Creekside

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Canadian citizenship - now cheaper than ever!

"We want Chinese investors in Canada and the door is open," ImpMin Chris Alexander told the South China Morning Post back in March. "We are making these changes for them."

CBC :
"The Canadian government will give permanent residency to approximately 50 millionaire immigrant investors and their families per year under a pilot program set to begin in the new year.
Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced Tuesday, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million."
By comparison, New Zealand requires a C$9.15 million investment over three years while in October the Australian government raised the price of admission to $15 million for a 12 month track to permanent residency.

Under the previous cash for citizenship scheme dating back to Mulroney in 1986, wealthy immigrants with a minimum net worth of C$1.6-million only had to loan the government $800,000 interest-free for five years but the loan was guaranteed and returned to them at the end of five years.
It was intended to encourage wealthy foreigners to set up businesses in Canada but according to the South China Morning Post earlier this year, the majority were wealthy mainland Chinese who never did move to Canada and only 16 per cent of them wound up operating businesses in Canada. 
SCMP, Feb 4 2014 :
A South China Morning Post investigation into Canada's immigration programme for millionaire investors has revealed the extraordinary extent to which it has become devoted to a single outcome: Helping rich mainland Chinese settle in Vancouver.
Since 2007, 80.8 per cent of Chinese applicants to the scheme have sought to live in British Columbia ... about six times the combined annual applications from all nationalities to the investor migrant programmes run by the US, Britain and Australia.
And it was a bust to boot . As Pete McMartin wrote in the Vancouver Sun in Feb :
"The investor class immigrants have been laughing all the way to the bank. According to the feds’ own research, over a 20-year period an investor class immigrant will pay $200,000 less in taxes than a skilled worker immigrant and $100,000 less in taxes than a live-in nanny. The immigrant billionaire living on the west side pays less in Canadian taxes than his immigrant babysitter."

Right. So back to the new rules. Having determined what we are, as the old joke goes, we are now just haggling over the price.

MinImp Chris Alexander gave a decent Q&A interview to the South China Morning Post on the new rules back in March. Excerpted  : 
Alexander : “In return for permanent residence, in return for the opportunity to do business with status from Canada, we’re taking your money for a good long time to help create jobs, growth, opportunity in Canada and for global businesses, we hope, through venture capital-focused that will be managed in Canada, and privately managed, not managed by the government. ... And believe me, there are Hong Kong and Chinese students, entrepreneurs, investors who are part of those small ecosystems driving this forward."
Will there be regional options for the scheme?
Alexander : "No, these will be pooled funds initially, so they’re going to have to be managed by professional private-sector investment managers in financial centres where those people exist. And that is quite a few Canadian cities now. We’ll have a competition to select who the managers will be, but I don’t think we’ll be directing the investment beyond that." 
"We are pursuing a strong partnership with Hong Kong and with mainland China in all fields. Our economic relationship is already approaching CA$75 billion million.  We want, as of January 1 2015, to process economic immigrants in six months."
Earlier this month, the Harper government quietly signed a customs-sharing agreement with China without announcing it to the public.

China Daily, yesterday, via the WSJ :
"Canada and China have agreed to a set of measures to support the increased use of the renminbi in trade, commerce and investment.
A reciprocal currency swap will allow a maximum amount of 200 billion yuan ($32.3 billion) and C$30 billion($26 billion).
Domenico Lombardi, an expert on the global economy from Canada's think tank Centre for International Governance Innovation, recently said, "We should prepare to see the renminbi be much more widely used, to become an international currency".
Edit : Updated figures for Australia, and typos
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Protected species



Brilliant cartoon from Bruce MacKinnon illustrating Canada's unprecedented decision to opt out of 76 of 77 resolutions not to trade in endangered or protected species like manatees, turtles, and swallowtail butterflies at last year's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species [CITES] 

Environment Canada has not explained why they won't support the bans but it's possibly related to pique at the proposed ban on commercial trade in polar bear parts put forward at CITES by the US and backed by Russia, which banned polar bear hunting in 1956. The other polar bear regions - Alaska, Greenland, and Norway - have all banned it aside from the traditional practice by indigenous peoples. 

