September 9, 2008

Conservative Web Presence Still Riddled With Childish Shots

The media are falling all over themselves in faux outrage over a cartoon puffin shown crapping on Stephane Dion's shoulder at the Conservative party website It's been yanked, with some lame excuse about an overzealous web designer.

You know, we tried to warn you idiots.

The Conservative official said the type of voter targeted by at tends to be someone between 18 and 30, who has not yet developed a loyalty to one political brand or another.

"They are anti-establishment, libertarian, web- and tech-savvy, and politically incorrect," said the Conservative adviser. "We set out to build a website that appeals to them."

Just more evidence that...
There exists a persistent misconception inside political/media circles that the political interweb is the domain of "tech savvy twenty-somethings". The Conservative's website has, in all likelihood, been influenced by this ridiculous assumption and that means it's time to fire some of the high-priced help. If your web people haven't even a remedial understanding of their audience demographic, they have no business being involved in your communications strategy.

Hello? Is anyone out there listening? Your web designers and your web audience are two different demographics. Just because the guys behind the scenes writing code are in their twenties, does not mean that the people searching for political content are.

Update: Good point. Flash? The web designers aren't even good at the tech side.

Posted by Kate at September 9, 2008 10:06 AM

Dead on Kate.
But the media won't let it go. It brings to mind the Liberal "soldiers in the streets with guns" ad the last time around.
The Liberal media said "well it never made it to air" never mentioning it was on the Liberal web site.
But this morning I heard CTV say "but it's out there!"
The Liberal media will push it and push it in that light.

Posted by: Ghost of Ed at September 9, 2008 10:21 AM

Not very impressive, There are still a lot fence sitter voters out there. Leave the cheap theatrics to the Liberals.

Posted by: bryanr at September 9, 2008 10:33 AM

Well they've already committed the first cardinal sin of web design: Making the front page entirely out of Flash! When will people get it through their stupid heads? Flash is for animation ONLY, not wholesale web design and layout! If all you know is Flash, then you're NOT a web designer!

Posted by: Edward Teach at September 9, 2008 10:42 AM

i just sent off a mail to the party, Basically saying scap that crap stick to the facts, We don't need to make Dion look like a fool as he shoots himself in the foot all the time anyways. Lets not lose the momentum on tacky ads that the msm will have a field with. Remember the backlash on the chretien photo.

have a good trip kate

Posted by: bryanr at September 9, 2008 11:05 AM

Someone needs to get control of this and fast!
Anyone in the CPC listening? This could be a BIG negative.

Posted by: Rich at September 9, 2008 11:06 AM

I'm pissed.
An excellent policy announcement ruined by puffin shit.
I'd be firing people.

Posted by: molarmauler at September 9, 2008 11:08 AM

Harper just apologized for the ad during questions in Wpg.

Posted by: Barbara at September 9, 2008 11:08 AM

When a Radio-Canada guy asked the PM about the birdshi* he just couldn't resist bringing up the Chretien facial distortion from '93 and some added commentary to boot. Harper looked sincere apologizing (twice).

Posted by: Garry at September 9, 2008 11:22 AM

the star & GM are having a field day with this, Comments section are not good (although they never are anyways)
Good part Week 1 could & should lose traction when we get into the meat of the campaign.
And a Yes somebody should be canned for this.

Posted by: bryanr at September 9, 2008 11:33 AM

bryanr is right, Dion already does a great job of looking foolish. So let's back off of that theme somewhat.

The last thing we want is for "poor picked on" Dion to get any sympathy from anywhere. Plus, there is the possibility that the Liberal base will get energized, and motivated to work harder to fight that "bully" Harper.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Posted by: Calgary Junkie at September 9, 2008 11:35 AM

Oh, c'mon, folks. Big deal. It's just a website.

Besides, I thought it was funny and clever, though perhaps the puffin dumpin' on Dion was a little too adolescent.

And, no, just in case anyone wondered, I didn't have anything to do with it, even though I've used similar silliness myself; all I do is run my fully independent blog, period.

Anyway, as I said in a post on my site this AM, did y'all notice the little cartoon of a gun-toting feller in the lower right corner of the page? Click on it for a surprise about Iggy! I've never before seen that old video of him in what appears to be Afghanistan, with Iggy shooting an assault rifle along with some scruffy, insurgent-looking dudes, yukking it up as they shoot at stuff... Am I the only one who noticed the video???

