Spin Alert: “They do it too, so we’re not so bad.”

-- Download Spin Alert: "They do it too, so we're not so bad." as PDF --

Just a few hours after issuing my first Spin Alert about the BC Liberal’s current leadership and political crisis, I’m back to issue yet another.

Here’s the current spin. Diamond Isinger, a strong social media presence who’s created a really important blog highlighting sexism in Canadian politics, is also a past paid employee of the BC Liberal party and is a frequent spinner on all things BC Liberal.

She’s found a job posting by the Alberta NDP caucus for a “multicultural outreach person” to be paid by legislature funds.  Here’s the job posting, and here’s Diamond’s spin:


BC Liberal Spin Alert: "They do it too, so we’re not so bad."

Storified by kevin harding· Sun, Mar 03 2013 15:18:43

Alberta NDP seeking "experienced political organizer with keen attention to detail." Paid with public funds. http://bit.ly/100SkjA #bcpoliDiamond Isinger
AB NDP hiring "experienced poli organizer" to work on – oh yes – multicultural outreach. Paid with public $. http://bit.ly/100SkjA #bcpoliDiamond Isinger

So, let’s re-spin the spin:

The BC Liberals are currently under fire for using government funds to hire outreach staff to work on behalf of the party and search for “Quick Wins” to shore up their flagging approval rating.

Sounds awfully similar to the line that Diamond’s tweeting above, right?

Wrong, and here’s why.

Whether you agree with it or not (and I don’t), Legislatures provide public funds for political party activities. They provide funds for outreach and for research and so much more.

Here’s the BC NDP Caucus website – paid by public funds.  Here’s the BC Liberal Caucus website – paid by public funds.  You’ll note that the Alberta NDP website linked above is, indeed, a caucus website.

What the BC Liberals did was issue an Request for Proposals (a call for contractors and proposals) for contractors to work for a government ministry for, ostensibly,  government outreach. They then decided to use this method of hiring people to benefit the BC Liberal party in an exceptionally partisan way.

If you go to BCBid, and search for closed bidding opportunities, and look up “ON-002260,” you’ll find the actual document the BC Liberals used to hire people under government auspices for party purposes. Which is actually different from hiring them using caucus funds.

Had they paid for this using caucus funds, there wouldn’t be the same degree of trouble.

What’s Diamond’s take-home message, then?

“Hey! They do it too, so yeah.”

Really, Diamond? They do it too, so you want us to forgive you for doing it? Hmmm.

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Kevin is a cooperator, an always-student, and passionate about the arts. As a principal of the Incipe Cooperative, Kevin works with colleagues in a workers' co-op offering services for advocacy and nonprofit organizations. He's passionate about education policy, having been through twenty some-odd years of schooling and still thinking it changes the world. He also thinks that art changes the world, and he works with Art for Impact to celebrate art's power for social change. A Vancouver born and raised resident who is exiled from Toronto, he constantly loses umbrellas and probably rants too much.

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