Unanswered questions about Broadbent Institute hit on NPA candidate Kirk LaPointe

In the old days when political parties dug up dirt on an opponent, they would often leak it to a friendly reporter.

Then it would be broadcast or published as an exclusive story.

This sometimes brought glory to the media outlet while driving the target crazy.

Nowadays, it's an entirely different world.

We're in an era when parties prefer spending gazillions on negative ads to malign their competition.

Examples include the brutal messages that destroyed the NDP's Adrian Dix and the federal Liberals' Stéphane Dion.

The Conservatives have tried the same tactic against Justin Trudeau, but so far, it doesn't appear to be working.

Maybe the public's getting wise to these types of smears.

Another method is finding a friendly website or blogger to disseminate the information and hope that media outlets follow.

It's a way for parties to distance themselves from the dirty deed.

We don't know how the Broadbent Institute dug up a signed 1999 editorial from NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe. In it, he defended the Hamilton Spectator's decision not to publish a photo of two men kissing.

This hit on LaPointe occurred on the eve of Pride weekend when it would have maximum impact.

We don't know if Vision Vancouver is digging through the archives of the Hamilton Spectator or if the Broadbent Institute decided on its own to do this. It's plausible that someone at the Broadbent Institute might have even remembered the editorial.

It's equally plausible that someone from Vision Vancouver found the article and forwarded it to the Broadbent Institute's Press Progress to disseminate it more broadly.

It's conceivable that this is how this story ended up in the Vancouver media.

We do know that a former senior campaign worker for Gregor Robertson, Mira Oreck, runs the Vancouver office of the Broadbent Institute.

Today, she told the Georgia Straight that she has no editorial control over Press Progress. That's the Broadbent Institute division that sent out the article on the Hamilton Spectator editorial.

We know that once the Broadbent Institute's article appeared online, Vision Vancouver officials were quick to get it before as many eyeballs as possible through Twitter and email.

I would like to know how Press Progress discovered this editorial from the Hamilton Spectator in 1999.

Was it sent to the institute by someone on the payroll of Vision Vancouver?

Or is the Ontario-based Broadbent Institute conducting opposition research on behalf of Vision Vancouver?

Because if the Broadbent Institute is doing Vision Vancouver's opposition research, there's a legitimate question whether this work is going to be declared by the party as a donation-in-kind.

Make no mistake—this work by the Broadbent Institute was purely political and designed to advance the interests of Vision Vancouver. 

If Vision Vancouver discovered the editorial on its own and sent it to the Broadbent Institute with the purpose of tweeting and retweeting it afterward, it raises another question.

Why wouldn't Vision Vancouver simply disseminate this editorial in a news release and put its name to it?

Is it because Vision Vancouver felt that if it did this, it would be accused of taking the low road?

I have a hunch that there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Comments (12) Add New Comment
Disgusted
Thanks for digging deeper on this, Charlie.

If 3rd parties are going to work hand in hand with civic parties, we have the right to know. And who is funding that work as well as providing the dirt.
Rating: +80
A Vancouver Voter
It is clear Vision Vancouver knows that the public is dissatisfied, they don't want to run on issues.
Lets hope the truth does come out, it normally does . I look forward to the answer.
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Rating: +65
Robert Charles-Dunne
I've known Kirk for over 40 years. He doesn't have an ounce of bigotry. Such a low blow speaks of desperation.
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400 ppm
winning isn't everything; it's the only thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting#Criticisms
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Rating: -9
Voter
So what is new here?

Didn't the NPA run an attack blog last election that flailed and blundered in blatant attempts to smear Vision and anyone connected to it? Wasn't the name Mike Klassen on its masthead -- a failed NPA council candidate?

Does anyone remember City Caucus?

Hasn't the friendly reporter been simply replaced by the friendly blogger? Don't bloggers have all the biases and intentions that old-line media have always had?

So what's new here?
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Rating: -40
Duffy's penguin tamer
Harper's contributing spin doctor, media division, is fair game for exposure of all evidence of ultra conservative attitudes. Vancouver needs to know exactly who is trying to snuggle under their covers with his spin doctoring ways. The guy doesn't even live here.

Does Vancouver elect hard right sock puppets anymore?
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Rating: -48
Fire with fire
Progressives are no longer going to sit by and expect rational thought to prevail. The stakes are too high. The Broadbent Institute is just the kind of muscle we need. We're dropping the gloves and pulling your jersey over you head. This is a fight and we intend to win. Game on.
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Rating: -55
mike
Lack of Vision will do all the dirty tricks they know to stay in power. The content is immaterial that was then this is now, try to stay current vision, if possible and quit grasping at straws, just shows fear.
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Rating: +39
Smells Like Desperation
Vision's greenwashing, lies, and desperation are becoming entertaining, except for the fact that they've just wasted several precious years when we should have and could have advanced Vancouver as a great place to live. Instead Vision just sold off Vancouver to the developer will to pay the highest CAC. As one developer recently said to me, "at least Larry Beasly would apply some urban planning when he was horse trading with developers, these guys just take the highest bid and upzone to the moon."

It's time for a change.
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Rating: +39
SouthVancouver
Really? This is how Vision is going to campaign?
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Rating: +6
Nelson100
@Duffy's juice wrangler - In response to your comment "For the NPA to flourish again in Vancouver they will need to actually die off and be reincarnated …" I would respond that has already happened - the reincarnation is called Vision Vancouver.

Like their NPA predecessors, Vision represents the developers and corporate interests over citizens. The Vision reincarnation is much much better at spinning themselves as green and progressive, but let's face it, they are just the NPA with bike lanes.
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Arte Deberghi
When the Straight publishes a story that puts the BC Liberals in a bad light, do you get charged with doing opposition research? Or is it just called journalism? Broadbent didn't go digging for some secret memo lurking deep in a remote archive -- this was an editorial read by some 350,000 people and is now in the public domain. You even pointed out in your editorial how easily these things are found. So now every negative thing about any political figure that gets repeated from the past is now considered illegal opposition research? Using Google is now a research tactic only in the hands of paid researchers?
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