Stratcom helping Vision push poll its way to platform

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Thumbnail image for bob penner
The elusive Stratcom boss Bob Penner: his company is conducting a Vision push poll

Want to know what Vision's platform promises will be this fall? You were betting it would be more green than Kermit the Frog dancing in a cabbage leaf beside Julie Andrews during the opening of The Sound of Music. But you'd only be partly correct. The fact is Vision is still scrambling to find those populist issues that will give them a strong showing at the polls in November.

Enter Bob Penner and Strategic Communications. "Stratcom" as it is known was created with the help of Joel Solomon's Renewal Partners company, which itself was begun with the help of a woman with 'significant resources' living on Cortes Island, Ms. Carol Newell. According to records on the City of Vancouver website, Stratcom have donated $105,321 since 2007 to Vision Vancouver, which put them #3 overall in B.C. when it came to election donations (2nd to Solomon's Renewal).

Earlier this year Stratcom raised some eyebrows by conducting a another push poll in the West End likely aimed at squashing opposition to the STIR project, and asked those they called whether they were LGBTQ or straight. What's a "push poll," you ask? It's a discredited practice of both polling for public opinion, but also trying to persuade the person on the other end of the phone line through a series of leading questions and remarks. has received a copy of a transcription of just one of these recently conducted Stratcom phone polls. The wording of the questions is all approximate and some of the opening questions were missed. The bullets at the end are trial balloon platform ideas that Vision clearly wants to campaign on beginning next month.

Perhaps the most amusing fact of the questions is how they bedevil Suzanne Anton (SA) while praising Gregor Robertson (GR) & Vision Vancouver (VV). The gist of this is "Suzanne is a bad and horrible person, while Gregor walks on water – will you vote for Suzanne or Gregor?"

In terms of new ideas, looks like they're stuck on tearing down the viaducts, hiring more cops (COPE supporters might take issue with that one) and raising taxes two per cent annually. If you ask me Vision appear to be scraping the bottom of the ideas barrel. Here now is Stratcom's push poll...

  1. What is your main issue regarding the future of Vancouver?
  2. What is your primary mode of transportation?
  3. Vision Vancouver and COPE have a cooperative agreement to not run candidates in opposition to each other. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  4. SA reversed decisions on 4 things (listed them) are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  5. NPA has no qualified candidates – Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  6. GR and VV (question about support of bike lanes and chickens & wheat fields – not sure of the wording). Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  7. Olympic Village – GR made the problems "worse." Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  8. GR vowed to end street homelessness by 2015 are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  9. GR helped host the Olympics. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  10. SA too negative – will say anything to discredit GR & VV. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  11. GR / VV are too pro-development. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  12. VV has reduced crime in Vancouver. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  13. GR / VV have done a good job managing the city – garbage collection, finances etc. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  14. GR VV brought a modern approach to City Hall. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  15. With GR and VV there is less conflict during city hall meetings. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  16. With SA we will go back to pro-business. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  17. NPA is too pro-business. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  18. GR helped create 1200 temp. shelters / perm housing. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  19. NPA represents old Vancouver. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  20. GR is sometimes arrogant and doesn’t listen to people. Are you more likely to vote GR or SA?
  21. GR is somewhat responsible for the Stanley cup riots. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  22. GR has made significant accomplishments. Would you be more likely to vote him in to finish. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  23. Vancouver Schools are well run. Do you agree or disagree. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  24. GR stood down the mega gambling casinos and the provincial government. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  25. GR delivered on his promises. Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?
  26. GR / VV taxes could raise 2% Are you more likely to vote for GR or SA?

Ideas (please rate or comment on whether you like them):

  • Elder outreach program – linking services, housing, etc., and allowing elders to age in Vancouver
  • New public square in South Vancouver along the river
  • 2% increase in taxes
  • Get more police on the street
  • Tear down Georgia Viaduct and create more housing, even though it will impact traffic into the city
  • Have a vetting committee and Increase grants to artists
  • Not allow expansion of gambling in Vancouver
  • Creation of a Canada Business Centre to assist immigrants into starting businesses in Vancouver
  • Start a slum landlord registry and post on the city website
  • VV ensures no school closures in Vancouver
  • Free family days in civic community centres (rinks, pools etc.)
  • Create a new public square for major public events
Qualifiers (asked by the pollster):
  • Do you own a home or do you rent?
  • What is your postal code?
  • Do you belong to a union?

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us on Facebook at


If you haven't noticed, there are certain commentors surfing various blog sites asking the same questions....(cough...boohoo, cough, steven forth....)

Uhh, what max? Can you tell me what sites I've been asking these questions at?