According to the United States Geological Survey in 2007, the decline in sea ice is expected to lead to the extirpation of approximately two-thirds of the world's polar bear populations within the next 50 years. 
Environment Canada reported 75% of Canada's commercially traded polar bear skins or bodies were exported to China in 2011. 

Insert mental pic of polar bear balancing on tiny ice floe floating out to sea here.
As MacKinnon so aptly illustrates, the only species Steve has shown any real interest in protecting so far is the tar sands ... 

 Feds leave $321-million unspent for green programs, overspend on oil and gas 

"The federal government failed to spend a total of $321-million Parliament approved for “environmentally responsible” programs last year—nearly one-third of the money that was available for that purpose—while spending more than the $438-million that had been set aside to fund programs that primarily supported the oil and gas sector through scientific research, market development and government advertising."
Liberal MP John McKay :
“We’re not nearly dead last in climate change progress for nothing, we worked at it, and we worked at it by emphasizing the oil sands in preference to everything else. So when we have this impending oil deflation, the price of oil deflation, all of our eggs are in that basket and because all of our eggs are in that one basket, we’re just watching that basket sail down the river, and there is no plan B."
Insert mental pic of Canada balancing on tiny oil derrick floating down the river here.
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Microsoft, Christy Clark open foreign worker turnstile outpost in Vancouver

Back in May our media were pretty excited about the jobs jobs jobs angle to Microsoft opening a Centre of Excellence in Vancouver :

CBC : Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre to bring 400 jobs to Vancouver

Vancouver Sun : Microsoft to open new centre in Vancouver, 400 new jobs

HuffPo Microsoft Canada Announces Vancouver Centre, 400 Jobs

.... all of them pretty obviously based on the same Microsoft press release

Yesterday CBC was somewhat less buoyant about that whole 400 jobs angle, given they will all be going to foreign IT workers :

   Tech giant exempted from new rules for finding Canadians to fill jobs

which garnered some 2500+ furious comments about those jobs not going to Canadians.

As noted here at Creekside last June, truth is those jobs never were going to Canadians. .
Microsoft has been planning to expand their Vancouver sales office since 2007 to circumvent US H1-B immigration restrictions on importing foreign IT specialists :

Amid challenges getting enough foreign programmers admitted into the U.S., Microsoft plans to open a development center in Canada.
"The new software development center will open somewhere in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday."The Vancouver area is a global gateway with a diverse population, is close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond, and allows the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.," Microsoft said."
As Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Karen Jones repeated to Businessweek last May : Vancouver Welcomes Tech Companies Hampered by US Work Visa Caps :
“The U.S. laws clearly did not meet our needs,” she says. “We have to look to other places.” Microsoft opened a small office in Vancouver in 2007, when U.S. visa applications for the first time quickly surpassed the congressional limit. 
Microsoft will hire and train 400 software developers from around the world to work on mobile and cloud projects. Jones says Microsoft didn’t choose to expand in Vancouver “purely for immigration purposes, but immigration is a factor.”
The Canadian government will grant the imported IT workers 24 month visas to work at Microsoft's Centre of Excellence - 12 months more than is required by rules under intra-company transfers before they can be cycled into the US. They are not required to apply for LMIAs due to a special exemption deal between BC and Ottawa, with a special Microsoft exemption on top. Citizenship and Immigration Canada :
"Even though Microsoft’s Rotational Program is generally 18 months in duration, a 24-month work permit will be issued so that the employee may continue to perform Rotational Program job duties until they are transitioned by Microsoft into a new position elsewhere."
So Microsoft gets an immigration turnstile outpost in Vancouver, and in return they promise to hire a few paid Canadian interns.


