldn't be in Guelph if they had chosen a different name. You play by the rules of the game and it was the LPC that decided it would be a contact sport IMO.

Dion's braintrust knew about her, and should have done the research to know that she would defend her trademark. When they called her and she told them that she would defend her trademark they should have changed course. So whatever shit hits the fan (if any) Dion and his team only have themselves to blame.

jaybird said...

PS - i have worked in clearing film rights and you need to clear everything (coke cans, barely legible signs,etc.) that might pop up in the frame of a film. Do most indie and doc filmmakers do this - no because they hope not to get caught but that is still what you are supposed to do. The LPC is not some indie film they should have enough lawyers to know better. Even if I wasn't a dipper, I wouldn't have much sympathy for the hapless Dion crew. I will point out that is my most partisan statement in countless words posted today ;)

Off to pick up my gfriend y'all bye!

Anonymous said...

jaybird you need to get a life, one, two, even three responses, and then you got me moving on to the next place.

Deb Prothero said...

Red Tory had it first, I think:

"Michael Krauss, a communications consultant who once worked for Brian Mulroney"

Alberta Girl said...

"What I don't understand here, why JR finds it necessary to interject herself into a by-election, which makes her political, which implies that she is trying to hurt the Liberals in this riding."

Perhaps because she was interjected into the political scene by the Liberals when they "chose" to take the name of greenshift after warnings from her that she would take action.

Perhaps because of the arrogance of many, many Liberals who imply that she should be happy that she has all this publicity.

That's like the car thief saying to their victims to be happy because now their insurance will pay to get them a new car.

RuralSandi said...

Thank you Deb....I couldn't remember where I saw it - I was starting to look through Kady's blogs...again, thank you.

wilson said...

Well, knb, apparently there are REAL damages being done, as is going around the blogosphere:

...she has one client who sent her an email stating that they would pay for the cups they purchased from her but would throw them out because they have the "Green Shift" label on them and they did not want to be seen as supporting the Liberals...

That's proof of loss, as this particular company would NOT likely purchase products and then throw them out, nore than once.

Steve V said...

"Well, knb, apparently there are REAL damages being done, as is going around the blogosphere:"

Let me go on record right now, predicting that this company sees record profits in the coming months.

And, what I love, people like wilson who hate these tree hugger companies feigning concern. Pathetic.

knb said...

Thank you Deb. I think it was RT.

knb said...

Wilson, that one example may be true, but it's ridiculous.

How environmentally sound of said company to throw out unused cups, even if they are bio-degradable. How about doing the right thing and donate them to a shelter or food bank. That makes environmental and ethical sense.

If they really believe that someone drinking a coffee is going to look at a cup and wonder if it was produced by the Liberal Party of Canada, there is something seriously wrong.

That aside though, the issue remains the same. Had Ms. Wright used her head when this all started and not over reacted to the phoney mail, all of this would have gone away.

Which brings me to the mail. I'm glad to see that it's part of her case. Hopefully she'll submit them all.

You wouldn't be in there would you wilson?

knb said...

Oh Steve, he contradictions abound.

On the one hand no one knows anything about the Liberal Green Shift and on the other, it's destroying a business.

Yes, I'm sure she will continue to do quite well.