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June  18,  2013     To:  Moe  Sihota,  President  BC  NDP   Jan  O’Brien,  Provincial  Secretary,  BC  NDP   Stephen

 Howard,  chief  of  staff,  Leader’s  Office     Dear  Moe,  Jan  and  Stephen,     In  coming  weeks  the  party  will  be  conducting  a  review  of  the  2013  campaign.       I’m  hoping  to  contribute  to  that  effort  with  these  notes.     Adrian  Dix  is  an  impressive  public  figure,  and  it  was  an  honour  to  work  with  him  over  the  past  two  and  a   half  years.  He  has  one  notable  fault  –  he  is  too  hard  on  himself.  As  Dick  Proctor  famously  said  about  our   party’s  painful  1982  defeat  in  Saskatchewan,  a  result  like  this  is  a  team  effort.       In  particular,  as  campaign  director  I  take  my  own  full  measure  of  responsibility  for  the  results  of  this   campaign.       As  outlined  in  the  pages  that  follow,  our  campaign  needed  to  do  a  much  better  job  than  we  did  in  our   basic  strategy;  in  the  politics  of  our  platform  announcements;  in  the  core  message  of  paid  and  earned   media;  in  the  energy  and  content  of  our  campaign  events;  in  the  strength  of  our  slate;  and  on  many   other  fronts  and  on  many  other  issues.  I  apologize  for  the  shortcomings  of  our  campaign,  for  my  own   shortcomings  in  trying  to  tackle  these  challenges,  and  for  the  results  -­‐-­‐  and  I  grieve  them.     As  you  know  well,  we  joined  the  rest  of  our  campaign  team  in  Burnaby  on  June  7th  to  conduct  a  post-­‐ mortem  of  this  campaign.  I  benefited  enormously  (as  will  the  review,  and  as  I  hope  you  did)  from  the   comments  of  all  of  our  team  on  this  campaign.       The  appended  text  was  prepared  collectively  with  Anne  McGrath,  Jim  Rutkowski,  Brad  Lavigne,  and   Shannon  Phillips,  who  very  kindly  agreed  to  work  with  me  to  fill  out  the  appended  notes.     All  the  best,   Brian  Topp      

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Part  1:  Introduction     Part  2:  A  survey  of  the  election     The  2010  leadership  crisis   The  campaign  brief     A  positive  and  authentic  campaign   On  policy,  the  “hard  road  to  power”   The  2011  false  start  and  its  consequences   2012     Tension  between  offices   Front-­‐runner  disease   The  strategic  consequences  of  committing  to  “positive  politics”   Setting  up  the  campaign,  fall  2012     Weekly  strategy  call     Central  campaign  structure     Organizing  and  target  units     Tour  unit     Polling  and  research     Data  and  micro-­‐targeting     Communications  unit     Core  campaign  message   The  Liberals  play  their  dirt  card  –  The  Memo  –  January  2013   The  NDP  plays  its  response  card  –  the  Quick  Wins  Scandal  –  February  2013   The  March-­‐April  2013  phony  war   The  campaign  opens  –  the  first  ten  days     The  tour  model     War  between  war  rooms     Our  ad  program     Early  warnings  in  internal  polling  and  research   The  second  week  –  Kinder-­‐Morgan,  selling  BC  Place,  the  platform  launch   The  debates   The  post-­‐debate  rewrite  and  the  second  campaign   The  final  sprint   Defeat  on  election  night  
     

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Part  3:  Some  lessons  learned     OPERATIONAL  AND  TACTICAL  ISSUES     (1) Delivering  a  consistent  message   -­‐ Prepared  speeches  and  daily  message   -­‐ Exposure  to  media  on  tour   -­‐ Effective  use  of  spokespeople   (2) Contrasting  the  choices  in  the  campaign   -­‐ Fearlessly  engaging  the  opponent’s  record,  every  day   -­‐ Naming  the  enemy   -­‐ Dealing  with  personal  attacks   -­‐ Three-­‐dimensional  leader  definition   (3) Communicating  platform  announcements   (4) Connections  between  tour  and  HQ   (5) Embracing  visual  representations  of  our  message   (6) Playing  well  in  debates   (7) Ethnic  media   (8) Perfecting  the  leader’s  tour     THREE  KEY  STRATEGIC  ISSUES     The  Liberals  prosecuted  us  better  than  we  prosecuted  them   “It’s  too  risky  to  change  the  government”    worked   We  needed  to  make  a  better  offer    
 

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British  Columbia  New  Democratic  Party   Campaign  post-­‐mortem   June  14,  2013       Part  1:  Introduction   In  a  public  statement  a  week  after  the  May  2013  election,  BC  NDP  leader  Adrian  Dix  directed  that  a   detailed  review  be  conducted  of  the  party’s  campaign.  He  directed  that  this  review  take  “an  unflinching   look  at  our  strengths  and  weaknesses,  and  what  we  need  to  do  to  improve.”  He  also  said  the  review   “must  address  the  strategy  and  tactics  we  employed  in  the  election.  And  it  must  examine  the   fundamental  questions  of  who  we  are  as  a  party,  and  our  relationship  with  the  people  of  BC.”  To  assist   the  Leader  and  party  with  this,  we  offer  the  notes  that  follow.   We  played  senior  roles  in  the  campaign.  A  political  disappointment  like  this  is  a  team  effort.  Adrian  Dix  is   being  over-­‐generous  in  insisting  that  he  is  solely  and  personally  responsible  for  this  outcome.  We  all   deeply  regret  that  the  extraordinary  effort  put  into  this  campaign  by  so  many  was  not  met  with  better   success.     The  bright  energetic  young  campaign  team  we  worked  with  (who  will  serve  the  party  brilliantly  as  core   activists  for  many  years  to  come);  the  hundreds  of  candidates  and  local  campaign  workers;  the   thousands  of  volunteers;  the  many  more  thousands  of  donors,  many  of  whom  made  sacrifices  in  their   family  budgets  to  fund  this  effort;  and  the  hundreds  of  thousands  of  voters  who  supported  our  party  –   they  deserved  a  better  result,  and  a  better  government.   We  believe  the  following:   (a) The  Liberals  prosecuted  us  better  than  we  prosecuted  them:  In  this  campaign,  our  campaign   undertook  a  principled,  admirable  and  well-­‐intentioned  attempt  to  “change  politics”  in  the  face   of  an  opponent  playing  by  the  right-­‐wing  populist  playbook  –  an  effort  which  did  not  succeed;     (b) “It’s  too  risky  to  change  the  government”  did  work:  In  company  with  opposition  parties  all  across   Canada,  our  campaign  failed  to  beat  the  core  argument  currently  being  offered  by  incumbent   governments  of  all  stripes  (Liberal,  NDP  and  Conservative)  seeking  re-­‐election  –  that  in  these   uncertain  economic  times,  it  is  too  risky  to  change  the  government;  and     (c) Our  campaign  failed  to  inspire  our  current  supporters  and  did  not  reach  outside  of  our  base:   British  Columbians  open  to  supporting  the  NDP  did  not  find  us  passionate,  inspiring,  populist,  or   compelling  in  our  efforts  to  contrast  ourselves  to  our  opponent.   Numerous  operational  and  strategic  lessons  flow  from  these  facts.  We’ll  set  out  our  views  on  them  in   the  course  of  our  argument  below.        

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Part  2:  A  survey  of  the  election     The  2010  leadership  crisis   The  story  of  this  campaign  properly  begins  in  late  2010,  when  a  group  of  caucus  members  made  a  series   of  public  statements  arguing  that  BC  NDP  Leader  Carole  James  could  not  win  the  coming  election  and   should  step  down.  This  initiative  produced  a  deep  and  bitter  split  in  the  caucus  and  the  party,  and  a   significant  drop  in  public  confidence  and  public  support  for  the  BC  NDP.     The  BC  labour  movement  witnessed  these  events  with  considerable  dismay.  Several  senior  figures  in  the   labour  movement  stepped  forward  and  attempted  to  mediate  a  settlement.  As  part  of  that  effort,  the   United  Steelworkers  and  other  players  proposed  that  one  of  us  (Brian  Topp)  be  engaged  as  a  neutral   mediator  between  the  caucus  majority  supporting  Carole  James  and  the  caucus  group  calling  for   leadership  change.     The  Leader,  however,  concluded  that  she  could  not  continue,  and  stepped  down.  She  called  on  her   colleagues  to  now  reunite.  It  is  not  too  much  to  say  that  Ms.  James  in  large  part  healed  the  deep  split  in   caucus  herself  through  the  selfless  way  she  chose  to  address  it,  and  in  her  remarkable  conduct   afterward.  Carole  James  was  an  admirable  leader  and  is  an  admirable  person.   Discussions  refocused  onto  how  to  get  the  party  and  caucus  to  function  again  under  interim  leader   Dawn  Black.  The  obvious  tensions  within  our  legislative  caucus  slowly  faded  in  the  following  months.   Our  party  owes  Dawn  Black  a  great  deal  of  gratitude  for  this  achievement.   We  aren’t  entering  into  the  debate  about  the  merits  of  these  events  in  2010.  We  simply  want  to  point   out  a  consequence  for  2013.  We  went  into  the  2013  election  campaign  with  a  new  leader  on  his  first   campaign,  and  a  political  staff  and  provincial  office  team  who  had  never  worked  together  before.  It  is   often  true  that  leaders  and  their  teams  become  more  effective  over  multiple  campaigns  (Jack  Layton   and  his  team  steadily  improved  over  four  election  campaigns,  for  example.  Dalton  McGuinty,  Gary  Doer,   Stephen  Harper,  Jean  Charest  and  many  other  Premiers  and  Prime  Ministers  won  office  after  learning   from  defeats,  sincerely  and  effectively  embracing  change,  and  growing  as  leaders  and  teams).  The  BC   NDP  would  not  have  that  benefit  in  2013  –  a  recurring  problem.   In  April  2011,  NDP  members  elected  Adrian  Dix  as  leader.   Once  in  place,  Adrian  Dix  had  to  quickly  turn  his  mind  to  the  kind  of  campaign  he  wanted  to  run  –  a   campaign  brief  that  we  believe  was  shaped  by  some  very  careful  thinking  about  his  career  and  the   government  he  served  during  the  1990s.   The  campaign  brief   As  every  British  Columbian  who  listens  to  radio  advertising  can  now  recite  in  their  sleep,  Adrian  Dix   served  in  the  1990s  as  chief  of  staff  to  Premier  Glen  Clark.  In  1998,  Premier  Clark  became  embroiled  in   allegations  arising  from  a  casino  license  –  allegations  from  which  he  was  later  completely  exonerated  in   court.  Mr.  Dix  attempted  to  protect  the  Premier  from  these  allegations  by  creating  an  exculpatory   memorandum,  which  he  backdated.  When  this  became  known,  Mr.  Dix  resigned.  Adrian  Dix  had  a  long   time  to  reflect  on  these  searing  and  life-­‐altering  events  following  his  resignation.     Page  |  5      

In  2005,  he  re-­‐entered  public  life  as  an  NDP  candidate  in  the  riding  of  Vancouver  Kingsway.  His  Liberal   opponent  thoroughly  ventilated  the  circumstances  surrounding  his  resignation  as  chief  of  staff  during   that  campaign,  but  the  voters  in  that  riding  rejected  the  Liberals  and  their  angry  negative  campaign  and   elected  Mr.  Dix.  Carole  James  appointed  him  as  health  critic,  and  he  quickly  emerged  as  one  of  the   NDP’s  highest  profile,  most  articulate,  most  aggressive  and  most  effective  front  bench  critics.   In  2009,  Mr.  Dix  ran  again  in  Vancouver  Kingsway.  Once  again  his  Liberal  opponent  attempted  to  defeat   him  on  the  basis  of  his  resignation  as  chief  of  staff.  And  once  again  his  constituents  rejected  the  negative   Liberal  campaign  and  comfortably  re-­‐elected  him  to  the  legislature,  where  he  continued  to  serve  as  one   of  the  caucus’  leading  and  most  effective  members.   Adrian  Dix  spelled  out  his  firmly-­‐held  and  determined  view  of  how  the  2013  campaign  should  be   conducted  during  the  leadership  race;  in  the  spring  of  2011  when  an  early  election  seemed  imminent;   and  during  the  two  year  wait  which  then  occurred.  He  repeated  his  views  in  numerous  leadership   debates;  in  innumerable  reports  to  caucus  and  party  meetings;  in  many  media  interviews;  and  at  public   and  private  events  all  across  BC.  No  party  member,  no  member  of  the  campaign  team,  no  caucus   member,  and  no  member  of  the  public  who  followed  public  affairs  could  be  left  in  any  doubt  about  the   kind  of  campaign  Mr.  Dix  intended  to  lead.   It  was  a  campaign  brief  that  was  principled,  thoughtful,  radical  in  some  ways  –  and  rooted  in  an   obviously  careful  reflection  on  Mr.  Dix’s  political  and  policy  experiences  in  the  1990s  NDP  government.   A  positive  and  authentic  campaign   We  understood  him  to  have  taken  the  following  views  (the  following  are  our  words):   • The  populist  right  in  its  various  forms  all  around  the  democratic  world  (right-­‐wing  “Liberal”,   Conservative,  Republican,  right-­‐wing  nationalist  and  regionalist,  etc.)  has  developed  a  playbook   centred  on  the  politics  of  personal  destruction  –  on  relentless,  well-­‐funded  personal  attacks  on   progressive  opponents,  designed  to  suppress  the  votes  of  the  progressive  majority,  and  to   engineer  an  artificial  plurality  for  regressive  right-­‐wing  policies  and  politicians  that  would  never   command  public  support  on  their  merits.  The  answer  to  this  playbook  is  not  to  repeat  it,  since   doing  so  reinforces  it.  Instead,  Mr.  Dix  argued  (as  some  of  us  have  as  well),  the  answer  is  to  seek   to  make  the  right’s  focus  on  negative  politics  a  campaign  issue  in  its  own  right  –  to  argue  that   the  right’s  campaign  playbook  speaks  to  its  character,  and  is  part  of  why  they  merit  defeat.  And   to  directly  appeal  to  the  growing  legions  of  progressive  non-­‐voters  (a  constituency  that  tends  to   be  lower  income,  non-­‐white,  young  and  female)  by  offering  them  a  positive  alternative  that  is   not  about  personal  attacks.     Although  none  of  us  heard  him  say  so  explicitly,  we  speculate  that  Mr.  Dix  believed  this   approach  could  work  both  as  a  general  proposition,  and  as  a  strategy  to  deal  with  the  obvious   coming  Liberal  personal  attack  on  his  record  as  chief  of  staff.  He  had  weathered  the  same   attacks  in  two  campaigns  as  MLA,  taking  responsibility  for  his  actions,  counter-­‐attacking  by   pointing  out  the  hollow  negativity  of  his  Liberal  opponents,  and  then  speaking  to  core  public   policy  issues  like  poverty  and  health  care.  He  believed,  we  believe,  that  this  could  work  again  in   a  provincial  campaign  –  that  Liberal  attacks  on  his  record  could  be  turned  against  them.     Page  |  6      

Mr.  Dix  was  also  firmly  of  the  view  that  the  time  had  come  to  turn  the  page  on  the  artificiality   and  inauthenticity  of  politics  and  political  campaigning,  so  heavily  influenced  by  the  political   right’s  playbook,  and  to  appeal  to  voters  with  a  great  deal  more  authenticity.  To  that  end:     -­‐ He  refused  to  be  scripted.  A  gifted  writer,  Mr.  Dix  instead  developed  a  thoughtful,  detailed,   extemporaneous  speaking  style  based  on  research  notes  and  his  own  outlines  and   reflections.  He  did  not  speak  from  texts  or  a  teleprompter.  His  ability  to  speak  seriously  and   substantively  in  detail  without  notes  deeply  impressed  party,  public  and  business  audiences   throughout  his  run  up  to  the  2013  campaign,  and  became  a  central  part  of  his  brand  as   leader.       -­‐ He  rejected  a  glib  and  talking  points-­‐based  approach  to  the  media.  He  reduced  his  exposure   to  journalists,  and  engaged  with  them  seriously  when  he  did  speak  to  them.  He  answered   the  questions  put  to  him,  seriously  and  in  detail.  His  press  conferences  and  scrums  therefore   tended  to  be  long,  detailed  and  wide-­‐ranging.     -­‐ He  declined  to  engage  in  autobiographical  politics.  He  believed  he  should  not  exploit  his   family  for  political  purposes,  and  believed  his  views  on  public  policy  were  more  important   than  his  hobbies  or  his  lifestyle.       -­‐ And  he  rejected  staged  (sometimes  contrived  and  manufactured)  political  events  and  set-­‐ pieces.  Instead  he  looked  for  a  direct  connection  with  citizens,  preferably  in  meetings  or   community  hall  settings  similar  to  the  ones  he  was  used  to  campaigning  in  during  his  races   in  Vancouver  Kingsway.  Although  he  understood  their  political  utility,  he  therefore  viewed   bunting,  lights,  cameras,  music  and  other  political  event  tools  as  distractions  and   impediments  to  an  authentic  connection  with  voters  present  in  the  room.    

