Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bill C-51 - Conservative 'values'

Uncanny resemblance, isn't it?  Your 'values' not looking too good at the moment, Mr Blaney.

Having rushed the 62 page omnibus anti-terrorism bill C-51 through Parliament, the Cons are now demanding it be rushed through committee as well. They wanted to restrict expert testimony to three Public Safety Committee meetings - with one of them taken up entirely by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney - but a successful NDP committee fillibuster has now ratcheted it up to eight .

Among the expert witnesses proposed by the NDP are former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci (Almalki, Abou-Elmaati, and Nuredinn inquiry) and former associate Chief Justice of Ontario Dennis O'Connor (Arar inquiry).

Now why wouldn't the Cons want to hear from them?

A report in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday details new documents on how in 2001 the RCMP talked up Ottawa's Abdullah Almalki to the CIA and Syria as a terrorist threat despite having been given CSIS intelligence to the contrary.
An RCMP memo, dated Sept. 5, 2001, generated after a meeting with Canadian Security Intelligence Service officials, said that “CSIS have not uncovered information that would lead them to believe the subject (Almalki) is doing something illegal.”
On Oct. 2, 2001, the RCMP sent a fax to its liaison officers in Islamabad, Rome, Delhi, Washington, London, Berlin and Paris, reporting that CSIS had described Almalki as an “important member” of al-Qaida. Days later, the RCMP liaison officer in Rome sent letters to agencies in several countries, including Syria, labelling Almalki as an “imminent threat” to Canada’s national security.
After Almalki was arrested and was being tortured in Syria, the RCMP helpfully sent along three pages of questions for them to ask him.

One of the provisions of Bill C-51 allows government departments to share private information more widely. 

Maher Arar was likewise renditioned to Syia and tortured based on bad RCMP intel and then RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli and CSIS Asst Director Jack Hooper tried to cover it up.

Hill Times Oct 2, 2006 : CSIS didn't want Arar returned to Canada
"In May and June 2003, the Canadian government intended to send a letter to Syria indicating that it spoke with "one voice"–seeking the powerful support CSIS and the RCMP–to call for Mr. Arar's release. But according to Justice Dennis O'Connor's report, CSIS "was uncomfortable" with a statement in the letter that there was "no evidence" that Mr. Arar had links to al-Qaeda. The agency argued "very strongly" against a letter that it saw as sending the wrong message to U.S. authorities.
"CSIS wanted to make it clear to the Solicitor General that there was 'political jeopardy' in signing a joint letter and that bringing Mr. Arar back to Canada was going to be a political 'hot potato' with American authorities," Justice O'Connor wrote in the report, which cleared Mr. Arar.
Justice O'Connor also revealed in his report that CSIS, "for reasons of its own, preferred that Mr. Arar not return to Canada." While DFAIT drafted its letter to argue for Mr. Arar's release in June 2003, Jack Hooper, assistant director of operations for CSIS, called an assistant deputy minister at DFAIT to explain why it opposed the return of Mr. Arar. CSIS feared that if Mr. Arar returned with a public story of torture it could "impair" deportations from Canada to Syria, according to the report."
Sure, let's give these guys a freer hand to operate in secret without oversight.

Perhaps the committee should hear from Mr. Arar. 
As he points out, if C-51 were in place when he was in Syria, it could have been used legally to prevent his return to Canada. 

A week ago former Prime Ministers Jean Chr├ętien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark, and John Turner plus five former Supreme Court Justices, three former Ministers of Justice, four former Solicitors General of Canada, and three former SIRC committee members expressed their dismay with the bill in a G&M editorial pointing out Justice O'Connor's recommendations following the Arar inquiry had not been implemented. They called for greater oversight at a minimum.

In the House on Tuesday, Harper termed Thomas Mulcair's calls for greater oversight and a full review of evidence "ridiculous" :
"I would urge the committee to study the bill as quickly as possible in order to ensure the adoption of these measures to ensure the security and safety of Canadians."
while Blaney "slammed Mulcair for 'attacking the credibility' of CSIS officers".
"These people respect the law, and I call on him to present arguments, and not lies to defend his position."
Greg Fingas provides excellent C-51 links and a column in the Leader-Post on "the risks of allowing CSIS to self-assess the scope of Canadians' Charter rights under C-51". 

From Stephen Lautens : For those of you keeping score at home :


and Reddit hub on planning Canada-wide protests.

Friday update : Open letter to Parliament: Amend C-51 or kill it
  A letter from over 100 Canadian law professors. Clear concise objections.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First the fire, then the water

"Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you," Harper said in closing his speech to Israel's parliament in January 2014. 

I guess he meant that literally. 

Hundreds of Palestinians flee as Israel opens dams into Gaza Valley

"Hundreds of Palestinians were evacuated from their homes Sunday morning after Israeli authorities opened a number of dams near the border, flooding the Gaza Valley in the wake of a recent severe winter storm.

Israeli dams on the river to collect rainwater have dried up the wetlands inside Gaza, and destroyed the only source of surface water in the area.

The chief of the civil defence agency in Gaza told Al Jazeera: "Israel opened water dams, without warning, last night, causing serious damage to Gazan villages near the border. More than 40 homes were flooded and 80 families are currently in shelters as a result."

Over a hundred thousand Gazans lost their home in the fire-bombing of Gaza last year.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kenney : CPC faces high risk of terrorist attack

The Conservative Party of Canada faces a “high probability” of a jihadist attack from homegrown terrorists, Defence Minister Jason Kenney warned Thursday as he defended toughened security laws and hinted that Ottawa will extend its military mission in Iraq into the inevitable quagmire of jihadist reprisals.
"The threat of terrorism has never been greater."
In his first major address since taking over the defence portfolio several weeks ago, Kenney explained the growing danger of terror :
"We've got the Del Mastro election fraud trial, the Duffy trial, the Jason MacDonald trial, and the insecurity of an election is only months away."
“There is a high probability of future jihadist attacks from within,” Kenney said, citing attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. "And let's not forget that two Canadians have been killed in terrorist attacks on Canadian soil in the last 12½ years since 9/11."
Kenney spoke as Parliament begins debate on Bill C-51, sweeping new anti-terror legislation that contains measures that would for the first time allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to secretly do pretty much anything it liked. Kenney said concerns about the bill are “much exaggerated.” 
“We are taking all of these steps while respecting the rights of Canadians,” Kenney said as his party closed down parliamentary debate on the controversial bill after only two hours.
He said the new powers are “necessary” to meet the evolving terror threat. 
"It could come from anywhere - muzzled scientists, enviros, FNs, birdwatchers, other parties - you name it."
“This is a threat that is going to keep mutating. We can’t have a permanent policy setting. We have to be flexible,” he said.  "We were going to run on having transformed the Canadian economy into a 1950s-style strong stable single resource extraction state but that hasn't exactly panned out for us so now we're going with this terror terror terror thing."

Recent polls have shown 25% of Canadians believe jihadist terrorism is the number one problem facing Canadians today. 
"We'd like to scare that number up a little higher," said Kenney. "With only 60% of Canadians voting and 40% of that 60% voting for us, we could win the next election on terrorism alone."
Kenney advised all Canadians to be on alert in the upcoming months. "Duck and cover", he quipped, "it's the CPC way."

h/t Toronto Star for original article : Canada faces high risk of terror attack, Jason Kenney says   Check it out - it's kinda scary how little I changed it.

Today's G&M : New poll finds Harper’s anti-terror bill is a political juggernaut :
"More than four in five Canadians – 82 per cent – back the new legislation to expand the powers of intelligence agencies and police, according to the survey of 1,509 Canadians conducted by the Angus Reid Institute. Far from seeing it as too sweeping, they tend to want more: 36 per cent say it does not go far enough."
... however : Global : Despite popularity, majority of Canadians haven’t seen or read stories on terror bill: poll
"An Angus Reid poll released Thursday suggested C-51, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced Jan. 30, is popular — but more than half the respondents, 56 per cent, had neither consumed a news story nor had a discussion about the bill. 
A vast majority of Canadians surveyed online —82 per cent —indicated support for the bill currently before the House of Commons.
How familiar are you with the proposed legislation?” the poll asked.
Only 18 per cent said they had either “read or seen stories” about the bill and “discussed it with friends and family.”
At the other end of the spectrum, 20 per cent of respondents said they had neither seen nor read anything about the bill."
A new milestone in polling idiocy.

