Monday, September 15, 2008

Liberals Spreading Misinformation about Harper, NCC

I just sent this email out to my media contacts:

In its "Reality Check" website, the Liberal Party is spreading misinformation about the National Citizens Coalition and a 1993 campaign to defeat then MP Jim Hawkes.

Here's an excerpt from the Liberal site:

"Instead, he (Harper) served as both president and vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), an extreme right advocacy organization that employed Mr. Harper between 1997 and 2001, and also assisted with his 1993 election campaign."

That last bit implies the NCC supported Stephen Harper's election campaign in 1993.

We did not.

We did run a $50,000 multi-media ad campaign urging voters in Calgary Southwest to “Defeat Jim Hawkes”, but this campaign had nothing to do with Harper, but was simply part of larger war the NCC was waging against election gag laws.

Unfortunately for Hawkes, he was the government’s point man and chief public defender of an election gag law the Mulroney government had enacted. That made him, in our mind, a marked man.

We were determined to defeat Hawkes, to send a message to politicians everywhere: any politician who endorsed gag laws would pay a steep political price.

That’s why when the writ was dropped in 1993 we hammered Hawkes with everything in our arsenal: newspaper ads, radio spots, TV commercials --- all of them linking Hawkes with the gag law.

Our message was simple: Hawkes wanted to take away the right to free political speech.

For us, it was not about Harper winning, but about Hawkes losing.

And I should know, I am the one who planned the campaign.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity... if the NRC is so concerned about the right to free (political) speech why has it remained silent about the CHRCs? Political speech is simply a small subset of all free speech - why hasn't there been a massive campaign against them?

Just askin....

Anonymous said...

Harper was a legislative assistant to Jim Hawkes and then backstabbed his boss by running against him. The first of many Harper reversals.

I am sure it was just a coincidence that the NCC ran a negative campaign in the riding that Harper was seeking election.

BBS said...

Since Gerry no longer works for the NCC, maybe you should ask them.

Anonymous said...

"And I should know, I am the one who planned the campaign."

What utter nonsense. This is Harper logic at its worst. Hey Gerry, did it ever occur to you that the effect of your all out anti-Hawkes campaign might accrue to Harper's benefit?

Well duh, yeah.

The appearance of conflict of interest is, in the books of ethically minded people, as bad as a conflict of interest itself.

Good to see that you've freed yourself from such concepts as you vindicate yourself from your own actions.

I think you would have been further ahead, had you not written this piece. Although it was good for a laugh.

Anonymous said...

This claim of innocence is about as credible as the bleatings of the U of C climate change denier group that was audited last year for misusing research funds to back the CPC during the last election campaign.

They backed the CPC in the same way as the NCC backed Harper -- indirectly, but effectively.

Gerry Nicholls said...

Hey anonymous #3, the NCC was in no conflict of interest when we ran that campaign 15 years ago.

Do you think we should have said to ourselves, "Hey we better not run this anti-Hawkes campaign, because it might help this Harper guy, who five years from now will be our president and 13 years from now will be Prime Minister and that could give the `appearance' of conflict of interest."

The fact is the NCC ran dozens of campaigns over the years urging voters to defeat certain MPs.

To suggest, as the Liberals do, that we were actually planning on helping Harper (who at the time was an obscure Reform Party official) win is absurd.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:11; 8:37: and 7:11

You seem to be the same person, uninformed and arrogant.

I suggest that you provide some solid facts in support of your ridiculous allegations or 'give it a rest'.
Check out Mr. Nicholls comments, they are all correct and factual.

We should consider that Mr. Nicholls has a lot more credibility that this anonymous loud mouth. A young Liberal?
Lewis

Joan Tintor said...

"backstabbed his boss by running against him"

You know, I really do have better things to do than correcting anonymous know-nothings, but who else is gonna do it?

From "Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada" by William Johnson:

"In the late summer of 1988, the phone rang at Jim Hawkes' Calgary home. It was Stephen Harper on the line. Stephen asked Jim how he would feel if he, his FORMER assistant [emphasis added], were to run as a Reform Party candidate in Calgary West.

'He phoned and asked me if I would be boehtered if he ran against me,' Hawkes recalls. 'They were putting pressure on him to run. The logical seat for him to contest, because of where lived, was the one in Calgary West.

'And he asked me if that would bother me, and would I be upset? My response was 'No!' Hawkes nows believes that, had he objected, Stephen would have refused to contest Calgary West. 'that would have been the implication.'

...

"Hawkes: 'A major reason for his wanting to run in Calgary West was the he could be sure he wouldn't win. He had no desire to be a member of parliament. He wanted to avoid that, and the best way to keep his credentials as to run against me."
--page 104

Yes, the 1993 rematch was a more bitter one, partly because of the NCC targetting of Hawkes, and partly because of Hawkes trying to tie Reform to Social Credit (also mentioned in Johnson's book), but there was no "backstabbing."

Gerry Nicholls said...

Anon # 3 -- How do you define "conflict of interest" and how does it apply to the NCC launching a campaign to defeat a Tory MP?

Anonymous said...

Liberals are losing their cool. I see their signs in local ridings and other broken NDP signs in the vicinity. Guess who the vandals are? (real conservative)

Anonymous said...

bbs makes a good point, ask the NCC and while you are at it ask them who sucked the life out of that organization? And what ever happened to their fighting spirit?

Anonymous said...

"and while you are at it ask them who sucked the life out of that organization? And what ever happened to their fighting spirit?"

Well duh, Gerry left it.