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Toronto Conservative candidate Joe Daniel refuses interviews until after election

Critics blast "completely inappropriate" silence from incumbent Tory MP Joe Daniel

A photo from Joe Daniel's website shows him (right) posing alongside Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A photo from Joe Daniel's website shows him (right) posing alongside Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Conservative candidate Joe Daniel doesn’t want to talk to you until after the election.

Daniel, running in the re-created Toronto riding of Don Valley North, isn’t doing media interviews until the final ballots are counted on Oct. 19.

His unwillingness to speak with the press was first reported by Glen MacGregor of the Ottawa Citizen, who tweeted about it Thursday.

Reached by phone, a staffer at Daniel’s campaign office confirmed the strategy.

“That’s what he was thinking,” the man told Metro.

Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservatives have often been cagey with reporters, but Ian Capstick, a former NDP press secretary who now heads Ottawa-based communications firm MediaStyle, said this is a new low.

“It’s completely inappropriate behaviour from anyone running for office,” he said. “You’re responsible for answering questions from constituents, voters and anyone who wants to talk to you, and that includes the media.”

Capstick said Daniel’s plan was particularly “galling” coming from an incumbent MP.

“It’s undemocratic. It’s un-Canadian. The guy should just drop out of the race,” he said.

Neither Daniel nor the Conservative Party of Canada returned Metro’s request for comment Friday.

With the Conservatives still reeling from revelations made at the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy, Capstick said Daniel’s silence isn’t doing the party any favours.

Recent polling shows Harper’s handling of the Duffy affair has damaged his reputation with swing voters. According to an Abacus Data poll, 20 per cent of soft Conservative supporters said the trial has made them less inclined to vote for the party.

“Couple that with ‘my local candidate refuses to talk to the media’ and suddenly you have voters saying we elected a government to be transparent and accountable and they’re not doing either of those things,” Capstick said. 

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