Oh oh…Macleans’ Potter caught telling fibs about VoteCompass buddy

Well, it didn’t take Ezra Levant long to shred Andrew Potter’s defence (see here) of his VoteCompass friend. Potter should know better than to make up stuff like he did when Levant can so easily fact check (see here).

Potter and Ezra haters like the NP’s Chris Selley should also know better than to let emotion and their personal animosity get in the way, as at best you have a plate of crow to eat and at worse a new job to look for.

It’s also a good lesson for certain conservative bloggers to be a little more careful about where and who is giving them the info like this one here.

Video: Front groups for political parties organizing forums

There were 2 examples today of what Conservative candidates can do when confronted with the choice of attending forums hosted by hostile or potentially front groups for other political parties.

1) Rookie Conservative candidate Chris Alexander who decided to attend a poverty forum and you can see what happened to him from the video above.

Both the NDP and Liberals quickly tried to jump all over Alexander for stating the truth as Brian Lilley points out on his blog here

2) Veteran Conservative candidate Deepak Obhrai who refused to attend a forum (see here). I emailed the reporter Jason Fekete asking him who was organizing this forum and was told it was “Inglewood Community Association”.

Any time I hear “community association”, alarm bells go off and a quick Google search revealed that this group is led by a local politician and activist making this forum look anything but neutral and objective.

Notice that the reporter doesn’t bother including that info in his story and when I asked him why, he replied that it doesn’t concern him who organized it.

Anyway, two ways to deal with these types of forums and when I’m asked to help out with a campaign, I’ll let him/her in on a few other ways I learned over the years.

Liberal candidate calls natives “featherheads”

What is with Quebec MP candidates and their blatant racism towards natives?

First we had Bloc MP Yvon Levesque saying “Certain voters will not choose the New Democratic Party now that they’re running an aboriginal candidate” (see here) and now we have Liberal Andre Forbes who was the founder of the “Association for the Rights of Whites” calling natives “featherheads. (see here)

How is it possible that this guy’s many racist statements published in a variety of newspapers right up to last November slipped by the Liberal candidate vetting process?

Macleans’ Potter protecting his VoteCompass buddy

Andrew Potter is the 2nd journo from a competing media organization to go out of their way to defend Peter Loewen from VoteCompass and attack Brian Lilley of the Sun. Potter even links the Globe’s piece in his diatribe.

Potter’s rant is laughable in that with all the bias we see aimed at the Conservatives from Macleans’ own (hi Wherry and Feschuk), he has the audacity to go after someone else especially with Lowen being a buddy of his.

“For the record: Peter is a friend of mine. I’ve known him for about six years, we met when I was a postdoc and he was doing his PhD at the University of Montreal. I’ve had drinks with him in bars and been to parties at his house. I have also gone to him, on a number of occasions, for his thoughts on a number of issues relating to Canadian politics, especially voter behaviour – turnout, national and regional patterns, shifting party support, that sort of thing.  He has always been extremely helpful – Peter’s a really, really smart guy.”

Potter might want to pull back from calling others “prostitutes and chickenshits” (see here) when he is defending someone who he has a personal relationship with and doesn’t hold others in the media to these same standards.

Peter Lowen had contacted me the other day and since I don’t have a big enough ego to think he would single little-ol’-me out for personal attention, I started looking for a pattern in blogs (see here) and media articles defending him.

Here’s my back-and-forth with Loewen. You’ll notice the similar points regurgitated by Potter and Sandy Crux:

