Saturday, August 29, 2015

RoboCon : Skippy vs Lenny

"What happens," asked the Ottawa Citizen, "when a “Pierre Poutine”-style robo-caller, like the automated system that sent Guelph voters to the wrong polls in 2011, meets a robo-responder like Lenny?"

"Every minute Pierre Poilievre's telemarketer spent with our recording was time she wasn't bothering someone at dinner."
And we thank you for that, Alberta software developer Mango 

The telemarketer calling here on behalf of the re-election campaign of Pierre Poilievre, champion of the Fair Elections Act, told "Lenny" she was from "Campaign Support". 

Guelph-based "Campaign Support" made calls into Liberal MP Irwin Cotler's Mont-Royal riding in the fall of 2011 suggesting that Cotler may be resigning so how's about you support our Steve in a non-existent upcoming by-election? 

From Campaign Research principal and Conservative strategist Nick Kouvalis' affidavit : 
“The calls were conducted under the business name of Campaign Support, which is a business name registered by Campaign Research for the specific purpose of conducting telemarketing activities.”
Cotler was not of course considering resigning at the time and kicked up a stink about the dirty tricks telephone campaign in the HoC. 
House Speaker and $8198.79 Campaign Research client Andrew Scheer dismissed the campaign as "reprehensible" but not actionable, thereby preserving Campaign Research's other founding principal - Richard Ciano, president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario - from being dragged into any committee investigation of his firm's actions.  

Kouvalis, also former campaign chair and chief of staff to Mayor Rob Ford, promptly went on CTV to explain that his job is "ending Liberal politicians' careers". 

Campaign Support was soon spun off Campaign Research as a separate legal entity headed up by Kouvalis and Greg Dunlop. Dunlop left Kouvalis's firm two months ago after four years - if LinkedIn can be believed - and now heads up his own telemarketing firm iFusion Research.
iFusion also used to be a shell company for Campaign Research 

Here's Steve in 2011 campaigning in Irwin Cotler's Mont-Royal riding on behalf of Con hopeful Saulie Zajdel, presumed beneficiary of the later Campaign Research phone campaign. 
Zajdel lost to Cotler and was put on the payroll in Heritage Minister James Moore's office as a shadow MP doing ethnic outreach while awaiting a new shot at the riding.

Zajdel pled guilty this year to charges of corruption and breach of trust in two real estate deals involving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Conservative Party spokesey Fred DeLorey expressed surprise at Zajdel's arrest in June 2013, saying none of this had come out in their screening of Zajdel. 
A few months earlier, DeLorey was also surprised when McMaher busted the Conservative Party and RackNine shell company Chase Research for being behind the Republican-style push-poll robocalls about changes to Saskatchewan's electoral riding boundaries. 

And so the story has turned inevitably back to Con robo/live calls ... which is where I think we came in... 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Duffy-Cons of Canada - they're just not ready

... in their own words.

Bumped from comments ;-) :

Kev : "I'm sure Harper rejects that "rendition of the facts ' as well"

Boris : "Kev, oh, their rendition of the facts tends to be extraordinary. There's a vault in the Turks and Caicos where they lock them up. It's full of papers and reports from government scientists, scandalous emails, models of the solar system, a globe, post-cold war maps of the world, the Constitution Act 1982, a photo of PET, a CBC logo, a UN logo, a census long form, Harper's economics degree, IPCC reports, submitted questions from the newsmedia, and so on. It's guarded by 23 year old PMO interns in shorts and blue golf shirts, and knee socks. Cabinet ministers periodically fly down to beat them up and scream at them. The facts I mean, and maybe the interns, come to think of it."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Terrorism-To-Go Advisory System

Rob Nicholson's communications team set Foreign Affairs bureaucrats a quota of producing three terrorism-related statements per week for minister Rob Nicholson to make to the media. 
They were to be crafted from an event reported by the news media. 
"One Foreign Affairs bureaucrat, who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said: "We're not making a special effort to fulfil this odd request."
What a bunch of slackers. 