In  all  of  this  Adrian  Dix  was  in  the  mainstream  of  a  growing  concern  about  the  hollowing-­‐out,  rigidities,   artificialities  and  lack  of  relevance  or  substance  of  political  life,  in  Canada  and  all  around  the  democratic   world.  We  will  argue  in  this  note  that  many  of  the  burdens  that  people  like  us  place  on  elected  officials   during  and  between  campaigns  are  facts  of  life  in  politics  in  the  television  age.  It  is  not  possible  for   elected  officials  to  do  good  if  they  don’t  win  –  individually,  or  collectively  as  a  governing  party.    But  we   well  understand  that  the  price  seems  very  high  indeed,  and  that  a  way  must  be  found  to  make   successful  campaigning  (and  governing)  less  disempowering  for  elected  people.     A  growing  number  of  elected  MPs  and  members  of  provincial  legislatures  have  made  these  same  points   about  public  life.  Prime  Minister  Stephen  Harper’s  federal  caucus,  for  example,  at  this  writing  was  being   rocked  by  a  backbench  revolt  around  similar  concerns.   On  policy,  “the  hard  road  to  power”   With  regard  to  the  substance  of  the  campaign,  Adrian  Dix  could  not  have  been  clearer  about  his  plan.     Under  his  leadership  our  party  chose  to  take  the  “hard  road  to  power”.  Which  meant  the  following,  on   the  key  issues  that  seemed  to  be  facing  the  province:  

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A  no-­‐surprises  approach:  Unlike  the  Liberal  regime  with  its  HST  (and,  implicitly,  unlike  our  1990s   government  with  its  unheralded  post-­‐election  deficit),  we  would  not  make  promises  we  could  not  keep,   and  would  not  surprise  the  public  after  an  election.  We  would  seek  an  explicit  mandate  for  our  policies   even  if  some  of  them  were  unpopular  or  difficult  to  communicate.    A  serious  approach:  We  accused  the  Liberal  government  of  campaigning  rather  than  governing,  and   vowed  to  do  better.  We  would  take  a  “serious  approach”  to  public  affairs,  and  make  serious  proposals   that  addressed  the  real  issues,  with  proposals  within  the  province’s  jurisdiction  and  financial  resources   and  which  could  really  be  implemented.     On  fiscal  policy  we  argued  that  an  NDP  government  should  reduce  spending  on  tax  cuts  for  wealthy   individuals  and  large  profitable  corporations,  in  order  to  create  fiscal  room  for  new  initiatives  without   increasing  the  deficit.   On  the  economy  we  suggested  the  Liberal  government  was  failing  to  act  effectively  within  its  jurisdiction   on  numerous  fronts  (forestry,  mining,  tourism,  creative  industries,  agriculture  etc.)  and  that  much   needed  to  be  done  –  most  importantly,  the  government  needed  to  get  back  into  business  of  skills   training,  the  key  deficit  reported  by  the  business  community  in  all  sectors.   On  social  policy  we  proposed  that  BC  needed  to  directly  address  growing  inequality,  beginning  with  the   province’s  lamentable  record  on  child  poverty.  Health  care  and  education  had  eroded  significantly  under   the  Liberals  to  pay  for  tax  cuts  for  the  wealthy.  Mindful  of  the  enormous  costs  of  addressing  these   issues,  we  acknowledged  than  in  a  first  term  an  NDP  government  would  have  to  be  selective  and   disciplined  in  how  it  turned  around  those  areas.   And  on  the  environment  we  opposed  the  Liberal  government’s  abdication  of  responsibility  over   environmental  issues  to  the  Harper  government  in  Ottawa.  We  suggested  that  BC  should  repatriate  its   role  in  this  area.  We  opposed  the  Northern  Gateway  pipeline  on  its  merits.   So:  a  “positive”  campaign,  which  made  an  explicit  virtue  (and  indeed,  a  central  theme)  of  not  attacking   the  characters  of  opponents,  while  remaining  critical  of  their  record;  an  “authentic”  campaign  that   would  try  to  step  around  some  of  the  barriers  between  politics  and  voters;  and  a  serious,  policy-­‐driven   campaign.  That  was  the  campaign  brief  we  pursued  until  the  end  of  the  second  week  of  the  May  2013   election  campaign.  As  far  as  most  people  could  see,  it  appeared  to  be  working,  right  up  until  election   night.  Our  party,  slate  and  campaign  team  worked  loyally  to  implement  it.   It  was,  alas,  a  campaign  brief  that  did  not  survive  contact  with  our  opponent,  who  was  playing  from  a   very  different  playbook  on  every  point.   The  2011  false  start  and  its  consequences   In  December  2010,  a  few  weeks  before  her  election  as  Liberal  leader,  Christy  Clark  told  the  CBC:  “I  think   two  and  a  half  years  in  government  as  an  unelected  premier  is  an  awful  long  time.  I  think  British   Columbians  might  be  right  to  say…’we  want  to  get  a  chance  to  vote  for  you  under  the  basic  principles  of   democracy.’"   Taking  Premier  Clark  and  her  basic  principles  of  democracy  at  her  word,  Adrian  Dix  moved  quickly  to   assemble  a  campaign  team  after  his  own  election  as  NDP  leader  in  April  2011.  The  Leader  spelled  out   Page  |  8      

the  campaign  brief  described  above  –  consistent  with  the  program  he  had  run  on  during  the  leadership   race.  The  campaign  team  was  recruited.  Our  campaign  message,  platform,  tour,  advertising  strategy  and   organizing  plan  were  developed,  consistent  with  the  leader’s  campaign  brief.  Elements  of  the  campaign   with  long  lead  times  (like  the  advance  work  on  the  tour;  research;  and  paid  media  strategy)  were  staffed   up.  And  the  leader  and  party  turned  their  attention  to  constructing  a  slate  of  candidates.   In  late  August  2011,  having  fought  and  lost  a  referendum  to  defend  the  HST,  Premier  Clark  discovered  a   new  set  of  basic  principles  of  democracy.  Some  people  had  told  her  that  they  were  concerned  than  an   election  might  harm  the  economy,  she  reported.  So  the  Premier  announced  that  since  she  was  bound  by   these  some  people’s  views,  she  would  now  rule  as  an  unelected  Premier  for  two  and  a  half  years  and   the  public  would  have  to  wait  for  a  chance  to  vote  for  her.     In  hindsight,  this  transparent,  electorally-­‐motivated,  lamely-­‐defended  flip-­‐flop  was  an  early  and   important  missed  opportunity  to  indelibly  brand  Ms.  Clark’s  character,  judgment,  obsession  with   political  game-­‐playing,  and  inconsistency  with  the  public.  It  merited  a  major  communications  campaign.   However,  we  contented  ourselves  with  observing  that  the  Premier’s  decision  might  have  had  more  to  do   with  her  concern  that  she  would  lose  an  election  and  dropped  the  matter,  as  far  as  the  public  could  see.   The  NDP  tucked  away  the  work  done  to  prepare  a  campaign,  much  of  which  it  would  return  to  in  2013.     And  a  substantially  full  slate  of  candidates  now  faced  a  two-­‐year  wait  before  they  could  proceed  with   their  candidacies.     The  NDP  had  a  strong  slate  of  candidates  in  2011  and  a  stronger  one  in  2013.  But  it  is  fair  to  say  that  the   2011  “Christy  Clark’s  basic  principles  of  democracy”  false  start  left  the  party  with  less  flexibility  when  it   came  to  assembling  its  slate  –  while  the  Liberals  gave  themselves  an  additional  two  years  to  recruit  their   own.   2012 Over  the  course  of  the  fall  of  2011  and  2012,  it  became  clear  that  Premier  Clark  did  not  have  a  public   policy  agenda,  and  did  indeed  prefer  to  campaign  rather  than  govern.  She  focused  on  photo   opportunities  and  a  permanent  campaign  tour  at  public  expense.  She  staged  a  series  of  set-­‐piece   tantrums  at  meetings  with  other  premiers,  which  led  to  a  great  deal  of  negative  comment  from  other   Canadian  governments  on-­‐  and  off-­‐stage.  The  government  proposed  little  of  consequence  on  any  file.   British  Columbians  –  and  Liberal  voters  –  weren’t  impressed.  The  Liberal  party’s  political  support   disintegrated  after  the  HST  referendum,  splitting  into  shards  –  some  switching  to  the  NDP;  some  moving   into  “undecided”;  some  moving  to  the  Green  party;  and  a  very  substantial  number  switching  to  the   British  Columbia  Conservative  Party,  reorganizing  under  the  leadership  of  former  Conservative  MP  John   Cummins.   It  later  became  clear  through  a  series  of  leaks  that  the  Liberal  campaign  team,  working  at  public  expense   in  Christy  Clark’s  Premier’s  office,  spent  much  of  the  year  debating  what  to  do  about  this.     From  what  we  can  see,  they  settled  on  four  core  initiatives:  

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(a) They  focused  much  of  their  public  political  fire  and  venom  on  the  BC  Conservative  party,  which   they  accused  of  splitting  the  right-­‐wing  vote.  It  seems  clear  they  calculated  that  the  BC   Conservative  party  posed  a  mortal  threat  to  their  re-­‐election,  and  had  to  be  cracked  as  a  first   order  of  business;     (b) They  conceived  and  implemented  an  outreach  strategy  aimed  at  the  Chinese  and  South  Asian   communities;     (c) A  team  was  hived  off  from  the  Premier’s  office  and  set  to  work  organizing  an  (arguably  illegal)   front  group  to  anonymously  fundraise  and  then  broadcast  a  series  of  (arguably  defamatory)   attack  ads  aimed  at  Adrian  Dix;  and     (d) The  Liberal  campaign  team  designed  and  aired  a  constant  stream  of  Stephen  Harper-­‐style   government  television  ads  designed  to  seed  the  idea  that  the  next  election  was  about  –  and  was   only  about  -­‐-­‐  economic  stability.   We  can  say  across  the  political  barricades  that,  whatever  one  thinks  of  the  ethics  and  legality  of  all  of   this,  as  a  raw  political  proposition  each  of  these  efforts  proved  to  be  successful,  although  it  was  not   always  easy  to  see  this  at  the  time.   • Individuals  previously  affiliated  with  the  BC  Liberal  party  took  up  positions  in  the  BC   Conservative  party.  Over  the  course  of  2012,  some  of  these  individuals  provoked  divisive  fights   within  that  party  over  the  leadership  of  Mr.  Cummins,  and  on  several  occasions  staged  high-­‐ profile  press  conferences  to  denounce  the  Conservative  leader  and  to  theatrically  resign.   Premier  Clark,  meanwhile,  set  aside  her  previous  identification  with  the  federal  Liberal  party   and  hugged  her  new  basic  principles  as  a  small-­‐  and  capital-­‐“c”  Conservative.  She  participated  in   several  high-­‐profile  events  with  Prime  Minister  Harper.  Preston  Manning  praised  her.  She   proclaimed  her  ardour  for  Margaret  Thatcher.  Members  of  the  Harper  team  fanned  out  in  core   Liberal  ridings  urging  former  supporters  to  reconsider  their  support  for  the  BC  Conservatives.   These  efforts  were  entirely  successful.  The  BC  Conservative  party,  which  in  early  2012  seemed   set  to  surpass  the  BC  Liberals,  was  unable  to  coherently  reply  to  this  offensive  from  the   government  and  began  a  long,  steady  and  relentless  fall  in  public  support  to  the  benefit  of  the   Liberals.     As  we  will  note  below,  the  Liberal  ethnic  outreach  strategy  provided  the  NDP  with  a  missed   opportunity  to  break  Christy  Clark.  But  in  its  final  effect,  this  strategy  likely  contributed   significantly  to  the  ultimate  Liberal  victory.  Chinese-­‐language  media  in  particular  were  notably   ardent  in  their  over-­‐the-­‐top  partisan  political  support  for  the  2013  Liberal  campaign.     Operating  under  a  flimsy  and  arguably  illegal  false  front,  Premier  Clark’s  BC  Liberal  team   succeeded  in  raising  a  substantial  sum  from  secret  donors,  and  then  researched  a  series  of   television,  radio  and  print  ads  aimed  at  Adrian  Dix.  They  held  most  of  their  fire  in  2012,  but  got   their  homework  done  as  we  will  note  below.    

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And  the  tidal  wave  of  taxpayer-­‐funded  Liberal  party  television  ads  began.  In  this,  the  BC  Liberals   were  working  directly  off  the  Harper  government  playbook.  They  were  not  seeking  to  promote   any  particular  program  or  to  persuade  voters  of  any  particular  fact  with  these  advertisements.   The  purpose  of  this  advertising  program  was  to  seed  the  idea  that  the  key  issue  before  the   province  was  the  stability  of  its  economy  –  and  to  suggest  that  the  BC  Liberals  were  100%   focused  on  this  issue.    There  was  no  truth  to  this.  Liberal  cuts  to  skills  training;  foot-­‐dragging  on   mining  permits;  raw  log  exports;  cutbacks  to  tourism  and  agriculture  programs;  and  much  more   had  done  a  great  deal  of  harm  to  the  economy,  which  was  seriously  under-­‐performing  other   provinces  on  many  metrics.    But  as  the  coming  campaign  would  show,  facts  weren’t  going  to   matter.  

Speaking  from  our  perspective  as  campaign  workers,  the  BC  NDP  for  its  part  focused  on  three  initiatives   relevant  to  setting  up  the  coming  campaign:   (a) The  caucus,  now  functioning  as  a  united,  well-­‐organized  and  well-­‐motivated  team,  maintained   steady  pressure  on  the  government  throughout  2012;     (b) Adrian  Dix  well  understood  the  Liberal  party’s  ability  to  crank  up  a  “red  scare”  in  the  business   community  and  to  build  on  it  to  re-­‐assemble  their  voting  base.  He  therefore  participated  in  over   a  hundred  meetings  with  business  groups  over  the  course  of  2012,  detailing  his  fiscal,  economic,   social  and  environmental  agenda,  and  seeking  to  reassure  the  business  community  that  the   province  would  not  be  destroyed  if  it  chose  to  vote  in  a  modern  progressive  government;  and     (c) The  BC  NDP  systematically  set  about  putting  its  finances  in  order.     Results  were  encouraging:   • To  the  extent  that  the  public  paid  any  attention  to  the  abbreviated  2012  legislative  session  or   other  political  news  out  of  Victoria,  they  would  have  seen  a  clear,  focused  and  articulate  NDP   opposition  making  it  perfectly  clear  that  Premier  Clark  had  no  coherent  agenda;  was  failing  to   make  progress  on  any  economic,  social  or  environmental  file;  and  was  consumed  by  her  political   priorities.  The  caucus  staked  out  a  few  carefully  considered  and  clear  positive  alternatives  –  a   skills  training  strategy;  a  carefully-­‐targeted  tax  package;  and  opposition  to  the  Northern   Gateway  pipeline;     Adrian  Dix  thoroughly  impressed  the  business  community.  His  detailed,  thoughtful  speeches  –   delivered  without  notes  –  and  equally  detailed  and  thoughtful  answers  to  questions   demonstrated  that  he  had  carefully  considered  the  fiscal  and  economic  issues  that  pre-­‐occupied   business  leaders;  had  a  well-­‐considered  plan  (drawn  from  his  campaign  brief);  and  could  speak   to  it  confidently  and  competently.  The  contrast  between  the  thoughtful  and  confident  NDP   Leader  and  the  feckless  and  content-­‐free  Premier  Clark  at  this  point  in  the  political  cycle  could   not  have  been  starker,  and  was  widely  remarked  on  during  these  meetings.  Our  leader  could  be   forgiven  for  concluding  that  the  same  approach  would  continue  to  work  with  the  public  during   the  coming  election  campaign;    

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And,  over  the  course  of  2012,  the  BC  NDP  under  the  leadership  of  provincial  secretary  Jan   O’Brien  paid  off  all  of  its  previous  debt  and  advanced  twenty  years  in  its  fundraising  competence   –  smashing  all  of  its  previous  fundraising  records.  This  was  a  signal  achievement  by  Ms.  O’Brien   and  her  team  at  provincial  office,  a  foundational  contribution  to  the  party  and  its  work  that  will   stand  the  party  in  good  stead  for  many  elections  to  come.    