"Want to know what Vision's platform promises will be this fall?"

I already know because they are in power already. What I'd love to hear is some positive platform discussion from the NPA--how about that?

Actually max now that I re-read your comment---you're implying I'm working for Vision trolling other websites asking these questions on their behalf?

If so, can you provide an ounce of evidence to support that? If not, what's your implication here?

you know boohoo, you take the bait far to quickly and protest far too much to be totally innocent.

The platform will be more bike lanes and more stupid decisions if you Vote Vision, the Casino must be back on the table!

Boo, thanks for your interest in hearing from the NPA and our forthcoming campaign platform. It's a plan for *all* of Vancouver and not just for special interests.

However, I'll have to ask you to be patient as we're still visiting neighbourhoods around the city hearing from community representatives. We announced this process a few weeks ago.

As for Stratcom's "poll" – well, given that they've ignored the public during their term, I'm not the least bit surprised that a persuasion poll is their method for "listening" to the public.

Perhaps I don't like being accused of something without a shred of evidence? I don't call you or max or george or any other people here npa spies or npaistas or whatever other stupid things I've been called. If I do, I would hope you'd ask me for evidence.

evidence is in the defensive posts, the blind loyalty and the all or nothing agenda.

Boohoo, you know the saying... if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck

No offence Julia but that's one of the dumber things you've said. Max is accusing me of something (I think, we'll wait to confirm). The onus is on the accuser to prove it. And just because you feel like it's true, doesn't make it true.

Not to mention the fact that, AGAIN, I repeat, AGAIN, I've called for the dissolution of the party system as it stands today. So, me trolling message boards on behalf of a party I've repeteadly said we should abolish would be kinda a waste of my time now wouldn't it.

boohoo aka Gregor's Ghost
I quite agree with Max, I too noticed the occurrence

Has anyone considered the possibility that boohoo is actually an NPA plant?

LOL Bill, you made my evening!

Not sure why you are pulling me into this conversation... yes, you have called me many names..

For the record boohoo I remember when your name was outed by AGT a long time ago, remember when your conversations on his blog were confrontational...and he called you out on your stuff..

Please don't pull me into this conversation ...I'm in a bad mood today...


I've never called you a npaista or npa spy etc. That's all I'm saying about you, hardly dragging you into anything. I'm still waiting to hear from max to confirm what he meant though, maybe I'm wrong.

As for AGT, this is not the first time you've referred to this supposed 'outing'. Can you clarify? I posted once, maybe twice before he just stopped approving anything I wrote. Hardly having a conversation I would say. I have no time for a petty coward like that and I haven't visited his site in I would guess well over a year.

Say what you want about this site, they do let people speak. And I do look forward to several posts from the authors that discuss issues rather than political hackery. How refreshing will that be!

Your posts have quite often sounded derogatory and confrontational.
A poster makes a comment and you jump down their throat.

Respectful dialogue it isn't.

Any by the way, i don't belong to a political party and never have.

Too many games.

Nothing to clarify're smart, you know exactly what I'm referring to...

You don't comment at AGT's any more because he calls people out on their nonsense and won't allow bullying of other readers/posters.

He gives a verbal lashing when you deserve it... and if you are really bad, he names you...yep that was about a year ago..yep you were being silly, and he named you, I remember it well.

But I'd be very willing to bet, you read AGT's posts daily...;-)

I've stopped posting on this site because of several people, you are one of those people boohoo.

Sadly, because CC doesn't screen their comments it has led to way too much bullying..

Now the biggest question is "what is in this post from CC today that you are trying to deflect"... must go read this post again.

"yep you were being silly, and he named you, I remember it well"

Who am I then? If you know, out me. Otherwise, stop pretending.

"you're smart, you know exactly what I'm referring to..."

No, I don't. I've said I don't many times here. You keep inferring there's some secret thing I should know about. I don't. Will you tell me?

"I've stopped posting on this site because of several people, you are one of those people boohoo."

Sorry to hear that. You play the victim too easily. I could only imagine what you'd feel like if you took the abuse I do!

"But I'd be very willing to bet, you read AGT's posts daily...;-)"

Nope, like I said--no time for cowards.

"Now the biggest question is "what is in this post from CC today that you are trying to deflect"... must go read this post again."

Try the first post where Max accuses me of something--yet to be confirmed.

You wanna talk about this post? Great let's do it. I think it's a stupid survey/poll conducted to make the idiots in City Hall feel good about themselves.

I also think CC is taking some cheap shots acknowledging the wording is 'approximate' and in fact missing in some places and then laughing at the language used. I don't doubt it's friendly to vision, but that's a pretty soft connection.