Update : Well, crap, two hours after I posted this the Star has completely rewritten the article under a new headline although the link URL is the same. 

VICE : NDP Vows to Fight Anti-Terror Bill as Conservatives Limit Debate

Michael Geist“Total Information Awareness”: The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Bill C-51

Press Progress : 6 ways you may have already broken Harper's new anti-terror law

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 2015 Anti-terrorism Act and Environmentalists

Fourteen years ago in Operation Kabriole, the RCMP blew up an oil installation in Alberta to establish the credibility of one of their undercover informants investigating tarsands sabotage. In a nice touch, Alberta Energy Company, now Encana, were in on the deal and flew in an expert to explain to alarmed local residents at an AEC townhall that they had been the victims of 'eco-terrorists'. 

Prior to the Vancouver Olympics and the 2010 G8/G20, the RCMP embarked on one of the largest domestic intelligence operations in Canadian history.   Their target :
"grievances are based upon notions/expectations regarding the environment, animal rights, First nations' resource-based grievances, gender/racial equality, and distribution of wealth, etc."
Infiltration of community groups by undercover officers resulted in a colour-coded database for suspects - "Suspect (Red); Person of Interest (Orange); and Associate (Yellow)"  - that was still being maintained 18 months after the world leaders left Toronto.

In 2012 environmentalists were understandably pissed at being lumped in with white supremacists among the listed "issue-based" terrorist threats in Canada's new counter-terrorism strategy :  Building Resilience Against Terrorism :
"...domestic extremism that is “based on grievances – real or perceived – revolving around the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism."
Notice "First nations"(sic) were struck off the new list but the word "Terrorism" has been added as the reason for the list.

"The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation."
Quite. Bill C-51 with its new engorged mandate to act against “activity that undermines the security of Canada”.  Will you be afforded a warrant to go with that? Not necessarily.
"In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence."
So while Steve distracts us all with his imflamatory remarks about needing “sweeping new powers” to fight Islamists and "the international Jihadist movement" :
“They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they would think and act,” Harper said
... environmentalists note that the legislation could be used on them, and the rest of us think that his remarks about Jihadists are a pretty good summation of his apparent declaration of war on the rest of us. 
Back to G&M :
“These kind of cases involving environmental groups – or anti-petroleum groups as the RCMP likes to frame them – are really the sharp end of the stick in terms of Bill C-51,” said civil liberties lawyer Paul Champ
Or as former CSIS officer Francois Lavigne - a self-confessed "former barnburner" himself - put it four days ago : 
“I have never seen the RCMP and CSIS have such a cosy relationship with government,” he said. “They’re not supposed to be.”
RCMP spokesman Sergeant Greg Cox insisted the Mounties do not conduct surveillance unless there is suspicion of criminal conduct - having apparently forgotten all about their colour-coded database for people with "notions/expectations regarding the environment."

The RCMP report then wanders bizarrely off into language treating anthropogenic climate change as some kind of hoax perpetrated by enviros. Greenpeace quotes from it :
"NGOs such as Greenpeace, Tides Canada and Sierra Club Canada, to name a few, assert climate change is now the most serious global threat, and that climate change is a direct consequence of elevated anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions which, they believe, are directly linked to the continued use of fossil fuels…. 
Research and analysis done in support of ongoing RCMP criminal investigations shows that those involved in the anti-Canadian petroleum movement have an interest in drawing public attention to, and building recognition of, the perceived environmental threat from the continued use of fossil fuels. 
The publicizing of these concerns has led to significant, and often negative, media coverage surrounding the Canadian petroleum industry. The use of social media, including the use of live-streaming, provides the anti-petroleum movement the ability to by-pass the traditional news networks, to control and craft its message, and to promote a one-sided version of the actual events, leading to broadly based anti-petroleum opposition.” (emphasis added). 
So while you're watching Steve furiously waving his C-51Jihadi puppethand about, keep a closer eye on what his other C-51 oilhand is doing.

