By: Greg Staley
Written On: 2023-01-16
Before the freedom convoy even arrived in Ottawa (Jan.26th), former MP Russ Hiebert, who served under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had sent an email to Tamara Lich that contained a public relations attachment outlining suggested talk points for the convoy. Why was a former MP reaching out to Tamara Lich anyways?
In the email sent to Tamara Lich by the Harper era MP Russ Hiebert, it said “Hi Tamara, attached are some suggested Talking Points.” Some of those talking points were later regurgitated by the now-Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre. In fact, it was the very next day that Pierre Poilievre repeated some of the lines from the public relations paper meant for Tamara Lich.
Public relations document sent to Tamara Lich by Harper era MP Russ Hiebert
In the public relations paper, there was a header titled “event security” that contained a few lines that may sound familiar to those who followed the freedom convoy closely. The line that should be most recognizable is the following, “Canadians recognize these are hard-working, law-abiding, peace-loving truck drivers who are fighting for their freedom and their livelihoods, and for whom we depend to bring food to our store shelves.”
The reason that quote should be recognizable is because Pierre Poilievre said those exact words precisely one day after former Harper era MP Russ Hiebert had sent those words to Tamara Lich.
Another line that seems to have been lifted by Mr. Poilievre from the public relations document sent to Tamara Lich was that “Any individual who speaks or acts in an unacceptable or unpeaceful way should be held personally responsible.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
That’s because Pierre Poilievre said the following, “It is possible to hold individually responsible anyone who says or does anything unacceptable while showing support for the hard-working, law-abiding peace-loving truckers who are fighting for their freedom and their livelihoods.”
So not only did a former Harper era MP send talking points to a convoy organizer, the now leader of the Conservative party seems to have regurgitated some of those talking points for the media the very next day. Who wrote the PR piece and why did Pierre repeat the messaging?
Some of the talk points featured terrible advice. For example, one of the bullet points in the PR piece suggested that the truckers report the latest estimate of the number of vehicles and then instructed them to say that there was “12,000” vehicles “coming from the US” – how would they know?
More importantly, if the truckers had repeated this talking point, it likely would’ve been used to bolster the media narrative that unfolded around the freedom convoy. That is, that there was a US component to the protest that was funding the protest. They then would’ve been able to point to a convoy organizer saying that “12000” trucks were on their way from the US to further validate that concern.
To drive this point home, CTV reported on February 10th, 2022 that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton remarked that “Many Texans donated to this worthy cause.” CTV then reported on the 14th of February that a “Convoy fundraising leak” showed “substantial U.S. donations.” Can you imagine if the Tamara Lich or another convoy organizer had repeated this terrible advice from Russ Hiebert’s PR piece? The media would’ve had an absolute hay day.
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