As also noted here last June, lead lobbyist on this file is frequent CBC Power&Politics panelist Geoff Norquay of Earnscliffe Strategy Group, who formerly worked for both Harper and Mulroney.  Currently lobbying for Microsoft, CIBC, and Shaw, Mr. Norquay has previously represented Monsanto, BC Fish Farmers, Shell, and SNC-Lavalin  :
Client name: Microsoft Canada 
Lobbyist name: Geoff Norquay, Consultant 
Initial registration start date: 2006-04-06 to present
Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
  • Discussions with federal officials in the Departments of Employment and Social Development, Citizenship and Immigration, Industry Canada and Privy Council Office regarding the establishment of the British Columbia Excellence Centre to facilitate entry into Canada of foreign nationals to work in software development on a rotational basis under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
Meanwhile out here in BC, Christy Clark and her ministers of jobs and technology have been meeting with other Microsoft lobbyists this the past year : "To support Microsoft's efforts to communicate its various activities in BC relating to the recently announcement BC Centre of Excellence in Vancouver."

Microsoft also has several Centres of Excellence in India, Ireland, Cairo, Dubai, etc. 
In July Microsoft announced it was cutting 18,000 jobs or about 14% of its full-time workforce, with further cuts pending to its 80,000 external staff.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Canada on torture : We're buying if you're selling


Canada's collateral fallout from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee summary on the torture of prisoners at CIA “black site” prisons around the world.
"A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office said Wednesday that Canada does not engage in, or condone, torture by national security agencies but ...  Canada will act on “a tip from any source” if Canadians’ lives are in danger."
This is our usual "we're buying if you're selling" approach to torture.

Feb. 2012 : "The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment."

April 2010 :  Day One of Omar Khadr's trial at GuantanamoConfessions elicited via sleep deprivation, denial of pain medication, stress positions, being forced to urinate on himself and being used as a human mop, being terrorized by barking dogs, and being threatened with rape and torture. Khadr's defence team was only allowed to interview three of Khadr's 30 interrogators at Bagram and Gitmo, two of whom admit the 15 year old Khadr was threatened with rape.
FBI agent Robert Fuller
"... elicited from Khadr the identification of another Canadian, Maher Arar, who Khadr during interviews by Fuller claimed was training with al Qaeda operatives at a training camp at a time that, it later turned out, Arar was actually at home in Canada.
"In contrast to testimony he gave Monday, [FBI]special agent Robert Fuller told Khadr's war-crimes hearing that the young Canadian was not immediately able to name Arar, but did say he looked familiar." 
Shortly after Fuller reported the identification of Arar to the government, Arar was apprehended at JFK airport and rendered to Syria for interrogation there.
FBI agent Fuller also got Khadr to confess to throwing a grenade at US forces."
December 2009 : Harper shuts down parliament for two months in what turned out to be a successful strategy to muzzle parliamentarians regarding Richard Colvin's testimony about the torture of random Afghan farmers and taxi drivers under Canadian watch. 
Harper hired Bruce Carson to "stickhandle" the Afghan file "on a daily basis, involving senior officials from departments such as foreign affairs, defence, RCMP, justice and corrections". In 2007 a requisition for special boots to allow Correctional Services Canada inspection teams to wade through blood and shit in Afghan prisons was made public.
I think it's fair to say any report similar to the US Senate summary made partially public on Tuesday would never see the light of day in Canada.

April 2009 : "More than 16 months after Canada's security agencies cleared Abousfian Abdelrazik, government lawyers are now pressing him to admit to being a senior al-Qaeda operative, echoing American accusations extracted from Abu Zubaydah, water boarded more than 80 times under the Bush administration."

As noted by POGGE at the time : 
"While the rest of the world is coming to terms with the fact that the Bush administration was actually using torture to elicit false confessions in an effort to justify their invasion of Iraq, the Hapless Government™ is trying to use statements from a man who was waterboarded 83 times to prove that Abdelrazik is a terrorist."
March 2009 : The same day that CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O’Brian told the public safety committee there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture, RCMP spokesman Gilles Michaud tells the same committee :
"I want to be clear here - there is no absolute ban on the use of any information by the RCMP."
November 2006 : CSIS director Jim Judd said it had done nothing wrong by accepting as genuine the confession of Maher Arar, who was secretly and illegally bundled off by extraordinary rendition to a prison in Syria where he was held and tortured for a year.
"It does not necessarily follow that because a country has a poor human rights record that any information received from it was the product of torture," Judd told Parliament's public safety committee.
G&M : "In an Oct. 16, 2003 e-mail marked “secret,” officials of the intelligence unit of Foreign Affairs note that CSIS agents will pass on details of their then just-completed interrogation of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo and planned to “send two officers to Sudan next week to interview Abdelrazik.” 