Apologies for not posting from the original RCMP docs - neither the G&M nor Greenpeace have released them. When they do, I'll amend the post.

Update : DeSmogBlog has it! : RCMP Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Assessment
Criminal Threats to the Canadian Petroleum Industry   2014-01-24

Plus : Radio Canada International interview with Keith Stewart of Greenpeace on the above doc

Monday, February 09, 2015

The new Anti-terrorism and the new *anti-Semitism*

Six months ago while Israel's Protective Edge was reducing 100,000 homes in Gaza to rubble, a delegation of Canadian Conservative and Liberal MPs and senators flew to Israel to demonstrate their support ... for Israel. Here they are shown leading a singalong at a Canada Israel Solidarity Rally at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem. 
There were speeches.

"The book of dealing with terrorism is being written here in Israel," said the mayor of Jerusalem in his speech to the rally. "Terror is not just Israel's problem; it's a problem for democracies around the world."

In her speech, the Canadian Ambassador to Israel repeated Harper's phrase : "Canada stands with Israel through fire and water", while John Baird delivered a pre-recorded message of support about "standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel" and "doing the right thing".

Three weeks ago Baird was in the West Bank getting egged and in Jerusalem updating the 2014 "Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Israel regarding a Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership". From one of the new Canada-Israel 2015 MOUs signed January 18 :
  • Reaffirming their dedication to the shared values of freedom of expression and assembly, democracy, and the rule of law
  • Deeply concerned by efforts to single out the State of Israel for criticism and isolate the State of Israel internationally including calls for a boycott of the State of Israel, for the divestment of investments, and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel
  • Recognizing that the selective targeting of Israel reflects the new face of anti‑Semitism

On the same day on their website, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada addressed the new MOU and "the challenge posed by terrorism", including more "standing with Israel through fire and water" and concluding  :
"Whether the fight against violent extremism is conducted over the skies of Iraq or in the tunnels under Gaza, Canada and the State of Israel are fighting enemies whose hateful ideologies and goals threaten all peaceful, democratic societies. That’s why we are committed to enhancing our collaboration on security and defence, especially in the increasingly important area of cyber-security."
Concern has already been voiced over whether the new Anti-terrorism Act 2015 can or will be used to attack or chill pipeline protest, given one definition of "activities" included in the Act is (f) "interference with critical infrastructure".  

But given :
  • the Cons' unhinged devotion to Israel, 
  • the Libs' stated intention to vote in favor of Bill C-51 to pass the Anti-terrorism Act, and
  • the 2015 Canada/Israel MOU's language targeting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and once again conflating *selective* criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, 
will part (i) below in the anti-terrorism bill be used to advance clandestine activity against critics of Israel's occupation policies? Page 3 : 

From Part One : Security of Canada Information Sharing Act
"An Act to encourage and facilitate information sharing between Government of Canada institutions in order to protect Canada against activities that undermine the security of Canada"
"Whereas Canada is not to be used as a conduit for the carrying out of activities that undermine the security of another state"
and where the last of nine definitions of "activities" is : 
(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state
Con terrorism logic here could conceivably argue that criticism of Israel is helping the terrorists, therefore it becomes a terrorism/boosterism issue - another possible use of an expanded secret police force with scant oversight and the power to break the law and violate the Charter.

G&M editorial : Anti-terrorism bill will unleash CSIS on a lot more than terrorists
"Bill C-51 is not an anti-terrorism bill".

The Star : Bill C-51: Tories cynically surf panic wave for political ends

Craig Forcese on vid

The Tyee : Elizabeth May : Harper's Police State Law

Typo fixed; h/t Waterbaby

Friday, February 06, 2015

Won't you please give until it hurts ...

Susan Delacourt notes the Conservative Party of Canada is piqued that the "Ottawa media elite" have utterly failed to report just how rich their party is. The CPC success story of raising $20.1-million in party donations last year, including their 24% increase in donations and 28% rise in donors in the last quarter of 2013, has gone quite unremarked by the meanies in the lickspittle press. The fourth quarter, say the CPC in their letter to supporters below, was their best in a decade - which is pretty amazing all things considered. 

The only thing that will make them feel better is if you send them even more money :
"We simply cannot let the media elite and the opposition parties try to spin our victory into a loss. Help us fight back. Click here to make your contribution for 2015."

There is another campaign you might consider that won't cost you a dime.

h/t Trapped in a Whirlpool

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

CIMS nostalgia

Whoa, imagine finding this again!  An old CBC broadcast of Keith Boag being given a walk through CIMS with commentary from Michael Geist and Garth Turner. I've posted it twice over the years only to have it taken down at source. We'll see if it stays up this time.

This broadcast must be at least six years old now - given that CPC Direct Voter Contact manager Andrew Harris explaining CIMS to Boag left the Cons' employ in November 2008 and founded his own voter contact firm, Picea Partners in 2010.

Billed as "Canada's first and leading provider of Telephone Town Hall meetings", Picea did a tele-townhall in 2010 for federal election Vaughan candidate Julian Fantino, hosted by Senator Mike Duffy. They've also worked with Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC party, and more recently James Moore and Peter Kent. The governments of Canada, Alberta, and New Brunswick are listed as clients.

On their North American direct marketing and sales page, Picea boasts of "25 billion records from hundreds of different sources" :
"We gather data from real estate and income tax assessments, voter registration, hydro & gas connections, bill processors, and other sources before we output our lists to ensure quality and accuracy for your campaign."
Their "wide variety of targeting options" includes "Age, Estimated Household Income, Marital Status, Gender, Home Value, Ethnicity, and more".


"you can export data out of CIMS, load it into NationBuilder, interact with people, and then load that data back into CIMS"
the Cons might have actually built that "political super-weapon" they bragged about in the last election.

h/t Waterbaby for new link to CIMS broadcast.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Monument to Victims of Communism ... and friends

Not a week goes by recently without an editorial reacting to Tribute to Liberty's proposed Monument to the Victims of Communism with a loud WTF? Here's the latest one from the G&M : New Victims of Communism memorial in Ottawa a looming disaster
"Only a fool would deny that millions have been the tragic victims of communism, but that number pales, surely, in comparison with the victims of capitalism."
And here, in case you haven't seen it, is the winning submission for the Monument : 

With $3-million from the federal government on donated land valued at $1-million across from the Supreme Court and announced in the 2010 Speech from the Throne, Harper and Kenney were ground level supporters - presumably due to their oft-sited statistic that one quarter of Canadians are survivors or relatives of survivors of communism.

Media Co-op, Sept 2013 : Government has close ties to 'victims of communism' monument project
"The leader of a group receiving $1.5 million [now up to$3M] in federal funds to build a monument to victims of communism says Canada's Prime Minister and Minister for Multiculturalism have been part of the project from the start – a role uncommon for politicians in the creation of public monuments.

“True inspiration comes directly from the PM,” Tribute to Liberty Chair Ludwik Klimkowski told the Toronto Media Co-op in a recent phone interview. “It was Stephen Harper’s idea of recognizing the contribution of people who came from communist countries.”
Klimkowski also said Tribute to Liberty “has its beginnings in 2008 when [Multiculturalism Minister] Jason Kenney was visiting a memorial erected by another group,” but declined to answer further questions about the politicians’ histories with the organization."
I wonder what that 'other memorial erected by another group' might be?

The US Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation boasted George W Bush as Honorary Chair from 2003 - 2009 and Grover Norquist as a Principal Officer. 
Bush dedicated the US Victims of Communism Memorial in June 2007. 
The foundation's chair, Dr. Lee Edwards, is also Chairman of the Board of the Global Museum on Communism.

In 2008, the three founders of the Canadian Tribute to Liberty were :
  • Philip Leong : Honorary Patron of TtL, now VP and Director at RBC.  In 2012 John Baird and Ed Fast appointed him to the APEC Business Advisory Council.
  • Alide Forstmanis : former Canadian Alliance Party field organizer; TtL Chair from 2008 - 2012.  Quote :  "the Cold War victory remains incomplete..." In 2009, she wrote in the Western Standard Shotgun Blog, former home of Ezra : "there will be no public money going toward having the memorial built". Well, that was then.
In 2009, after Harper had written to Kenney assuring his support for the monument, the National Capital Commission, an advisory board on commissions to the parliamentary grounds, suggested changing the name of the monument : 
"It’s not communism itself that we should be fighting here. It is rather totalitarianism we are against in any form."
Well, that didn't fly and ultimately the government also ignored the majority of the commission's choice of design for the monument. The monument's footprint is to be in place in time for the October election; it has the backing of all four of the major parties.

Meanwhile regarding victims closer to home, Stephen Harper told Peter Mansbridge in December re missing and murdered aboriginal women that : "… it isn't really high on our radar, to be honest."


Friday, January 30, 2015

NationBuilder - And you thought CIMS was scary

Ten years ago the Cons bought CIMS, their Constituent Information Management System, and began stuffing it with our phone numbers and adding smiley/frowny faces beside our names and whatever other info they could glean about us. The other parties had their own lesser versions. Most of us first took notice of CIMS when we learned it had been used to perpetrate election fiddling in the last election. 

Now all the parties, although perhaps not all the members, use the newer and snazzier US import NationBuilder instead. Touted as more peer-to-peer grassroots organizing than traditional top-down voter ID programs, NationBuilder "builds social-media matching into voter files so that simply knowing an email address will let the software connect a voter’s picture, bio, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn."

Perhaps we should have paid more attention to its actual name.

Here Mike Moschella, a VP at the US company, explains the five keys for its success :
  • Full social media integration means going beyond adding a Facebook icon next to a voter’s name in the file. Field staff need to be alerted when voters engage on their websites or social media platforms
  • Campaigns need to share more than address and phone data with their grassroots leaders. Precinct captains need bios, photos and other information gained from online interactions.
  • Training is needed to understand this shift in how campaigns talk with voters. A neighborhood leader will need to do more than cut a walk list - we’re moving from riding horses to driving cars.
  • Campaigns must shift focus toward capturing mobile numbers. Having an event? Text to RSVP. Petition? Text to sign. Survey? Text to reply.
  • The party infrastructure and campaign need to be in sync and must engage in the same efforts year round. Finding this data won’t occur overnight.

In March 2014, Moschella spoke at the Manning Centre. Here's a story he told [37 minute mark of podcast - transcribed]:
"For the last five years before coming to NationBuilder I worked in foreign policy in National Security so I worked with efforts around the world...You do a whole lot of work on that global police thing ... So I did a lot of work on re-imagining what an American foreign policy - a really pro-democratic, pro-democracy platform - would look like in a changing world because all these things with social media started to, despite people not wanting them, seep into what other countries were doing.  ... 
In Venezuela we ran an opposition race for a guy named Capriles against Hugo Chavez's hand-picked dictator, and they took 8-million twitter records, targeted 2-million of those people, directly talked to them on twitter with their friends -people, one friend connected to another person - and asked them to consider the pro-democracy candidate and 500,000 of those people got involved in that campaign. They probably won but the dictatorship called it 49%. But now there's a real opposition movement that's fighting for freedom in a major country called Venezuela.
In Malaysia for the first time ever, people used geo-targeting from social media to figure out where supporters of an opposition movement were and hold rallies in those slums to ask people to fight for their freedom and they created actually the first field campaign ever using a thing called NationBuilder."
It's a very interesting lecture from a believer in "social media as the personal touch of community on a grand scale" because as he insisted : "people do what their friends do".

I can't do it justice because it reminded me of Amway and the first year people sell insurance : You sell it to your friends and it only works if they in turn sell it to their friends and the product is always you. So listen to it for yourself.

After his presentation, he took questions from the floor.
Con MP Stella Ambler wanted to know how she could find out how many of her 1389 Facebook followers were actually in her small suburban riding - "Is there a way to do that?" - while noting that "our privacy laws are different in this country". 

