David Herle has plenty of reasons to fear Doug Ford. Millions, in fact.
Herle currently serves as Kathleen Wynne’s campaign co-chair and is a prominent Liberal strategist and advisor who’s been long and intimately involved with provincial and federal Liberal election campaigns.
He and his firm also earned $3.4 million from his Ontario Liberal friends over the past several years, a nice bonus associated with his other job – consultant and owner of The Gandalf Group, a national public opinion research and communications firm.
However, Herle did a poor job of communicating this week, after suggesting people think Ford is “a bit of a dick” during a TV panel discussion.
Even Wynne, whose own smears directed at Ford have ranged from “bully” to Donald Trump to accusing him of trafficking in “smears and lies,” regretted that Herle’s remarks were not an “appropriate choice of words,” though clearly did not distance herself from the substance of his sentiment.
Nor did Herle, in subsequently offering an apology “without qualification,” seem to do so when he qualified his apology with justification suggesting Ford “has a long history of using derogatory and insulting terms to refer to a wide range of people with whom he disagrees.”
So Herle clearly seems to take exception both with Ford’s conservative perspective and the Ontario PC leader’s sometimes blunt pronouncements.
He doesn’t like him and fair enough.
But Herle isn’t without skin in this game. He’s done remarkably well by the Liberals over the past several years.
In 2016/17, Herle and his firm earned $1.3 million from four government offices – Cabinet, Finance, the Treasury board and Office of the Assembly, according to Public Accounts records.
In 2015/16, he and his firm earned $833,203 combined from Finance, Treasury and the Office of the Assembly.
In 2014/15, he and his firm earned $323,447 from the Assembly Office, $779,082 from the same office in 2013/14, $91,983 from the Energy ministry in 2011/12 and $166,936 from Energy in 2010/11.
All told, a tidy $3.4 million in billings from Herle’s Gandalf Group to Ontario taxpayers.
On that score alone, there’s nothing particularly wrong with a consultant plying his trade among friends or foes. It’s what consultants do.
The Ontario PCs and NDP made a fuss over the fact Herle and other party insiders appear to have been well “rewarded” for the work they’ve done for the provincial Liberal party.
Though the government counters research and polling contracts are procured through a fair, transparent and competitive process and winners are chosen by non-partisan public servants.
Meanwhile, Herle’s also earning some $70,000 per month directly from the Liberals, according to Liberal strategist and lovable political junk-yard-dog Warren Kinsella.
Again, no biggie. Political parties pay for advice.
But as the Liberal campaign chair, his naked venom toward Ford is illustrative. It helps explain the fear and smear campaign Wynne and the Liberals are waging against Ford.
That Ford is heartless, ruthless, a Donald Trump, a “dick.”
For political junkies, the current government’s strategy is a fascinating and polar contrast to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “Sunny Ways” Liberal campaign.
It’s a strategy rooted in desperate spending and name-calling to deflect attention away from their own scandalous record.
And with $150 billion in annual government spending at stake, lots of Liberals have plenty of reasons to cling to power.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies