Tories groom the rank-and-file at right-wing boot camp

One speaker encourages ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’

A speaker at a boot camp for right-wing candidates running in municipal elections suggested Ontario Progressive Conservatives would gladly look the other way should local campaign organizers manage to get their hands on secret voter lists. “You know, ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,’” Brian Patterson told those in attendance at a candidate school co-chaired by Progressive Conservative MPP Steve Clark and Conservative MP Patrick Brown “You never heard me say this—and I’ll deny it in a room full of lawyers—that if you can somehow get it, you know, we don’t care.” Audio from the invitation-only event in Toronto was leaked to the Globe and Mail. Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have distanced themselves from Patterson’s statements, saying “We absolutely do not share our lists.” During another session, Stephen Harper’s former head of communications, Sandra Buckler, suggested candidates get acquaintances to write letters to local newspapers to support them, a tactic that landed former cabinet minister Helena Guergis in hot water earlier this year. “Have your campaign manager write it,” Buckler said. “You have your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, child, next door neighbour, treasurer …. And I’m a fan of letters to the editor, it’s good to have them printed, because then you can send them out as a campaign piece.”

Globe and Mail

Looking for more?

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