Moschella : 
"So here's the thing about Facebook. Any time anyone takes an action, FB has three types of actions - you can share something, you can comment on something, or you can like something. And actually the terms of service of FB dictates that when you take an action on FB, that's actually a public thing. Cool, huh? 
What that allows us to do is connect those actions into your NationBuilder database. So if your FB page is connected to your site which is connected to your backend database, then we can show you how to do this - it's like a two, three minute process to get going - literally all you need is a password. Then anytime somebody shares, comments, or likes a post, it will either a)create a profile for that person in your NationBuilder database so now you own that relationship, or b) find their existing profile if they're already in there and record that they have taken that action. 
When you know all the actions that people take, then you can do the next thing which is really key to your engagement which is actually quantifying that engagement. So what you would do in your campaign, is say, sharing something on FB is worth one point, commenting is worth two points, making a donation is worth 10 points. And when you have all this together, then you'll actually see that Edward is worth 20 points and Mike is worth 50 points. So then you can sort how valuable people are in your community and really smartly target them."

Ambler : 
"So .. texting. How do you ... you don't have their cell phone numbers. Their addresses aren't on there on their FB profiles. Sorry to get into the weeds like this..."

Answer from either Moschella or Mike Martens, director of the Manning Centre’s School of Practical Politics - I couldn't tell : 
"You create a data capture system that grabs their cell phones. It's not that hard to do. You have to get organizing to get more data and it's like a cycle - it's like a snowball effect - you have to start somewhere but if you do data capture well, you'll be able to get their cellphone. Mike is going to shut me up."
"Stella, you're a member of Parliament? So you use CIMS. CIMS has all the phone numbers. So the question is whether or not CIMS and NationBuilder can integrate and once the Party starts working with the Manning Centre, and we're working with them to do that, Manning Centre is working with NationBuilder to do training and we can start training on how CIMS and NationBuilder work in a legal way regarding the privacy thing. So somebody needs to figure that out. There are legal ways - I know some of them - but we're getting into some really fine- some of these things were answered in the morning. My point is not that we can't talk about them here except-"
Ambler :  "No, I'm just so pleased to know somebody is having that conversation."

Mike ... or perhaps Mike : 
"We're thinking about this, we're working on it. NationBuilder has some reallly neat - one thing that NationBuilder is really exciting is its text capability based on being in an event like this, telling everybody text me. Well as soon as they do that, guess what - you've got their cell phone number. So then you've got to think of creative events where then that kind of conversation can occur and that's a different kind of campaign than emailing. 
I guess my point is, Stella, that we are thinking that NationBuilder has solutions. We just need to figure out how the NationBuilder and CIMS systems, which currently the CIMS system is kind of closed, but you can export data out of CIMS, load it into NationBuilder, interact with people, and then load that data back into CIMS. So that's just very superficially how these things can work but there's probably even more open ways - things called APIs that interact two systems in a live manner that might be discovered but we'll have to work with NationBuilder to figure it out."
Mike Martens : "Folks, 30 seconds before Mark Steyn's session begins ..."

h/t to Port Moody/Coquitlam Election 2015, who wrote a post on Newclear's young Con contenders that I riffed on on Tuesday, and then he added a look at the NewClear/NationBuilder nexus to his post which has set me off again...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Con candidates Go Newclear

Remember three years ago when charts like this one mapped the links between the various Ethical Oil players in the Con regime spanning cabinet ministers, media personalities, and political contractors and web designers?

The connections were based on research by Emma Pullman at DeSmogBlog and the website Deep Climate : Conservatives Go Newclear . They each discovered that Hamish Marshall, former Manager of Strategic Planning in the Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then principal at pollster/strategist Abingdon Research, had created and hosted some 50 Con-connected websites at his Go Newclear Productions :  “experienced in the development of both conventional and unconventional online weaponry” to “blow away your competition".

Well, funny thing ...

The Port Moody/Coquitlam Election 2015 blog was having a look at some of new young Con contenders hoping to be nominated to run in the next federal election and discovered that their very similar election websites were also hosted by Go Newclear -- home to Jason Kenney, Joe Oliver, Ethical Oil, Abingdon, and the Wildrose Party. 
Even before they bagged their nominations, notes PM/C-E 2015, some of them had already pulled some heavyweight Con endorsements.

So ... having a quick look at a couple of them for myself in two newly created ridings ...