Dec. 9, 2014 CBC : "This is a report of the United States Senate," Harper told the House of Commons on Tuesday. "It has nothing to do whatsoever with the government of Canada."
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Update : Tom Tomorrow
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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Erin O'Toole and "an insurance company like Veterans Affairs"

Evan Solomon spent much of Power and Politics two days ago trying to get Con MP and ParlSec Erin O-Toole to respond to recently revealed records showing nearly 900 job positions eliminated across Veterans Affairs with the biggest cuts going to the Disability Awards branch. 

60 senior VA managers were paid $360K in bonuses for making the cuts, spun by Harper in the House last Wednesday as "taking resources out of backroom administration and putting them into services".

"How are these backroom cuts", asked Solomon, "when some people might call them front line services?"


O'Toole didn't answer the question directly, you'll be shocked to hear, instead opting for various bizarre defences like this one at the 5:17 mark:
"The Veterans Independence Program was notoriously cumbersome. I think all MPs heard about the bills for snow removal, lawn maintenance, house cleaning. We're pre-approving now and so some of these changes have led to less paperwork."
What's he on about? More troops have taken their own lives since than were killed in action in Afghanistan and he's going on about lawn maintenance and paperwork.
But ok, let's go with that.
The Veterans Independence Program awards eligible veterans with health needs money to pay for housekeeping, grounds maintenance, personal care and other services. 
In April 2012, over two and a half years agoVeterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced veterans would no longer have to pay for the services upfront and then submit individual receipts for services to the federal government for reimbursement. Instead they would receive the payments upfront.
"It's all about cutting red tape," said Blaney.
Sounds good. But here's what Major Mark Campbell, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan in 2008 and is one of six vets taking the government to court in BC, had to say about the changes to that very VIP program four days prior to O'Toole's remarks [10:00 mark]:
"What the government says on the one hand with the spin and denials, and what I see on the other hand as a recipient, a client of Veterans Affairs, are two very different things. And this is the problem - there is a fundamental disconnect between what the government is saying and what we veterans, especially the new veterans under the new Veterans Charter, are actually experiencing on the ground. 
I mean we're seeing reductions in the Veterans Independence Program for lawn care and house care under the new grant program. They didn't bother to tell us that under the new needs matrix by and large results in about a 50% reduction in the previous benefit. There's things like that go on left, right, and centre and it boggles the mind what you experience dealing with an insurance company called Veterans Affairs."
Jesus, O'Toole, even the responses you give to avoid answering questions are crap.  Veterans Affairs underspent its budget by $133 million in 2013-14 and your bunch are dicking veterans around about things like house and lawn care and then bs-ing about it?
Un-friggin-believable.

Major Mark Campbell, as Boris has already pointed out, is a powerful advocate for the Equitas-backed court case. If you're curious about what it's like for new veterans to deal with "an insurance company like Veterans Affairs" when their injuries exceed the allowed financial payout limits, here ya go ... Also an excellent summation of the whole debacle.
Update : Erin O'Toole responds in comments
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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Political speech : Support the troops


In May 2012, David Pugliese wrote about how senior managers at Veterans Affairs Canada received almost $700,000 in bonuses and extra pay in 2011 "even as their department came under fire for failing to help former soldiers." A Con official advised him the bonuses are set by the Treasury Board and senior management at Veterans Affairs. Pugliese : 
"Next year's payouts could be even larger, since the government is tying those to the savings managers can find in their departments. An estimated 800 jobs will be lost at Veterans Affairs over the next three years."
"Veterans Affairs Canada managers made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for cutting costs as the department shed hundreds of jobs.
In 2011-12, the department paid $343,000 to 60 managers under what appears to be a new program for “Savings/Spending Targets.
Bonuses ranged from $2,376 up to $14,728, and averaged about $5,700 per person. The following year, $243,000 was paid out to 55 managers, an average of $4,400 each."