In  the  spirit  of  candour  that  is  appropriate  to  this  post-­‐mortem,  it  seems  appropriate  to  say  that  there   were  things  in  2012  that  worried  us.   (1) Tensions  between  offices   First,  while  Adrian  Dix  achieved  a  remarkable  reunification  of  our  caucus  which  went  from  strength  to   strength  as  a  team,  in  all  candour  we  cannot  say  that  the  same  was  always  true  of  the  political  and  party   team.  In  particular,  our  team  struggled  to  agree  on  how  to  execute  the  campaign  brief.     Senior  staff  at  provincial  office  wanted  a  political  website  and  pre-­‐campaign  materials  that  would   introduce  Adrian  Dix  and  his  autobiography  in  detail;  would  criticize  Christy  Clark  by  name;  would  attack   the  BC  Liberal  government’s  record  in  tough  language;  would  fundraise  on  the  basis  of  sharp  attacks  on   the  government,  the  Premier  and  her  party;  and  would  propose  detailed  policy  alternatives.   Acting  within  the  campaign  brief,  colleagues  in  Victoria  vetoed  all  proposals  along  these  lines.  The   leader’s  name  was  removed  from  the  NDP’s  campaign  website  and  almost  all  autobiographical  content   was  spiked.  Christy  Clark  was  not  to  be  named  in  any  party  material.  Criticism  of  the  government  was  to   be  written  in  understated  language  and  on  a  tightly  controlled  set  of  issues.  And  the  party  was  not  to   commit  the  leader  and  caucus  to  specific  policy  proposals,  since  the  party’s  platform  had  not  been   agreed,  and  the  province’s  fiscal  room  seemed  to  leave  little  room  to  make  promises  we  would  be  in  a   position  to  actually  keep.   Tension  between  the  party  office  and  the  legislative  staff  is  an  old  story  in  the  NDP  and  has  bedevilled   many  of  our  campaigns,  federal  and  provincial  –  especially  ones  conducted  by  a  new  leader  and  a  team   that  has  not  worked  together  before.     The  antidote  is  an  understanding  between  all  players,  acted  on,  that  they  are  on  the  same  team.  In  due   course  Adrian  Dix  resolved  these  issues  by  approving  a  campaign  organization  that  wove  the  strands  of   our  team  together  –  exactly  as  he  had  done  with  our  caucus.  And  as  soon  as  we  were  all  together  in  the   same  campaign  office  during  the  campaign  itself,  we  shook  down  into  a  cheerful,  harmonious,  hard-­‐ working  and  technically  effective  central  campaign  team.  But  that  was  not  always  the  case  before  the   writ  dropped,  making  it  more  difficult  to  carefully  discuss  and  think  through  the  strategic  and  tactical   issues  before  us.   This  had  numerous  consequences.  For  example,  we  struggled  to  agree  on  a  campaign  message  box.   What,  fundamentally,  was  our  ballot  question  –  what  were  we  asking  voters  to  decide  on  election  day?   The  Liberals  spent  months  and  millions  of  dollars  –  tens  of  millions  if  you  count  public  money  –  defining   their  question.  Ours  was  hard  for  voters  to  see  until  the  third  week  of  the  campaign.  The  Liberals   wrestled  with  their  campaign  message  amidst  paralyzing  internal  dissent,  a  withering  media  narrative,   and  brutally  discouraging  polling  numbers.  We  labored  under  a  more  self-­‐inflicted  set  of  problems.       Page  |  12      

(2) Front-­‐runner  disease   Second,  we  clearly  developed  a  bad  case  of  front-­‐runner  disease.   Judging  from  much  commentary  since  the  election,  many  of  our  colleagues  in  our  party  and  movement   knew  all  along  that  we  were  heading  towards  disaster,  and  that  the  correct  campaign  was  blindingly   obvious,  understood  by  all,  and  could  have  been  easily  implemented.   This,  alas  for  the  people  of  British  Columbia  (who  must  now  endure  another  four  years  of   misgovernment),  was  not  obvious  to  our  team  in  2012.     The  approach  we  were  following  appeared  to  be  working  extremely  well.  And  this  continued  to  be  true   (as  far  as  the  public  could  see)  right  up  until  about  8:30  pm  on  election  night.     Parties  that  are  ten  or  twenty  points  behind  in  public  domain  polls  know  they  are  on  the  wrong  track   and  need  to  change.     Parties  that  appear  to  be  going  from  strength  to  strength  believe  they  are  on  the  right  track,  and  should   build  on  what  they  are  already  doing.     The  BC  NDP  consistently  led  the  BC  Liberals  in  all  polls,  public  and  internal,  throughout  2012.  It  therefore   appeared  to  be  correct  that  the  public  was  tired  of  mean-­‐spirited  negative  right-­‐wing  populism;  was   tired  of  transparent  lies  and  obvious  misgovernment  from  Ms.  Clark  and  her  government;  had   concluded  that  the  Premier  was  not  competent  to  govern  the  province,  and  had  tuned  her  out;  was   determined  to  change  the  government;  and  just  wanted  to  be  reassured  that  the  BC  NDP  could  be   trusted  with  the  province’s  fiscal,  economic,  social  and  environmental  files.     Our  campaign  approach  was  implicitly  built  on  these  assumptions  –  which  were,  events  proved,   dangerously  complacent  about  our  opponent.     (3) The  strategic  consequences  of  committing  to  “positive  politics”   Third,  the  further  we  got  into  2012  the  deeper  we  committed  to  the  campaign  brief  and  the  more   difficult  it  became  to  overturn  it  even  had  we  wanted  to  -­‐-­‐  which  we  did  not,  since  it  seemed  to  be   working.     In  substantially  every  public  appearance  over  the  course  of  the  year,  our  leader  attacked  the  Liberals  for   their  negativity;  predicted  they  would  become  much  worse  during  the  campaign;  suggested  that  this   was  a  key  reason  why  they  deserved  to  be  defeated;  and  specifically,  clearly  and  unconditionally   promised  not  to  do  the  same.   This  was  warmly  received  in  the  party;  as  far  as  we  could  see  by  the  public;  and  was  widely  praised  in   the  media.   It  also  closed  the  door  to  the  overwhelmingly  negative,  personally-­‐abusive,  populist,  crusading  campaign   that  (for  example)  Premier  Glen  Clark  improvised  on  the  road  in  1996  –  and  that  the  Liberals  were   preparing  to  aim  at  us  in  2013.     The  price  of  switching  to  a  populist,  negative  campaign  went  up  every  time  we  committed  publicly  to   never  doing  so.  The  odds  of  such  a  campaign  working  went  down  every  time  we  criticised  the  Liberals   for  campaigning  in  that  manner.     Page  |  13      

We  took  a  clear  and  constantly-­‐repeated  position,  in  principle,  against  personally-­‐abusive  negative   politics  (quick  reinterpreted  by  the  media  and  our  opponents  to  mean  any  negative  campaigning  at  all).   In  many  ways  this  became  a  central  theme  of  our  campaign.  And  that  meant  we  were  locking  ourselves   into  it,  win  or  lose.   In  hindsight  this  was  a  fundamental,  double  error.  The  public  does  not  find  political  process  –  “changing   politics”  –  as  compelling  as  pocketbook  issues.  And  staking  out  such  a  clear  position  against  a  set  of   political  tools  was  a  hostage  to  fortune  –  a  bet  that  our  then-­‐apparently  highly  favourable  political   circumstances  would  never  change.   Setting  up  the  campaign,  fall  2012   In  the  fall  of  2012  we  began  staffing  up  for  the  coming  campaign.   As  part  of  our  campaign’s  communications  policy,  our  colleagues  in  the  Leader’s  office  instructed  us  to   avoid  profiling  unelected  campaign  staff;  to  not  do  on-­‐the-­‐record  media  interviews  or  to  participate  in   television  or  media  panels;  and  to  decline  to  answer  media  questions  about  our  campaign  structure  or   strategy.     The  focus,  it  was  reasoned  very  credibly,  should  be  on  candidates  for  office  and  what  they  said  in  public,   not  on  staff  in  the  campaign  on  what  strategies  might  be  under  discussion.     Now  that  the  campaign  is  over,  for  reference,  here  is  a  survey  of  our  central  campaign  team  and  a  little   about  the  individuals  involved:   Weekly  strategy  call:   Beginning  in  the  spring  of  2011  and  continuing  for  two  years,  we  held  a  weekly  strategy  and  tactics  call   to  discuss  daily  events,  this  campaign,  and  to  concert  our  work.     These  calls  were  chaired  by  Brian  Topp  and  included:   From  the  leader’s  office  and  caucus:   • • • Stephen  Howard  (leader’s  chief  of  staff)   Roseanne  Moran  (caucus  executive  director)   Carole  James  (representing  caucus)  

From  provincial  office:   • • • • • And:   • • Jim  Rutkowski  (Carol  James’  chief  of  staff)  and   Brad  Lavigne  (2011  federal  NDP  campaign  director)   Page  |  14       Jan  O’Brien  (provincial  secretary)   Moe  Sihota  (party  president)   Leslie  Kerr  (director  of  organization)   Gerry  Scott  (2009  BC  NDP  campaign  director)   Glen  Sandford  (former  caucus  communications  director)  

Central  campaign  structure:   In  its  final  form  our  central  campaign  was  structured  as  follows  (this  team  took  over  the  work  of  the   weekly  strategy  and  tactics  group  during  the  campaign,  meeting  every  morning):   • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Campaign  director:  Brian  Topp   Deputy  campaign  director:  Jan  O’Brien   Lead  political  of  the  tour:  Stephen  Howard   Campaign  outreach  and  feedback:  Moe  Sihota   Research  unit  director:  Vanessa  Geary  (director  of  research  in  the  leader’s  office)   War  room  unit  director:  Brad  Lavigne   Communications  unit  director:  Tim  Pearson  (director  of  communications  in  the  leader’s  office)   Organizing  unit  director:  Leslie  Kerr   Target  team  unit  director:  Gerry  Scott   Tour  unit  director:  Heather  Gropp  (administrative  officer  in  the  caucus  office)   Media  relations  unit  director:  Jim  Rutkowski   IT  unit  director:  Dan  Pollock  (senior  It  specialist  working  at  provincial  office)   Senior  advisor  on  tour:  Anne  McGrath  (lead  political  on  2011  federal  tour)   Transition  coordinator:  Roseanne  Moran   Deputy  communications  unit  director:  Michael  Roy  (comms  director  at  provincial  office)   Deputy  war  room  unit  director:  Shannon  Phillips  (director  of  research  at  Alta  fed)   Deputy  target  team  unit  director:  Glen  Sanford  

A  total  of  seventeen  people  in  these  roles.  A  few  other  facts  about  them:  thirteen  people  on  this  team   were  British  Columbians  with  (mostly)  long  histories  working  for  the  BC  NDP;  four  were  “imports”  from   out-­‐of-­‐province  (three  of  these  from  the  2011  federal  NDP  campaign).  Ten  were  men,  seven  were   women.  Five  were  senior  officials  from  the  leader’s  office;  five  were  either  senior  staff  or  an  elected   officer  from  provincial  office.     Organizing  and  target  teams   Our  organizing  unit,  working  with  very  limited  resources,  worked  continuously  after  the  2009  election  to   keep  constituencies  active  and  to  manage  political  opportunities  –  including  two  successful  by-­‐election   campaigns  in  ridings  without  a  recent  history  of  electing  NDP  MLAs.  Both  elected  NDP  MLAs  with   convincing  wins.  Both  of  these  successful  by-­‐election  campaigns  were  much  more  focused  on  a  hard-­‐ edged  criticism  of  the  Liberal  government  than  our  general  election  campaign  would  be.  The  organizing   unit  was  steadily  expanded  as  the  campaign  approached.   A  “target  team”  was  activated.  This  involved  hiring  a  growing  team  of  senior  organizers  whose  sole   function  was  to  lead  the  strongest  possible  local  campaigns  in  Liberal-­‐held  ridings  we  believed  we  could   win.  In  September  2012,  when  this  unit  was  activated,  there  seemed  to  be  quite  a  few  such  seats.  A   series  of  organizing  polls  commissioned  over  the  course  of  2012  and  early  2013  suggested  the  NDP  was   poised  to  defeat  the  Liberals  in  over  20  Liberal-­‐held  ridings.  Given  the  actual  results,  it  is  clear  our   organizing  effort  was  dissipated  over  too  many  target  ridings  and  therefore  could  not  offset  the  other   challenges  we  faced  during  the  campaign.  At  the  time  the  unit  was  activated,  all  the  pressure  from  all   quarters  was  in  the  other  direction,  to  grow  the  list.   Page  |  15      

Tour  unit   We  activated  the  tour  unit.  The  leader’s  tour  was  not  one  of  the  strengths  of  our  2001,  2005  and  2009   campaigns,  and  so  a  great  deal  of  effort  was  put  into  creating  a  strong  team  that  would  take  a  new   approach  in  this  area.  The  leaders  of  this  unit  were  carefully  trained  by  the  architects  of  Jack  Layton’s   2008  and  2011  federal  election  tours.  A  professional  tour  and  staging  company  was  hired  to  work  with   us  –  the  same  team  who  worked  on  Layton’s  federal  efforts.  Day  planners  and  advance  staff  were  hired   as  early  as  possible  and  spent  many  weeks  scouting  the  province  to  map  routes  and  potential  locations   for  events.  And  then  a  near-­‐flawless  (from  a  technical  perspective)  leader’s  tour  was  executed  during   the  campaign  –  a  model  for  future  efforts  we  would  urge,  mindful  of  the  message  delivery  notes  we  will   set  out  below.   Polling  and  research   We  polled  extensively  throughout  the  fall  of  2012  and  the  first  quarter  of  2013.  The  horserace  data  we   accumulated  province-­‐wide  and  in  riding  polls  seemed  to  confirm  the  public  domain  story  –  the  NDP   was  comfortably  ahead  in  most  parts  of  the  province.  Polling  and  focus  group  argument  testing  all   seemed  to  confirm  our  campaign  brief.  No  arguments  seemed  to  work  for  the  Liberals.  Our   fundamentally  positive  messages  seemed  to  test  well,  as  did  the  key  elements  of  the  platform  then   being  developed.   In  hindsight  much  of  this  research  was  misconceived  -­‐-­‐  through  no  fault  of  our  research  companies,  who   competently  and  professionally  executed  what  we  asked  for.     Critics  of  our  campaign  have  had  a  lot  to  say  about  what  they  think  they  know  about  our  tracking  polling   during  the  campaign  (we’ll  discuss  this  a  little  more  below).  In  hindsight,  there  were  more  fundamental   issues  with  the  way  we  researched  this  campaign  that  should  not  be  repeated.     The  horserace  numbers  and  straight-­‐forward  argument  testing  we  commissioned  in  2011,  2012  and  the   early  months  of  2013  –  very  typical  of  NDP  campaigns  in  many  jurisdictions  -­‐-­‐  did  not  give  our  campaign   an  accurate  read  on  the  electorate,  nor  did  this  work  predict  the  outcome  of  the  election.     We  would  have  been  wiser  to  spend  a  great  deal  more  time  listening  -­‐-­‐  in  much  deeper,  open-­‐ended,   open-­‐minded  research  -­‐-­‐  to  what  our  voters  and  potential  voters  aspired  to  in  their  personal  lives;  what   they  really  hoped  for  from  the  next  BC  government;  what  they  really  thought  of  the  leaders  of  the   parties;  where  the  real  underlying  strengths  and  weaknesses  of  Christy  Clark  and  her  government  were;   what  the  real  underlying  strengths  and  weaknesses  of  our  party  and  leader  were;  and  what  British   Columbians  needed  to  hear  from  us  to  persuade  them  to  stay  with  us  -­‐-­‐  without  abdicating  the  ultimate   campaign  design  to  polling  or  advertising  suppliers.  These  are  the  basic  research  foundations  of  a   campaign  brief  that  is  fact-­‐based  and  likely  to  succeed.  We  did  not  do  this  because  we  already  had  our   campaign  brief;  it  seemed  to  be  working;  and  we  were  simply  working  to  polish  and  execute  it.   Data  and  micro-­‐targeting   Over  the  course  of  2012  we  implemented  a  number  of  other  interesting  new  campaign  tools  –  including   a  micro-­‐targeting  system  that  helped  us  predict,  quite  accurately,  which  voters  might  tell  us  they   supported  us  and  would  contribute  financially  to  our  campaign.  This  micro-­‐targeting  system  was  part  of   a  larger  data  management  system  that  allowed  us  to  track,  record  and  preserve  substantially  all  of  our   Page  |  16      

local  and  central  voter  identification  work,  for  the  first  time.  It  is  more  than  a  little  depressing  to   compare  the  “marks”  we  recorded  in  target  ridings  through  these  well-­‐designed  and  impressive  systems   to  the  actual  turnout.     Communications  unit   Our  party  communications  unit  was  steadily  built  up  as  the  election  neared.  A  team  of  highly  competent   writers  and  designers  tackled  the  overwhelming  task  of  generating  unified,  coherent  campaign  materials   (signs,  pamphlets,  ads,  printed  and  web  material)  for  85  campaigns.  They  did  a  remarkably  good  job  of   this  –  the  2013  campaign  was  one  of  the  best  looking,  most  unified  our  party  has  ever  run.  Its  ultimate   failure  was  no  fault  of  the  design  team  –  their  challenge  was  the  material  they  were  given  to  work  with.   Core  campaign  message   Finally,  we  developed  “the  nub  of  the  campaign”,  the  basic  message  we  intended  to  try  to  deliver   through  all  available  channels.  Our  slogan  was  “Change  for  the  Better.”  The  idea  was  to  ask  for  what  we   wanted  -­‐-­‐  a  direct  appeal  to  voters  to  change  the  government.  And  then  to  try  to  inoculate  against  the   obvious  Liberal  response.  The  Liberals  were  certain  to  reply  (as  they  did)  by  claiming  that  change  was   too  risky.  So  we  added  a  reassuring  promise:  “for  the  better.”    This  was  intended  to  provide  a  scaffold   for  a  detailed  policy  offer.     • We  would  change  tax  policy  for  the  better  –  reducing  spending  on  tax  cuts  to  the  wealthiest,   people  who  needed  help  the  least  -­‐-­‐  proposals  that  tested  so  well  the  Liberals  adopted  them  in   their  last  budget,  before  they  moved  on  to  campaign  hysterically  against  exactly  the  same   proposals  weeks  later.     We  would  change  the  province’s  economic  priorities  for  the  better  –  getting  back  into  the   business  of  skills  training,  also  a  big  polling  winner.     We  would  change  social  policy  for  the  better  –  reducing  child  poverty,  reducing  class  sizes  and   improving  home  care.     And  we  would  change  environmental  policy  for  the  better  –  taking  back  the  power  to  make   decisions  about  environmental  questions  from  the  Harper  government  to  whom  the  Liberals   had  abdicated  responsibility.  

