Rumours of the Liberals’ Demise are Greatly Unattributed

The Globe and Mail reported this morning that many Liberal candidates have already conceded defeat and that staffers are feeling out new jobs even before the election comes to a close. The story, titled: “Liberals quietly consider the possibility of defeat,” is available here.

The story quotes a litany of anonymous sources, only one of which actually confirms the story’s headline (“The national campaign is not doing anything for us”).

For a contest, guess in which paragraph the first attributed source appears. If you guessed 21, you win! (There are 28 paragraphs in the online story).

This story should not have any unattributed quotes, or quotes attributed to “senior Liberal officials.” Both writers (Jane Taber and Bill Curry) are senior political writers for the Globe and should know better than to allow Liberal candidates to comment anonymously on the campaign.

In my mind, there are two reasons why a Liberal candidate would talk in such low regard of their own campaign. The first is they are honestly disappointed with a poorly-run campaign. The second is, they may be in ridings the Liberals have no hope in winning and have offered no logistical support to (the Liberal candidate in my Calgary riding doesn’t even have campaign signs – he rents those big neon-lettered signs you see advertising minor league hockey registration).

A less-likely reason may be that the candidates are not Paul Martin’s fans and want to sandbag the campaign in order to oust Martin as leader and replace him with someone they support.

I don’t know if these “senior Liberals” have dishonest motives. But unless we are told who these sources are, readers can’t make that judgment. If this story is going to make the Liberal campaign suffer, perhaps we should know why.


  1. In my mind, there are two reasons why a Liberal candidate would talk in such low regard of their own campaign.

    Didn’t you just give three reasons?

  2. I do suppose that was confusing. What I meant to say was that the two reasons below in that paragraph are ones that I thought are plausible as opposed to the “final reason” which I did not think was plausible because “I don’t know if these ‘senior Liberals’ have dishonest motives.

    Sorry about the confusion.

  3. Your first paragraph is a bit misleading too dude, the story says staffers are looking for new jobs, not candidates.

    But this one jumped out at me too, I was planning to blog on it tonight. I think the need to protect one’s position is a reasonable reason to go anonymous in situations that serve the public need. A nuclear technician raising red flags about unsafe practices, for example.

    Is this a matter of public good? That’s debatable. Certainly not to the extent of my fictitious example, but I would listen to someone argue that it’s worth going off-the-record. If you ask me, the ongoing civil war in the Liberal Party falls in the “interesting but hardly relevant” category. If you’re going to run something on it, at least get a name.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *