The other day I received a notification that I was being followed on Twitter by the @thinkerwinnipeg account.
The account describes itself as "Placing Winnipeg in the path to be 1st Human right city in western Canada. Feb 2013 Visit thinkersconference.com for more info"
Curious, I decided to go check out the website. It looked like an interesting lineup of speakers and an interesting way to tackle policy discussion in the province.
With Axworthy chairing the event and the description of the website and twitter account, it was obvious that the event had a small l liberal bent to it. Then as I looked further andsaw Jim Carr as speaker the first night with Dr Gerrard as introducing him, I wondered just how non-partisan this event was.
As I continued browsing the website something looked familiar on the contact us page. The address that came up was 635 broadway avenue. Having worked at the Legislature and lived on Langside south of Broadway, that addressed looked very familiar. A bit of googling confirmed my suspicions that this was indeed the address of Liberal Party HQ. Then I saw this last little bit at the bottom of the website :
In a small font in light grey on a dark grey background, the evidence that this is indeed a Manitoba Liberal Party effort. "Approved by the CFO of the MLP"
This confused me greatly and raised way more questions than answers.
If they were able to organize such a conference, why would they not want to take credit for it?
Why spend the scarce resources of the party on a public initiative but not do any branding on it? The party needs all the publicity it can get.
Why is there no mention of the party on the main page of the website or any main part of the website? No party colours, not even the mention of the word liberal in the vision statement. The party is not even mentioned in the related links page!
Now some of these questions aren't that important to the greater public. However, what concerns me the most is that the only real mention of the party on the website is under the donation's page where it is stated:
I wouldn't accuse the Liberals of deliberately misleading people into donating to the party or attending a party event, but again this raises more than a few questions.
Is it just they figure they have a better chance of attracting people if they do not advertise it is them doing it?
I believe they would do more damage to themselves if people unwittingly ended up participating in and donating to a party without their full knowledge.
If so I think the Liberal Party should look itself in the mirror and seriously consider if it is relevant in the province as a political party.
Considering how it is going around with this conference, I think there is a fairly obvious answer to that question.