Garnett Genuis is running in the newly created federal riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan. Vice President at Abingdon Research under Hamish Marshall and like him also a former PMO staffer, Genuis had the public endorsements of Jason Kenney, Joan Crockett, Chris Warkenton, Michelle Rempel, Ken Epp, Ric McIver - Alberta's Minister of Jobs, Stockwell Day, and Mike Martens in the bag even before he was nominated. 

Wait - Mike Martens? Who dat? Former CPC Regional Organizer for BC and current Director of the School of Practical Politics, Manning Centre for Building Democracy. One might say Mertens' job at the Manning Centre is building short pantsers/Con staffers into credible candidates and campaigners. 
Genuis is a former provincial Wildrose candidate. In 2010 he went to work for the think tank Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, which advocates defunding the CBC entirely and hosts tribute dinners for Mark Steyn and Ezra.

Tom Kmiec, former aide to Jason Kenney, was endorsed in his nomination to the new riding of Calgary Shepard by Jason Kenney, Ted Morton, Stephen Blaney, and Calgary lawyer and Republican booster Gerry Chipeur.
Tom Kmiec, Calgary Chamber of Commerce :
In his most recent role, Tom was an advisor to the federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and led the regional communications outreach. Tom has also served as a political aide to the Minister of National Defence. At the provincial level, Tom served as the policy advisor to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development and the Minister of Finance and Enterprise. Tom has a BA from Concordia University in Montreal, a Certificate of Graduate Studies from Regent University in Terrorism and Homeland Defence, and is currently completing an MA in Government Studies at Regent.
*blink*  *blink*  Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia, formerly known as the Christian Broadcasting Network University?  "Christian Leadership to Change the World"?   That one?  The one Bush got so many staffers from?

Seems so. Tom is featured in Regent's Aug 2014 newsletter as "full-time Canadian Ministry of Defense employee Tom Kmiec". Excerpted :
"Kmiec explained that he always wanted to expand his knowledge of the American system of government and learned about Regent University from a flyer at a Youth Republican National Convention with the Conservative Party of Canada. "Once I looked at the RSG faculty profiles and courses offered, I knew Regent was for me," says Kmiec
Kmiec wanted to learn more about how a Christian worldview connects to public policy and government.
Kmiec says he is inspired like former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to be a passionate promoter of conservative principles and tireless defender of doing what is right in public life. "As flawed as our world is, there is so much good that we can do as Christians held to the highest standards of integrity, character and morality." 
But here's a puzzle. Mr Kmiec's election website addy, also featured as a link from his twitter site, is, . If you click it, you get Kmiec. 
An odd choice. is a US Tea Party site and movement. Sarah Palin uses it, as does Ted Kruz here in his 2011 senate bid endorsed by the Koch brothers' FreedomWorks.

Garnett Genuis, I just noticed, also refers to himself as a "proven Conservative", although more casually.

Can't say I'm happy to hear this old teabagger branding and dog-whistling up here from former short pantsers turned candidates in ridings newly minted for the next federal election.

And as Port Moody/Coquitlam Election blog asks : Don't Con riding associations get to pick their own candidates anymore? Here's Jason Kenney :

I'll be adding more candidates to this post a bit later. Port Moody/Coquitlam blog continues to edit and update with more info.

Meantime you could be adding your name to the petition requesting UN election observers for Canada. 

h/t to Jennifer McMackon for her link to the Port Moody/Coquitlam Election blogpost on Go Newclear & the Cons' Youth Strategy for the Upcoming Election. Good in depth overview of the Cons' new target youth candidates/audience now they've presumably maxed out the ethnic vote. 
Feb1 Update : Ha ha. Re above question from Port Moody-Coquitlam Election 2015 on whether local riding associations get to pick their own candidates anymore. 
A further post from PM-CE 2015 notes that "a recent notice regarding the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Port Moody-Coquitlam Conservative Electoral District Association to be held on February 14th" to elect a new board of directors and featuring an address to members by Jason Kenney... mis-spells Coquitlam four times. 
Yeah, that's likely - that the local Coquitlam riding association can't spell Coquitlam.

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