Newsletter publisher apologizes and takes full responsibility for wrong MLA message – but Team Angry’s still angry at NDP

Posted on January 03, 2016, 12:59 am
9 mins

PHOTOS: Spokespeople for the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties stand by to comment in the media on the latest manufactured Alberta political crisis. Actual opposition politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Independent MLA Deborah Drever, Calgary newsletter publisher Bobbie-Jo Bergner, interim Tory Leader Ric McIver and Wildrose Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt.

A Calgary community newsletter publisher apologized promptly yesterday and took complete responsibility for placing a New Democratic Party MLA’s New Year’s constituent greetings underneath the name and photo of Independent Calgary-Bow MLA Deborah Drever.

But never mind, Opposition Team Angry is still angry with Ms. Drever and the NDP!

Drever1“Mind’s Design Studio apologizes for the MLA message error in the January 2016 edition of the Broadcaster,” said business owner Bobbie-Jo Bergner, a development that was predicted in this space yesterday.

“This was completely an oversight on the design and editing ends,” Ms. Bergner wrote on her business’s Facebook page of the circumstances that led to the appearance of NDP MLA Brandy Payne’s message under Ms. Drever’s name. “We did not intentionally insert another MLA’s message in lieu of Deborah’s message.”

“Sorry for any confusion this has caused. Again, our sincere apologies,” she concluded.

Notwithstanding the attempt to gin up a controversy Friday by Wildrose and Conservative politicians and at least two news organizations, the Postmedia Network-owned Calgary Sun and the Shaw-Media-owned Global TV News, all of which portrayed the simple error by a contractor as a conspiracy somehow involving the NDP government, Ms. Drever’s response was graceful and professional.

“Mind’s Design Studio had posted a clarification & apology regarding the publishing error they made in publishing a greeting written by another MLA under my name,” Ms. Drever said on her Facebook page. “I appreciate their quick action & look forward to working with them as we move forward.”

Bobbie-JoThe publisher’s error, familiar to anyone who works with words for a living, would barely be worth mentioning had it not been for the fact Sun’s and Global’s reporters failed to confirm the accuracy of their stories before publishing, and that comments and fanciful conspiracy theories advanced by Wildrose Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, interim Progressive Conservative Party Leader Ric McIver and a few others who ought to have known better were based on nothing but hot air and idle speculation. But why ask questions when you can just start blazing away at the NDP?

Ms. Drever, 27, was elected as a New Democrat in the May 5 general election but was expelled from the NDP caucus by Premier Rachel Notley 17 days later when several tasteless social media posts made when she was a university student came to light.

Premier Notley said in late May she would review Ms. Drever’s status within a year. For her part, Ms. Drever has conducted herself ever since with maturity and professionalism and won accolades for her private member’s bill to protect victims of spousal abuse by allowing them to break residential leases without financial penalty, thus making it easier to escape violent domestic situations. The bill was passed unanimously by the Legislature in December.

Starting from these well-known facts, Mr. Fildebrandt and Mr. McIver came up with a conspiracy theory in which Ms. Notley’s office is somehow directing the Independent MLA’s lonely efforts from the other side of the House for nefarious reasons.

McIverHatNotwithstanding the lack of evidence other than whatever the Sun reporter told him, Mr. Fildebrandt concluded from the newsletter text’s placement it is “blatantly obvious Miss Drever is getting her marching orders directly from the premier’s office.”

For his part, Mr. McIver took this nonsense a step further, concocting an improbable hypothesis the NDP majority government wants Ms. Drever outside its caucus because her budget as an Independent is slightly larger than a government MLA’s. He called her status “an expensive charade.”

Never one to be left out of the fun, former PC deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, who lost his seat in the May 5 election and is rumoured to be considering a comeback run for Mr. McIver’s job, expanded on this theme on his busy Facebook page with speculation the NDP keeps Ms. Drever as an Independent to get more questions in Question Period!

He also noted darkly that it is “very unusual accomplishment for a rookie MLA to pass such bill so early in one’s term with unanimous government approval” – perhaps forgetting the bill had unanimous opposition approval as well.

Notwithstanding the normal wish of opposition politicians and their supporters to undermine the governing party, one has to wonder about the fury of some of the personal attacks on this young woman, who got herself into a difficult position and has been diligently working to get herself out.

FildebrandtHatSuch rage about a small mistake for which the victim of the attacks was not responsible raises a number of questions:

  • Would the media have accused Ms. Drever of being a secret Wildroser if a copy of an opposition member’s message had appeared under her name?
  • Would the same accusations have been made if the victim of an obvious printer’s error had been a man?
  • Was the patronizing use of the honorific “Miss” by Mr. Fildebrandt, who is 30, related to this?
  • Why the sudden fury at the passage by all MLAs of a law that protects victims of spousal abuse at the expense of the convenience of landlords, since the opposition voted for it too?
  • At what point do such personal attacks cease to be politics as usual and become outright bullying?