• • •

This  was  a  front-­‐runner’s  message  and  program,  aimed  at  addressing  what  appeared  to  be  the  BC  NDP’s   remaining  problem,  which  was  the  need  to  reassure  new  voters  voting  for  us  for  the  first  time  that  we   could  be  trusted  to  run  the  province.     Going  into  the  campaign,  we  were  therefore  leaning  heavily  into  the  “for  the  better”  part  of  the   message  –  trying  to  make  a  positive  offer  to  voters.    The  need  to  close  the  sale  on  “Change”  was   subordinated,  since  the  public  already  seemed  to  be  there.     We  struggled  to  get  these  ideas  to  fit  a  simple,  easy  to  understand  written  campaign  message  box.     Drafts  were  hotly  debated  within  the  elements  of  our  campaign  team;  long  delays  held  up  work  on  it  as   other  priorities  in  the  legislature  ate  up  the  available  bandwidth;  and  the  ultimate  results  were  not  very   persuasive  or  compelling  –  a  clear  and  dangerous  sign  in  hindsight  that  there  was  something   fundamentally  wrong  with  our  messaging  and  the  way  we  were  implementing  it,  comfortingly  masked   by  all  the  favourable  horseracing  polling  at  the  time.   Page  |  17      

In  the  event,  we  were  not  able  to  communicate  an  exciting  vision  of  how  things  were  going  to  get  better   for  British  Columbians  during  the  campaign.     And  it  emerged  that  a  winning  plurality  of  the  public  were  not  unalterably  persuaded  that  the  time  had   come  to  replace  Christy  Clark  as  Premier  or  the  BC  Liberals  as  the  government.     We  did  not,  as  Adrian  Dix  put  it  after  the  election,  prosecute  the  case  for  change  nearly  well  enough.   The  Liberals  play  their  dirt  card  –  The  Memo  –  January  2013   In  January  2013  Christy  Clark  and  the  BC  Liberals  began  an  internet,  radio  and  television  advertising   program  aimed  at  Adrian  Dix,  financed  through  perhaps  $1  million  in  secret  donations  accumulated  in   an  arguably  illegal  false-­‐front  organization.  This  material  rehearsed  Adrian  Dix’s  attempt  to  save  Glen   Clark’s  premiership  by  creating  a  backdated  memo.  The  Premier  and  her  team  made  a  number  of  new   claims  about  this  memo,  including  allegations  about  its  timing  and  relationship  to  a  police  investigation.   Talking  through  her  false-­‐front  sock  puppet,  Christy  Clark  also  focused  in  on  the  details  of  Mr.  Dix’s   resignation  after  these  events  came  to  light,  noting  that  he  had  been  paid  a  severance  payment.   There  is  no  question  that  these  events  in  1998  represented  a  serious  and  enduringly  damaging  error  in   judgment  by  Adrian  Dix,  one  for  which  he  has  taken  responsibility  on  innumerable  occasions.  His   constituents  judged  these  events  in  both  the  2005  and  2009  provincial  elections  and  elected  and  re-­‐ elected  him  to  public  office.  It  was  old  news  to  most  of  the  press  gallery,  who  paid  little  attention  to  the   “revelations”  broadcast  in  this  material  by  the  BC  Liberals  through  their  secretive  front  group.     What  to  do?   What  to  do  about  this  first  phase  of  Ms.  Clark’s  campaign  had  been  a  topic  of  debate  within  the  BC  NDP   campaign  working  group  for  many  months  before  the  Liberals  made  their  move.  Many  options  had  been   considered.  Ultimately,  what  we  decided  to  do  was  to  put  up  a  television  spot  contrasting  Ms.  Clark’s   mean-­‐spirited  personal  attacks  against  a  positive  message  from  Adrian  Dix.  And  we  bided  our  time,   knowing  that  events  were  going  to  change  significantly  in  a  just  a  few  weeks,  when  the  legislature  re-­‐ convened.   In  hindsight,  this  proved  to  be  dangerously  complacent.   Our  January  television  spot,  in  particular,  wasn’t  an  effective  response.  This  ad,  with  its  heartfelt   straight-­‐positive  message,  was  an  early  warning  about  the  weak  political  resonance  of  purely  positive   campaign  messages  in  BC’s  political  culture.   Ms.  Clark’s  attack  ads  didn’t  seem  to  be  having  much  immediate  impact  either.  But  the  Premier,  her   secret  donors  and  her  lightly-­‐camouflaged  campaign  team  were  playing  a  long  game,  with  their  eyes   firmly  fixed  not  on  how  things  looked  in  January  and  February,  but  on  what  people  would  have  on  their   minds  in  the  ballot  box  in  May.  The  Memo  was  old  news  to  journalists  and  to  the  minority  of  British   Columbians  who  follow  politics  between  elections.  But  most  voters  were  hearing  about  these  issues  for   the  first  time  through  Ms.  Clark’s  attack  ads,  in  the  most  negative  possible  light.  Ms.  Clark’s  personal   attack  ads  against  Adrian  Dix  would  therefore  slowly  build  up  an  electrical  charge  that,  it  would  turn  out,   peaked  when  people  were  assessing  who  would  make  the  best  premier  while  voting  on  May  14th.         Page  |  18      

The  NDP  plays  its  response  card  –  The  Quick  Wins  Scandal  –  February  2013   In  February  2013  the  Liberals  finally  reconvened  the  legislature  after  hiding  from  it  for  many  months,   and  Adrian  Dix  and  his  political  team  played  their  own  card.     The  BC  Liberal  government  had  been  bleeding  personnel  for  months.  Ministers,  MLAs  and  political  staff   had  been  steadily  leaving.  Some  of  the  political  staff  in  particular  left  on  bad  terms  with  the  BC  Liberal   team.  A  number  had  resigned  on  principle  –  real  principle  -­‐-­‐  because  they  were  worried  about  the  ethics   and  legality  of  what  they  had  been  instructed  to  do  in  their  work.   A  large  package  of  emails  and  other  material  were  provided  to  the  BC  NDP,  detailing  some  of  this.   Adrian  Dix  now  demonstrated  his  remarkable  strengths  as  a  legislative  and  political  leader.  Through  a   compelling,  civilly-­‐phrased  but  extremely  damaging,  well-­‐executed  plan  that  played  out  over  the  course   of  the  brief  legislative  session,  Adrian  Dix  and  his  team  laid  this  material  out  before  the  people  of  British   Columbia.  In  what  became  known  as  the  “quick  wins”  scandal,  Christy  Clark’s  political  team  were  shown   to  be  conspiring  together,  on  government  time  and  at  taxpayer  expense  and  using  techniques  designed   to  conceal  their  actions,  to  shamelessly  manipulate  health  care  policy  and  government  work  with  the   Chinese  and  Punjabi  communities  to  serve  the  political  and  electoral  interests  of  the  BC  Liberal  party.   Christy  Clark’s  team  were  also  shown  to  be  discussing  highly  sensitive  issues,  like  BC’s  history  with  its   Chinese  community,  in  crassly  and  offensively  manipulative  terms.     These  revelations  perfectly  validated  the  public’s  worst  concerns  about  Premier  Clark’s  character,  her   judgment,  her  priorities,  and  her  approach  to  government.   These  revelations  also  led  to  a  public  meltdown  of  Ms.  Clark’s  cabinet  and  caucus.  Liberal  ministers  and   MLAs  publicly  denounced  the  Premier’s  political  team  and  demanded  accountability.     All  of  which  drove  Liberal  support  in  public  domain  polls  to  a  nadir,  and  drove  up  support  for  the  NDP  to   unusual  heights  –  producing  an  ephemeral  “20-­‐point  lead”  that  has  since  been  much  discussed.   In  due  course,  the  Premier’s  longest-­‐serving  and  closest  political  advisor  resigned,  and  the  Premier  was   persuaded  by  her  colleagues  to  issue  a  late,  grudging  and  obviously  forced  series  of  public  apologies.   And  then…  we  left  it  there.     The  Premier’s  senior  political  aide  resigned.  Ms.  Clark  grumpily  and  unpersuasively  apologized.  And,  in   effect,  we  accepted  this  and  dropped  the  matter.   A  more  aggressive,  bloody-­‐minded  campaign  than  the  one  we  conducted  would  have  acted  on  the   traditional  political  principle  that  the  best  time  to  kick  your  opponent  is  when  they  are  down.  We  could   have  strung  together  Ms.  Clark’s  apologies  in  a  saturation-­‐buy  campaign  ad  and  asked  if  this  is  the  kind   of  person  who  should  be  Premier  –  the  kind  of  question  the  Liberals  were  asking  about  Adrian  Dix  in  the   most  grossly  offensive  terms.  These  revelations  about  Christy  Clark  and  her  government  could  have   been  politically  underlined  in  many  other  ways.  But  we  concluded  that  the  work  of  breaking  Christy   Clark  and  the  political  credibility  of  her  government  had  been  done,  that  the  personal  attacks  on  Adrian   Dix  had  been  effected  countered,  and  that  the  BC  NDP  could  safely  return  to  a  positive  campaign  in   March  and  April  in  the  lead-­‐up  to  the  campaign.  

Page  |  19      

This  proved  to  be  a  terrible  misjudgement.  Indeed,  by  the  end  of  the  campaign  these  events  may  have,   to  some  extent,  helped  Ms.  Clark.  Her  government  had  been  confronted  by  a  first-­‐class  political  crisis.  As   far  as  the  public  could  see,  she  appeared  to  have  reacted  to  it  decisively  –  firing  key  aides  and   apologizing.  Basically,  as  far  as  the  public  could  see,  we  accepted  this.  She  had  weathered  the  storm.  As   awareness  of  the  details  faded,  what  was  left  was  a  sense  that  she  was  capable  of  weathering  storms  –  a   basic  skill  required  of  Premiers.   The  March-­‐April  2013  phony  war   The  Liberals  hunkered  down  in  March,  getting  their  campaign  organized  and  blanketing  the  province   with  Liberal  party  government-­‐funded  economy  ads  and  sock  puppet  attack  ads  aimed  at  Adrian  Dix.   The  Premier  ran  away  from  the  legislature  as  quickly  as  she  could,  and  began  a  low-­‐profile  province-­‐ wide  leader’s  tour  at  public  expense,  re-­‐announcing  government  infrastructure  spending  and  shaking   hands,  mostly  to  very  modest  crowds.     Our  plan  was  to  focus  on  our  role  as  official  opposition,  arguing  that  no  election  had  been  called,  and   that  the  Premier  should  be  focused  on  governing,  not  campaigning.  So  the  caucus  kept  up  a  daily  policy   criticism  of  the  Liberal  government  –  pursued  with  considerable  energy  but  little  media  coverage.     Adrian  Dix  kept  up  a  gruelling  schedule  of  mostly  private,  out-­‐of-­‐the-­‐public-­‐eye  fundraising  events  with   the  business  community,  and  with  local  party  events  in  aid  of  finalizing  our  slate  and  organization.   Although  he  was  working  a  murderously  challenging  schedule,  media  began  to  complain  that  we  were   taking  the  election  for  granted,  and  doing  little  to  either  criticize  the  government  or  to  make  a  positive   case  for  ourselves.   The  public  domain  polls,  however,  continued  to  report  that  things  were  going  just  fine.   We  developed  a  plan  to  stage  one  or  two  campaign-­‐style  events  a  week  over  the  course  of  March  and   early  April,  in  order  to  keep  our  political  profile  up;  to  give  our  leader  some  experience  with  campaign-­‐ style  events  and  become  more  comfortable  with  them;  and  to  work  out  the  kinks  with  our  newly-­‐built   tour  team.     Unfortunately  this  pre-­‐election  plan  was  almost  entirely  cancelled  (without  a  word  of  discussion,   demonstrating  some  of  the  ongoing  dysfunction  within  our  team).  The  one  campaign-­‐style  rally  we  were   able  to  stage  proved  to  be  extremely  and  somewhat  discouragingly  difficult  to  produce.  It  also  turned   out  to  be  an  excellent  event,  producing  some  of  the  best  visuals  of  the  campaign.   And,  over  many  long  hours,  days  and  weeks  over  the  course  of  March  and  April,  we  worked  on  our   platform.     Our  team  had  set  itself  an  ambitious  agenda  for  that  platform.  It  would  tell  the  truth  about  the  finances   of  the  province.  It  would  raise  a  new  dollar  in  revenue  for  every  dollar  proposed  in  new  initiatives.  It   would  tackle  the  province’s  real  economic  needs.  It  would  set  out  an  agenda  to  reduce  poverty  and   improve  public  services.  It  would  take  control  over  environmental  policy  back  from  Ottawa.  And  it  would   do  this  through  practical,  affordable  measures  that  we  would  really  implement  if  elected.     With  a  clear  and  clean  lead  in  the  polls,  the  platform  process  was  taken  with  deadly  seriousness.  To  the   point,  it  could  be  argued,  that  we  began  to  exhibit  another  political  affliction  (related  to  “front  runner   disease”)  –  “governmentisis”.  We  were,  in  our  minds,  already  in  office,  carefully  weighing  our  fiscal   Page  |  20      

options  and  what  could  really  be  done  within  the  tiny  room  to  manoeuver  that  is  really  available  to  a   Canadian  provincial  government  in  2013.     The  platform  resulting  from  these  discussions  is  a  gem  -­‐-­‐  as  a  policy  document  –  a  principled,  realistic   and  practical  roadmap  for  a  first  term  NDP  government  in  the  face  of  the  realities  of  government.   However,  the  high  standards  we  set  for  ourselves  in  the  drafting  of  that  document  meant  that  some  of   its  key  elements  were  still  being  debated  literally  minutes  before  they  were  publicly  announced  during   the  heat  of  the  campaign.   Election  platforms  are  sometimes  a  problem  for  NDP  campaigns  because  they  can  be  poorly  considered,   too  ambitious,  or  contain  unrealistic  proposals.  This  platform  was  the  opposite.  It  was  extremely  well   thought  out;  studiously  incremental  and  fiscally  responsible;  and  realistic.  But  our  platform’s  just-­‐in-­‐time   preparation,  stretching  through  March  and  April  and  right  into  the  first  two  weeks  of  the  campaign,   meant  that  it  never  really  went  through  a  campaign  political  lens.  Whose  votes  were  we  trying  to  attract   with  the  key  elements  of  the  platform?     There  were,  in  fact,  a  set  of  excellent,  politically-­‐attractive  proposals  in  that  document  that  would  have   made  a  real  difference  to  the  lives  of  working  families,  young  people,  women,  new  Canadians  and  job   creators.     It  would  emerge  that  few  of  those  people  were  going  to  hear  about  them.   The  campaign  opens  –  the  first  ten  days   The  Tour  model   The  campaign  began  on  Tuesday,  April  16th.     Our  tour  plan  contemplated  eight  days  of  platform  announcements  in  the  ridings  of  the  most  senior   Ministers  of  the  government,  beginning  on  writ  day  with  the  Premier’s  riding.     We  did  this  for  a  number  of  reasons:   (a) We  wanted  to  draw  Liberal  organizing  efforts  into  their  core  ridings  and  away  from  battleground   seats  –  and  so  we  wanted  them  to  worry  about  their  safest  seats;     (b) We  contemplated  a  series  of  days  that  would  do  two  things  –  offer  a  clear,  detailed  criticism  of   the  Liberal  government  in  a  core  policy  area;  and  then  offer  a  key  counter-­‐proposal,   supplemented  by  three  or  four  subordinate  proposals  –  as  an  alternative.  In  other  words,  each   day  we  would  spell  out  in  detail  how  the  government  had  failed  on  a  key  element  of  public   policy  –  in  the  relevant  minister’s  riding  –  and  then  offer  a  positive  alternative  on  that  topic;     (c) By  feathering  out  policy  proposals,  we  would  have  some  sort  of  control  over  the  coverage  of  our   campaign.  Concrete  proposals  are  hard  not  to  cover;  and     (d) We  hoped  to  provoke  the  Premier  and  her  senior  ministers  into  intemperate  reactions  to  our   criticisms  and  proposals.  We  reasoned  that  in  doing  so  they  would  surrender  the  dignity  of  their   offices;  they  would  be  knocked  off  their  own  game;  they  would  assume  the  aspect  of  an   opposition  party;  and  they  would  hopefully  therefore  earn  themselves  that  job.   Page  |  21      

