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STATEMENT FROM FRANK GRAVES – April 23, 2010

[Ottawa – April 23, 2010] – In the course of an interview with the Globe and Mail columnist, Lawrence Martin, this week, I made some suggestions for a strategic course that presented itself to the federal Liberal Party.

My intention was to foment debate. However, I used incendiary language that had not been carefully enough considered. I recognize now that my stark language was understandably offensive to some Canadians.

In that light, I wish to retract my remarks and unreservedly apologize for making them.

Unfortunately, my comments have led to some misunderstanding about me and EKOS Research Associates, of which I am founder and president.

First of all, let me make it clear that I have never been a member of any political party. EKOS Research has never conducted polling or other public opinion research for any political party, nor has it ever been retained to give advice of any kind.

Journalists frequently ask pollsters what advice they might offer to a party or politician. This journalistic device does not imply that the pollster is in fact a political “adviser”. In the course of the interview with Lawrence Martin I offered the Liberals some unsolicited strategic “advice”.  To the extent that readers may have taken the inference I had previously proffered this advice to the Liberal Party of Canada, it was a mistaken inference.

As to the specific issues raised in relationship to EKOS’ work for media organizations:

  • Since we do not do any work for any political party, either paid or pro bono, there is no question of any sharing of resources whatsoever;
  • The data collected in our polls for media clients, as for any client, are held in strict confidence. The political parties get the information at exactly the same moment that the public does: when the media organization chooses to release the numbers.

EKOS takes great pride in the history of superior accuracy of its polling, demonstrated in election after election. We consider it an honour to work with some of the most respected names in Canadian journalism, including the CBC, particularly given its rigorous methodological oversight and high journalistic standards.

Frank Graves,
President

11 comments to STATEMENT FROM FRANK GRAVES – April 23, 2010

  • Andrew Stec

    Dear Mr Graves,

    I was born in Toronto and now live in Calgary, AB and I found your comments about Western Canadians to be highly offensive and disgusting. The idea that you would advise a politician to ‘write off’ an entire part of the country and smear them with calls of intolerance makes me sick to my stomach.

    I have found Westerners to be amongst the friendliest most tolerant people that I have ever met. You couldn’t ask for better neighbours and friends.

    I should also mention that my family regularly answers EKOS polls and questions when we get calls. However, after your stupid comments I will be treating your callers with as much respect as you’ve shown to us.

    Also, your statement above is probably one of the worst apologies I have ever heard.

  • Art Yung

    This is not the first time you have shown your true political stripes. Some time ago on Power and Politics, you were on a panel and you actively advocated that the Liberal party should seek an election this spring. Obviously this woiuld have been a disaster for them. As a pollster, you should be totally neutral and should never be on a panel with people from the various political parties…..you should only be interviewed on your own and ONLY dealing with the results of your polls. I for one have a big credibility gap with you and your firm and often treat your results with a grain of salt! Any Poll Company needs to be TOTALLY unbiased!

  • John Hill

    Good on ya, Mr. Graves.

    First of all, I think you are and have always been an honest pollster (knowing full well, that no one is fully objective in polling, journalism or anything else for that matter), and I eagerly await Ekos results each week, for good or bad.

    Second, to foment debate right now is to be commended. This country is very polarized right now, and it’s time to bring it out on the table and get people and parties to admit that and all their biases.

    Third, unlike certain politicians right now, I admire your courage in fully and unequivocally apologizing for any mistakes you may have made.

    Thankyou and keep up the good work!

    Sincerely
    John

  • LW

    Well you did stir up and forment debate, most certainly, but it has now become against you specifically, and your firm now. And the fomentation smells bad – fermentation would be a better term.

    You successfully insulted almost everyone in Canada and your apology does not get you out of this. The public is now very aware of your views and, as President of EKOS, your objectivity is now duly and fully compromised and open to question. We all know now what you really think of Canadians outside of the 613 and 905 areas.

    As a woman with two Master’s degrees and seven stats courses, I suspect that you have let your personal and, non-cosmopolitan views, cloud your readings of the stats that your firm has collected. In fact, you are now stereotyping those whom you have polled! This is an egregious error for a sociologist! And beyond that, you have taken it to a new insulting level by accusing the “old men of Alberta” of thoughts you do not agree with (and thoughts you attribute to them with no facts) and inviting them to move out of Canada. What a disgrace!

    Well, I have news for you, bud, this western chick can not be stereotyped and pigeon-holed by your erroneous polls. If you think that it is xenophobic to think that we need a huge review of the Imm and Ref Act, then, you have not been out of Ottawa or talking to anyone for years. I am an atheist and pro-choice, but I am sensitive enough to know that lots and lots of Canadians across this land HATE the idea of sponsoring abortion clinics in the 3rd world, as there is so much other work to be done. Iggy is wrong and so are you! This is international sensitivity not parochialism.