Chronicle Herald, Dec 4 : Harper dismisses massive job cuts at Veterans Affairs amid calls for Fantino’s removal 
"According to departmental performance reports filed with the Treasury Board, Veterans Affairs had the equivalent of 4,039 full-time employees in 2008-09. That number fell to 3,050 by 2013-14.
More than half of those cuts came from a program called Health Care and Re-Establishment Benefits and Services.
The program is in charge of helping with the physical, mental and social well-being of veterans and to “provide access to employment support, health benefits, home care and long-term care.”
Last year, there were 1,536 employees in that division, down 619, or almost 30 per cent, from 2009."

"Veterans Affairs is spending an additional $4 million on advertising this year — including television spots throughout the NHL playoffs ... The TV ads emphasize efforts to move soldiers smoothly from military to civilian life...."

"The Canadian Forces is requiring physically and mentally wounded soldiers to sign a form acknowledging they won’t criticize senior officers or discourage others in uniform with their comments on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The form, given to military personnel who are transferred to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, was sent to the Citizen by military members upset with what they see as a threat to their right to speak out about the failure of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces to take care of the wounded."


This month - December - the government is again attempting to have the vets' case in the British Columbia Court Of Appeal dismissed on the grounds that they have no particular social contract or covenant with returning troops because the promise made by Tory PM Robert Borden in 1917 was just "political speech":
"The defendant pleads that the statements made by Sir Robert Borden and the coalition government in 1917 were political speeches that reflected the policy positions of the government at the time and were never imended to create a contract or covenant."
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino's office released a statement Wednesday saying the government doesn't comment on issues that are before the court.
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Friday, December 05, 2014

Are there no workhouses?

Some holiday cheer from the Canadian neo-liberal think tank, Frontier Centre for Public Policy :


 Transcript :
"Labour laws in Canada are supposed to protect workers from exploitation and ensure their safety. But they are not always helping teenagers who are entering the workforce for the first time. Most provinces require that anyone younger than 16 or 14 obtain a permit to work or have written permission from their parents. Children under 12 are almost never allowed to work unless they might be helping on a family farm.  Teens who do work face many restrictions, including how many hours and which hours they're allowed to work. 
Some of these rules seem rather unnecessary. In Alberta, 12 to 14 year olds are forbidden from working more than 2 hours on a schoolday. Two hour workshifts four days a week are more disruptive than 4 hour shifts two days a week.
Minimum wage laws also make it more difficult for young people with no experience to find their first job. In the UK there's a lower minimum wage for people between the ages of 18 and 20 and for those under 18.  
Teenagers who live at home are often able to accept lower wages than adults.
It's time for governments to show more consideration for the needs of young people when developing labour policies."
Yes, why aren't more 12 year olds working four days a week for less than minimum wage?

I first got interested in FCPP back in 2007 when the Cons tapped them for policy advice on electoral reform. This was amusing because FCPP didn't seem very keen on electoral reform, although they were pretty big on private health care, denying the existence of climate change, disbanding the Canadian Wheat Board, and promoting bulk exports of water to the US.

Harper liked them well enough to give a guest speech at one of their fundraisers in Winnipeg in 2009 . This was the same year FCPP and the Fraser Institute co-sponsored the first Canadian tour of Lord Christopher "Global Warming is a Hoax" Monkton 

Currently on their main page they are featuring one of their research fellows, Wendell Cox,  also a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute, and author of The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big-Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy.

Our media seem pretty comfortable quoting and reprinting them. From just the past few days :

   Climate change denier and not founder of Greenpeace Patrick Moore is environment chair at FCPP

 by a senior FCPP research fellow

while Global News is running a half-hour weekly podcast on Alberta politics with the VP of FCPP 

Yet somehow I'm not seeing any big media interviews and guest spots with Michael Harris of Party of One or Donald Gutstein of Harperism  - two authors who have recently written about how think tanks repackage neo-liberal ideas for easy public consumption through a media chain.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Prop Rep vote in the House tomorrow

[post updated below]
Here's what the last federal election results would have looked like under Prop Rep 
as compared to what we got with First Past the Post :


Although the Cons increased their vote percentage by less than two points, this was enough to give them 24 more seats than in 2008, when they were already over-represented anyway.