Posted by: Canadian Sentinel at September 9, 2008 11:44 AM

You guys would do far better if you stopped whining about how the MSM is treating this issue, and recognize that YOU CAN DO F*CK ALL ABOUT IT. The issue is out there, and it's entirely of the CPC's making. Whoever approved this "ad" needs a kick in the ass, because they should have bloody well known this type of reaction was going to happen. This was such a childish, pointless ad anyway.

Who's running the show on this one?

Posted by: ConservativeKingston at September 9, 2008 12:03 PM

The Cons may get short-term flak for this, but the pathetic image of Dion and the puffin will stick in people's minds. So maybe this will be short-term damage for long-term gain. I think the average person will think this is no big deal. It's certainly not like calling somebody a liar over and over on national tv.

Posted by: Barbara at September 9, 2008 12:05 PM

The Cons may get short-term flak for this, but the pathetic image of Dion and the puffin will stick in people's minds. So maybe this will be short-term damage for long-term gain. I think the average person will think this is no big deal. It's certainly not like calling somebody a liar over and over on national tv.

Posted by: Barbara at September 9, 2008 12:06 PM

I doubt that this little thing will be damaging at all for the Tories. Really.

What is damaging is damaging for the Liberals, the way they react, accusing Stephen Harper himself, personally, of having something to do with the poopin' puffin. This reminds us of the false accusation they made against the Prime Minister for which they're being sued for defamation.

If anything, the poop's on the Liberals.

Posted by: Canadian Sentinel at September 9, 2008 12:27 PM

it's a fart in a windstorm.

But I'd still be kicking some ass in the War Room about being stupid. There's be some heads down quiet workers who'd be thinking twice before pressing the enter key.

Posted by: Fred at September 9, 2008 12:45 PM

Well I am royally pissed...

And to think I've given the CPC, on average, about $900 a year for the past three years, and this is the kind of stupid, adolescent sh!t they use my money for?

This is the kind of crap that loses elections...

Posted by: Bruce at September 9, 2008 12:53 PM still up. Hello CPC!...pull the friggin' plug now.

Posted by: Rich at September 9, 2008 12:54 PM

You "rabid rightwingers" may have noted that one of Canada's intrepid "investigative journalists" has discovered this site. As has Newswatch.

Appears that the MSM will be conflagrating the Conservative Party with anonymous conservative commentators.

Someone should warn them that half the remaining Liberals in the country spend their days here posing as disaffected Conservatives.

Posted by: bud rex at September 9, 2008 12:58 PM

No different then the ads in the last election "military in our streets". That ad did not fair well for the Libs & it did not even make it to prime time. We don't need crap to get the point across, but like others have said it is out there now & The PM has apologized, thankfully it was in the first week. Will it go away I doubt it. MSM will play this for all its worth,Lets remember the MSM wants Harper out we don't need to supply the amo. Will it resinate on the voters lets hope not because half the country don't know about the Puffin dig on Iggy.

Posted by: bryanr at September 9, 2008 1:02 PM

"Scratch a Liberal... find a Rainman."


Posted by: neo at September 9, 2008 1:18 PM

The puffin's right up there with Ralph Goodale's comment..."the knuckle-dragging neanderthals that some of those ministers in the Conservative cabinet are." Cease the mud-slinging. Sure, like THAT'S going to happen.

Posted by: Moose Javian at September 9, 2008 1:21 PM

Its probably due to a twenty-something IT manager supervising twenty-something 'technology' programmers, and I use the word programmers loosely.

Stupid is as stupid does. The CPC has to seriously damper its natural tendency for childishness.

Posted by: Mike_RoA at September 9, 2008 1:22 PM

David Akin is posting the main entry from Kate and ALL comments at

Posted by: Rich at September 9, 2008 1:22 PM

And to make my point further, Just go visit
What should the Headline grabber be? The PM's annoucement today Re:Diesel
What's up, the Puffin Crap & the comments are being bombarded, ctv will play this for all its worth the liberals don't have too & they know it.
sorry to keep talking about this But man the more i think about this the more it pisses me off, Frign F/U's lose elections. Gawd is that mole in the tory war-room this time.

Posted by: bryanr at September 9, 2008 1:24 PM

I went to the Conservative website on the first day of the campaign to see what kinds of interesting policy they might open with. The of the four or five highlight boxes on the main page were about why Dion sucks.

Does this party not realize that they most recently formed government? I'm already displeased about the revised copyright legislation, their failure to make any real overture to reforming Sec. 13 of the Human Rights Act, and other various sundry issues which I don't feel they're addressing. Add to that the Ford handout, and I'm inches away from becoming a disaffected Tory who will vote for any yokel running rather than my Conservative MP.

