Full interview: Conservative spokesman defends use of ISIS video in attack ad

WATCH ABOVE: Extended: Conservative campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke defends use of ISIS video in recent attack ad

Chief Political Correspondent Tom Clark sat down with Conservative campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke recently to discuss HarperPAC and a recent attack ad that features ISIS video and why they chose to show such imagery.

Their discussion took some interesting turns. Below is a full transcript of the interview.

Tom Clark: Kory let’s start right there, let’s start with why did you want HarperPAC to cease activity?

Kory Teneycke: Well because I think it’s confusing, probably deliberately so, with their choice of name. Starting
an organization in somebody else’s name, raising money and running advertising, would leave you with the impression as a reasonable person, that the conservative party or the prime minister were somehow involved in that organization and of course, they’re not. So you know if someone actually wants to help the conservative campaign run ads and that sort of thing we would encourage them to make a donation to the conservative party of Canada. And we would welcome that. But that is us. HarperPAC is not us.

TC: But is your objection to the name or is your objection to the idea of a political action committee?
KT: Well it is allowed under the law to have groups out there doing these sorts of things with certain restrictions on their activities. So you know we’re not taking issue with their right to, for someone to do these sorts of things. What we’re taking issue with is deliberately misleading people into thinking this is somehow the conservative party and the prime minister when it’s neither.

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READ MORE: Does the Conservatives’ new ad contravene their own anti-terror law?

TC: These were, the people behind this though, were pretty well known conservative operatives from across the country. They even listed their names on the website. At any point, did any of these closely connected conservatives come to the conservative party and say hey, what do you think of this?
KT: Uh, no. No. They did not. And as I say, irrespective of how well intentioned these people might have been, uh I think it’s very ill conceived to embark on this sort of activity where you’re taking the prime minister’s name and using it to raise money for yourself and to put ads on air.

TC: Why did you wait a week, before asking them to shut down?
KT: Well we’ve been reviewing what legal options are available to us to, uh end this practice.

TC: Were you going to sue them?
KT: Uh we’re, look — we have looked at all options, uh it’s not really germane any more, they’ve shut down [mumbles]. Um. I’m not going to get into all the details of that but we’re pursuing, uh aggressively pursuing the legal options that were available to us to end that confusion.

TC: A re-elected conservative government, would you bring in changes to the law to further restrict or regulate third party groups operating in Canada?
Kory Teneycke : Well I’m not going to make policy announcements or platform announcements today. But uh, it’s a good question.

TC: So might you have something to say about this later on?
KT: We might. We might not.

READ MORE: The conflict behind the proposed anti-terror laws: a West Block primer

TC: Ah. Kay. I want to move on to something else that you’ve been involved with this week. Um and that is the latest online … ad, that you’ve got out there where you use um imagery from ISIS. And you use the ISIS anthem. How is that not in contravention of Bill C-51?
KT: Well its uh very similar to what you do on the news every day here at Global when [Tom cuts in]
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TC: Well we don’t run the ISIS national anthem and we don’t run [Kory cuts in ]
KT: Uh, hey, I’ve seen images from ISIS videos on every newscast in this country and in other countries as well [Tom cuts in]
TC: Well that’s news.
KT: Well, that’s also part of the debate as to what is it that we’re going to do about that issue. You know ISIS is a real threat, the activities that they’re up to are barbaric in the extreme, they are uh very disturbing i think to all Canadians, and so [Tom cuts in]
A still taken from a Conservative attack ad titled ‘Justin Trudeau on ISIS’.
A still taken from a Conservative attack ad titled ‘Justin Trudeau on ISIS’. YouTube / cpcpcc

TC: So why run their videos? Why run their songs?
KT: Well this is the choice. This is the choice between do we do something about this threat, or do we do nothing?

TC: No but why are you, why are you showing those videos and running their song?
KT: Because it’s germane to the choice before us in this election.

TC: But how is it germane?
KT: I’m answering your questions if you want to let me answer it. It’s germane because the choice is between one political party, the Conservative Party of Canada, that would uh continue our bombing mission to protect civilians and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq; and two other political parties, that would stop those efforts. So it’s very central I think to the choice that will be before Canadians this election and therefore we’re going to make that choice clear in the realest possible terms.

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WATCH: Conservative attack ad using ISIS imagery

TC: You said you were going to answer the question and of course you didn’t. In what way is the ISIS anthem and the ISIS video germane to a debate?
KT: Well because that’s who the enemy is. That’s who we’re fighting.

TC: So how is that video and their song, germane to that discussion?
KT: That’s who they are. That’s who the enemy is.

TC: OK.. Bill C-51 was brought in and promoted by your government as, among other things, to prevent people from putting online anything video that promotes terrorism and ISIS. Haven’t you just done that?
KT: No.

TC: Why?
KT: What we’re doing is no different than what you do on the news. Which is…

TC: But you’re not news. You’re there advertising
KT: We’re better than news, because we’re truthful.

TC: I’m sorry, say that again?
KT: I said we’re doing uh, uh, a…

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TC: No what did you just say?
KT: I’m saying what we’re doing is…

TC: You’re better than us because you’re truthful? Is that what you just said?
KT: We’re putting forward the choice…

TC: No no. What did you just say?
KT: Well let me finish the thought…

TC: No you said, I just want you to repeat what you just said.
KT: I’m saying what we’re doing is better that what we’re talking about in terms it’s the choice that will be before Canadians during the election campaign.

TC: But wait a second, you said you were better than news because you’re truthful?
KT: It’s, I think it’s a very real choice, Tom. We’re not going to step back from the very real choice that’s in front of Canadians today, okay. This is a life and death matter for people who are living in that region, uh it is a poisonous ideology that is spreading around the world, it’s motivating people to commit attacks not just in Canada but elsewhere around the world. It’s very central to the choice that will be here this campaign. And it’s a very, I think, interesting issue, uh in terms of how you have one party, on one side of that, you know, the decision to take action directly, you know bombing missions etc., uh and two other parties that say they would stop doing that. So I think it is absolutely, it is a polarizing issue for some people. We’re going to talk about it in very real, very truthful, very frank terms.

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TC: Let me ask you finally this. If another group wanted to join this debate that you’re talking about decided that they too were going to post online terrorist imagery, terrorist videos and terrorist songs, as you have, are you okay with that? Are you okay with people posting terrorist videos and terrorist songs online?
KT: Well I think you’re trying to, to make a false choice here. We’re talking about what the position of the Liberal Party in this particular case

TC: No I’m talking [they talk over each other for a few seconds] No, I’m asking you, because you’ve defended your use of terrorist video and terrorist songs, by saying well that’s part of the debate. So I’m asking you, if anybody else wants to be generally part of this debate, presumably you would not object to anybody else doing what you’ve done which is to use terrorist video and terrorist songs.
KT: Well I’m not going to answer a hypothetical. You’re asking me to comment on some hypothetical ad or use that I’m not seeing so I’m not going to do that.

TC: But you’ve done something and you’re not going to say whether it’s okay for other people to do that?
KT: you’re asking me to comment on a hypothetical ad or usage of a video that I haven’t seen. So do I support our ad, and our video, our use of that in terms of a contrast with the position of the Liberal Party in this case, yes, obviously we support that.

TC: will you be using more terrorist video as the campaign goes on?
KT: Uh, well, wait and see.

TC: All right. We will. Thank you very much.