Hi Dean,

I’ve caught your two blog posts and thought I’d write a quick message in the interest of clarification. Lilley’s story is correct as far as it goes, but it omits a few key things (which I told him). First, I principally worked for Ignatieff so that a colleague and I could run a field experiment during his campaign. You can find the resulting academic paper on my website, under ‘Work.’ It’s recently been published in Party Politics. Second, Lilley omits that I did a similar type of volunteering for Harper in his 2004 leadership race, as Tom Flanagan gave me their internal polling in exchange for me developing a game theoretic model of how the campaign should distribute its resources. In both cases, I did the work because I like politics and I like trying to learn something academic from practical politics. That was the same year I made my only two political contribution: one to attend a Harper dinner in Montreal, organized by a friend, and another donation to Pierre Poilievre’s nomination campaign, Pierre being an old housemate from my university summer days.
Most importantly, Lilley omits that the only job I’ve ever had in active politics was working full time on a campaign for Bill Black for the leadership of the PC Tories, in 2005-6.
I should hope you’ll find this at least a bit concerting. If you have any questions about Vote Compass, I am all ears.



I’m glad you emailed me.
My issue with the VoteCompass “story” has actually very little do with any Ignatieff connections you may have but more about the CBC: 

1) using it during an election period
2) not disclosing any and all potential conflicts to the participants
3) failing to admit skewed results
I would be happy to post any reply that you may have and would not edit (for length only) without your final approval.

Thanks. No need to post a reply, but I’d like to just address your points, and would love to hear your responses:
1.) It’s an election tool, so I think it’s reasonable to use it during an election. I trust you’d agree, if you thought that we had all of the issue positions correct, that it’s a decent tool for voters to learn quickly about the rough positions of the parties. The average voter is not a political animal, and they won’t have the same indepth level of knowledge as you or me. And we really shouldn’t expect them to, necessarily. Voters live busy lives, and people have different interests. So, we’re trying to make it easier for voters to learn something about the issue positions of the parties. I should also note that issue positions are not, I think, the only thing voters should act on. They can also act on their feelings about leaders, long term allegiances, assessments of integrity, etc. We’re just trying to help those who want to be more informed on the issues. Would you agree this is important, especially given the decreasing level of political engagement in our country and the tendency of parties to obfuscate their positions on all issues but those which are helpful to them?
2.) Fair enough. I am genuinely not a partisan. I work as a professional political scientist, and am credentialed as such. What is changed when one finds out that I’ve worked for both of our country’s two largest parties?
3.) How are our results skewed? I can anticipate two objections. First, you can disagree with the positions we’ve assigned to the parties on each issue. You can see these positions at the backend of the survey, and you can also see the sources we’ve used to draw those conclusions. I’d be happy to hear your objections on any of these placements. Second, you could claim that no matter what one chooses, they end up Liberal. But, of course, this isn’t true in any meaningful sense. If one chooses the same response category every time or chooses randomly, then one will most likely be closest to the Liberal party. But this is the real response set of about .00001% of people (that is not an exaggeration). It reflects the fact that we’ve constructed the questions such that agreeing on one question will be the left wing response, while on the next question is will be the conservative response. It’s the equivalent of choosing 1 then 5 over and over again and ending up on 3.
I hope this helps. I’d be happy to hear back from you.
1) I would have no issue with its use during an election period if it wasn’t being done by the CBC not to mention how they have marketed it 

2) You would have to ask the NDP about your work with both the Liberals and Conservatives
3) I have issues with the questions posed as they are not reflective of conservative principles or policies ie religious questions Elizabeth May is an ordained minister and I as a Conservative am agnostic


Hi Dean, 

1) OK. The project needed a media partner and we got the CBC. By the way, I haven’t been paid a cent for this.
2) Fair enough. They’ve seen and approved all of our positions of them on the dimensions.
3) Which questions in particular? Remember, we’re not saying that there are responses which are ‘correct’ for Conservative supporters (or for any other supporters). Certainly, many conservatively-minded people are in favour of gay marriage, etc. What we are capturing is the proximity of voters to the documented positions of the parties. That there is often space between a party’s position and that of its supporters is just a fact, especially in a system where there is a small number of parties. I appreciate that a lot of people, for example, feel that they are fiscally conservative and socially libertarian, and get upset that they are perhaps not as close to the Cons on the issue space as they might like. But this is a result of the actual position of the Conservative party (or the NDP, or the Liberals, etc), not our codings.
Thanks for writing back.
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