It  is  not  a  bad  idea  to  campaign  in  your  opponent’s  backyard  for  the  reasons  set  out  above.  And  we  met   some  of  our  goals.  But  overall  this  period  of  the  campaign  was  not  successful,  for  several  key  reasons:   (a) The  just-­‐in-­‐time  nature  of  our  platform  writing  meant  that  we  were  not  able  to  stop;  sleep  on   each  day’s  content;  and  then  carefully  write  a  simple,  compelling  criticism  of  the  government  on   that  topic  followed  by  a  simple,  campaign-­‐style  policy  proposal  that  people  could  hear  and   understand.  Further  and  worse,  our  determination  to  be  fiscally  responsible  in  order  to  reassure   voters  that  we  could  be  trusted  in  office  kept  us  focused  on  the  very  modest  spending  we   proposed.  So  this  meant:     -­‐ That  we  did  not  prepare  a  particularly  compelling,  well-­‐thought-­‐out,  memorable  and   hopefully  vote-­‐influencing  criticism  of  the  government  each  day;     -­‐ That  in  lieu  of  a  single  clear  main  proposal  and  some  subordinate  points  to  fill  out  coverage,   we  ended  up  laying  out  banquets  of  proposals  (some  with  twenty  points  or  more).  As  is   their  nature,  when  faced  with  an  embarrassment  of  dense  policy  like  this,  political   journalists  on  our  tour  picked  out  what  they  thought  the  most  newsworthy  items  would  be,   and  summarized  the  rest  in  a  few  never-­‐to-­‐be-­‐noticed  words;  and     -­‐ Our  proposals  were  framed  as  spending  commitments  rather  than  as  outcomes  that  meant   something  to  the  lives  of  families.  So  much  money  for  education;  not  smaller  class  sizes.  So   much  money  for  child  care;  not  a  lower  child  care  cost  for  your  family.  So  much  money  for   training;  not  a  chance  for  you  and  your  children  to  get  the  skills  needed  to  get  a  good  job.   And  so  on.     (b) It  emerged  over  the  course  of  these  days  that  our  leader’s  speaking  style  –  so  compelling  and   impressive  in  front  of  business  and  stakeholder  audiences  over  the  past  two  years  –  was  not   serving  him  as  well  during  the  campaign.  He  did  not  want  to  engage  in  negative  campaigning,   and  so  his  criticisms  of  the  government  were  understated  and  did  not  make  for  memorable   television.  He  did  want  to  explain  our  policy  proposals,  and  so  addressed  them  at  considerable   length  and  in  detail,  speaking  extemporaneously  in  terms  that  were  hard  to  summarize  in  six-­‐ second  clips.  And  he  then  answered  as  many  questions  as  journalists  cared  to  fire  at  him  during   scrums  throughout  the  campaign  day.  This  often  meant  he  was  making  his  news  in  scrums   staged  in  front  of  non-­‐descript  backgrounds  in  reply  to  journalists’  questions,  instead  of  during   the  carefully-­‐stage-­‐managed,  made-­‐for-­‐television  visual  the  tour  team  had  organized  for  the   morning.     What  were  voters  left  with  after  the  first  week?     We  asked  respondents  in  a  series  of  focus  groups  what  they  had  heard  us  say  that  first  week.  They  told   us  that  they  understood  we  wanted  to  freeze  BC  ferry  fees  –  a  proposal  that  was  well  received.  And  that   we  wanted  to  increase  welfare  rates  by  $20  a  month  –  viewed  as  both  a  ridiculously  small  sum,  and  as   an  unpopular  pre-­‐occupation  with  welfare  rates.     A  thin  harvest  indeed  from  a  week  in  which  we  had  tried  to  communicate  a  major  plan  to  improve  skills   training  (the  key  challenge  facing  the  economy);  a  major  plan  to  reduce  child  poverty  (the  greatest  social   Page  |  22      

scandal  facing  the  province);  and  carefully-­‐constructed  proposals  to  reduce  classroom  sizes,  to  reduce   the  cost  of  child  care,  and  to  improve  home  care  for  seniors.     We  asked  respondents  what  the  Liberals  had  said  in  the  first  week.  The  Liberals,  they  had  heard,  felt   that  Adrian  Dix  was  a  bad  person,  and  that  the  BC  government  should  be  focused  on  creating  jobs.   War  between  war  rooms   Journalists  are  fascinated  by  campaign  “war  rooms”,  because  war  rooms  are  all  about  talking  to  them.   Both  the  NDP  and  the  Liberals  fielded  research  and  communications  teams  against  each  other,  and   joined  battle  through  the  media  from  the  first  day  of  the  campaign.  Here  is  our  take  on  the  results:   The  NDP  war  room  comprehensively  discredited  the  facts  used  by  the  Liberals  in  their  campaign,  as  was   constantly  confirmed  in  media  “reality  checks”  that  were  prominently  broadcast  and  published   throughout  the  campaign.  We  showed,  and  then  repeatedly  proved,  that  the  Liberal  campaign  was  built   on  a  tissue  of  lies  from  start  to  finish  -­‐-­‐  in  substantially  everything  the  Premier  said  on  the  road,  that  the   Liberals  broadcast  in  their  ads,  and  that  they  whispered  at  the  door.  Their  fiscal  record,  their  jobs   record,  their  debt  record,  their  environmental  record,  their  claims  about  the  NDP  platform,  their  claims   about  NDP  capital  spending  plans  –  all,  again  and  again,  were  proved  to  be  brazen  and  shameless  lies,   well-­‐documented  by  the  NDP  war  room  and  extensively  and  sometimes  brutally  covered  in  the  media.   The  Liberal  war  room  for  its  part  excelled  in  uncovering  and  bringing  to  light  the  mistakes,  some  serious,   that  some  of  our  candidates  had  made  in  their  private  lives.  We  did  not  reply  in  kind  -­‐-­‐  not  that  there   wasn’t  a  plentiful  supply  of  material  to  work  with  -­‐-­‐  in  keeping  with  our  explicit  and  oft-­‐repeated   commitment  to  avoid  personal  attacks  during  the  campaign.  So  the  gay-­‐bashers,  bankrupts,  tax   avoiders,  drug  trade  associates  and  people  who  indulged  in  sundry  ethical  lapses  in  government  who  ran   for  office  on  the  Liberal  slate  got  a  largely  free  ride  from  us.  While  the  public  was  treated  to  a  number  of   days  of  distracting  controversy  over  NDP  candidates  who  had  made  imprudent  and  indefensible   statements  on  the  internet  –  yet  another  reminder  that  the  fact-­‐free,  civility-­‐free  (and  often  mindless)   flame  culture  that  is  so  boringly  central  to  online  discourse  can  have  painful  career  consequences  ten  to   twenty  years  later.     Who  won  these  exchanges?     Arguably,  we  won  the  war  room  war  on  points,  while  losing  the  war.     This  election  teaches  the  lesson,  well  understood  by  observers  and  opponents  of  the  populist  political   right,  that  constantly  repeated  lies  can  be  effective  –  even  if  compellingly  discredited.     Our  party’s  ongoing  difficulties  with  candidate  vetting  were  distracting  to  be  sure.     And  we  missed  an  important  opportunity  to  underline  the  nature  of  some  of  Ms.  Clark’s  team  –  giving   her  and  them  a  much  easier  ride  to  another  mandate  than  their  backgrounds  and  behaviour  in  their   personal,  professional  and  political  lives  deserve.     That  is  not  a  mistake  we  would  be  wise  to  repeat.      

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Our  ad  program   Consistent  with  our  campaign  brief,  our  first  two  flights  of  ads  were  designed  to  make  a  positive  case  for   electing  an  NDP  government.     Our  first  spot,  broadcast  for  the  first  six  days  of  the  campaign,  was  filmed  during  the  single  campaign-­‐ style  rally  we  were  able  to  stage  prior  to  the  start  of  the  campaign.  It  was  designed  to  show  a  smiling,   relaxed,  approachable  and  likeable  NDP  leader  in  a  smiling,  energetic,  enthusiastic  crowd  of  people  who   looked  like  the  voters  who  we  were  hoping  to  attract.  That  visual  was  the  purpose  of  the  spot.   Our  second  flight  of  ads,  broadcast  for  about  ten  days  after  we  released  out  platform,  was  intended  to   do  on  television  what  we  were  trying  to  do  on  the  tour  –  to  criticize  the  Liberal  government  on  a  key   point  of  public  policy  through  the  words  of  voters  who  looked  like  the  people  we  were  seeking  votes   from  (a  young  woman,  a  new  Canadian  family,  seniors)  -­‐-­‐  and  then  to  put  up  a  smiling,  relaxed,   competent  and  serious  NDP  leader  to  offer  a  practical-­‐sounding  solution.   There  were  no  negative  spots,  because  we  had  committed  to  a  running  a  positive  campaign.   Did  any  of  this  help  our  campaign?     These  advertisements  were  technically  much  better  than  our  January  spot,  and  seemed  to  showcase  our   leader  and  our  proposals  reasonably  well.     But  research  (if  not  distorted  by  the  personal  opinions  of  either  the  client  or  the  researcher)  doesn’t  lie,   and  the  ultimate  verdict  has  to  be  found  in  what  people  were  able  to  remember.     We  regularly  asked  respondents  what  they  could  remember  of  NDP  and  Liberal  spots.     Over  the  course  of  the  first  two-­‐thirds  of  the  campaign,  respondents  came  to  be  able  to  repeat  our   campaign  slogan  back  to  us  –  “Change  for  the  better”,  which  they  liked.     And  they  were  able  to  repeat  back  fairly  lengthy  passages  of  the  scripts  from  the  Liberal  attack  ads   about  Adrian  Dix.     That  was,  for  the  first  20  days  of  the  campaign  or  so,  pretty  much  all  that  cut  through.  Which  was  not   nearly  enough.   We  decided  to  wait  before  producing  ads  for  the  last  third  of  the  campaign.  If  our  lead  held  up  after   those  debates,  we  would  close  with  a  final  flight  of  straight  positive  anthem  ads.  If  things  went  less  well,   we  would  test  how  far  the  campaign  brief  would  permit  us  to  attack  Ms.  Clark  and  her  government.      

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Early  warnings  in  internal  polling  and  research   Here  is  one  of  the  charts  we  followed  over  the  course  of  the  campaign:  

    We  invested  heavily  in  public  opinion  research;  regular  focus  group  testing;  and  in  a  regular  debrief  of   our  local  campaign  teams,  candidates,  and  front-­‐line  voter  contact  workers.  Correctly  read,  our  research   documented  how  voters  were  responding  to  the  campaign  accurately  –  with  a  debate  (not  unique  to  our   results)  about  what  happened  in  the  final  48  hours  of  the  campaign.     Overall,  what  our  research  told  us  was  that  the  NDP  suffered  a  slow  leak  in  its  support  from  the  first  day   of  the  campaign,  losing  roughly  a  half-­‐point  a  week  –  until  the  last  week  of  the  campaign,  when  NDP   support  appeared  to  recover  as  a  major  reinvestment  in  new  messaging  (which  we  will  discuss  below)   was  circulated  and  broadcast.  We  took  a  big  hit  during  the  debate  over  Kinder-­‐Morgan;  popped  back  up   after  the  leaders’  debates;  then  faded  –  and  then  recovered  again,  we  hoped,  in  the  final  days  of  the   campaign.   Our  research  also  told  us  that  the  Liberals  steadily  re-­‐assembled  their  electoral  coalition,  gaining  1  to  3%   each  week  –  first  repatriating  the  votes  they  had  lost  to  the  Conservative  party;  then  repatriating  a  bit  of   support  lost  to  the  Green  party;  then  some  support  they  had  lost  to  us;  and  –  steadily  throughout  the  

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campaign  –  re-­‐earning  votes  they  had  lost  to  the  “undecided”  column.  As  is  plain  on  the  chart,  that  last   movement  was  the  critical  one.   We  can  say  in  hindsight  that  the  Liberals  understood  their  own  voters  and  former  voters,  and  spoke  to   them  effectively  –  through  their  slashing  personal  attack  on  Adrian  Dix;  through  their  Socred-­‐style   apocalyptic  warnings  about  the  economy;  through  their  fact-­‐free  claims  and  promises  about  the   province’s  finances,  economy,  and  social  programs;  and  through  the  right-­‐wing  populist  style  and   content  of  their  tour  and  paid  media.   For  our  part,  we  worried  about  the  early  trend  reported  in  our  public  opinion  research,  and  about  the   many  obvious  problems  with  the  first  week  of  the  campaign.  Everyone  involved  could  see  that  we  were   not  connecting  effectively  with  voters  and  needed  to  change  how  we  were  campaigning.  A  significant   readjustment  was  required.   The  second  week  –  Kinder-­‐Morgan,  selling  BC  Place,  the  platform  launch   It  was  clear  that  we  were  not  being  effective  in  laying  out  our  proposals,  and  that  we  needed  a  radical   simplification  of  what  we  were  doing.  We  needed  to  stop  setting  out  vast  smorgasbords  of  policy  for  the   media  to  poke  around  in,  looking  for  the  most  unhelpful  morsels.  We  needed  a  clearer,  sharper  criticism   of  the  government.  We  needed  to  make  some  proposals  people  would  hear  and  remember  and  want  to   vote  for.  We  needed  to  speak  more  clearly  and  compellingly  about  topics  people  cared  about.   So  we  re-­‐tooled  how  we  were  going  to  play  out  the  second  week.     The  task  was  straightforward:     -­‐ We  needed  to  get  off  two  more  days  of  talking  about  themes,  the  key  one  being  on   Tuesday,  Earth  Day,  when  we  intended  to  lay  out  our  environmental  proposals.       Then  we  needed  to  present  our  entire  platform  and  fiscal  plan,  on  the  Wednesday,  and  try   to  win  the  point  that  the  NDP  had  a  smart,  practical,  affordable  agenda  for  government,  and   could  be  trusted  with  a  mandate.     And  then  we  would  scale  back  our  activity  on  the  road,  in  order  to  focus  on  preparing  for  an   all-­‐party  radio  leaders’  debate  on  Friday,  and  a  second  all-­‐party  television  leaders’  debate   on  the  following  Monday  –  debates  we  needed  to  do  well  in.  

-­‐

  -­‐

The  second  week  began.  Our  Monday  events  and  announcements  went  smoothly,  without  moving  the   ball  in  any  direction.     That  afternoon  our  team  settled  into  an  extensive,  detailed,  exhausting  and  difficult  debate  about   environmental  policy  that  would  continue  through  much  of  the  night  and  then  resume  for  all  of  the   morning,  engaging  most  of  our  policy  and  communications  team  in  drafts  and  redrafts  right  up  until  our   leader  stood  in  front  of  the  microphone  to  set  out  our  environmental  policy  Tuesday  morning.   A  few  general  reflections  on  this  issue:  

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The  NDP  is  committed  to  the  proposition  that  economic  and  environmental  policy  are  two  sides  of  the   same  coin  –  that  it  is  possible  for  government  to  pursue  policies  that  can  lead,  in  practical  steps,  to  what   the  NDP’s  new  federal  constitutional  preamble  talks  of  as  “sustainable  prosperity”  that  is  widely  shared.     This  is  a  big  idea  about  economic  and  environmental  policy,  a  critically  important  one,  and  a   fundamental  difference  between  our  party  and  the  political  right  in  Canada,  who  by  their  actions  stand   revealed  as  climate  change  deniers  dedicated  to  focusing  the  Canadian  economy  on  an  infinite   expansion  of  our  role  as  a  global  source  of  raw,  unprocessed  bitumen.   The  BC  NDP  competes  for  the  support  of  British  Columbians  who  share  this  perspective  with  a  provincial   Green  party.  Despite  their  best  efforts,  much  research  shows  that  the  provincial  and  federal  Green   parties  are  only  credible  to  voters  on  environmental  issues.  This  makes  it  tricky  for  the  NDP  to  campaign   on  environmental  issues  –  because  the  more  important  the  environment  is  to  voters,  the  better  the   Green  party  does,  sometimes  at  the  NDP’s  expense.   Indeed,  the  existence  of  the  Green  party  provides  a  compelling  electoral  incentive  for  all  other  parties  at   all  levels  of  government  -­‐-­‐  New  Democrat,  Liberal  and  Conservative  -­‐-­‐  to  marginalize  environmental   issues,  an  important  reason  why  these  critical  issues  have  faded  from  Canadian  politics.  The  Green  party   is  a  perfectly  legitimate  player  in  Canadian  politics  with  every  right  to  contest  elections  –  just  as  the  NDP   does.  So  far,  their  work  is  having  the  opposite  effect  of  their  aims.     So  then  to  this  election:   All  of  this  being  said,  as  the  2009  BC  election  demonstrated,  environmentalists  are  capable  of  doing   some  serious  damage  to  the  NDP  when  we  take  positions  viewed  by  them  as  harmful  to  the   environmental  cause.   In  this  election,  we  therefore  aimed  to  avoid  a  confrontation  with  the  environmental  movement,  and   perhaps  to  attract  the  support  of  our  earlier  critics.     Much  of  the  NDP  base  would  be  a  lot  happier  with  us  in  the  result.     And  doing  so  might  position  us  to  make  a  direct,  late-­‐campaign  appeal  for  support  from  cross-­‐pressured   Green-­‐NDP  voters  (perhaps  3  to  4%  of  the  total  electorate)  should  it  prove  to  be  the  case,  as  we  had   long  predicted,  that  the  election  would  tighten  up  to  the  point  where  that  number  of  voters  would   decide  the  outcome.     The  election  was  tightening  up.   So  we  risked  a  much  more  pro-­‐environmental  platform  than  had  been  the  case  in  2009.     Adrian  Dix  reversed  our  party’s  opposition  to  Gordon  Campbell’s  carbon  tax,  and  that  Tuesday  promised   to  both  support  the  carbon  tax,  and  to  use  some  of  its  revenues  for  public  transport.  This  would  be   widely  welcomed  among  our  previous  critics  and  was  likely  sufficient  to  earn  their  support.   That  left  the  issues  of  pipelines  and  tanker  traffic  off  the  BC  coast  –  hotly  debated  and  discussed  within   our  team,  right  up  until  Adrian  Dix  stood  at  that  microphone  on  Tuesday  morning  and  made  a  further   decision.  

