What if Harry Bloy wasn't acting alone in his verbal mugging of Adrian Dix?

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      Were voters witnessing some B.C. Liberal hardball tactics when Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy got up in the legislature and called the Leader of the Opposition a thief and a liar?

      Thus far, this story has been portrayed in the media as a bumbling, stupid politician going haywire.

      To reinforce this perception, Bloy's remarks were rejected yesterday by Premier Christy Clark.

      I'm not convinced that the event is necessarily this cut-and-dried.

      Bloy was the only MLA to support Clark's leadership run—in effect, he was her most loyal member of caucus. Clark has always specialized in launching devastating verbal attacks on her opponents, dating back to her days as an Opposition MLA in the 1990s.

      We saw this last year in the Vancouver–Point Grey by-election, when Clark's campaign went extremely negative against her NDP opponent, David Eby.

      Clark recently hired former aides to Stephen Harper, who has turned gutter politics and character assassination into a political art form.

      Just witness the Harpercons' drive-by smears on former Liberal leaders Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. The Harpercons previously claimed in ads that Ignatieff was only in it for himself. An online ad featured a bird crapping on Dion.

      People who use these methods wouldn't be immune to calling a political leader a thief and a liar, especially if they were desperate to win a by-election later in the week in Chilliwack-Hope.

      Keep in mind that if the B.C. Liberals come third there and in Port Moody–Coquitlam, Clark is probably finished as B.C. premier.

      The Harpercons have learned that the key to success in politics is framing their opponents in the most negative light. They use these frat-boy tactics because they believe they influence public perceptions.

      Bloy, who resigned from cabinet earlier this year, went off on his bizarre tangent during a debate in the legislature over smart meters.

      As a veteran MLA, he knows that whatever he says in the legislature is privileged—this means that he can't be sued for defamation.

      He also sat on the legislative committee for parliamentary reform, ethical conduct, standing orders, and private bills.

      The media think Bloy is a buffoon, so if there was a plan to frame Dix in a certain negative way, he would be the perfect spear carrier.

      The ideal time would be a Monday morning so the story would command the news agenda at the start of the week.

      So what did Bloy do? He linked Dix to former NDP MP Svend Robinson, who is loathed by many right-wingers in the Chilliwack-Hope constituency for advancing equal rights for gays and lesbians.

      Bloy also suggested that Dix did something unethical to his wife. This offered the added benefit of possibly unsettling apolitical female voters, who have abandoned the B.C. Liberals in droves.

      Bloy's remarks were repeated on newscasts across the province because legislature debates are televised. People who don't pay any attention to politics were left to wonder if there's something wrong with Dix. You know the old saying: where there's smoke, there's fire. And Bloy then mumbled an apology after this frame around Dix was created.

      I'm not saying that this is necessarily what happened. But given the nastiness of the B.C. Liberals—as demonstrated in previous attack ads on Dix and on B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins—it's certainly not out of the question.

      If it's even within the realm of possibility, it's further evidence that this B.C. Liberal government needs to be sent packing—and the sooner, the better.

      Harry Bloy makes an ass of himself, but why?

      Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.




      Apr 17, 2012 at 9:48am

      Darn you Charlie, you beat me to it, I was already writing an analysis saying much the same thing, espy re "framing" of Dion. Interesting to know whether federal Conservatives voter information database was used by BC Libs in byelections? It's suspect in voter-suppression campaign too. Why are pious pols so prone to dirty tricks?

      James G

      Apr 17, 2012 at 10:21am

      The old apology game!

      If there was advice on offer from the same political operatives that advise the Republican Party in the United States, then, yes, they may be using learned covert political communication skills. It seems hard to believe that politics can skid this low but it occasionally does.

      For example, a credible candidate cannot get away with making an overt statement that he is uncomfortable with President Obama's race but he can communicate that to others who feel the same way. In the case of Mike Huckabee, He made a speech attacking Obama and claimed that since he spent part of his childhood in Kenya, he was "influenced by the Mau Mau." Ah, the Mau Mau! Black, armed with spears and fighting white settlers. That is the image raised in the minds of those who were receptive to it. Only, the Mau Mau were gone by 1960 and Obama wasn't born until 1961. Neither did Obama spend any part of his childhood in Kenya. Later, Huckabee apologizes and says he meant to say that Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. All of these facts were available to Huckabee and his staff well before the speech, but to stick to facts would not give them this vehicle to deliver that racist message.

      Here we have targeted groups to receive a message. Women who primarily seem indeed to be, "chicks who like Dix" according to one t-shirt, are the intended. Then after substantial news coverage, make with the phoney apology.


      Apr 17, 2012 at 11:08am

      Judging by the way he was fumbling over his words and continuously looking down at a paper when he spoke, it leads me to believe he was handed a script to read. Most likely by Sarah McIntyre (Christy's new communications person) or by Christy herself. Quite a disgusting way to behave but not suprising coming from this current pack of Liberals.

      They are all a bunch of bloated, ill mannered people. They know they're on their way out so are going to resort to any tactic they can. It's like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Desperation is so unnattractive.

      Can't wait until the election, pity we have to wait so long.


      Apr 17, 2012 at 11:40am

      Does this mean, the kid gloves are to be removed?

      Arthur Vandelay

      Apr 17, 2012 at 12:04pm

      It's certainly a good thing then that the NDP is so wholesome and would never frame/mug its opponents. Christy Crunch. Or use surrogates to do its dirty work. BCTF.

      And the only reason the NDP now isn't attacking/smearing/framing the BC Conservatives, with who they clearly couldnt disagree with more, is a right split is the NDP's only path to power and they know it. I'd be shocked if the NDP wasn't indirectly funding the BC Conservatives at least in key ridings.

      only the lonely

      Apr 17, 2012 at 12:16pm

      Christie's number one supporter in her party speaks up, unfortunately it is her only supporter as their numbers drop and party members look for something to stick in her back. Just watching the BC numbers drop tells me the Liberals are getting their just rewards. Election please.


      Apr 17, 2012 at 12:23pm

      Power, lies and spin doctors.
      Did I get that in the right (lol) order?


      Apr 17, 2012 at 12:44pm

      There's a difference--the attacks on Dion and Ignatieff were accurate representations. Bloy is just an idiot.


      Apr 17, 2012 at 12:52pm

      A bit much to say it was planned, as Bloy's comments were bizarre and way out of bounds. He's hanging alone on this one.

      As for "framing" Dix, what do they need to frame? The forged memo from the Clark era and the last-second membership forms with sacks of money scandal are facts that tell the public volumes about his character, and what type of Premier he'd make. People should be reminded of it again and again.