July 23, 2024

Warren Kinsella’s Daisy Group consulting firm was behind a social media campaign which was to keep People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier out of the federal leaders’ debates and to place the PPC on the defensive, according to documents released recently to CBC News and the Globe and Mail. An unnamed source spoke with the CBC regarding the plan named “Project Cactus.”

The goal of this plan was to make the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) look more attractive to voters by highlighting PPC candidates’ and supporters’ xenophobic statements on social media. 

The firm, Daisy Group, employed four full-time staffers to this project at one time. 

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was repeatedly asked to confirm or comment on his party’s role in Project Cactus at a campaign event in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 19. 

“As a rule, we never make comments on vendors that we may or may not have engaged with,” Scheer said repeatedly. 

Regardless of whether the Conservatives were behind this smear campaign, this is by far the dirtiest play of the 2019 election. 

So far, voters have seen a lot of trash talking from all the main parties.

Scheer said at the federal leaders’ debate that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “phony and a fraud” who does not deserve to govern Canada. 

Trudeau has talked a lot about the Harper years and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, making comparisons that Scheer is conservative and so he will be the same as his predecessor, Stephen Harper. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said Trudeau gives us, “Lot of pretty words but no action.”  

He has also said that the Green Party doesn’t have a solid enough position on a number of different issues.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May said, “At this point Mr. Scheer, with all due respect, you are not going to be prime minister. 

Bernier has tweeted numerous attacks on Scheer, including what he calls the Conservative leader’s support for the “dairy cartel.”

We’ve seen the release of the blackface scandal photos, and attacks on Scheer for claiming he was an insurance broker when in reality he was never fully licensed as one. 

But this time, it’s personal for the PPC. 

On Twitter, Bernier said he was “astounded and shocked to learn that Andrew Scheer … paid professional mud-throwers to discredit our party. This is an attack on the integrity of our democratic process.”

Politics will always, in one way or another, be dirty and consist of attacks; that’s just human nature.

But this is a scandal like no other.

If the CPC did hire Kinsella’s firm to perform this smear campaign, then this is indeed an attack on our democratic process. Bernier almost wasn’t allowed into the leaders’ debate; if he hadn’t been on the stage, it would have been a tragedy for our democracy.

Voters have the right to support any candidate, but they deserve a fair election. This isn’t fair to the PPC. Sure they’ve played a little dirty, but not to this extent.

Time will tell who is responsible for this smear campaign, but for the PPC, it may be too late as the election is only days away.

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