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Duffy Objection

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On Monday I wrote in my column about the Winnipeg-based Mars Hill Group landing a contract with the federal Conservatives to make personalized videos.

I found the information when I stumbled onto the Mars Hill Group’s website last week doing research for another totally unrelated story.
There in the middle of the page, to my surprise, was the following:

"Mars Hill Group has opened a new office in Ottawa. Oh, and we've landed a gig with Canada's national governing party, too.

The Conservative Party of Canada recently engaged us to deliver their message to supporters nation-wide. Using our unique messaging platform, VideoBridge, we'll help them communicate their message to thousands of Canadians through custom, personalized videos.

The first round of these messages, starring CTV veteran and long-time party supporter, Mike Duffy should be hitting in-boxes early this fall."

It was an interesting tidbit of information to me, and particularly as I’d already planned to mention MP James Bezan’s new You Tube channel in my column it made sense to connect the two.

This morning I got an email from colleague Kady O’Malley, asking me where on the Mars Hill website I’d seen the information. She couldn’t find it. I was surprised because it was right there on the front page when I was there on Friday.

Lo and behold I go and check and it’s gone.

Just to make sure I am not crazy I checked the page’s cache and there it was.

I thought maybe the Conservative Party wasn’t so thrilled to see their next advertising hit promoted by the company – an advertising firm specializing in online work.

But apparently Senator Mike Duffy doesn’t take too kindly to being described as a "long time party supporter."

Duffy, who until he became a Senator was a CTV television personality and political host, was appointed to the Senate by the Conservatives and sits with the Conservatives.

But he likes to say he’s not partisan: An amusing claim, considering some of his speeches and activities of late, but as a Senator there is nothing wrong with him being partisan now. As a CTV host, however, he was supposed to be neutral.

Anyway, the company still has the contract as far as I can tell, but I’m guessing the inaugural video won’t include Duffy being described as a long-time Conservative.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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