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The Liberal Party gives the finger to freelancers and non-delegate bloggers.

As some of you may know, the Liberal Party has decided that for their upcoming convention in January, they were not going to accredit bloggers to it. They preferred Liberals who wanted to come cover it to come as delegates.. and as for the rest – be that other partisan bloggers or unaffiliated ones, or even Liberal bloggers who weren’t delegates – you had to be sponsored by a media organization, or you could come as an observer – without the media accreditation.

This was explained several weeks ago to some of us. I wasn’t happy exactly, but it wasn’t enough to make me blog in protest. However, it wasn’t told to us at the time that for one to get observer status, you had to pony up 1100$ for the privilege of getting that status – and  to a non-leadership convention no less.

That, folks, in my opinion, is plain stupid. Either the Liberal leadership hierarchy  is looking for an easy cash grab, or it’s an openly blatant attempt to discourage bloggers – be they affiliated or not with the LPC – from bothering to attend… unless of course you’re an LPC delegate.. then you can have privileges…. A little message control as it were. This particular new edict on accreditation and observer status also applies to freelance journalists as well apparently – not just bloggers.. hence I’m leaning towards the latter reason.

It’s not often I agree with Stephen Taylor on something, or even link to his blog, but there you are – the LPC has in their infinite wisdom managed to do that.   We as a party now have the dubiousness of being less open to social media folks then either the NDP or the Conservatives, and we’ve been going on for years how much more open we are as a party towards that. It was groundbreaking for this party to accept bloggers as accredited media back in 2006 at that leadership convention – Tait Simpson was the guy who spearheaded that.. but alas, it appears since the May disaster, some folks in the party has decided its time to circle the wagons and try to control the message.

Not everyone mind you: LPC Presidential Candidate Mike Crawley came out on Twitter last night and said bloggers should be accredited. James Morton, who is running for the VP English position, has also said the same thing at his blog and his website (James actually blogs, so he has experience in knowing the importance of social media). You can read some of my fellow Liberals blogposts on the topic here and here and here. I’m sure there will be others.

It was said to me once not too long ago by someone in the LPC familiar with the inner goings on of the party that the new folks in charge up there since May have little regard for bloggers – even those who are Liberal ones – the attitude according to this person was bloggers were unpredictable and not controllable – and there seemed to be some disdain for them. I would say that seems to be playing out here.

UPDATE: If you follow politics, you probably have seen Kady O’ Malley of CBC on Twitter  and Susan Delacourt at the Toronto Star blog opining that this is bad policy. Feeling some heat over this perhaps, our Liberal Comms Director Sarah Bain (which seems to be increasingly becoming an an oxymoronic title  in this party) now issues a press release. It looks great doesn’t  it – except it isn’t a climbdown – it’s a restatement of their silly policy. Basically, it appears to have been issued by the LPC in an attempt to dispel the notion that they were banning bloggers outright - as opposed to just charging them 1100$ for the privilege of coming as a non-accredited observer.




12 comments to The Liberal Party gives the finger to freelancers and non-delegate bloggers.

  • Beerbob

    Isn’t this wandering into Conservative territory? It’s not there yet, but it’s heading in that direction. Keeping savage control of the story and the spin, and limiting participation, might be able to shave the vote enough to go from a minority to a tiny majority, but that sort of thing isn’t going to engage enough Canadians to make a difference to the Liberal Party.

    You don’t attract progressive people by acting like authoritarians.

    • Stan

      “You don’t attract progressive people by acting like authoritarians…”?

      You sure about that?

      Liberals wanted to keep jailing farmers for selling their own wheat, wanted the census to be mandatory, and wanted to keep the gun registry…

      • Beerbob

        So what? Let’s see what happens when the wheat board is gone, bringing up the census is just laughable, and some of the folks I work with are hunters and they don’t have a problem with registering their guns. They look at the Conservative/Reformers playing with the registry as nothing more than propaganda, just like the pandering to the frightened old folks about “unreported crime” and taking away the ability of judges to, you know, judge. I don’t know enough about wheat markets in Canada to have an opinion on the first item, the census used to be a useful source of information for small business, and the gun registry is trivial crap. Unless you’re a cop, and it might save your life, which seems to generally be the police service opinion.

