Chilliwack, BC (Burnaby Now) – Burnaby Now newspaper released an interview with a Federal Conservative PR strategist and the response was unsettling. FVN Fraser Valley News is not endorsing any candidate (that’s not our job) however, this really isn’t the way to do Media Relations/PR ( in our humble opinion).
Jennifer: We’ve been getting calls from people concerned that the Conservatives, the candidates, are not coming to the all-candidates meetings, and I wanted to see what kind of policy you have for these kinds of events.
Meagan: I don’t know that we have one at all. It’s up to their availability and their own decision.
What about talking to media, what’s the policy around that?
So there’s no party policy that says everyone has to go through the campaign manager, that kind of thing?
No, candidates decide what’s the best use of their time.
And again, nothing on all-candidates meetings?
They’re encouraged to talk to their constituents as much as possible.
I have a hunch, correct me if I’m wrong, maybe there’s a focus on door knocking? Is that why?
I can’t confirm your hunch. You would have to go with fact.
Yeah, except we can’t get any of the Conservatives candidates on the phone to answer questions directly.
Have you requested?
Yes, and they tell me to go through their campaign managers.
Well, they do have people to organize their day for them. I don’t think that’s surprising.
No, but this is for media calls and comments on stories, right?
Who would you like to speak to? Have you asked? I can facilitate. Sorry, would you like to speak to someone, because I can facilitate. I can help you, I do that all day long.
Yeah, I would like to speak to all three of them actually.
On what subject?
Well, now, it’s about why they’re not going to the all-candidates meetings.
All three are not going to any candidates meetings.
No, I did not say that, I did not say that. We’re getting calls from people complaining they’re not going to the all-candidates meetings.
What are the facts?
Other candidates are going and the Conservatives are not attending. I’d like to know why.
Which ones aren’t attending which meetings?
OK, (New Westminster) Chamber of Commerce. In Burnaby North-Seymour, it was one that was held on the hall on South Howard Street.
OK, is that the only one that’s being held?
So there are multiple that are being held, and that candidate is not going to any? I have to look into this if that’s what you’re claiming.
No, that’s not what I’m claiming.
You’re claiming that they don’t go to some.
Ok, we’re getting calls from people, that are complaining to us, the newspaper, that Conservative candidates are not coming to all-candidates meetings. We’ve got one complaint in each riding, and one of them wasn’t even really a complaint, she was just saying they’re not coming and that other people are trying to get a hold of Chloe Ellis for a second all-candidates meeting, and they are having no luck contacting her. So, my hunch is you guys have some kind of policy –
Well, we don’t. Our policy is that candidates are encouraged to talk to their constituents in whichever means that’s best for them and their constituents. Would you like me to confirm which debates they are attending, if any are decided yet? There’s still a great deal of time left in the election.
That would be great, because I can’t get them without going through their handlers.
Their handlers? You mean their campaign managers that field phone calls?
Have you talked to their campaign managers already?
Only for Mike Little. And he said go through his campaign manager. (Previously) all three of them have said the same thing: all media calls have to go through the campaign manager. So that sounds to me like a policy.
I know that they do use campaign managers. Every party uses campaign managers to help organize.
Yeah, I don’t think you need to organize returning someone’s phone call. It’s not that complicated.
I’ll take your point.
It’s kind of a waste of time for us as reporters. And no other candidate, from any other party does this.
So you’ve been able to speak directly to all of the others.
Oh yeah, I have their cell phone numbers; it’s not an issue. I can call them up and get comments on a story in a timely fashion. But not with the Conservatives. It’s been like this every election. And we often don’t get comments from them period. And that’s a problem.
Would you like a comment from any of them?
Yes, I would like to talk to all three of them.
About what subject?
About attending all-candidates debates in their riding.
Now, I will pass your request along to all three ridings and let them know you’re looking to speak to the candidates about this subject. I can’t force them to do that, but I will definitely pass the request along, and they can decide whether they’d like to get back to you or not. It seems like you have your story already written.
It’s not already written, but it has to get done today, because this is the last day I’m here.
It just sounds like it’s already written, so I’m not sure what the benefit would be for them. It will be up to them.
Why are you saying it sounds like it is already written? There’s nothing written.
You just said you have a hunch.
Yes, that’s what I’m calling and asking about. Don’t you see a pattern here?
I don’t actually.
Really? This happens every election?
Stop being hostile.
I’m not being hostile, Meagan.
I will certainly take your request. Give me your contact information.
Do you have an email address as well?
No, it’s better to just call.
Forgive me I missed your name at the beginning.
Do you have a last name, Jennifer?
Yes, it’s M-O-R-E-A-U.
And what’s your deadline?
Today by 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Ok I will pass your request along. I will do what I can to get a hold of details they are attending. There are obviously many debates in every single riding. But if they are attending some dates in their riding I will try to get that information for you to facilitate. Certainly, I’ll tell them you’re looking for them to call you back.
That would be great, much appreciated.
You’re welcome, bye.
FYI Burnaby Now never heard back from anyone.