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Our  leader  announced  that  the  NDP  would  be  consistent  in  its  positions  on  pipelines.  Both  in  the  north,   where  we  had  long  opposed  the  construction  of  the  Northern  Gateway  pipeline,  and  in  the  south  –   where  we  would  now  oppose  the  construction  of  a  major  new  oil  export  port  at  the  end  of  the  Kinder-­‐ Morgan  pipeline,  designed  to  engineer  a  vast  increase  in  oil  tanker  traffic  off  the  BC  coast.   In  the  very  early  going,  this  announcement  was  well  received.  Prominent  environmentalists  strongly   endorsed  it.  Party  members  called  in  to  welcome  it.  And  the  party  had  its  best  fundraising  night  of  the   campaign.   What  followed,  however,  was  an  extremely  distracting  and  unhelpful  debate  in  which  the  province’s   leading  journalists  and  the  Liberal  party  challenged  us  to  reconcile  this  announcement  with  our  previous   position,  to  the  effect  that  decisions  about  the  Kinder-­‐Morgan  pipeline  would  be  made  once  they  had   actually  applied  for  approval,  and  gone  through  an  environmental  assessment.   We  struggled  to  do  so  –  and,  objectively,  lost  the  exchange.  Within  three  days,  under  withering  fire  in   the  media,  our  tracking  registered  the  largest  drop  in  our  support  we  would  see  in  the  campaign.     Many  analysts  have  since  argued,  fairly  persuasively  in  our  view,  that  this  was  the  decisive  moment  of   the  campaign,  because  it  gave  the  Liberals  a  very  helpful  two-­‐pocket  pool  shot  that  they  played  right   through  to  the  end  of  the  campaign.  It  gave  them  an  opening  to  turn  our  apparent  inconsistency  into  a   character  issue  about  our  leader  –  surfacing  their  heretofore  flimsily  disguised  personal  attack  strategy   and  bringing  it  into  the  core  of  the  debate.  And  it  simultaneously  allowed  them  to  build  on  their   argument  that  changing  the  government  was  too  economically  risky  –  their  core  case  for  re-­‐election.   The  following  day  we  went  on  the  attack  on  a  different  subject:  highlighting  the  hundreds  of  millions  of   dollars  spent  by  the  Liberals  on  BC  Place,  and  committing  to  review  the  government’s  options,  including   the  option  of  privatizing  the  stadium.   Later  that  day,  we  presented  our  complete  election  platform  during  a  beautifully-­‐staged,  well-­‐executed   campaign  event  in  front  of  the  Legislature  in  Victoria  –  an  election  platform  that  was  fiscally  responsible,   economically  literate,  socially  progressive,  environmentally  activist  –  and  almost  completely  invisible  in   the  campaign.  As  was  that  event.   The  debates   We  regrouped  to  prepare  for  the  radio  and  television  debates.     A  team  of  war  room  and  communications  staff  had  been  thinking  about  these  debates  for  a  week.  We   had  mapped  their  formats,  correctly  predicted  the  issues  that  would  be  raised  during  both   confrontations,  and  went  into  debate  preparation  with  recommendations  on  how  to  address  the  issues.   Over  the  course  of  the  next  four  days  our  debate  preparation  team  alternated  between  talking  through   debate  strategy  and  live  rehearsing  –  an  approach  to  debate  preparation  that  had  worked  well  for  Jack   Layton  during  the  May  2011  federal  election.  The  team  worked  amicably  and  well;  Adrian  Dix  became   visibly  comfortable  with  the  formats  of  these  debates  and  with  the  approach  he  would  take  to  them;   and  we  went  into  them  fairly  confidently,  aiming  to  make  and  prove  our  core  points  –  that  the  Liberals   did  not  deserve  another  term,  and  that  we  had  a  credible  and  better  plan  for  the  province.  

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The  radio  debate  provided  a  dress  rehearsal.  Adrian  Dix  addressed  the  issues  seriously,  gravely  and   credibly.  Christy  Clark  offered  her  “g”-­‐droppin’,  just-­‐folks,  let-­‐me-­‐tell-­‐ya,  open  line  radio  show   performance.  Green  Party  leader  Jane  Sterk  arguably  won  the  debate  on  points  with  some  articulate   points  about  social  policy.  And,  dangerously  for  the  NDP,  BC  Conservative  leader  John  Cummins   struggled  to  participate.   Overall,  in  terms  of  its  effect  on  the  campaign,  journalists  called  it  a  draw.   Our  team  reassembled  to  do  a  post-­‐mortem  on  the  radio  debate,  and  then  worked  for  two  more  days   rehearsing  the  TV  debate.  Again  there  proved  to  be  no  surprises.  Adrian  Dix  didn’t  face  a  single  question   or  offer  a  single  intervention  that  he  had  not  anticipated  and  practiced.   How  did  the  TV  debate  go?   • Journalists  watching  the  debate  generally  scored  it  as  a  victory  for  Adrian  Dix,  who  came  out  on   top  of  most  of  his  exchanges  with  the  Premier  and  asked  her  much  more  substantive,  serious   questions  about  public  policy  than  she  was  able  to  marshal  in  reply.     In  the  following  four  days,  NDP  support  in  our  tracking  polls  recovered  substantially  –  the  largest   rise  in  support  we  would  see  in  the  campaign.  New  Democratic  voters  hadn’t  liked  the  tick-­‐tock   debate  over  our  Kinder-­‐Morgan  decision,  but  found  a  lot  more  to  like  in  what  they  heard  from   and  about  the  television  debate.     Christy  Clark  disposed  of  a  tough  question  about  her  judgment  (related  to  a  story  about  driving   through  a  red  light  with  her  son  in  tow)  with  a  clean  and  apparently  sincere  apology.  Adrian  Dix   struggled  a  bit  with  his  own  apology  over  the  memo  affair.  

We  gave  it  a  day  to  let  the  dust  settle,  and  then  convened  focus  groups  to  see  what  panels  of  voters   made  of  what  they  saw.   Respondents,  male  and  female,  spent  a  surprisingly  long  time  discussing  their  response  to  the  first   minutes  of  the  debate,  and  Adrian  Dix’s  opening  statement.  His  voice  has  quavered  a  bit  during  that   minute  and  he  stumbled  over  a  few  of  his  phrases  –  perhaps  betrayed  by  his  diabetes  (which  sometimes   has  that  effect  on  voice);  or  perhaps,  at  an  extreme  moment  of  pressure,  betrayed  by  his  many  hours  of   experience  with  long-­‐form,  no-­‐notes  extemporaneous  public  speaking,  now  clashing  with  a  written  text   to  deliver  in  an  unforgiving  single  minute.  He  had  quickly  and  compellingly  recovered.  Journalists,  used   to  his  style,  had  shrugged  it  off  and  waited  for  the  fireworks  between  the  Premier  and  Official   Opposition  leader.  But  our  focus  group  respondents  did  not  follow  politics  at  the  legislature,  were  not   previously  familiar  with  our  leader,  and  had  now  observed  him  closely  for  the  first  time  on  TV  in  their   living  rooms.     Our  post-­‐debate  focus  groups  ultimately  talked  themselves  into  voting  NDP.     But  their  first  impressions  of  the  leaders  weren’t  helpful.   The  post-­‐debate  re-­‐write  and  the  second  campaign   On  the  Wednesday  morning  after  the  debates,  all  of  the  unit  leaders  on  the  campaign  team  met  for  an   extended  morning  meeting  to  discuss  the  shape  of  our  campaign  –  the  first  of  a  number  of  such   Page  |  29      

meetings  over  the  following  four  days.  We  reported  out  on  the  focus  group  results,  and  looked  at   tracking  data  that  was  beginning  to  show  a  rise  in  respondents  who  picked  Christy  Clark  as  best  premier.   Changes  in  views  about  leadership  are  often  precursors  to  changes  in  voting  intensions.     We  concluded  that  our  campaign  needed  to  fundamentally  change.   We  considered  pivoting  the  campaign  and  turning  directly  to  an  attack  on  Christy  Clark  –  in  other  words,   to  closing  the  campaign  by  reversing  field  completely,  going  straight  negative,  and  turning  it  into  a   referendum  about  the  Premier.  Do  you  really  want  Christy  Clark  to  be  Premier  for  another  four  years?     In  case  we  needed  to  consider  this  option,  we  had  experimented  a  few  days  before  with  a  new   telephone  script  our  phone  banks  had  used  with  undecided  and  cross-­‐pressured  voters,  asking  this   question  and  offering  some  proof  points  directly  critical  of  Ms.  Clark.  Our  target  team  reported  on  how   this  worked  –  and  urged  us  not  to  use  these  lines  in  the  campaign.  When  we  went  after  Ms.  Clark   directly  on  our  phonebanks,  respondents  immediately  challenged  us  for  “flip  flopping”  on  our  positive   campaign.  And  then  they  repeated  the  Liberals’  attack  ad  scripts  about  Adrian  Dix  back  to  us.  In  other   words,  when  we  directly  attacked  the  Liberal  leader,  respondents  defended  her  by  raised  the  Liberal   lines  about  our  own  leader.     We  concluded  that  we  couldn’t  abruptly  turn  to  a  personal  attack  on  Premier  Clark  without  risking  a  Kim   Campbell-­‐style  meltdown,  operationally  and  in  the  results  (in  1993  in  the  face  of  similar  facts,  the   Progressive  Conservative  campaign  led  by  campaign  director  John  Tory  and  pollster/researcher  Allan   Gregg  had  reversed  field  and  broadcast  some  tough  attack  ads  on  Jean  Chretien.  Their  own     Ministers,  MPs  and  activists  rebelled  against  this  sudden  shift,  publicly  denouncing  it  and  demanding   that  these  ads  come  down  immediately.  Prime  Minister  Campbell  then  repudiated  her  own  campaign   from  her  airplane  -­‐-­‐  leading  to  the  final  collapse  of  the  PC  vote.  Ironically,  and  perhaps  this  is  something   we  should  have  thought  more  carefully  about  when  weighing  these  risks,  the  nights  those  ads  ran  in   1993  were  the  only  nights  the  PCs  went  up  in  the  polls).   If  we  couldn’t  ask  whether  people  really  wanted  four  more  years  of  Christy  Clark,  then  the  next  best   thing  was  to  ask  them  if  they  wanted  four  more  years  of  the  BC  Liberals.     Four  more  years  of  the  BC  Liberals?     The  BC  Liberals  had  brought  you  the  HST;  BC  Rail;  the  Quick  Wins  scandal;  they  were  lying  about  the   deficit  and  jobs  numbers,  as  was  being  widely  reported.  Four  more  years  of  that?  Or  was  it  time  for  a   change?  If  we  asked  that  question  clearly  and  compellingly,  perhaps  our  positive  offer  would  then   resonate  better.     We  tested  these  ideas  in  focus  groups.  They  worked  quite  well  with  female  respondents.  Somewhat  less   well  with  male  respondents  who  disputed  our  proof  points  and  (as  is  typical  in  male  focus  groups)   wanted  to  be  persuaded  we  had  a  detailed,  costed,  credible  platform  –  a  document  few  voters  ever  read   and  that  we  had,  unbeknown  to  them,  released  a  week  before.     We  discussed  these  issues  with  the  leader  and  his  team  on  tour  and  agreed  on  what  to  do  next.   So,  beginning  that  Wednesday  and  then  over  the  following  five  days,  we  wrote,  tested,  and  then   implemented  a  new  campaign  based  on  this  direct  challenge  to  the  Liberal  government.    

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We  did  the  following:   • We  drafted  and  updated  daily  a  new  stump  speech  for  the  leader  to  use  on  tour,  shifting  focus   to  a  sharp  challenge  to  the  Liberal  government  (“Do  you  really  want  four  more  years  of  the  BC   Liberals?”).  He  picked  up  these  lines  and  turned  to  a  much  sharper  critique  of  the  government  in   all  of  his  statements  to  the  end  of  the  campaign;     We  substantially  upped  the  tempo  of  the  leader’s  tour,  moving  from  three  to  five  events  a  day   in  order  to  underline  that  we  were  coming  out  of  the  debates  determined  to  earn  a  mandate,   and  to  work  hard  for  it;     We  drafted  and  printed  over  a  million  copies  of  a  leaflet  that  bluntly  asked  that  question  –  four   more  years  of  the  BC  Liberals?  –  and  listed  the  real  record  of  the  government  under  Ms.  Clark.   The  other  side  of  the  pamphlet  featured  a  smiling,  sunlit  picture  of  Adrian  Dix  and  the  key   elements  of  our  offer  on  the  economy  (more  skills  training),  social  policy  (less  poverty)  and  the   environment  (made-­‐in-­‐BC  decisions  about  key  environmental  issues  like  pipelines);     We  drafted,  recorded,  and  broadcast  a  saturation  radio  campaign  that  omitted  the  positive  offer   in  the  pamphlet  and  went  straight  at  the  Liberals  over  their  record  –  a  100%  negative  radio  ad   campaign.  Four  more  years  of  the  BC  Liberals?;     We  almost  doubled  our  central  and  local  phone  banks,  hiring  up  and  paying  for  overtime  to   increase  our  voter  contact  phone  reach  into  targets;     We  quintupled  our  Chinese,  Punjabi  and  English-­‐language  print  advertising  buy,  all  focused  on   our  attack  on  the  Liberal  record;      We  contacted  the  twenty  safest  NDP  incumbent  MLAs  and  informed  them  we  wanted  them  to   collapse  their  campaigns  and  move  themselves  and  their  campaign  teams  to  target  ridings  we   designated  for  them  (less  arose  from  this  than  we  might  have  thought  –  for  a  good  reason  -­‐-­‐   because  in  large  measure  they  had  already  done  this.  Our  safe  incumbents  had  already  largely   transferred  their  teams  to  their  target  buddy  ridings  and  were  already  mostly  focused  there   themselves);  and     We  recorded  and  broadcast  a  saturation  buy  of  new  television  ads  that  repeated  our  challenge   to  the  BC  Liberals,  and  then  closed  with  a  confident,  clear  Adrian  Dix  spelling  out  his  alternative.    

Overall  we  invested  some  $1.5  million  in  these  efforts.  As  a  veteran  of  previous  BC  NDP  campaigns   remarked,  every  NDP  campaign  in  recent  history  has  needed  a  halftime  boost  like  that  –  but  this   campaign  was  the  first  that  was  financially  capable  of  doing  so,  a  tribute  to  the  remarkable  financial  and   fundraising  reconstruction  of  the  party  over  the  previous  two  years.  “Too  little,  too  late”  was  the   ultimate  verdict  on  all  of  this,  in  a  number  of  pundits’  campaign  analyses.  And  that  was  clearly  true,   given  the  results.  But  our  tracking  (and  a  tidal  wave  of  public  domain  polling)  suggested  we  had  some   cause  for  renewed  hope  as  the  campaign  moved  to  the  close.     Page  |  31      

The  final  sprint   While  we  worked  to  get  all  of  this  material  in  front  of  voters,  the  competing  leaders’  tours  continued   their  work  and  the  competing  war  rooms  continued  to  exchange  rocks.   Gordon  Wilson  rejoined  the  Liberal  party  and  announced  that  Christy  Clark  was  his  kind  of  leader.   Premier  Mike  Harcourt  strongly  endorsed  Adrian  Dix  and  the  NDP’s  approach  to  government.   Ms.  Clark  toured  construction  sites,  ignored  for  a  decade  under  the  Liberals,  to  argue  that  an  NDP   government  would  halt  hospital  construction  in  British  Columbia.  This  was  her  interpretation  of  our   pledge  to  continue  with  the  Liberal  government’s  capital  plan  –  another  brazen  and  shameless  lie.   Which  fired  up  Adrian  Dix  and  led  to  some  of  the  angriest,  most  heart-­‐felt,  and  most  compelling   statements  he  would  make  on  the  road  during  this  campaign,  in  front  of  the  same  sites.   The  Liberals  claimed  that  the  NDP  wanted  to  say  “no”  to  all  job  creation  in  B.C.  Adrian  Dix  toured  the   mines,  mills,  farms,  and  factories  the  Liberals  had  abandoned  during  the  past  decade  and  recited  all  the   measures  the  NDP  would  say  “yes”  to,  in  order  to  create  jobs.   A  group  of  Liberals  circulated  buttons  calling  themselves  the  “8:01  club”  –  dedicated  to  the  idea  that   Christy  Clark  should  resign  one  minute  after  the  election.   Mc.  Clark’s  tour  petered  out  in  a  series  of  small-­‐bore  photo  ops.   The  Liberals  broadcast  a  television  spot  summarizing  their  campaign  –  an  ugly  attack  ad  portraying   Adrian  Dix  as  a  weatherwane.  We  broadcast  a  spot  summarizing  our  campaign  –  the  Liberals  didn’t   deserve  another  four  years,  and  Adrian  Dix  offered  a  better  alternative.   The  NDP  campaign  ended  with  a  large,  energetic  rally  and  then  a  24-­‐hour  blitz  of  the  province.   All  “too  little  too  late,”  as  it  emerged  on  election  night.     But  that  isn’t  how  it  looked  in  the  days  before  the  election.     The  relentless  rise  in  Liberal  support  we  could  see  in  our  tracking  finally  stopped,  six  days  before  the   election.  Our  tracking  then  showed  a  modest  recovery  in  the  NDP  vote,  a  small  drop  in  the  Liberal  vote  –   and  therefore  enough  of  a  spread,  maybe,  to  win  us  the  election.   Angus  Reid  and  Ipsos  Reid  both  reported  that  the  NDP  was  ending  the  campaign  seven  to  eight  points   ahead  of  the  Liberals  –  about  twice  what  we  believed  to  be  the  case,  but  an  encouraging  sign  that  we   had  reversed  the  direction  of  the  election;  that  we  had  succeeded  in  reminding  voters  why  they  wanted   change;  and  that  Adrian  Dix  had  persuaded  British  Columbians  of  his  competence,  intelligence  and   commitment  to  getting  the  province  back  onto  the  right  set  of  priorities.      

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Defeat  on  election  night   About  mid-­‐way  through  election  night,  a  leading  member  of  our  team  commented:  “I  guess  we’re  all   members  of  the  7:59  club”.     The  club  of  people  who  believed,  right  up  until  the  minute  the  polls  closed,  that  the  NDP  was  going  to   win  the  election.   We  didn’t.        

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Part  3:  Some  lessons  learned   We  didn’t  win  the  election,  and  there  are  many  lessons  to  learn  in  this.     As  discussed  above,  we’re  mindful  of  the  growing  and  well-­‐grounded  backlash  against  the  rigidities  and   artificialities  of  modern  politics  -­‐-­‐  which  are,  currently,  fundamentally  about  snippets  of  video  on   television  news  shows,  minus  the  sound.  But  as  we  also  said  above,  we  can’t  do  good  if  we  don’t  win.       We  will  offer  our  thoughts  about  lessons  learned  in  two  parts.     First,  some  operating  and  tactical  issues  about  our  campaign.     Second,  some  strategic  points.      