But what I really want, as I said, is to hear what will be different. I realize we're stuck with these inane parties, so let's make the best of it. The 'let's bash vision' horse is good and beat--so come on NPA (and whoever else), let's hear some forward thinking ideas with positive policies, agendas, anything. But as soon as you bash someone else to show how you're better--You've proven you're not.

Just wondering how this one works....????

â—¦VV ensures no school closures in Vancouver

The Thought of The Night

"Even The Mayor of London blames the Riots started in Tottenham on... Gregor Robertson. He says "I knew it since that winter Olympic crap visit that he's no good, also heard that his granddaddy moved his Jorg&Olef racket in the city.""

Stratcom is only another link in the chain of money laundering schemes put together by this Charitable consortium.
Their MO has become so predictable that I can control my cholesterol on them.
If I see the following "brand names" : Renewal, Happy Planet, Stratcom, FD Element, Tides, SPUD, Whole Foods... I stay away. I automatically discard their products into the garbage bin... LDL aka Bad Cholesterol.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Anyone care to comment on the subject of the post rather than attack each other? Just askin'.

You forgot this little tidbit Glissy!

Like them, Solomon uses his skills and connections as a member of the inherited-wealth club to mentor social activists on how to be more businesslike and to entice people of high net worth into investing in “for-benefit” businesses. The publicity material for Renewal2 emphasizes two messages to potential investors. Their investment will help save the planet (and, by implication, their souls). And it’s a good way to make money. Lots of it. “In 2007, Renewal Partners sold a portion of its holding at a price over 10x its average cost,” says the capsule description of its investment in Horizon Distributors, the largest distributor of organic foods in Western Canada. The cleaning-products brand Seventh Generation “now has annual sales of over $100 million.”

Well if they control the School Board they could direct that no schools will be closed - any cuts would have to come in other areas within the budget or they could take the risk of being fired by the Provincial Government for failing to present a balanced budget.

Nothing? Going to hide behind your vague insult? Ok. But I'm the rude one, right?

Schools are provincial, they can talk all they want, the province makes the final call.

this school board question - is it the same as debating tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet? A lot of noise but no jurisdiction?

'â—¦Create a new public square for major public events'


So this is how they are now referring to the RIOT?

Max,would that be Tiananman Square west?

Okya, honestly, I had to laugh at this entire poll. I would love to take the time to provide them with more than a yes or no answer - might be an eye opener for them.

Much of it is regurgitated from previous unkept promises and or self made VV/Robertson messes.

This is very much Amercian - an attempt to dumb down the Vancouver voter.

I saw them use these tactics last election - cohercing the particpants at the shelter where I volunteered. (teachers were on board)

Yes its big business and in many respects, they walk and talk just like any other. The quote below is from the Wholefoods annual report. Quite the anti-union statement. I guess if you are not a public sector union like CUPE, extracting union dues from your members and donating to Vision NDP etc. you're a distraction rather than a partner.

"Labor Relations
All of our team members are non-union, and we consider our team member relations to be very good. From time to time,
however, unions have attempted to organize all or part of our team member base at certain stores and non-retail facilities.
Responding to such organization attempts is distracting to management and team members and may have a negative financial
impact on a store, facility or the Company as a whole."

Once you start digging, you see how embedded TIDES Canada has become, not only just in Vancouver, but BC.

And it is scary. From July 19, 2011

The Thought of The Day

"'Holy Crap' on shelves now. In a Whole 'And Lots Of It!' Foods store near you!"

A beautified SuperStore, a a better variety Walmart, a 'Save-On-Foods' without the savings, a waaay more pricing 'Hollyhock' inflicted life-style.

Since it was sold/ bought to/ by WFM... the former Capers store 'the little snitch of 'natural & organic' foods is LOL... in Vancouver!

They created for years this aura of #ProductLabelingCredibility and #GoodService, and constantly tried the tryouts Price VS BrainGreenWashing.

How much could the consumer swallow? Apparently a lot if their (WFM/Capers) unsubstantiated claims WHAT-SO-EVER are labelled on all their packaging: organic, green, free trade, ethical, free run, natural...The Age of The Gullible Consumer is upon us!

Meanwhile, the Green peddlers are laughing all the way to the bank.
You may want to add this piece of EXTRA insight to your reading...

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Maybe that is becuase they are good questions. Would like to ask them of the NPA crew too. Or do you think the NPA does not use polling?

Some day I hope you will get busy and share what you believe and what you would do. Cute, sardonic, sarcastic is kinda fun, but its getting old.


They ask better built and more informative questions on: 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader'...

Which doesn't say much for whomever built and signed off on this push poll.

