Is Dan Miles possibly referring to BCE's faux income trust conversion announcement? To create the "perfect storm" argument. You know, the twin tower argument of BCE and Telus converting?"
Or as Dan Miles's wordsmithed for Flaherty on November 2, 2006:
“You have to either leave it alone or fix it,” Mr. Flaherty shrugged Wednesday. “We were going to see the two largest telecommunications companies in the country not pay corporate taxes. That's a clear and present danger to fairness in the Canadian tax system. I thought we had to act.”
Too bad it was Flaherty's own very actions of Halloween 2006 that served to trigger that very outcome, now that BCE is been taken private in a tax eradicating leveraged buyout.
Dan Miles is Jim Flaherty’s Director of Communications
As reported by the CBC below, the words of Dan Miles:
“ Well once you have the policy, then you have identified the components of the policy you that you think are front and centre and are important to people and what are going to resonate with people. Then you determine what it is that is going to help portray that; what is going to help paint the picture in the minds of Canadians. What will help you paint that picture?
Then you develop an event. And this depends on the gravity and importance of the policy, as there are a number of factors that determine what your event is going to be. And then if it is deemed that is to be of great significant then obviously you are going to develop and event and what is the picture of that event going to be? This is crucially important because at the end of the day it is going to be the picture that is painted that will be in the minds of Canadians.”
February 2, 2007
Spin Cycles: Calling Dr. Spin.
Interview with Dan Miles
Director of Communications to the Minister of Finance
IB: Was there something about your experience as a TV journalist that you thought you could bring to the table when you switched over to political communications?
DM: No question about it! As a journalist you learn the system, you learn how to grab a sound bite, you look for things, you recognize what a story is! What makes a story, and what is important, the important elements of a story. And quite frankly those are elements that are quite valuable when you get to the government's side of the table. I think that the biggest thing that the communications on the government's side can bring to the table and what they try to focus on is anticipation. You have to be able to anticipate the question, and then you have to be able to anticipate the issue and then you can go from there to try to craft a message to try and get you message out… "put out the fire" so to speak.
IB: Take me through the process of what happens when you are about to roll out a major policy announcement.
DM: Clearly I mean, to me the foundation has got to be the policy and it's got to be a good policy. I've had in the time that I've worked in government I've seen the challenges posed by trying to communicate a bad policy. And it is very difficult if you have a good sound policy to work with then you know, you are ahead of the game so to speak. But that is only the beginning! You could have the greatest policy in the world but if it is not communicated properly, or not communicated at all people are not going to know about it, and it is not going to serve the purpose and the people of the province or the country and it certainly its not going to serve the government or the party well! You start with a good solid policy and then you dissect that policy and see what are important to people because that is was really resonates. What is important to folks in Ontario, or out in rural Ontario whatever your policy might be. And then you cease on those, and its not unlike a journalist, you ask yourself; what is the lede* . You know, as a journalist you never bury the lede. That is a cardinal rule. You take the opposite side and you want to lede with the lede. Basically what you are trying to do for journalist is to make it easy, and make your lede their lede. That is a crucial part of what we do.
[*Editor's note: "lede" is common shorthand for the "lead" as in "the lead or first story in the newscast." It is spelled that way to avoid confusion with the metallic element called lead.]
IB: It's interesting that you should say that because in the press release you issued at the time of the income trust announcement your lead was about tax fairness. I can see why you would want that to be the headline because it is a better headline for you, but it struck me that you had buried the lede there.
DM: Well I mean, income trust, there was a lot of focus on it as simple stand-alone issue. But I mean from our prospective this is about tax fairness! The whole idea, the whole reason minister Flaherty did what he did was to level the playing field between trusts and corporations and also to provide tax relief to some of the senior folks who have invested in income trusts and would have been affected by this announcement. To us, the whole idea, the headline of this is tax fairness that is the motive behind the policy here
IB: Well that's what you wanted the headline to be. You wanted to steer reporters in that direction.
DM: Well clearly, if I may from my perspective is to be good at what we do, we have to make it as easy as possible for journalist. They shouldn't have to be reaming through reading pages and pages and paragraphs of material to try and find what we are trying to tell them. What it is that you are trying to communicate to the people of Canada. If I can go back to tax fairness for a second, it was about the package! Ultimately, a lot of people focus on one component of the package. But tax fairness is about the package of items including income trust, including leveling the playing field, including corporate tax cuts, including pension splitting for seniors, and including a reduction in the age credit for seniors. So it was more than just one thing but obviously reporters and business reporters have focused on just one element of the package.
IB: What about preparing the Minister for the questions he is going to be asked and other preparations for the rollout?
DM: Well once you have the policy, then you have identified the components of the policy you that you think are front and centre and are important to people and what are going to resonate with people. Then you determine what it is that is going to help portray that; what is going to help paint the picture in the minds of Canadians. What will help you paint that picture? Then you develop an event. And this depends on the gravity and importance of the policy, as there are a number of factors that determine what your event is going to be. And then if it is deemed that is to be of great significant then obviously you are going to develop and event and what is the picture of that event going to be? This is crucially important because at the end of the day it is going to be the picture that is painted that will be in the minds of Canadians.
IB: And so you help the Minister craft the sound bites?
DM: Yea, there is no question! The minister and all the ministers I've worked with they were all very effective at it and they recognized what a sound bite was and quite frankly it comes back to from my perspective, the job of the journalist that much easier. That is my job, to make your job easier. And if I can make your job easier then you can look at our policy look at our event, look at what we do a little more favorably.
IB: People who do what you do are commonly called spin-doctors. How do you react when people call you that?
DM: I laugh, spin-doctor? No I don't consider myself a spin-doctor really you know the fact is that we are about communicating government policy. My job is to insure that Canadians understand and that they get the benefit what we are doing. I am a member of the government but at the end of the day it is about articulating. If we cannot got Canadians to A) learn about the policy and know about the policy then how at the end of the day are they going to measure our success as a government so we have to try to effectively communicate a policy to people so that at the end of our mandate they know that we have done something.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 4:37 PM