Rare glimpse of Tory strategy in leaked docs
The Canadian PressMonday, February 10, 2014
OTTAWA - A published report says leaked internal documents reveal the federal Conservative party has a secret strategy to undermine Justin Trudeau, exploit Laureen Harper's popularity and create a state-of-the-art database of potential supporters.
The Toronto Star says among the documents is a draft agreement to pay $14,000 per month to Guy Giorno, a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to act as the party's legal adviser.
Giorno's law firm, Fasken Martineau, already represents another of Harper's former chiefs of staff, Nigel Wright. Wright is under RCMP investigation after it was revealed last spring that he had personally given $90,000 to Mike Duffy to enable the disgraced senator to reimburse the Senate for disputed living expenses claims.
Giorno and his law firm declined to comment.
Among other things, the Star reports that the documents include a presentation by Conservative executive director Dimitri Soudas, outlining the party's plans as it prepares for an election in the fall of 2015.
The paper says Soudas's presentation includes plans apparently aimed at humanizing Harper, including various techniques for having him "connect" with people and plans to "leverage" the popularity of his wife, Laureen, including a "with Mrs. Harper" video series.
It says Soudas did not deny the existence of the strategy note in an email to the paper. He did not return requests from the Canadian Press for comment.
The Star reports another document outlines an orchestrated campaign to unsettle and upstage Trudeau during next week's Liberal national convention in Montreal, summed up in three words: "drive, disrupt, disunity."
The plan reportedly involves driving home at every opportunity the Conservative spin that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is a lightweight who lacks judgment and whose primary goal is to legalize marijuana.
The Star says the Conservatives intend to exploit what Soudas perceives to be divisions in Liberal ranks over Trudeau's decision to expel senators from the Liberal caucus and to leave a recent tribute dinner for Jean Chretien before the former prime minister had spoken.
It says the Conservatives intend to use dedicated websites, online ads and videos, daily email updates and social media to keep up a barrage of attacks on Trudeau throughout the convention, the document reveals.