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OPERATIONAL  AND  TACTICAL  ISSUES   (1) Delivering  a  Consistent  Message     In  focus  groups  held  in  the  mid-­‐way  point  of  the  campaign,  our  target  voters  were  asked  to  recall  the   core  campaign  messages  for  the  two  main  parties.  Many  participants  quickly  and  easily  identified  that   Christy  Clark  and  the  BC  Liberals’  main  message  was  “jobs”  and  the  “economy.”  But  when  it  came  time   to  recall  what  Adrian  Dix  and  the  BC  NDP’s  message  was,  no  participant  could  do  so.  These  voters  had   recalled  hearing  something  from  the  leader  and  the  party  but  could  not  articulate  its  central  overall   message.  Lessons  learned  and  recommendations  for  delivering  a  consistent  and  penetrating  message:     Prepared  Speeches  and  Daily  Message             The  Leader  is  the  campaign’s  most  powerful  message-­‐delivery  vehicle.  To  succeed,  the  message   delivered  over  28  days  must  be  unambiguous,  crisp,  direct,  and  repetitive.       Christy  Clark  succeeded  by  using  every  opportunity  to  deliver  her  message,  over  and  over  again  in  her   prepared  remarks,  in  one-­‐on-­‐one  interviews  and  in  answering  questions  from  the  media.  Despite  media   claims  to  have  disliked  the  repetitive  nature  of  Clark’s  message,  they  nevertheless  reported  it  faithfully   (and  it  was  therefore  digested  by  the  voters).   Our  Leader’s  remarks  were  almost  exclusively  extemporaneous  and  often  contained  several  ideas   competing  for  space.  In  the  absence  of  a  daily  message  guide,  candidates,  spokespeople  and  campaign   workers  had  no  guide  as  to  what  our  story  in  the  campaign  was,  so  there  wasn’t  one.     In  modern  campaigns  with  so  many  channels  for  voters  to  consume  information,  it  is  vital  that  a   consistent  message  is  delivered  in  all  channels.     Next  time,  our  Leader  should  follow  a  tight,  focused,  brief,  and  consistent  message  through  prepared   speeches  at  every  opportunity.  A  daily  message  guide  containing  talking  points  should  be  reviewed,   internalized  and  repeated  every  day  by  the  leader,  candidates  and  by  all  who  were  working  on  the   campaign.   Exposure  to  Media  on  Tour     A  leader’s  answers  to  questions  by  the  media  need  to  be  concise  and  repetitive  in  order  to  be  clipped,   used  and  thereby  heard  by  the  voter.  Detailed  and  wide-­‐ranging  answers  don't  ensure  the  message  is   heard  by  the  intended  audience.  Communicating  like  this  hands  control  of  the  campaign’s  message  to   the  media  as  they  get  to  choose  what  the  message  is.       Exposure  through  tour  scrums  should  be  kept  to  a  minimum  in  order  for  the  Leader’s  message  of  the   day  to  carry  though  to  air  and  print  time.  Holding  three  or  four  scrums  a  day  ensures  that  the  intended   message  of  the  day  gets  lost  in  the  myriad  other  things  the  media  want  to  ask.     The  Leader  should  also  resist  the  temptation  to  engage  in  commenting  on  the  strategy  of  the  campaign   or  predicting  what  may  or  may  not  happen.  The  Leader  should  not  engage  in  punditry.       Page  |  35      

The  job  of  media  relations  is  to  help  guide  and  shape  the  media’s  interaction  with  the  Leader  in  a  way   that  best  controls  the  narrative  and  the  message  in  the  interests  of  the  campaign.      This  requires   considerable  discipline  and  control  over  the  media’s  access  to  the  Leader.    Ad  hoc,  one-­‐off  interviews  -­‐-­‐   unless  they  are  feature  length  or  in-­‐depth  sit  down  sessions  -­‐-­‐  should  be  strictly  limited.    Scrums  should   be  managed  with  a  “chair”  to  assign  questions  and  a  strict  limit  of  the  number  of  questions.    The   Leader’s  answers  should  be  short  and  repetitive.   Scrums  on  the  leader’s  tour  during  a  campaign  should  be  brief,  rare  and  generally  focused  on   repeating  the  message  of  the  day.   Effective  Use  of  Spokespeople     Not  all  communicating  during  a  campaign  occurs  on  the  leader’s  tour.  There  are  messages  appropriately   delivered  through  other  spokespeople,  or  through  press  releases  and  online  postings.  With  the  myriad   of  outlets  engaged  in  a  provincial  election,  the  campaign  is  constantly  bombarded  with  media  inquiries.   The  media  unit  in  the  central  campaign  were  permitted  to  offer  background  information  but  were  not   permitted  to  be  quoted  as  spokespersons.  This  led  to  long  delays  in  getting  back  to  outlets  and   opportunities  to  kill  negative  stories  were  missed.   Elected  and  unelected  officials  should  both  be  designated  as  official  spokespeople  for  the  campaign.       (2) Contrasting  the  Choices  in  the  Campaign         Fearlessly  engaging  the  opponent’s  record,  every  day   If  elections  are  about  choices,  then  campaigns  must  define  those  choices  for  voters.  In  defining  that   contrast,  a  successful  campaign  must  take  an  aggressive  and  disciplined  approach  towards  highlighting   the  opponent’s  record  and  vulnerabilities.  This  effort  does  not  need  to  be  personal,  but  in  order  to  cut   through  the  clutter  it  must  be  short,  believable  and  repeated  again  and  again  throughout  the  entire   campaign.   The  decision  to  run  a  “positive  campaign”  failed  in  practice  because  it  was  interpreted  as  staying  clear  of   our  opponent’s  record  and  vulnerabilities.  While  the  BC  Liberals  attacked  our  Leader  in  personal  and   sometimes  arguably  libelous  terms,  the  Premier  and  her  record  in  government  were  often  off  limits.  This   was  a  mistake.  The  BC  Liberals  defined  our  leader  and  platform,  while  we  did  not  define  theirs  and   therefore  failed  to  offer  the  voters  our  version  of  what  the  choice  was  in  the  election.   The  next  campaign  must  contrast  the  choices  and  remind  voters  of  the  government’s  record  in  clear,   compelling  and  straightforward  language  from  the  first  day  of  the  campaign.          

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Naming  the  enemy   Increasingly,  elections  are  leader-­‐driven.  By  deciding  never  to  ‘name  the  enemy’  by  never  mentioning   Christy  Clark,  our  campaign  lost  the  opportunity  to  work  with  the  BC  Liberals'  greatest  liability  –  their   leader.  With  the  space  the  BC  NDP  campaign  granted  her,  she  was  able  to  rehabilitate  her  image  within   the  short  28-­‐day  campaign  window.  This  is  not  a  courtesy  they  returned.   In  modern,  television-­‐driven  politics,  the  leader  is  the  brand.  Politics  is  personalized,  and  many  voters   make  their  ultimate  decisions  in  the  election  based  on  trust  and  how  they  respond  to  the  individuals   offering  themselves  as  Premier.  In  the  concluding  says  of  this  election,  we  went  after  the  “BC  Liberals”,   and  the  Liberals  went  directly  after  our  leader.  The  leader  being  the  brand,  our  campaign  was  less   effective  even  in  its  closing  days.   Almost  always,  an  effective  campaign  must  engage  the  opposing  leader  by  name,  every  day,  and  at   every  level.   Dealing  with  Personal  Attacks   In  the  lead-­‐up  to  and  during  this  campaign,  the  BC  Liberals  and  their  allies  spent  millions  of  dollars   attacking  our  Leader.  Though  this  advertising  at  first  did  not  appear  to  have  a  demonstrable  effect  on   voter’s  attitudes  toward  our  Leader,  it  is  clear  from  canvassing  reports,  polling,  and  the  election  result,   that  cumulatively  it  was  persuasive  and  damaging.  Such  “character”  issues  are  critical  for  voters  in   assessing  who  they  want  to  hire  to  be  their  Premier.       Our  campaign  assumed  that  the  issue  had  been  dealt  with  when,  in  fact,  for  many  voters,  the  issue  and   our  response  was  new  information.  Without  a  robust  defense  and  counter-­‐attack  in  the  lead  up  and   during  this  campaign,  the  BC  Liberals  defined  our  Leader.  It  is  important  to  take  attacks  like  this  very   seriously  by  addressing  them  early,  frankly,  and  without  reservation  –  well  before  the  campaign  begins.   Character  issues  surrounding  the  Leader  that  may  negatively  impact  perceptions  of  the  ability  to   govern  must  be  dealt  with  and  be  countered,  decisively,  prior  to  start  of  the  campaign.       3-­‐Dimensional  Leader  Definition     Within  the  context  of  leader-­‐driven  politics,  campaigns  need  to  tell  the  human  angle  of  leadership.   Relying  solely  on  policy  and  numbers  to  deliver  the  message  will  likely  lead  to  a  passionless  campaign   that  doesn't  connect  with  voters.  Aspects  of  as  a  Leader’s  personal  life  are  an  enormously  valuable  and   important  part  of  the  campaign’s  overall  narrative.  Voters  want  to  feel  a  personal  connection  to  the   Leader  through  their  family  relationships,  their  interests  and  their  private  lives.     The  Leader  needs  to  allow  voters  to  see  their  personal  side,  to  connect  with  them.            

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(3) Communicating  Platform  Announcements     The  2013  BC  NDP  platform  was  the  most  comprehensive  and  detailed  in  a  generation.  However,  when  it   came  to  communicating  its  many  aspects,  our  campaign  failed.  The  campaign  model  of  releasing  entire   chapters  of  the  platform  in  one  announcement  meant  that  only  a  portion  of  the  policy  work  received   coverage.  Media  only  have  so  many  seconds  or  column  inches  to  file,  so  when  they  receive  multiple   pages  of  proposals,  they  cannot  absorb  or  report  on  it  all,  and  so  they  focus  on  the  digestible  part  –  the   cost.  In  many  media  reports  the  emphasis  of  our  coverage  was  not  on  the  effect  of  the  policy,  or  the   people  who  would  benefit  from  it,  but  rather  on  the  cost  of  it.     Here  is  a  sample  of  some  of  the  headlines  we  generated,  to  illustrate  this  point:     • • • • • • • NDP  Promises  Millions  To  Forest  Industry  (Canadian  Press,  April  15,  2013)   Adrian  Dix  reveals  $310M  forestry  plan  (Canadian  Press,  April  17,  2013)   NDP  would  spend  more  on  education,  Dix  says  (Times  Colonist,  April  18,  2013)     Dix  announces  $24-­‐million  plan  to  grow  B.C.  agriculture  industry  (Vancouver  Sun  April  21,   2013)   B.C.  NDP  makes  financial  promises  for  seniors,  rural  and  mental  health  (Times  Colonist  April   23,  2013)     Dix  promises  $70M  for  homecare  for  seniors  and  those  with  disabilities  (CTV.ca  April  23,  2013)   NDP's  Adrian  Dix  pledges  to  inject  $240M  into  health-­‐care  programs  (The  Province  April  23,   2013)    

Another  issue  that  hampered  our  ability  to  communicate  the  platform  was  last-­‐minute  decision-­‐making.       As  a  result,  an  enormous  amount  of  central  campaign  and  tour  staff  time  and  effort  was  put  into  the  last   minute  production  of  materials.  Communications  decisions  were  too  often  made  on  the  fly  and  with   little  time  for  reflection  and  planning.    This  hurried  process  resulted  in  unforced  errors,  like  the  release   of  our  ferry  fare  commitment  on  the  day  we  were  supposed  to  be  profiling  our  plan  for  jobs  and  the   economics.   Campaign  platform  announcements  should  focus  on  the  issue  being  fixed  and  the  main  benefactors,   rather  than  on  the  expenditure  of  the  policy  proposal.  The  policy  and  communications  elements  of   the  platform  should  be  decided  well  in  advance  of  the  campaign  so  that  they  are  thoughtfully   considered  and  located  better  within  the  overall  message,  narrative  and  tour  design.   (4) Connections  Between  Tour  and  HQ   At  important  points  in  the  2013  campaign,  there  were  gaps  between  the  strategic  plan  and  the  media   narrative.    This  gap  was  felt  most  acutely  when  the  decision  to  oppose  the  Kinder  Morgan  pipeline  was   announced.  Without  a  clear  plan  to  manage  the  fall-­‐out  from  the  decision,  the  campaign  was  caught   flatfooted  and  unable  to  effectively  control  the  story  or  the  message  it  conveyed,  adding  to  the   confusion  and  political  damage.  

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Naturally,  there  will  be  times  when  a  campaign  must  innovate  quickly  to  respond  to  changing   circumstances.     Major  developments  in  campaign  strategy  and  message  must  be  better  understood  by  the  media   management  team  in  advance  of  the  announcement.       (5) Embracing  Visual  Representations  of  our  Message     Voters’  opinions  are  increasingly  shaped  through  visuals  on  television,  online  and  in  photographs  in   newspapers.  Without  question  the  work  of  the  Tour  Unit,  the  day-­‐planners,  advancers  and  tech  crews   were  some  of  the  best  the  BC  NDP  has  ever  seen.  But  the  way  we  managed  opportunities  to  amplify  our   message  through  tour  visuals  hampered  the  campaign’s  ability  to  connect  with  the  voter.       Colour  events  should  contribute  to  the  campaign  narrative  and  have  the  Leader  in  settings  surrounded   by  people  and  engaging  with  voters.    Evening  rallies  should  be  high  energy  and  show  momentum,   excitement  and  support  for  the  Leader.    At  each  of  these  campaign  events,  participants  should  be  placed   ‘in  the  shot’  in  order  to  maximize  the  value  of  the  visual.       Every  event  should  be  branded  with  appropriate  visually  consistent  staging,  podium  art,  handheld  signs   and  banners.    The  Leader’s  introduction  and  entrance  should  be  managed  and  staged  for  maximum   effect  with  a  clear  pathway  in,  surrounded  by  applauding  supporters.    Campaign  music  should  be  chosen   for  thematic  and  energy  creating  purposes.    It  should  be  captivating  and  excite  the  crowd  and  it  should   help  tell  the  story.       Our  reluctance  to  embrace  the  political  theatre  aspect  of  modern  campaigning  led  to  the  BC  NDP  losing   the  “shot  of  the  day”  to  the  BC  Liberals  too  often.    Christy  Clark’s  constant  appearance  in  a  hard-­‐hat  and   safety  vest  was  the  visual  equivalent  of  her  message  discipline.  She  was  constantly  surrounded  by   people,  especially  children,  seniors,  and  members  of  ethno-­‐cultural  communities.  Such  images  led  the   viewer  to  believe  she  was  having  fun,  attractive  to  others  and  that  her  campaign  had  energy  and   momentum.  From  the  Liberal  campaign,  the  media  were  only  given  one  image  to  broadcast,  the  image   that  represented  the  Liberal  message.     In  contrast,  while  many  of  our  images  were  compelling,  they  were  often  pre-­‐empted.  Too  often  our   Leader  was  photographed  alone,  or  with  staff,  either  in  scrums,  coming  off  the  bus,  or  walking  to  and   from  campaign  events.   A  disciplined  approach  to  the  visual  representations  of  our  message  as  well  as  use  all  of  the  tools  at   our  disposal  to  provide  a  regular  appealing  campaign  image  should  be  embraced.        