I sent a letter to them on the first day suggesting they smarten up and, failing that, let me take over as their manager of messaging. No job offer has yet arrived.

Posted by: TJ at September 9, 2008 1:25 PM

Defiantly appealing to the lowest common denominator:)

Do you think it's easy to download a webpage?


Posted by: Indiana Homez at September 9, 2008 2:12 PM

...ya know, the marketing/imaging firm the CPC is using will cost them the election.

Agreed, Flash is for images, not website infrastructure.

People like shiny things, but not that shiny.

Posted by: tomax7 at September 9, 2008 2:16 PM

While they're cleaning up their website get rid of wanna-be punk rocker WK.
Does anyone there know
his geezer band"Shit From Hell" is playing a CD release party on Sept. 11? Not the respectful image any political party should be embracing.
"Shit For Brains" is a more appropriate name for WK and his band and for whoever hired him.

Posted by: Bocanut at September 9, 2008 2:43 PM

That's it. CPC lost my vote today. The bird was bad enough but I just linked to this :
directly from

This is what they are spending taxpayer election funds on? Truly embarrassing both from a political and comedic standpoint.

I hope the Liberal in my riding wins by one.

Posted by: Gene at September 9, 2008 2:53 PM

Those few drops of white guano do not merit the attention this is getting.

I actually think the original ad was cute and funny. Needless, yes.

The Liberals seem intent on gaining pity points for this incident.

Posted by: Pat at September 9, 2008 2:55 PM

This pooping puffin was there in the first iteration of this site, months ago. Didn't anyone bother to look at it then?

Posted by: Bryan at September 9, 2008 3:14 PM

Are you people serious? Good Lord, change your diapers. For conservatives you sure spook easily. There is no big red machine lurking around the corner. Trudeau's clenched fist is not thrusting up from the mouldering grave as we speak.

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle at September 9, 2008 3:16 PM

I called up my local Conservative candidate Monday morning. Left a message telling them I have an MBA, 10 years in telemarketing and fund raising, and offering my help. Still waiting (Tuesday afternoon) for a call back.

Posted by: KevinB at September 9, 2008 3:42 PM is another site that I can't see on my browser because it relies on flash. Haven't the guys who put up this site ever heard of html? I refuse to do constant flash upgrades because doing so requires me to agree to license terms which I find unacceptable.

Normal practice for website design is to have one version for people that have browsers capable of viewing html only and another version for people who have the latest bandwidth wasting bloatware for displaying flashy content. There are a lot of people out there who are browsing the internet with 80486 based systems and are only capable of seeing html only sites.

Posted by: loki at September 9, 2008 4:05 PM

Dropped this over in the Canoe comments...


Harper really should have apologized for having the poor puffin in that scene. More aptly, it should have been a dodo bird symbolic of the Liberal's demise.

But then, all the left wing loonies would have said dodo birds can't fly and missed the point entirely.


Posted by: DVC185 at September 9, 2008 4:17 PM

On the lighter side:

"Guess I should have seen that one coming"

Posted by: ural at September 9, 2008 4:34 PM

The real Poop on Puffin Poop

I haven't heard anyone mention this yet, but this whole mess (pardon the pun) got started about a year ago from an infamous quote from Michael Ignatieff.


Ignatieff champions puffin as symbol of Liberal party
Last Updated: Friday, August 31, 2007 | 9:13 AM ET
The Canadian Press
The beaver is one of Canada's national symbols and now a senior Liberal wants to make the puffin the symbol of the country's self-proclaimed natural governing party.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff says the industrious little seabird — with its black and white plumage, distinctive striped beak and orange feet — is a "noble" creature that exemplifies Liberal values.

"It's a noble bird because it has good family values. They stay together for 30 years," Ignatieff said Thursday outside a Liberal caucus retreat in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital.

"They lay one egg (each year). They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement.… They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell.

"This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be."

Ignatieff was charmed by the birds during what was supposed to be a whale-watching tour for Liberal caucus members Tuesday. The MPs and senators saw no whales but did get a close up view of a colony of puffins nesting on a rocky offshore island.

The Atlantic puffin is the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador. About 95 per cent of the puffins in North America breed around the province's coastlines.


And speaking of great quotes, you got to see Dion state his green shift policy in six words:

. . . cut income (long pause) taxes (pause) shift (pause) to pollution.