Here's 6 terrorism-related news reports from just the past 24 hours :

1) Inquisitr, July 23 : Lafayette Movie Theater Shooting: Terrorism Fears Raised After Six Shot In Louisiana Theater
Old white guy starts shooting spree 20 minutes into the movie Trainwreck

Dylann Roof, the white 21-year-old man who allegedly gunned down nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 in order to "start a race war" not charged with domestic terrorism.
"Tolerance toward terrorists ends today. A stone-thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment,” Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said"

“The honourable minister [Mackay] expressed his appreciation for the major leading role played by the kingdom on the international arena,” wrote Prince Saud. “He emphasized Canada’s desire to develop relations with the kingdom in all fields.”
OK so admittedly that last one doesn't have the word terrorism right in its header like the others but just add this handy graph and you're good to go :

There ya go, Rob. You're welcome.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Manning Centre for Building American Majority

Last month in Ottawa, PM Stephen Harper and House Leader Peter Van Loan quietly met with Scott Walker, the anti-SSM anti-abortion anti-union Wisconsin governor whose imminent 2016 Republican presidential candidacy is already teetering atop a pile of Koch Bros. dark money. 

When Glen McGregor reported on the meeting yesterday, PMO spokesey Stephen Lecce came out of his little spokesbox and said "These are not the droids you are looking for," and went back inside again. 

Harper and Walker have so much in common to talk about -  union-busting and voter suppression legislation, campaigning on transparency and creating jobs and being completely crap at both, support for tough-on-crime legislation, opposition to gun registration and minimum wage increases and clean energy jobs policies, budget crises due to corporate tax cuts, unfortunate appointments of people who become felons in office ... and the Koch-affiliated American Majority creating a "national farm team of conservative leaders" and "training them in guerilla internet tactics."

Wait. What? American Majority political training group is in Canada?

Why yes it is. On July 4 the Manning Centre for Building Democracy and American Majority sponsored a social media webinar from guns and jesus gal Aubrey Blankenship, communications director of American Majority, to "help you become a better voice for conservatism online."

I don't know what Aubrey's training session on how "to become a better Conservative online" entailed so instead here is one from American Majority's Austin James teaching Tea Party members to spam Amazon profiles of liberal books with negative comments and bad reviews. 

You can still catch another American Majority webinar at the Manning Centre on Aug 10 when Political Communications Expert Jess Nicholson will teach "Crafting Your Message—The art of getting to the heart".

Ok sure, I hear you thinking, but the Manning Centre sponsors tea party trainers all the time so who cares what dumbass shenanigans American Majority touts at the Manning Centre this year?

Well, because as of 2015, American Majority's Wisconsin chapter had trained 128 successful candidates for state or local office for Governor Scott Walker. 
128.  In just one state.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Mothra Canada

I'm completely mystified by the  near-universal  negative  reaction that Never Forgotten National Memorial 's proposed Mothra Canada war memorial has provoked in my fellow Canadians. Who wouldn't like a tax-payer subsidized 10 storey statue to Mothra on Cape Breton?

Come on, guys. What's your problem? Ecological vandalism? That the monument will ruin "a pristine geological site of peaceful scenic beauty"? 

They did an 86 page Detailed Impact Analysis. Ok sure, so it was done by the engineering firm Stantec, who are one of the corporate sponsors listed on the NFNM "Partners and Supporters" page but it's not like they're putting up the world's largest ball of tinfoil or twine on the site.

Here's a nice letter from Chief of Defence Staff General Tom Lawson to project founder Tony Trigiani pledging the help of the Canadian Armed Forces.  I didn't know CAF did that.

And just look at the list of Honorary Patrons : JustMin/AG Peter MacKay, Tom D'Aquino, Mila Mulroney, Frank McKenna, Jean Charest, some corps, plus CBC stars Rex Murphy and Peter Mansbridge. Oh wait, Mansbridge was on there last week when I looked but now he isn't, and Rex Murphy is listed as a "Freelance Journalist". 

A privately directed enterprise since described by Peter MacKay as a "private-public partnership", the site will feature the names of "Major Gift donors" but not those of the war dead.

From the NFNM website :
"The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation has developed recognition opportunities for Major Gift donors at varying levels, for both Canadian and International donors.
As a living, breathing and fully interactive memorial, the Never Forgotten National Memorial will offer ongoing marketing opportunities for individuals and corporate partners."
A fitting motto for a war memorial because war has always done exactly that.

Bumped up from comments : Brian Busby quotes :" Naming rights located throughout the Founders Hall and other special areas of the Interpretive Centre will also recognize the contributions of project partners and other major donors." 
and then responds : A shame the Ross Rifle Co. is no longer around.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Harper's Perps with Perks #17

Dean Del Mastro - Stephen Harper's Parliamentary Secretary, Ethics Committee appointee, and elections fraud pointman for the Cons in the HoC - shown here in cuffs as he went off to the big house today in shackles in a real life perp walk. He was convicted eight months ago on four counts of Elections Canada charges and trying to cover it up. 

"Why, Mr. Speaker, why?" he wailed in the HoC two years ago before resigning the Con caucus to keep his pension intact.