    I am pleased that you are advising the Liberal party, formally or informally, however; I hope they do take up your advice to invoke a culture war. This will ensure that your views NEVER become national policy any time soon, and that your favourite Liberal will never be Prime Minister of Canada.

    I also hope that there is a serious review of CBC’s policies on using your firm for polling in future, as your analyses are revealed to be biased.

    Goodbye Mr. Graves

  • William Cowie

    Hello Mr. Graves

    Alas, I am afraid you fell into the great Conservative trap in a way which you an many others are unprepared. I personally do not think you need to apologize because you were speaking about tactics used by one side perhaps being of value to another side. But as is their style when Conservative spokespersons and this breed of Conservatives is challenged, questioned, or exposed (been revealed) they do one of three things. They attack the individual as bias or not credible (through deconstruction), and if not they attack the process as bias or finally they attack both. For you they were doing the third, attacking the process and thereby attacking you.

    We all need to understand that this breed of Conservatives have an ideological and religious based view of the world (pre-determined) that does not beleive in social science. Anyone who believes in social science for them is by definition a liberal. A liberal person after all does not view the world through pre-determined and religious notions.

    Nobody is saying this to Canadians. The Conservatives continue to brow beat anyone who does not conform to their view…and they take it and apologize – when they need not.

    Finally, there is no reasoning with these people, it is not about reason. Do not try. Tell Canadians what they are and what they are about but do it through social science. Not many contracts from this government to ensue I appreciate.

    BTW – to make my agenda clear, I found your suggestions to the Liberal Party to have some merit, as I am an ED President with responsibilities for policy.

  • Frank Graves has reflected by his comments, every time he has been on power play, that I have seen. That he is a liberal supporter.I can not see how he can indicate otherwise.

  • G Nam

    Mr. Graves is not a liberal. What is wrong with you people? He has donated over $11,000 to the liberal party, but he has not yet paid for the $20 membership. So he is not a liberal and you cannot accuse him for having a bias. Oh, and did I mention the fact that he has donated to a conservative party candidate $500? I believe you can see clearly now that he is politically impartial.

  • Eric Kendall

    Hey Frank,

    First, full disclosure: I am a westerner and I vote Conservative. I used to live slap bang downtown Montréal and yes, je parle francais comme il faut and I have always loved sipping an unpretentious Chablis with both my gay and my straight and my bi friends. In fact, some of them believe in that baby-in-a-manger fable and even think there’s someone up there keeping an eye on them. Can you imagine? I’m sure they vote Liberal too. Sorry to shock you but we were all overjoyed with Obama’s win, yet in Canada some of us vote Conservative. We see a far less corrupt government in the Stephen Harper Conservatives than we have in the past and we also think that the economy and Canada’s foreign policy has been well managed by them. Believe me, there are some wackos in the Liberal Party, in the shadow cabinet, too but that’s too big a story to elaborate on here.

    We live cosmopolitain lives with dinner party banter frequently interspersed with three or more languages as we discuss recent tomes and our travels and often our disappointment as to how that interesting thinker, Ignatieff, has become almost completely neutered and politicized since he tumbled into the Liberal Party morass.

    Methinks it is Michael who has transmogrified from an internationalist and has now become sort of Toronto-Beaches-like parochial.

    By the way, many thanks for being so blatant and candid and try to not O.D. on that provincial Kool Aid.

    Looking forward to the next poll as always,
    Eric

  • GJ in Calgary

    Mr. Graves,
    It is refreshing to hear such prejudiced, biased and ignorant remarks from a person from a population group that may be representative of Canada’s heartland. I was born and raised in southern Ontario and have lived in Calgary for the past 32 years. In my experience, the people living in Calgary are extremely cosmopolitan and open to wide ranging ideas. This is probably because most of us have come from someplace else and share our wide ranging cultural experiences. It says a lot about you and your liberal associates that you would suggest a rerun of the old Trudeau strategy of regional isolation and animosity as a strategy to return to power. Having lived through one version of that (NEP era of the early 1980s) I can offer that this is not a healthy way forward for the country. I hope that you are able to gain a mature perspective at some point in the future and look beyond the simplistic goal of wielding power and instead look toward the potential of a diverse yet united country.

  • Betty in Ottawa

    I fail to understand what all the fuss is about. We still have free speech in Canada.

    Since elected, the Tories have been throwing dung at all and sundry who cross swords with them. If you throw it you had better be prepared for it to boomerang.

    Ekos is an excellent pollster and that’s what counts.

    I am not a member of any federal political party. I vote for whom I consider the most honest man/woman on election day.

  • MH

    As somebody who lives in Edmonton and who was born and raised in Western Canada, I couldn’t agree more with your advice to the LPC. There is a culture war. It IS between rural and urban. The only real exception is Alberta, where the urban vote is much like the rural vote. The LPC should be staking out these issues. The CPC have long been engaging in a culture war and it’s time that the LPC and NDP, for that matter, started defending the more widely held views of Canadians.