From Fair Vote Canada via email :

Fair Vote Canada has just learned that NDP Democratic Reform Critic Craig Scott will introduce the following motion for PR to the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday December 3).
That, in the opinion of the House:
 (a) the next federal election should be the last conducted under the current first-past-the-post electoral system which has repeatedly delivered a majority of seats to parties supported by a minority of voters, or under any other winner-take-all electoral system; and 
(b) a form of mixed-member proportional representation would be the best electoral system for Canada."

There will be a two-hour debate 3:15 to 5:30 EST. The vote will occur at 6:45 PM EST

We need you to contact your MP now! Find your MP's phone number and email here.  


The NDP has committed to implementing Mixed Member Proportional Representation if elected in 2015, with an all-party and citizen task force to create the best design. MMP with open, regional lists (meaning, all MPs are elected by voters and all MPs are local) is the model recommended in 2004 by the Law Commission of Canada. Eight provincial commissions have also recommended MMP.

The Green Party also supports implementing proportional representation before 2019. 

The Liberal Party of Canada is calling for an all-party process involving citizens and experts to look at all electoral reform options - including other winner-take-all systems and proportional systems - in the first 12 months following the 2015 election. 


Background:
There are two major families of voting systems in the world: Proportional, and Winner-take-all ("majoritarian/plurality"). All evidence indicates that to replace one winner-take-all voting system with another is simply to replicate almost every problem we face now with first-past-the-post. 10 commissions, 14 years of polls, and decades of research says Canada needs a more proportional solution.

Proportional representation is based on a couple of key principles: 
a) Voter equality - your vote should count towards electing a representative you want, and
b) if a party earns 30% of the popular vote, they should earn roughly 30% of the seats.

There are a variety of ways proportional representation could be designed for Canada. Fair Vote Canada does not endorse only one proportional system.


Regardless of whether your MP supports Mixed Member Proportional in particular, please urge them to vote YES to this motion if they support the premise that every vote should count. Amendments to motions are possible and a yes vote to this motion will open the door for a process to design the best electoral system for Canada, consistent with Fair Vote Canada's 2015 campaign. Achieving PR will require parties working together in an all party process.


This motion is a reflection of the momentum that is building across the country for votes that count. We need as many MPs to speak in favour of proportional representation as possible to move this issue forward now.
Please take a moment to let your MP know that you want him or her to be a strong voice for proportional representation. 
Thank you for helping us Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election!

Fair Vote Canada



{end of email}

Maybe if we didn't have a system that coerces us into tactical or strategic voting, we could vote for who we really wanted, and knowing that our votes actually counted for something might get more than 61% of us to show up to vote. 

Wednesday Update : Motion defeated 166 to 109

Yeas - All NDP plus Greens Elizabeth May and Bruce Hyer, Bloc Claude Patry and Louis Plamondon, and Independents Brent Rathgeber, Maria Mourani, and Manon Perreault. 

Nays - All Cons, plus Independents Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti 

16 Libs voted Yea - Mauril Bélanger, Carolyn Bennett, Scott Brison, Rodger Cuzner, Stephane Dion, Kirsty Duncan, Wayne Easter, Mark Eyking, Hedy Fry, Ted Hsu, John McCallum, David McGuinty, John McKay, Joyce Murray, Frank Valeriote, Adam Vaughan


15 Libs voted Nay : Justin Trudeau, Gerry Byrne, Emmanuel Dubourg, Judy Foote, Chrystia Freeland, Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale, Yvonne Jones, Kevin Lamoureux, Dominic LeBlanc, Lawrence MacAuley, Geoff Regan, Francis Scarpaleggia, Judy Sgro, Scott Simms



Half the Libs - aka the Nays - would prefer a preferential ballot system, an alternative but slightly more democratic winner-take-all system similar to first past the post. And here's why ...

On Power and Politics tonight, Eric Grenier of 308dotcom laid out what seat count the three different systems would deliver, according to his current polling. 


Note these figures above are only based on polls.