Sentenced today to a month in prison plus four months house arrest and eighteen months probation, he will probably be out again tomorrow on appeal of both his sentence and conviction. 

"I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to stand for the truth," he explained to reporters today.

Maher : Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro passed up chances to avoid disgrace

Kirby Cairo : Del Mastro - Poster Boy of Harper Corruption

By request

Harper's Perps with Perks - Collect 'em all

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Harper's Perps with Perks #16

Senator Don "U So Hot" Meredith - Harper Senate appointee, one-time failed Con Party candidate, family values guy and ordained Pentecostal Minister - is all about the youth...

Teen alleges two-year affair with Senator Don Meredith

From Senator Don Meredith's Conservative Party of Canada bio :
"A passionate champion of youth empowerment, in 2002, he co-founded the Greater Toronto Faith Alliance Centre where he continues to serve as volunteer Executive Director to engage, encourage and empower marginalized youth ..." 
From Senator Don Meredith's Senate mission statement :
"One of my major Senate visionary objectives is to encourage development of national strategies for overcoming the alienation of our young people and preparing them for significant family, community and leadership roles. Much of my work in Toronto, as a business person, community advocate and pastor has focused on initiatives involving youth and I hope my Senate work will be a means to encourage leadership in this area across Canada."

Harper's Perps with Perks: Boxed Set!  
As seen on TV!   Get yours while supplies last!   Offer void where prohibited. Some age restrictions may apply. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Saanich-Gulf Islands - perhaps not quite Ground Zero after all

Saanich Gulf Islands in 2008 is widely perceived by many to be "ground zero for election fraud in Canada", as Elizabeth May puts it. Not only did the perps successfully pull it off but Elections Canada's botched investigation demonstrated it could be done in future elections with impunity.

The scam comes in two parts. (Wet coasters may want to skip this bit.)
Environmentalist and SGI Lib candidate Briony Penn lost in the 2008 election when robocalls from the US spoofed the NDP campaign number and encouraged SGI voters to vote for the NDP candidate who had very publicly dropped out 3 weeks earlier but too late to have his name removed from the ballot. Some 3700 voted for him and Con MP/TarSands Minister Gary Lunn bested Penn by a 2,625 vote margin. 

The alternative theory is that pissed off NDP voters voted for their candidate anyway to spite the Liberals who outed him for inappropriate skinny dipping and body painting behavior 12 years earlier in 1996, causing him to drop out of the race. 
“The Liberal Party did that,” the director of communications for the Liberals B.C. campaign Brad Zubyk said, though he denied deserving credit himself. “It's all public domain. Quite frankly, we don't apologize for it. None of this is particularly hard to find.”

Either way, Elections Canada closed their investigation after failing to determine whether anyone "had actually been influenced in their vote because of the purported telephone call", and because "evidence of the actual source of the calls and the person or persons who made them would be required."   
Same reasons EC gave for concluding their election fraud investigation in 2011. 

2) Third party advertisers. 
Your previously unheard-of go-to people when a campaign has maxed out their allowable EC spending limit and there's a need for a last minute proxy ad buy in local papers and radio before Election Day, after which they vanish in a puff of smoke til next election.
Of the 50 odd third-party groups registered with Elections Canada in 308 ridings across Canada in 2008, five were registered in Saanich-Gulf Islands. The first four on the list below all shared the same financial agent and registered under the law firm address and phone number of Bruce Hallsor - former Canadian Alliance Party candidate, Gary Lunn supporter, and Conservative riding association VP . 

Before Andrew MacLeod at The Tyee added Citizens Against Higher Taxes to his list, there were only four on it. At that time Hallsor told him that while Dickinson of Saanich Peninsula Citizens Council :
"did some advertising in 2006 - the other three were new for this election."
Not that new.

In 2006 in Victoria - the riding right next to SGI - crown prosecutor and Con MP-hopeful Robin Baird got some election advertising help from Common Sense Advocacy of VictoriaOn their January 2006 Elections Canada Third Party Advertising Report, Common Sense Advocacy lists Donna Evans as financial agent and the address is once again ... wait for it ...   Bruce Hallsor's law office.  