        Myself, I don’t have much time for most politicians of any stripe, but how can you support this bullshit? Working people and small businesses are about to start paying for the corporate tax cuts and the reduction in the GST.

        Don’t you get it? They’re following right down the path the Americans did over the last thirty-odd years. The whole point is to ease down taxes on corporations and wealthy people, and get the folks on a payroll (and the small business owners) to cover the costs of our infrastructure, and they’ve started chipping away at Medicare. Half of the U.S. population is within shouting distance of the poverty line, and it’s not on a positive trend. In Canada, more people than ever that use food banks actually have jobs.

        And they’re raising payroll taxes. Taxation at that point is the most effective place to put the brakes on economic activity. It’s where the money moves around the fastest, paying rent, buying food, cars, consumer goods, etc.

        What the hell are these people doing? They don’t seem to be running the country. I’m sorry, but I can’t support some politician just because of what they say. I want to see their actions, and as far as the Conervative/Reform party, I’ve seen enough.

        One of the truly creepy things that seems to be common with the Cons is that when one of the ministers makes a pronouncement on some matter, they don’t just make the announcement. The follow it up with instructions on what opinion the people watching should have about it! It’s very strange, and more than a little disturbing.

        • Stan

          Let’s see what happens when the CWB is gone?
          Well, since the majority of crops are sold in western Canada without out it, what would happen?
          I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that farmers will sell their wheat the same way they sell their canola, rapeseed, lentils, flax, oats, feed grain, peas, beans, mustard, carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, canary seed, corn, rye, sunflowers, etc etc etc.

          And no more jail time for selling their own property!
          Jailer Gooddale must be sad…

          • Beerbob

            By the time the the statistics are in the farms will be gone. Once the property has changed hands the story will be over and the monied will be the winners. But I don’t know anything about the CWB.

  • Stan

    You boys are surprised at this?

  • Ever since this issue came up a few days ago, I’ve been waiting for a reversal of policy from Liberal headquarters. It does not seem to be forthcoming. Bloggers, tweeps and FBers are the foot soldiers in social media political battles. This dumbass decision is a real slap in the face to guys like Scott, Steve V and Jeff Jedras.

    Here’s a Christmas card to cheer you up.

  • SteveV

    “It was said to me once not too long ago by someone in the LPC familiar with the inner goings on of the party that the new folks in charge up there since May have little regard for bloggers – even those who are Liberal ones – the attitude acccording to this person was bloggers were unpredictable and not controllable – and there seemed to be some disdain for them. I would say that seems to be playing out here.”

    Isn’t that interesting. Unpredictable and not controllable, how dare they have independent thoughts that headquarters can’t incorporate into the borg? Total detachment, not to mention a certain arrogance. And fundraisers wonder why we don’t have a viable grassroots…

    • Catherine


      Why not comply with rules?

      The ‘managed’ guys there now are doing a fine job of ‘messaging.’

      We will learn the game or stay the rump.

  • Catherine

    Why not make a mountain out of a molehill and have another Liberal dust-up.

    Or, grow-up.

  • Lycan

    Liberal “renewal”, eh?

  • I feel for you brother, that you’re in a position to agree with Taylor. It’s not often he says anything that 70% of Canada can agree with.

    The convention your party is planning is suppose to be a new start. You have proposed some big changes. Now to exclude the reality of today by making bloggers pay huge sums to be there is down right ruinous. Your only avenue left it would seem is to have people like the cantankerous Kinsella to jump on board your ship.

    Interim leader Bob Rae and maybe facebook champ MP Carolyn Bennett could voice their objections to this policy of remaining old school.

    All parties like to control the message, my own, the NDP is no different. You and your party have a chance to make something else the norm. Were I a Liberal boy, I would be pushing hard to change this decision to exclude bloggers. I wish you success in your efforts, not in any partisan way, but in the interests of openness which all of our parties could use a lot more of!

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