The article is helpful because it shows the negative issues they will spin against "SA". Also, it informs the reader as to the bias both in terms of the polling firm and the nature of the questions. Thus, when "GR" favourable results or "SA" unfavourable results are leaked to pro VV journalists (i.e. Globe and Mail) the reader can critically assess the validity of the results and any conclusions/opinions expressed by the pro VV journalists bloggers etc.
Some helpful suggestions;
Q1 Are you a f***ing Vision hack?
Q2 Do you like chicken?
Q3 Do you favour Happy Planet juice to mix with alcoholic beverage of choice for consumption during ill planned, under policed “GA” sponsored collective gatherings post hockey games?
Q4 If yes to question 3, do you think riot projectiles should be sustainable and certified green friendly?

I am available for more helpful suggestions.

The Thought of The Day

"I'll do the best I can, with the resources at hand, for all the people of Vancouver. Period. - Glissando Remmy"

So, Steven see? I said it before, I am saying it again. Can you say the same thing about yourself and your Vision pals? Think not.
In for the taking more than for the giving.

The 'Times and Adventures of Robbin Da' Hood' remember?

Just as an errata, hush-hush on the QT, just between me and you, I have more years serving this city than Ballem, Aufochs, Toderian and Robertson combined in their Pas de Quattro.
In between themselves if you add the dog, the Balckberries and other travel allowances and perks, they lift in excess of $1 million yearly for pretend work and civic ballet... visible work.
Vision work? Yeah, that is all over, that one... you can see.

So if you want real advice and solutions from me you'll have to Jerry Maguire me:

BTW, I almost forgot to say that Vision Vancouver Council and Mayor got Shannon Mews advice from 200+ people a couple of weeks ago, and we all know how that turned out, so please spare me the drama. OK pumpkin?

Cute, sardonic, sarcastic comments...kinda fun... that's FREE!

We live in Vancouver but... for Steven's benefit... it keeps me Relaxed.

Thanks for the link Mike. Hopefully the consultation process will be broad. I haven't met anyone who was consulted yet but I have been away a lot. Look forward to seeing the platform. Will NPA have one unitary platform or will there be differences between the candidates? And will you share your polling questions?

Steven you are such a woos!
Try harder. But having Vision genes in you... difficult.

Glad you're relaxed, but on a day like today it's hard not to be. I still have no idea what you are talking about though. Too much of a woos I guess.

Will Vision voluntarily disclose its survey questions or are we left to guess as to the bias? Will Vision share sampling information and fully disclose the results and the rationale for all of the above or will they be as secretive with that information as they are with how they spend taxpayer dollars on "green initiatives", HEAT sheleter costs, costs of the pre-Stanley Cup riot party and police resources spent to "bounce" the participants in "Robertson's Riot".

This just up: Adriane Carr will be running for city council along with 2 other Green Party members.


BC NewsWire Green candidate Adriane Carr will run for Vancouver city council via @georgiastraight

Interesting idea, complete transparency on polling data by political parties. I would like to see this for sure. I would even like to see them publish the raw data in a machine readable format. It would have to apply to everyone of course. It would be interesting to require that everyone running for political office and all political parties have open e-mail accounts for all political business of any tyoe. I hope the editors of CC will respond to that idea. Should this apply to provincial and federal politics as well? Is it enforecable?

Wholly impractical and contrary to the Vision shroud of secrecy (relax, the shroud is made of 100% recyclable material). Vision is funded by trade unions and the Solomon-Newell private corporation. There is no transparency from either as unions do not file annual reports open to public scrutiny nor does the Tides conglomerate. Vision promised transparency and has failed to deliver. Simple example, the police resources deployed during "Robertson's Riot". First Robertson claims he did not know despite the fact that he is chair of the VPD. Next, he claims Chui told him, but he will not share. This is a simple fact that could be easily disclosed and should be disclosed to the taxpayers who pay the bills and suffered the impact of Vision incompetence. As an example of Vision arrogance on the matter, see Meggs' posting (his website) on the issue where he flippantly responds to disclosure requests for, as he puts it, the "umpteenth time".

People seem to forget that Robertson and Vision cut the police and firefighter's budgets and put a freeze on new police hires.

Since the riot, he is now all 'chumming' with the police (union) and is talking about more funding and more police.

Except they gave the cops and especially the firefighters huge raises right after they were elected. This "austerity" thing is all about looking fiscally responsible during the term.

Expect another good bump up after the election!

And, curiously, Mayor Greg via Ballem, suddenly found $800,000 to patch up some firehalls after the Pandora fiasco, which had little to do with the VFD, but a lot to do with VV's mishandling of the issue.

Check out!

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