(Watch it on CTV from his campaign stop at Napanee Ont. today)

Posted by: foobert at September 9, 2008 5:12 PM

The website is juvenile and the site is getting to be embarrassing. It's one thing to make the base laugh because they're in on the joke (ha ha, see, Iggy IS the puffin, ha), and totally another to try to attract swing/fence sitting voters with crass crap like that. Time to grow up, make the website appeal to more than just the base, and concentrate on winning the election, not just beating up Dion. Unless you guys want Scott Reid to be right, for once.

Posted by: the rat at September 9, 2008 5:25 PM

Occam's Carbuncle 3:16

For me, this isn't about being spooked. This is about expecting the party that I support to behave as though they are grown adults capable of running a country. Thus far, it appears that 22-year-old children who don't happen to be binge-drinking and slapping girls' asses are running the communications show over there.

I reiterate: I expect the incumbent party to behave as though they are the incumbent party. "We're not Stephane Dion" ("and we poop on him...bwahahahaha")does not work as a marketing message when you are the party most recently in control of parliament.

Given their questionable record on some matters ($80M handout to Ford...reek of Liberalism anyone?), they're on a short rope for my vote.

This is not about getting spooked. This is about demanding the representation that we deserve.

Posted by: TJ at September 9, 2008 5:34 PM

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha! HAHAHAahahahahahahahahahahah!
*snicker* *giggle* Teeheeheeheeeheeeheeeheee!


Heh. This is awesome. Let's get real here, hens: y'all ain't conservatives. Or Conservatives. Nunnaya. The jig, she is up.

Enjoy losing, losers, I'll be on board THE BIG BLUE MACHINE BABY ONWARD TO VICTORY!!!!!!!!


(mocking anticonservatives is entirely moral, btw)

Posted by: Legacy Moralist at September 9, 2008 6:27 PM

"gene says... That's it. CPC lost my vote today. The bird was bad enough but..."

yeah, gene... i'm with you, this was way, way beyond all bounds of decency...
"puffins in our streets... with guano"

conservative b@st@rds!!!


Posted by: neo at September 9, 2008 6:48 PM

Legacy Moralist, you come across very clearly as the kind of voter that the Cons were trying to entertain with their poop fiasco. And yes, you've called it...Kate is the biggest non-conservative of them all. Well done, sleuth.

Posted by: TJ at September 9, 2008 7:40 PM

"This is not about getting spooked."

Sorry. Waxing outraged over some puffin poop is the definition of easily spooked.

The website is not exactly Rovian in its strategic ingenuity, but hardly a campaign killer. Swap out the Pampers and move along, now.

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle at September 9, 2008 7:49 PM

Despite a juvenile mistake on a website (of all things), take a deep breath and remember:

Trudeau, Chretien, Martin and now Dion. 200 scams. Collusion. Contempt. Multiculturalism. Taxes on taxes. Special Interests. Etc., etc.

Then give your head a shake and say, "What was I thinkin'?"

Posted by: irwin daisy at September 9, 2008 8:28 PM

I doubt very much that this ad and Harper's subsequent apology weren't part of a plan.

In one fell swoop the image of the Conservatives as the party of Grumpy Old Men, which was statistically false to begin with by the way, is gone. Now, they might be the only conservative party in world history to be associated with the younger generation. The CPC has the best researchers and analysts money can by, the commenters here don't, and I suspect they identified the South Park Conservatives as the juiciest demographic cohort to court. Men under 40, even the Liberal leaning ones, can't be excited about voting for a dork like Dion and this - being funny and irreverent - gives them a reason to vote Conservative.

Too coincidental for it to happen so early in an election, and the CPC's record of discipline and flawless electioneering make it pretty likely to me that it was all a set up. At any rate, is the best bit of political advertising I've seen since HuckChuckFacts. I'll bet you people hated that one too.

Posted by: OMG They Killed Stephane at September 9, 2008 8:49 PM

Yes Puffin Poopgate was inappropriate,but what was hilarious was Mad Dog Dion's faux indignation and his pathetic attempt to pin the blame on Harper and score some pity points.

Posted by: Bocanut at September 9, 2008 9:31 PM

Look, this is stupid.

I mean, Kate made The National with her comments. Clearly that's, um, good.

But, thankfully, people can differentiate between Harper and a foolish website. However, if this happens again, God help the web brain trust.

And Gene, I call B.S. If that makes you lose your vote, then anything the Liberals have done in the last 15 years should make you never want to vote for them again.

Posted by: Trev at September 9, 2008 9:37 PM

The symbolism of the puffin (Liberal Party) dumping all over Dion is, to my mind, fair political comment.