Rather than admit they have egg on their faces and simply apologize for getting an insignificant story wrong, which would show both maturity and decency, participants in the campaign against Ms. Drever are now either ignoring the proof they messed up or doubling down on their mistakes.

Global TV added the publisher’s apology to its online story, but did not change the report to reflect that the premise on which it was based has been revealed to be false. It did not apologize.

The Calgary Sun ran a short story by a different reporter acknowledging the publisher’s apology but also added new quotes from Mr. Fildebrandt repeating what he said before. The Sun also failed to acknowledge its original story was based on a false premise, and there were no apologies from either the newspaper or Mr. Fildebrandt.

Mr. Lukaszuk stated explicitly on social media he has nothing to apologize for. Mr. McIver simply said nothing.

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11 Comments to: Newsletter publisher apologizes and takes full responsibility for wrong MLA message – but Team Angry’s still angry at NDP

  1. Ted Alden

    January 3rd, 2016

    I think this is a good thing. I think the opposition shouldn’t apologize. I think they should do more of the same. It’s the most sure way of keeping them out of power.

    As for Sun Media and Global, I say the same thing. Postmedia is most likely headed for the crapper, I don’t know what Global’s future is, and frankly it would be impossible for me to care less, really, impossible, as with most people.

    Canadians, in the main, don’t go for this sort of horse sh*t, oh there’s always been the constituent that like that National Enquirer gear, but one simply sidesteps these people in life, just like sidewalk dog sh*t. And thankful that you’re not “that” bad off. smile emoticon

  2. TENET

    January 3rd, 2016

    Thank you for keeping eyes on this issue.

    Ms. Drever has been singled out for personal assaults by the clowns and cowboys you already mentioned. She has worked dilengtly and performed admirably. The clown and cowboys continue their deep rooted personal attacks on this courageous young woman because they know that maligning her in public will achieve their desired consequences, even if they are proven to be absolutely incorrect, and even if they apologize. Their sinister agenda continues to focus their venomous vitriol on females, especially if they do not subscribe to the religious, ultra right, conservative agenda. These are dangerous, desperate men. And, once they get any traction or attention, they easily rise to prominence like their American analog The Donald.

  3. Athabascan

    January 3rd, 2016

    Why am I not surprised? This is the RWNJ way – never apologize for anything and always blame the socialist moocher hordes, and the party that represents them – the NDP.

  4. Sam Gunsch

    January 3rd, 2016

    excerpt: Atwater’s aggressive tactics were first demonstrated during the 1980 Congressional campaigns.

    I think there’s a case to made that the RW willingness to operate this way also has roots in the success of Lee Atwater’s campaigning and the last couple decades of RW radio ‘shock jock’s’ across North America debasing of politics.

  5. jerrymacgp

    January 3rd, 2016

    Haters gonna hate… and nutbars will do & say nutty things. But it’s sad, though, that this young woman (younger, if I recall correctly, than all three of my own kids), who is clearly trying to redeem herself, is the target of such vitriol.

  6. edward

    January 4th, 2016

    If this was about a conservative, the two stooges Climenhaga and Cournoyer would have been the first to crucify them…

    • Tom in Ontario

      January 4th, 2016

      Yassir, and when the two stooges Climenhaga and Cournoyer get the same access to the public as mass media giants Global and Postmedia, duck for cover, Albertans, Armageddon is at hand..

    • Athabascan

      January 4th, 2016

      Nope! Unlike RWNJs Climenhaga and Cournoyer would have got their facts straight first.

      This is what distinguishes “real journalists” from right-wing propagandists.

    • Stegosaurus

      January 7th, 2016

      Deflection, as per usual, when your press allies are caught doing something inexcusable. The inability/unwillingness of these politicians or media outlets to simply apologize when they get it wrong is one of the major reasons that they have little credibility. That, and reflexive name-calling, half-baked (or, in this case, “unbaked”) conspiracy theories, chronic Chicken Little hyperbole, and their all-too-revealing view that parties shouldn’t do what they promised to before the election.

  7. Anne JW

    January 4th, 2016

    Interesting coincidence that I was thinking about Ms. Drever a couple of days ago, when it suddenly occurred to me that many of the RWNJs (thanks, Sam Gunsch) profess to be Christian and as such should be more than willing to turn the other cheek, recognize that she has changed her evil ways and give her another chance.


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