Read it and Leap: disingenuous quotes, disappearing “concerned citizens” and the Leap Manifesto

  • Before (cached Google page, April 8, 2017)
  • After (April 13, 2017)
I do hope you’re not being fooled by the pricey, prominent ads recently run by “Concerned Citizens of BC” (a group strangely spearheaded by a corporate CEO and former Christy Clark advisor) about the NDP and the Leap Manifesto. But just in case, I decided to actually check the reference listed as the source of their quotes from BC NDP leader John Horgan.  In the ad, the quotes that are supposed to strike terror into voters’ hearts by showing Horgan’s suppport for the supposedly job-killing Manifesto are:

“I don’t even disagree with the bulk of what’s in the Leap Manifesto.”

“I’ll put forward my Leap manifesto in the next election…”

Oooh, scary! He agrees with it, and even takes ownership of it! Not so fast. We’re actually looking at cherry-picked, disingenuous, lie-of-omission tripe.  What John Horgan actually said on “Close Up Prince George” was quite different once you restore the, you know, context. After explaining that it was the federal NDP that ratified the Manifesto, “inasmuch as it was going to lead to two years of discussion”, he went on: “I don’t begrudge the good people who worked on the Leap Manifesto, and I don’t even disagree with the bulk of what’s in the Leap Manifesto. What I want though, as the leader of the BC NDP, is to put forward a platform to the people of this province that we can actually implement, that will see economic growth, that will see a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions, will see innovations that will lead to new energy sources, and new energy opportunities for all British Columbians.” “Transit, a fundamental pillar of the Leap Manifesto? I absolutely support that, in the Lower Mainland, getting more people out of cars and building more transit so we can move goods and services around in our metropolitan areas. All good! So when I said, “hold on on the Leap Manifesto,” what I was saying was, that’s fine for the federal NDP, and talk about those issues as much as you want. My responsibility as a political leader in British Columbia that has to put forward a viable platform in an election campaign is, I’ll put forward my Leap Manifesto in the next election, and people can make their choices there.” So. Yes. He, like many people, broadly supports the principles of the manifesto while clearly saying he will not necessarily implement it word for word. And the second statement very clearly meant “I’ll present my viable version of the manifesto and let the voters decide”. Not particularly scary. What’s sad is that the Liberals – via their shadow corporate proxies like the “Concerned Citizens of BC” – feel they need to lie and twist the opponents’ words in order to win this election.  Ultimately they don’t feel you as a voter are to be trusted with the facts, so they have to cook up lies.  I leave it to the reader to interpret what this says about the Liberals record, their character, and their suitability to continue to lead BC.

Disappearing Citizens

Note: in an unusual twist, all evidence of the Concerned CItizens of BC seems to have disappeared from the web. Their Googled pages lead to the dreaded “404 Not Found” message, and their Facebook and Twitter pages seem to have similarly vanished.  Oh well, no loss I guess, since the “concerned citizens” appeared only to exist in a stock photo. Could it be that these purveyors of this sleazy smear campaign have simply retreated back into the shadows, awaiting their next move?

Read it and Leap

Finally, all of this leaves aside the actual content of the Leap Manifesto, which I encourage everyone to read. Although the implementation of its 15 points would be challenging, I think most people agree that these are ideas that either need to move forward, or at least to be hashed out in a public policy context. If you haven’t yet, do read it.

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