Posted by: Joe at September 9, 2008 9:56 PM

Notice that only Canwest media reporting Liberal candidate Brent Fullard's comparison of Stephen Harper to Adolph Hitler (for which Fullard apologized).

I suppose Liberal gaffes don't matter because the Liberal Party is Canada's Natural Governing Party. They do whats best for Canadians so Liberal gaffes can be overlooked.

Posted by: Bart F. at September 9, 2008 9:58 PM

Oops: Here is a CP article that also mentions Fullard's nazi-talk near the end.

Also, the article, in a backhanded, almost grudging MSM way, is complimentary to Harper on the whole puffin poop thing.

Posted by: Bart F. at September 9, 2008 10:08 PM

The National "what"?

Posted by: Kate at September 9, 2008 10:38 PM

In light of Ignatieff's famous musings about the puffin as a symbol of the Liberal Party, perhaps the poopin' puffin cartoon was meant to convey a message about the knives behind the Liberal throne?

Posted by: Anthony at September 9, 2008 11:06 PM

"An excellent policy announcement ruined by puffin shit." -- Well, I saw this ad and I honestly laughed out loud. It was very funny -- esp. since the Puffin Poop idea originated with the Liberals. (Most don't know this because the MSM did not bother to inform them.) I thought the cartoon was good political jousting. I would not be at all offended if Libs did something similar in that caroon vein. Having said that, Canadians apparently have no sense of humor and the MSM clearly does not. So good that Harper apologized promptly. He must understand that we are a somber and lugubrious electorate.

Posted by: LindaL at September 9, 2008 11:21 PM

Gene -- "This is what they are spending taxpayer election funds on? " I doubt that very much funding went into setting up a Web link.

Posted by: LindaL at September 9, 2008 11:39 PM

David Akin covered this?
Kate has tackled more important issues and been ignored by Akin and the others Pouters of the PPG, and now he covers this?

He's desperate.

Posted by: bluetech at September 9, 2008 11:42 PM

My wife points out that if this were a proper puffin, then as Professor Ignatieff points out, it would be hiding its excrement. She thinks it'd stash it in Dion's jacket pocket.

Posted by: Anthony at September 10, 2008 12:23 AM

the political interweb is the domain of "tech savvy twenty-somethings".

They should do more homework. If they did, they'd find out that there are a s#!t load of senior cirizens, many in their 80s like my father, who browse the internet daily. They may not be tech-savvy, but they sure know how to surf the web.

Stupid bloody stunt like puffin poop aren't helpful to the objectives of the conservative party.

BTW, SDA was featured on CBC Newsworld tonight on this topic. The big time has arrived.

Posted by: John Nicklin at September 10, 2008 12:47 AM

BTW, SDA was featured on CBC Newsworld tonight on this topic. The big time has arrived.

Posted by: John Nicklin at September 10, 2008 12:47 AM

-See, what'd I tell y'all? The blogs matter. What ordinary people think matters. Very, very slowly, the MSM-types are coming to, albeit grudgingly, acknowledge that blogs are a better indicator of public opinion than mere claims made by biased, ideological-agenda-bearing reporter-types.

Citing blogs (especially with so many candid comments) like this one is much better than showing a couple of clips of folks stopped on the street for their reaction to something, such reaction likely tempered with a fearful desire to not appear politically incorrect, often leading to a politically correct comment that might not reflect the true feelings of the person-on-the-street, plus those putting together the news story can always pick the reactions that fit their ideologically biased agenda for the purpose of manipulating public perception, thus essentially goading many to think what the MSM wants them to think.

Clearly, this form of citizen journalism and free-expression participation is an extremely healthy and beneficial, progressive change, particularly vis-a-vis the democratic process. We ought to be grateful to Kate and others like her for having the foresight to pioneer this medium, and for inspiring others, like myself, to get involved with blogs of our own.

All that considered, I'd warn any possible future, so-called "progressive", far-left-wing, wannabe-fascist regime against daring to attempt to somehow constrain the People in this medium. Don't try to regulate citizen journalism, Big-Brother-style, ever!

Posted by: Canadian Sentinel at September 10, 2008 5:37 AM

CBC was thrilled that Kate, and Consevative bloggers could possibly speak against the CPC format.

Have they ever bothered to cover the times when Kate and her co-bloggers reveal stuff that MSM was to lazy to cover?

Have to admit ...I didn't see 'the National last night so I'm only guessing what the theme was..
"Top Conservative blog is upset with Harper Tories".
Please correct me if I'm wrong...

Posted by: bluetech at September 10, 2008 1:32 PM