Toronto – January 24, 2017 – In the lead up to and during the 2013 British Columbia provincial election, a group of B.C. Liberal supporters calling themselves “Concerned Citizens of B.C.” ran a negative advertising campaign against then-B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix. The group spent in excess of a million dollars on ads that were personal attacks against the NDP leader.
Adrian Dix and the B.C. NDP had committed to running a positive campaign, eschewing personal attacks and sticking to the issues that mattered most to British Columbians. As the results rolled in on election night, it became clear that the positive approach did not work.
The NDP’s own evaluation of the campaign conceded that the party’s failure to respond to the attacks against Dix, and its refusal to aggressively denounce Christ Clark and her record in government, was a major mistake. The party in turn vowed that it would ‘never again’ run a campaign strictly focused on positive messaging, and would fight back against attacks in future elections.
With the 2017 provincial election fast approaching, a new group of Liberal corporate insiders has emerged, this time calling themselves “Future Prosperity for B.C.” And the group has already started their campaign of attacks against current B.C. NDP leader John Horgan.
Future Prosperity for B.C. is headed by the recently-retired CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, John Winter. He plans to spend $2 million in the election, which is double the amount that was spent in 2013. Some of the other members of the group include Shaun Webb, a former advisor to Stephen Harper who is now an associate at Harper and Associates Consulting and who is serving as Prosperity’s media contact. Frank Pasacreta, a former executive with the B.C. Maritime Employers Association and a donor to the B.C. Liberal party to the tune of $237,000, is a director. And Jim Laurence, who previously chaired a non-union construction lobby group that has donated $245,000 to the B.C. Liberals, is also a director of the group. Finally, Prosperity has retained the law firm Fasken Martineau, which donated over $350,000 to the B.C. Liberals between 2002 and 2015. Clearly, the Liberals are lining up their corporate cronies to do their dirty work for them as they attempt to win re-election this year.
As the election moves closer, we can expect to see the attacks against John Horgan and the NDP intensify. Christy Clark’s wealthy corporate friends will do everything in their power to protect their interests by campaigning for their good friends in the B.C. Liberal Party. Thankfully, though, the NDP doesn’t plan to “play nice” this time, and will be ready to fight back.