[Edited to correct omission of Manon Perreault]
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Harper's Perps with Perks #13


Michael Sona, fall guy robocall perp sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in the 2011 election robocall scandal, has served 12 days of that sentence and would like to go home now while he waits for the appeal of both his conviction and sentence. 
OK, said Judge Harry Laforme today, releasing Sona til May 29, 2015.

As Sona's trial progressed from his being an unlikely criminal mastermind whose friend and fellow Guelph campaign co-worker received immunity to give evidence against him that turned out to be so self-serving that even the prosecution said it should "be approached with caution", to the testimony of the Hill staffers delivered to Elections Canada's investigation by the Con Party lawyer who sat in on and coached their initial EC interviews even as EC lacked the power to compel any witnesses themselves, and on to his lawyer's decision not to put Sona on the stand because he thought they'd won their case, Michael Sona mostly serves now as the symbolic closed door to any further investigation or interest by Elections Canada into the 1,394 legitimate complaints about misleading phone calls across 234 ridings in the 2011 election. 



Ironically, perhaps the most damning account of this farce to date comes from the guy who rolled over on Sona - the same guy who testified he logged out of his own RackNine account on election day only to log back in again a few minutes later onto the Pierre Jones/Poutine account on the instructions of Guelph election campaign chair Ken Morgan who decamped to Kuwait after refusing to be interviewed by Elections Canada.

Sona still insists he is innocent of the charges brought against him and doesn't know who the real perp(s) were in Guelph.


Elizabeth May has again called for a public inquiry.

Peter Smoczynski is still making his election fraud documentary, with renewed fundraisers coming in the spring.

Perps with Perks Boxed Set!
Order yours in time for Xmas today!

Dec 15 Update : The Crown served notice today it wants to lock up Sona for an even longer sentence than the nine months he is already appealing.

Sona has called for a public inquiry into the 2011 elections robocalls case. 

EC Commissioner Yves Côté has closed his investigation.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Astroturf Illustrated!


Heh. After slagging off on the protesters on Burnaby Mountain for days for being "professional protesters", SunNews ran this headline banner reading "Ineffective Kinder Morgan Protests" under their friendly coverage of four huge pro-oil signs up on the mountain. 

But wait ... haven't we seen those counter-protest signs somewhere before?
Oh here they are
Back in May at the "No Enbridge!" protest on Sunset Beach in Vancouver, representing :  

CodyinCalgary's Canada Action 
"Full Value for Canadian Resources - Support Northern Gateway"

Just a couple of guys on a grassroots website with four counter-protest Canada Action banners big enough to block the view of the ocean.... and

The big banner guys above signed up earlier this year at the email-harvesting site, Power of Canada, part of a public relations campaign meant to mobilize the public called the Partnership for Resource Trade. It's hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

Power of Canada Advisory Council Members include  Perrin Beatty, Martha Hall Findlay, David Emerson, John Manley, Kevin Lynch, Ted Menzies, and reps from CAPP, TransCanada, Enbridge, Rio Tinto, Teck, Suncor, TransAlta, CD Howe, BMO, Asia-Pacific Foundation, Mining Association of CanadaPort Metro Vancouver, etc. etc. 

From the Power of Canada P4RT mission statement (italics -mine) :
"We aim to foster a favourable environment for policy decisions that enable responsible resource development and trade.We will do that by informing, energizing and mobilizing a broad coalition of Canadian thought leaders, stakeholders, small- and medium-sized businesses and informed Canadians in a countrywide fast-to-action, grassroots public education and advocacy campaign."
In May, CCC CEO Perrin Beatty offered a $2000 student scholarship for producing a video on the merits of P4RT and its objectives. Rule # 1
"In order to be eligible for the contest, students must be registered as full-time students as well as like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Facebook, follow the CCC on Twitter, and subscribe to the CCC’s Youtube channel. In addition, students must sign themselves and five friends up on the PRT website: Power of Canada."


So I guess we can be expecting a lot more 
"fast-to-action grassroots" websites and banners in the near future.


P.S. I'm reliably informed that fake grassroots ad campaigns are commonly known in the adbiz as "blowjobs".

Here's one to get them started : We Heart Blow Jobs.


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