Donna Evans is married to Robert Evans, Gary Lunn's fundraising chair for Saanich-Gulf Islands electoral district association. Lunn's VP was Bruce Hallsor and his riding president was then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice's sister.   
MacLeod :
"Robert Evans is the vice-president of Community Marine Concepts, which is seeking a license from the province to occupy 2.63 hectares of Victoria Harbour with a marina for 80-foot to 120-foot yachts.  The company is working on the proposal with Alberta-based WAM Development Group. Getting the license requires approvals from various provincial and federal agencies ... Hallsor has registered to lobby on behalf of WAM."
and is still the registered lobbyist for WAM in 2015 : 
  • Application of transport regulations related to use of the Victoria Harbour

G&M : "... when a minister gets lobbied by his own campaign manager, who is acting for his fundraiser, it certainly looks bad. "

Likewise, when local opponents to the mega-marina ask the riding president's brother, the Environment Minister, for an environmental assessment and are refused - also not good.

In 2006 Bruce Hallsor formed the BC Conservative Club ; by 2009 he was also the BC Liberal constituency association president for Victoria – Beacon Hill. In a treatise I can no longer find online, Hallser argued that federal conservatives should vote for BC Liberals.  

It's a small, small, small LibCon world out here in BC. A lot of it is about money. I reckon the 'ground zero' elections shenanigans event horizon goes back further than most of us can remember.

Thursday Update : Deep Climate : Conservative Democracy Deficit on Vancouver Island
A very thorough and detailed look that I had read four years ago and forgotten about.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"We've done this experiment successfully in Canada"

We don't often get to see into the minds of cross border American conservative political operatives working in Canada. Here is one such snapshot, but first ...

CBC reported today on "CIMS-to-Go" or C2G, a new mobile app for the Cons Constituent Information Management System that allows party canvassers to collect and sort voter information faster than ever before - smiley face, frowny face - while keeping close tabs on candidates' and canvassers' efficiency.

Someone in the Cons IT dept, who is presumably right now clearing out their desk, blabbed to CBC that some Con ridings are "approved" to use it while others have to pay $2500. 

"The app comes with a script to follow, to make sure canvassers know what to say at the door."
CBC then went to Georganne Burke, who they describe as "a former regional organizer and community relations manager for the Conservatives", for more info. Ms. Burke has been using the newly released C2G app in her work for an unnamed "local Conservative campaign for the upcoming election". 
Hopefully this campaign does not involve menorahs.

Last September, The Daily Caller, a conservative Washington DC news and opinion website founded by Tucker Carlson and former adviser to Dick Cheney Neil Patel, explained what Burke was doing in Washington :

"Burke, a 45 year veteran of grassroots campaigning, was in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 3 [2014]  to help train conservatives on effective efforts to expand the reach for their ideas. Her credentials include being part of the team that eventually brought about a conservative majority government in Canada by effective outreach to minorities, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper."
Dual citizen Burke, who has worked as a special assistant to Tony Clement and Tim Hudak and "as a political organizer for the Conservatives starting in 2004", describes herself in the interview :
"In my heart I will probably always be an American first and foremost. I'm a Yankee at heart and will be my while life. I'm truly an American."
She is very concerned about the "politics of division that is practiced on the left" in Canada - dividing people into various ethnic groups - and offers this advice about "connecting with the various cultural communities in the US" : 
"Why I actually came down here is because we've done this experiment successfully in Canada. It took us eleven years of hard work and I came down to tell people that this is a long game we have to play here, that this is not something that happens overnight ... It's about marketing ... You have to get out and create relationships with people that you want to be your customers."

"Getting more votes from Jews and specific ethnic groups ..."
"Conservative community relations manager Georganne Burke told Conservatives that outreach calls on them to work beyond their traditional base, even if it means "to look outside your normal comfort zone."
Ms. Burke urged Conservative candidates and organizers to break down each riding's ethnic and religious composition, and directly target potential voters.
She said that Conservatives should use all available opportunities to "build the database" of ethnic voters, by renting or buying lists of names from third parties and by attending events where they can gather business cards and guest lists."
That's just so friggin' Conthink - inveigh against the dividing of people into ethnic minority groups and then do it.  

Update : Georganne Burke is senior VP at Pathway Group, recently in the news for ousting a pair of their lobbyists over their involvement with a company under investigation with the Ontario Securities Commission
One of those ousted, Pathway Group co-founder Kelly Mitchell, founded the voter contact firm Picea Partners in March 2010 with former CIMS Direct Voter Contact manager Andrew Harris. Picea handled Fantino's by-election teleconference with Mike Duffy in November 2010 - the one that didn't show up in Fantino's campaign expenses.

Which brings me back to CBC's CIMS-to-Go article :
"The app comes with a script to follow, to make sure canvassers know what to say at the door."
Are the smiley/frowny faces ethnic colour-coded now?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bill C-51 Senate Perp Walk of Shame

The Red Chamber of Sober Second Expense Accounts passed the anti-terrorism Bill C-51 by 44 votes to 28 yesterday. 

