Clintons’ fartcatcher addressed Fiberals in 2006, this year it’s Blair’s fahtcatcher
Pull of foreign gurus not new to McGuinty
The Ontario Liberal newsletter arrived today to remind me that the star attraction at the Ontario Liberal party’s AGM this weekend is Tony Blair’s communications guru Alastair Campbell.
If you are a member of the “Red Trillium Club” (minimum donation: $1,000), however, you will have an opportunity to attend an exclusive reception with Campbell and have Campbell’s book, The Blair Years, signed by Campbell himself. This is in addition to your personally signed photo of Dalton McGuinty. (No, really!)
This comes less than two years after the McGuintyites hosted Clinton stalwart James Carville at their meeting in October of 2006.
The blurb in the Liberal newsletter describes Alastair Campbell thus:
Alastair Campbell is best known as a journalist and former Director of Communications and Strategy for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was a key figure behind Mr. Blair’s rise to power and was often described as “the real Deputy Prime Minister.” With the Labour election victory in 1997, he became the Prime Minister’s chief press secretary, setting up a formidable Whitehall communications machine.
Here’s a reminder of what that “formidable communications machine” was capable of:
On September 11th, just an hour after those planes slammed into the World Trade Center, Jo Moore, a senior adviser to Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, turned away from the TV and composed an e-mail for departmental circulation:
It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury.
--Mark Steyn, National Post, October 11, 2001 (republished in The Face of the Tiger)
On 9/11, I happened to be working (briefly) for then Ontario health minister Tony Clement. Our executive assistant’s first thought was not along the lines above, but that he should ask the deputy minister to make some calls to ensure that our hospitals were ready to handle American victims, or patients diverted from northeastern US hospitals.
But back to McGuinty, who has long sought the advice of foreigners to a degree that conservatives would be crucified for. (Frankly we've been crucified for less, such as consulting Mike Murphy during the 1995 election.)
McGuinty travelled to the U.K. for education ideas prior to the 2003 election, and hired Michael Fullan as an education adviser. He then spent $25,000 to travel to Chicago for advice from Obama fixer David Axelrod.