But I thought the Conservative Party was in favour of transparency!

From this week’s Hill Times, in response to the following question from Abbas Rana:

“What do you think the Conservatives hoped to achieve by offering exclusive briefings on the so-called ‘in and out’ election financing in the last federal election to select members of the national media on Sunday, April 20 in Ottawa?”

Mike Storeshaw

Conservative strategist:

The field on which we all play is one where the media seek out conflict and controversy, and the quicker and simpler it is the better. Any political organization would understand that trying to communicate the meaning of hundreds of pages of documents in this environment is not something that lends itself to six-second sound bites, squeezed in between reporters shouting questions.

“So I suppose that by inviting some reporters to a more private setting to explain some of our disagreements with Elections Canada, our party was trying to inject some facts into the discussion. And I suppose we were willing to risk inevitable nationwide outrage by not inviting the Maclean’s website to live-blog the briefing. […]

You better believe I have something to say about that, so yeah, you’re going to want to click the “Continue reading” link.

Dear Mike,

First off, let me assure you that I can handle “facts” just as well as the next reporter — contrary to your apparent misconception, they don’t render my BlackBerry non-functional. A small clarification, though: Legal briefs submitted in support of your claim, including those rejected by a federal prothonotary, are not “facts”, per se, but “arguments,” if you will. I can handle those too, but I’m not going to mistake them for something other than what they are.

Anyway, thanks for the plug for Maclean’s – if it gets us more traffic, I’ll forgive you for that crack about ‘nationwide outrage’. Seriously, though you didn’t have to worry about me filing realtime reports from the hotel room: I’m totally willing to respect a legitimate embargo – whether in lockup, or released on my own recognizance.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have wanted to be inside the room during one of those “private meetings” — I was never the biggest fan of Duck, Duck Goose. If I had decided to attend, however, I would have followed the rules to the letter, and kept my mouth shut and my fingers still until the appointed hour. Given the way things turned out, though, I’m pretty sure I ended up on the right side of the door. On that, at least, I suspect we agree.

In humble service to the ideal of open government,


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.