Below find those 44 Con Senators who voted YEA - along with their contact info/bios/pix - because I don't think these fine folks are well enough known to Canadians. You'll note some of them will still be in the Senate 30 years from now. 
All but three were appointed by Harper - two were appointed by Mulroney and one by Paul Martin. 

A full seven out of the 30 Harper's Perps with Perks are senators.

Name&contact info - Party affiliation - Appointed by - Province - Term of office

Ataullahjan, Salma  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2010 to 2027

Batters, Denise  CON - Harper - Saskatchewan - 2013 to 2045

Bellemare, Diane  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2012 to 2024

Beyak, Lynn  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2013 to 2024

Black, Douglas  CON - Harper - Alberta - 2013 to 2027

Carignan, Claude  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2009 to 2039

Dagenais, Jean-Guy  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2012 to 2025

Doyle, Norman E   CON - Harper - Nfld Labrador - 2012 to 2020

Eaton, Nicole   CON - Harper - Ontario - 2009 to 2020

Enverga, Tobias  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2012 to 2030

Fortin-Duplessis, Suzanne  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2009 to 2015

Frum, Linda  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2009 to 2038

Gerstein, Irving   CON - Harper - Ontario - 2009 to 2016

Greene, Stephen   CON - Harper - Nova Scotia - 2009 to 2024

Lang, Daniel  CON - Harper - Yukon - 2009 to 2023

LeBreton, Marjory  CON - Mulroney - Ontario - 1993 to 2015

MacDonald, Michael  CON - Harper - Nova Scotia - 2009 to 2030

Maltais, Ghislain  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2012 to 2019

Manning, Fabian  CON - Harper - Nfld Labrador- 2011 to 2039

Marshall, Elizabeth  CON - Harper - Nfld Labrador - 2010 to 2026

Martin, Yonah   CON - Harper - British Columbia - 2009 to 2040

McInnis, Thomas  CON - Harper - Nova Scotia - 2012 to 2020

McIntyre, Paul  CON - Harper - New Brunswick - 2012 to 2019

Mockler, Percy  CON - Harper - New Brunswick - 2009 to 2024

Nancy Ruth  CON - Martin (Lib)- Ontario - 2005 to 2017 

Neufeld, Richard  CON - Harper - British Columbia - 2009 to 2019

Ngo, Thanh Hai  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2012 to 2022

Ogilvie, Kelvin   CON - Harper - Nova Scotia - 2009 to 2017

Oh, Victor  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2013 to 2024

Patterson, Dennis  CON - Harper - Nunavut - 2009 to 2023

Plett, Donald  CON - Harper - Manitoba - 2009 to 2025

Poirier, Rose-May   CON - Harper - New Brunswick - 2010 to 2029

Raine, Nancy Greene  CON - Harper - British Columbia - 2009 to 2018

Rivard, Michel   CON - Harper - Quebec - 2009 to 2016

Runciman, Bob  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2010 to 2017

Seidman, Judith  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2009 to 2025

Smith, Larry  CON - Harper - Quebec - 2011 to 2026

Stewart Olsen, Carolyn  CON - Harper - New Brunswick - 2009 to 2021

Tannas, Scott  CON - Harper - Alberta - 2013 to 2037

Tkachuk, David  CON - Mulroney - Saskatchewan - 1993 to 2020

Unger, Betty   CON - Harper - Alberta - 2012 to 2018

Wallace, John D.  CON - Harper - New Brunswick - 2009 to 2024

Wells, David M.  CON - Harper - Nfld Labrador - 2013 to 2037

White, Vernon  CON - Harper - Ontario - 2012 to 2034

Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Pamela Wallin didn't vote of course.

Here are the 28 Liberal senators who voted against the bill in the Senate, as opposed to the 33 Liberal MPs who voted for it at final reading in the House of Commons.

Although the Senate records "nil abstentions", Con Senators Raynell Andreychuk, Jacques Demers, Janis G.Johnson, Don Meredith, and Josée Verner did not vote ; 
nor did Liberal Senators George Baker, Colin Kenny, and Terry Mercer.

Open Media : Bill C-51 Just passed. Where do we go from here?

Fingus : How the Senate's failure to provide any second thought on C-51 may serve as the ultimate signal that it has nothing useful to offer Canadians.

Akin : Deafening disrespect of aggrieved senators

Update : Dear Open Media : In your Heroes and Zeros list, your attribution of Rivard and Larry Smith as Liberals is incorrect. They are Cons and were appointed by Harper in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

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