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(6) Placing  Well  in  the  Debates   The  Leaders’  Debates  are  a  critical  point  in  modern  campaigns.  Voters  pay  attention  to  elections  at  the   start  and  then  not  again  until  the  debates.    Debate  prep  is  very  important  despite  taking  time  from  the   Tour  for  several  days.       The  key  points  in  a  campaign  debate  are  the  opening  and  closing  statements,  the  response  to  murder   questions,  and  the  zinger  attacks  on  and  from  opponents.       In  this  campaign,  debate  prep  was  successful  in  identifying  the  likely  questions  posed.    Nothing   happened  in  the  debates  themselves  that  wasn’t  covered  in  debate  prep.    Every  issue  and  line  of   argument  was  thought  of  and  discussed  in  debate  prep.    The  team  had  a  good  sense  of  how  the  debates   would  unfold  and  what  arguments  and  counter-­‐arguments  to  use  for  best  advantage.    Our  leader  was   well-­‐prepared  and  ready  for  everything  that  came  up.   Our  weakness  was  in  the  attention  to  presentation  and  in  particular  the  critical  importance  of   presenting  well  in  the  very  first  minute.    The  opening  statement  needed  to  be  rehearsed  and  re-­‐ rehearsed  in  order  to  nail  it.  Too  much  time  was  spent  instead  on  policy  discussions  and  the  finer  points   of  the  arguments  and  not  enough  time  was  spent  on  presentation  skills  and  the  opening  statement.    As   a  result,  even  though  the  media  and  the  pollsters  reported  that  our  Leader  won  the  debate,  our   research  indicated  that  the  failure  to  engage  the  audience  strongly,  clearly  and  cleanly  hampered  the   ability  to  hear  our  arguments.   All  participants  in  the  debate  preparation  should  all  have  a  role  there.  The  focus  should  be  on  the   strategy  for  both  offense  and  defense,  and  the  presentation  of  the  Leader.    It  is  important  not  to  get   mired  in  research  and  policy  during  debate  preparation,  and  to  focus  instead  on  strategy,  zingers,  and   presentation  skills.   (7) Ethnic  Media     While  most  of  our  campaign’s  time  and  effort  went  into  dealing  with  the  English  media,  the  Chinese  and   South  Asian  media  played  a  very  important  role  in  this  campaign.    Specifically,  the  Chinese  media  was   overwhelmingly  hostile  to  the  BC  NDP,  regularly  featuring  extremely  biased  headlines  and  stories.  The   BC  Liberals  effectively  used  the  Chinese-­‐language  media  as  part  of  a  strategy  to  motivate  the  Chinese   community  vote  in  their  target  ridings,  delivering  specifically  targeted  messages.     The  ethnic  language  media  relations  unit  should  be  better  resourced  and  better  integrated  into  the   campaign.     (8) Perfecting  the  Leader’s  Tour     The  Leader’s  Tour  is  a  critical  piece  of  the  air  war  that  tells  the  story  of  the  campaign.    The  strategy  in   this  campaign  of  targeting  Cabinet  members’  seats  for  platform  announcement,  using  the  second  phase   for  colour  and  campaign  narrative,  and  ending  with  momentum  and  whistlestops  was  a  good  one.    The   24-­‐hour  tour  was  also  very  engaging  and  innovative.  The  design  of  the  Leader’s  Tour  was  sound.       Page  |  40      

However,  the  Tour  needs  to  be  adequately  staffed  and  every  member  of  the  Tour  needs  to  be   integrated  into  the  strategic  and  operational  thinking.       The  Tour  staff  must  meet  every  evening  to  review  the  day  and  plan  for  the  next  day.    In  this  campaign,   Tour  staffing  was  very  limited  and  several  staff  did  double  or  triple  duty.  The  daily  meeting,  usually  at   the  conclusion  of  the  day’s  events,  is  critical  and  every  member  of  the  Tour  staff  should  participate-­‐-­‐   preferably  also  with  the  advancer  for  the  next  day  and  someone  from  the  Anchor  Tour  team.    These   meetings  help  identify  any  difficulties  with  the  day’s  events  and  can  highlight  what  worked  well.    That   information  feeds  into  the  discussion  of  the  next  day,  where  the  inside  itinerary  should  be  reviewed  step   by  step,    evaluated  for  its  ability  to  contribute  to  the  strategic  objectives  for  the  day,  and  providing  an   opportunity  to  identify  any  problem  areas  that  need  attention.     Everything  that  happens  on  the  Tour  must  be  purposeful  and  contribute  to  a  victory.    Every  member  of   the  Tour  staff  needs  to  have  a  clearly  defined  role  and  opportunity  for  input.    If  the  Tour  staff  are  not   meeting  together  every  evening,  then  the  logic  of  the  events,  the  strategic  importance  of  the  events  and   the  significance  of  any  shifts  in  strategy  are  not  apparent  or  shared.    The  staff  cannot  operate  effectively   as  a  team  without  insight  and  involvement  in  the  thinking  behind  each  day  and  the  strategic  objectives   for  each  day.    Execution  without  that  knowledge  limits  the  effectiveness  of  the  Tour’s  ability  to  tell  the   campaign  story.    The  importance  of  every  single  person  on  the  Tour  staff  participating  in  daily  meetings   to  review  and  plan  cannot  be  overstated.   Most  days,  campaign  events  should  include  a  morning  announcement,  a  colour  event  in  the  afternoon,   and  an  evening  rally.    And  they  should  be  built  with  a  view  to  the  image  on  the  six  o’clock  news.         The  morning  announcement  should  be  about  one  thing  only  –  with  between  1  and  3  sub-­‐points  for   amplification  and  illustration.    Validators  should  be  present,  along  with  supporters  who  help  tell  the   story.    Colour  events  should  contribute  to  the  campaign  narrative  and  have  the  Leader  in  settings   surrounded  by  people  and  engaging  with  voters.    Evening  rallies  should  be  high  energy  and  show   momentum,  excitement  and  support  for  the  leader.    At  each  of  these  campaign  events,  participants   should  be  placed  in  order  to  maximize  the  value  of  the  visual.       Every  event  should  be  branded  with  appropriate  visually  consistent  staging,  podium  art,  handheld  signs   and  banners.    The  Leader’s  introduction  and  entrance  should  be  managed  and  staged  for  maximum   effect  with  a  clear  pathway  in,  surrounded  by  applauding  supporters.    Campaign  music  should  be  chosen   for  thematic  and  musical  purpose.    It  should  be  captivating  and  excite  the  crowd  and  it  should  help  tell   the  story.    It  could  also  be  changed  at  specific  times  to  indicate  a  shift  or  emphasize  something  specific   about  a  particular  location  or  issue.       The  on-­‐the-­‐road  tour  team  must  be  better  staffed,  integrated  fully  into  the  operations,  and  should   meet  in  the  morning  and  in  the  evenings  every  day.           Page  |  41      

THREE  KEY  STRATEGIC  ISSUES     Finally,  here  are  a  few  reflections  on  three  strategic  issues  that  may  have  contributed  more  than  others   to  the  outcome.    The  Liberals  prosecuted  us  better  than  we  prosecuted  them   In  this  campaign,  we  undertook  a  principled,  admirable  and  well-­‐intentioned  attempt  to  conduct  a   positive  campaign  that  would  “change  politics”  in  the  face  of  an  opponent  playing  by  the  right-­‐wing   populist  playbook  –  an  effort  that  did  not  succeed.  This  was  true  for  a  number  of  reasons:   The  Leader  is  the  party’s  brand.  Negative  messages  about  leaders  cut  through  and  are  remembered,   unless  they  are  countered  in  kind.  In  running  the  kind  of  campaign  we  did,  we  allowed  our  opponents  to   raise  serious  doubts  in  the  minds  of  voters  about  our  leader  without  compellingly  countering,  pre-­‐ empting  and/or  outweighing  them  by  returning  the  favour;   Failing  to  criticize  opponents  exonerates  their  conduct.  As  Adrian  Dix  acknowledged  very  honestly  after   the  election,  there  was  much  we  didn’t  do  to  prosecute  our  case  against  the  Liberals.  There  was   certainly  a  clear  case  to  prosecute  against  Christy  Clark  –  about  her  competence,  her  education,  her  lack   of  experience  in  the  real  economy,  her  record  as  a  minister,  her  conduct  as  premier,  her  priorities,  her   honesty,  her  behavior  on  the  national  stage,  and  her  contradictions  and  flip-­‐flops  .  There  was  a  clear   case  to  prosecute  against  many  of  her  colleagues  for  their  own  conduct  in  their  private,  professional  and   public  lives.  And  there  was  a  clear  case  to  prosecute  against  the  Liberal  government’s  record,  especially   in  the  past  four  years.  By  choosing  not  to  do  this  with  sufficient  clarity  and  decibel  levels,  we  absolved   them  from  accountability.  The  electorate  can  be  forgiven  for  taking  us  at  our  word  (or  absence  of  words)   on  this;     And  finally,  and  perhaps  most  important:   Almost  always,  issues  about  political  process  are  less  compelling  than  pocketbook  issues.  Politicians   who  ask  for  mandates  to  “change  politics”  risk  sounding  like  they  are  talking  about  themselves  instead   of  about  the  electorate,  absent  an  absolutely  compelling,  mercilessly  prosecuted  negative  case  (for   example,  Watergate;  the  corruption  scandals  that  destroyed  the  Italian  Christian  Democrats;  the   sponsorship  scandal  that  destroyed  the  federal  Liberal  party  under  Paul  Martin;  the  construction   corruption  scandals  that  undermined  the  Quebec  Liberal  party  under  Jean  Charest;  etc.)  Absent  a   compelling  issue  that  forces  an  urgent  debate  about  “changing  politics”,  the  public  will  want  to  hear   about  their  own  pre-­‐occupations,  which  are  about  their  daily  lives  -­‐-­‐  jobs,  health  care,  education,  taxes.   “It’s  too  risky  to  change  the  government”  worked   In  company  with  opposition  parties  all  across  Canada,  our  campaign  failed  to  beat  the  core  argument   currently  being  offered  by  incumbent  governments  of  all  stripes  (Liberal,  NDP  and  Conservative)   seeking  re-­‐election  –  that  in  these  uncertain  economic  times,  it  is  too  risky  to  change  the  government.     Consider  the  recent  electoral  record  across  the  country:   • The  Selinger  NDP  government  in  Manitoba  won  re-­‐election  by  attacking  the  leader  of  the   Conservatives,  and  by  arguing  that  in  these  uncertain  times  it  is  too  risky  to  change  a   government  focused  on  jobs  and  the  economy;   Page  |  42      

The  Redford  Conservative  government  in  Alberta  won  re-­‐election  by  attacking  the  leader  of  the   Wildrose  party,  and  by  arguing  that  in  these  uncertain  times  it  is  too  risky  to  change  a   government  focused  on  jobs  and  the  economy;   The  McGuinty  Liberal  government  in  Ontario  won  re-­‐election  (with  a  minority)  by  attacking  the   leader  of  the  Conservatives,  and  by  arguing  that  in  these  uncertain  times  it  is  too  risky  to  change   a  government  focused  on  jobs  and  the  economy;   The  Charest  Liberal  government  in  Quebec  came  within  a  single  point  of  winning  re-­‐election  by   attacking  the  leader  of  the  Parti  Quebecois,  and  by  arguing  that  in  these  uncertain  times  it  is  too   risky  to  change  a  government  focused  on  jobs  and  the  economy;  and   Prime  Minister  Stephen  Harper  is  preparing  to  do  exactly  the  same  thing,  setting  up  his  next   campaign  with  many  millions  of  dollars  of  taxpayer-­‐funded  partisan  political  ads  arguing  that  the   Conservative  government  in  Ottawa  is  busy  with  nothing  but  jobs  and  the  economy.  

We  spent  a  lot  of  time  thinking  about  this  obvious  strategy  by  the  BC  Liberals  going  into  this  campaign.   What  were  the  options?   Run  on  health  care:  In  many  traditional  New  Democratic  campaigns  in  jurisdictions  across  Canada,  the   NDP  has  tried  to  deal  with  this  kind  of  challenge  through  diversion.  The  public  doesn’t  trust  us  on  the   economy  as  much  as  they  trust  the  incumbent,  so  let’s  talk  about  something  else  –  like  health  care,   education  or  (until  the  advent  of  the  Green  party)  the  environment.  We  certainly  needed  to  do  a  better   job  than  we  did  in  2013  campaigning  on  these  issues.  But  the  millions  of  dollars  in  public  funds  spent  on   government  advertising  in  the  run-­‐up  to  the  election  were  designed  to  close  this  option  –  and  many  NDP   campaigns  in  recent  history  have  foundered  disastrously  in  their  attempts  to  change  the  topic  to  “safe”   NDP  issues  during  campaigns.  Alexa  McDonough  tried  to  do  this  during  the  2000  federal  election  and   earned  8.51%  of  the  vote,  for  example.   Run  a  representational  campaign:  A  more  historically  successful  alternative  has  been  to  run  a   “representational”  campaign,  as  has  been  carefully  researched  and  blueprinted  by  pollster  and  political   strategist  Vic  Fingerhut,  a  wise,  thoughtful,  long-­‐time  friend  and  advisor  of  our  party  and  of  progressive   and  social  democratic  parties  all  around  the  world.  This  type  of  campaign  accepts  that  a  (perhaps  the)   key  topic  will  be  the  economy  –  which  we  then  talk  about  in  representational  terms:  “who  will  speak  for   working  families  like  you”;  “who  will  fight  for  ordinary  families”,  and  the  corollary,  “don’t  vote  for  our   opponent,  because  they  only  care  about  the  wealthy.”  This  is  the  kind  of  campaign  the  BC  NDP  turned  to   in  its  last  successful  outing,  in  1996,  under  Premier  Glen  Clark.  It  can  work  very  well  indeed.  But  it  bears   remembering  that  in  1996  this  approach  earned  us  39.45%  of  the  vote  –  not  dissimilar  to  the  39.71%  we   earned  in  2013.  It  does  not  reach  well  into  the  Chinese,  Punjabi  and  middle  class  electorates  we   believed  would  be  central  to  this  election  (it  would,  however,  have  played  a  great  deal  better  in  the   interior  than  the  campaign  we  ran).   Beat  them  at  the  central  game:  A  third  alternative  is  to  seek  to  beat  our  populist  rightwing  opponent  in   their  area  of  perceived  core  competence  –  to  argue  that  notwithstanding  their  rhetoric,  they  are  fiscally   irresponsible,  their  policies  hurt  job  creation,  and  they  have  no  answers  to  the  real  questions  facing  the   economy  (none  of  which  are  about  transferring  more  wealth  from  the  middle  class  and  the  poor  to  the   rich,  which  is  fundamentally  what  populist  rightwing  government  is  concerned  with).  Our  governments   in  Saskatchewan  and  Manitoba  defeat  populist  rightwing  opponents  by  being  –  and  being  seen  to  be  –   more  competent  than  our  opponent  on  core  fiscal  and  economic  issues,  as  well  as  more  caring  about   Page  |  43      

them.  That  is  what  we  tried  to  do  in  2013.  We  didn’t  succeed,  for  all  of  the  reasons  set  out  in  this  note   we  suggest.  If  we  want  to  reverse  our  fortunes  in  British  Columbia  and  earn  a  lengthy  run  in  office  over  a   number  of  mandates  (as  opposed  to  the  occasional  moment  of  good  fortune),  we  must  find  a  way  to  do   this.     And  finally:   We  needed  to  make  a  better  offer   Our  campaign  failed  to  inspire  our  current  supporters  and  did  not  reach  outside  of  our  base:  British   Columbians  open  to  supporting  the  NDP  did  not  find  us  inspiring,  populist,  or  compelling  in  our  efforts   to  contrast  ourselves  to  our  opponent.  This  was  a  deep  problem  with  our  effort,  woven  through  all  of   our  work  as  set  out  above.  There  was  no  “wow”  in  our  campaign,  which  focused  on  reassurance  and   responsibility  while  taking  an  unwisely  complacent  approach  to  our  opponent.     In  all  of  his  campaigns,  Tommy  Douglas  campaigned  on  the  basis  of  a  campaign  built  on  three  legs  (all   good  things  coming  in  trinities,  as  he  argued  from  time  to  time).  First,  he  would  be  toughly  critical  of  his   opponents  without  descending  into  defamation.  Second,  he  would  spell  out  a  clear-­‐headed,  financially   responsible,  fiscally  responsible  set  of  next  steps  forward  for  the  provincial  government.  And  third,  he   would  talk  about  a  big  dream  –  in  his  case,  national  medicare,  a  project  that  was  well  beyond  the   powers  of  the  Government  of  Saskatchewan.  But  it  was  a  big  idea  and  he  promised  to  work  towards  it  –   in  five  separate  provincial  election  campaigns.   We  needed  a  big  dream  in  this  campaign  –  an  inspiring,  aspirational  goal  that  could  not  possibly  happen   overnight  but  that  was  worth  working  towards.     The  Liberals  had  a  ridiculous  one  –  a  trillion  dollars  in  imaginary  revenues  from  twenty  LNG  projects  that   would  pay  off  the  provincial  debt  and  fund  every  hope  and  dream  of  every  community  all  across  British   Columbia.  This  was  spoken  about  in  the  media  as  “Christy  Clark’s  imaginary  friend”,  and   comprehensively  discredited  as  a  pipedream.     But  the  public  likes  big  ideas  if  you  get  everything  else  about  your  campaign  right,  too.  They  read  the   media  and  are  influenced  by  it.  But  they  also  listen  directly,  in  the  tiny  snippets  they  are  allowed  to  hear,   to  public  figures.  And  they  look  there  for  hope,  and  for  inspiration,  and  for  a  road  forward.       In  sum:   It  is  usually  a  mistake  for  winning  parties  to  “return  to  the  scene  of  victory”.  And  it  usually  a  mistake  for   defeated  parties  to  try  to  refight  an  election  campaign  the  next  time  out.  The  next  election  in  2017  will   run  on  its  own  clockspins,  issues  and  challenges.  But  the  following  will  likely  be  true,  we  believe:   • • • We  must  do  a  much  more  effective  job  of  discrediting  our  opponent,  each  and  every  day  of   the  campaign,  when  most  people  are  paying  attention  to  politics;   We  must  defeat,  or  at  least  fight  to  a  draw,  whoever  our  conservative  opponent  is  on  core   economic  issues;  and   We  must  offer  a  campaign  than  people  like;  engage  with;  are  inspired  by;  turn  out  to   participate  in;  and  are  motivated  to  vote  for  –  even  after  another  immersion  in  our   opponent’s  darkest  arts.   Page  |  44      

These notes were drafted by:   Brian  Topp  was  campaign  director  during  this  election.  He  was  deputy  chief  of  staff  to  Premier  Roy   Romanow  in  the  Government  of  Saskatchewan,  and  was  national  campaign  director  to  federal  NDP   leader  Jack  Layton  in  2006  and  2008.   Jim  Rutkowski  coordinated  NPD  media  relations  during  this  election.  He  was  chief  of  staff  to  BC  NDP   leader  Carole  James.     Anne  McGrath  was  a  senior  advisor  on  the  Leader’s  tour  during  this  election.  She  was  chief  of  staff  to   Jack  Layton,  and  was  lead  political  on  the  tour  during  the  2011  federal  election.   Brad  Lavigne  coordinated  the  NDP  war  room  during  this  election.  He  was  principal  secretary  to  Jack   Layton,  federal  secretary  of  the  NDP,  and  national  campaign  director  to  federal  NDP  leader  Jack  Layton   in  2011.   Shannon  Phillips  was  deputy  coordinator  of  the  war  room  during  this  election.  She  is  the  senior  policy   analyst  for  the  Alberta  Federation  of  Labour,  where  she  specializes  in  energy  and  oil  sands.  She  has   worked  in  organization  and  communications  for  the  federal  NDP,  Alberta  NDP,  and  other  provincial  NDP   sections.    

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