Opinion Column

Liberal supporters ready to attack via ad campaign

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

Christy (Clark) has not been given a fair shake. She has not been identified as a competent premier. — Jim Shepard, Concerned Citizens for B.C. founder

A political action group formed by a retired corporate leader will soon launch a $1-million “blanket coverage ... full multi-media campaign” to attack the B.C. New Democrats and help re-elect Premier Christy Clark’s BC Liberal Party, according to leaked documents obtained by 24 hours Vancouver.

And Concerned Citizens for B.C. — created by Jim Shepard, the right-wing former Clark economic advisor and ex-Canfor CEO — is running the campaign with the help of prominent lobbyists with strong ties to the federal and B.C. Liberal parties.

CC4BC told supporters in a Nov. 30, 2012, email obtained by 24 hours that “the cost of such a bold undertaking is $1 million” and it is “already to $520,0000.”

Shepard is a fierce NDP critic, claiming it introduced “socialism” when in power in the 1990s.

“You know, we lived through socialism in B.C. for 10 years. I know what it looks like and it is not pretty,” he said in 2010, adding he also worried about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Shepard’s $1 million campaign — or any other — isn’t subject to spending limits or disclosure if it ends before B.C.’s election officially begins 28 days before the May 14 vote, according to Elections BC. That’s because a court decision struck down BC Liberal legislation banning pre-election advertising.

Wazuku Advisory Groups’ Kirsten Avison confirmed Friday it is running CC4BC’s campaign but had no details on ad plans and didn’t call back with additional information.

Wazuku’s three principals are Mike Watson, Brad Zubyk and Steve Kukucha. Kukucha, who didn’t return telephone or email interview requests, and Zubyk have strong ties to the federal as well as the B.C. Liberals and Clark.

Zubyk was the B.C. federal Liberals’ communications director in the 2008 and 2011 elections. Kukucha was senior advisor to former Liberal environment minister David Anderson. Wazuku, Kukucha and Watson are BC Liberal Party donors.

Zubyk worked on Clark’s leadership campaign and has worked for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association in an expensive 2009 anti-NDP campaign.

Ironically, Zubyk’s B.C. political career started as NDP caucus communications coordinator under ex-premier Mike Harcourt. He also ran two unsuccessful BC NDP leadership campaigns for ex-MLA Corky Evans.

Disclosure: Tieleman is a registered federal and provincial lobbyist as required in order to speak to government and opposition members on behalf of clients.

Read more Tieleman here. Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman




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