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. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DILBIT does the Nebbies

The National Energy Board has sided with Kinder Morgan in refusing the Province of BC's request for more details on how KM would handle an oil spill from KM's proposed $5.4-billion Edmonton-to-Burnaby Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. 
None of our business apparently. Kinder Morgan cited "commercial, security, and privacy reasons" for their redactions.

The NEB is also rather coy when it comes to identifying the former energy industry links among the members that make up their own ranks.  NEB bios are full of expressions like "contributed to the creation and development of major energy projects" without getting into exactly which projects and companies they represent. So to augment that lack of info - here's the Nebbies...

Not to pick on "Bob" in the toon specifically here but rather than the NEB stating that Mr. Bob Vergette was once "Vice President, Operations with a major North American liquids pipeline company", it would seem rather more to the point given NEB's current Trans Mountain review to include the info that company he was VP of was Trans Mountain Pipelines - even if it was a decade ago.

NEB Chair and CEO Peter Watson - formerly Deputy Minister of the Alberta Executive Council til last June - is at least straight up about NEB priorities. Last November he explained that "the board's main job is to ensure proper construction of the pipeline" while he saw environmental concerns as more "the job of the provinces and pipeline company".

NEB Vice Chair Lyne Mercier : 29 years with Gaz Metro.

Roland George : according to NEB "worked primarily in the private energy sector for over three decades", is also a Gaz Metro alumni, and held senior positions with the Canadian Energy Research Institute, or CERI, a not-for-profit tarsands booster. 

Philip Davies : Vice-President, Law and General Counsel of SaskPower ; VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Encana Gas Storage

Shane Parrish : Manager of Business Development for Canadian Petroleum Engineering

Ron Wallace : From NEB : "At AGRA, he was involved in major oil and gas operations throughout the former Soviet Union and Russia where he managed major project assignments in conjunction with the World Bank."
Also "senior management positions with Petro-Canada and CanStar Oil Sands Ltd."

Kenneth Bateman : "VP of Legal Affairs for Enmax, a large energy distribution, supply and service company"

Alison Scott : Deputy Energy Minister of Nova Scotia and offshore oil promoter

James Ballem : former Conservative MLA and PEI Minister of Environment and Energy.

Mike Richmond : energy lawyer and Co-Chair of the Energy and Power Group at McMillan LLP; and on the board of the Ontario Energy Association.

Jacques Gauthier : one time personal envoy to Harper in 2010 for the Vancouver Olympics, served on the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service, and was "senior VP and CEO of Kruger Energy Inc., where he headed up a new division dedicated to the development of renewable energy" 
NEB bio : "Mr. Gauthier has contributed to the creation and development of major energy projects in Canada, the United States and Europe."

The only NEB member who doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the oil and gas sector insider mold is David Hamilton - Chief Electoral Officer and Deputy Minister and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. 

Could be it's possible to be just a bit too much inside : 
NEB : Onshore Pipeline Regulation Incidents 2000 to 2012 :

"A truly captured regulator " said Marc Eliesen, a senior energy executive who once served as CEO of BC Hydro, when he quit his role as a NEB intervenor in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tarsands-to-tankers expansion project.

This post an update to Norm Farrell's from 2013 as more players have been added since.

Collected DILBITs

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Conservative Broadsided Corporation

                                                               updated below

Noam Chomsky : "That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital."

All graphics from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

I get Dr Dawg's point : "Dismantle. Then remantle out of new material" 

But I'm afraid once the goal of dismantling is achieved, there will be no remantling.
More likely, just as the dismantling is almost complete, the Cons will opt for keeping a severely controlled ConBullshitCorp limping along under an ever diminishing mantle as a useful and somewhat less ridiculous version of SunNews.

CBC is really just a reflection of our society at large - a whole lot of self-serving repetitive corporate-driven drivel interspersed with occasionally rewarded bright sparks of public-spirit, principlesand courage.

So how about we support those who splash some much-needed cold water on CBC from time to time without actually drowning the CBC in the Cons corporate cronies' bathtub :

Friday Update : Progressive Economics Forum : The CBC - the Corporate Broadcasting Corp.

Good overview of Canadaland/Amanda Lang controversy and CBC's pro-corporate evolution from former CBC insider Bruce Livesey

Predictable response and hit piece on Canadaland from Globe and Mail: 
Journalist Jesse Brown is quick to expose the failures of Canadian media. But what about his own?

Canadaland's Jesse Brown responds by publishing email exchange between himself and author of G&M hit piece. Ha!

Saturday update : Amanda Lang's softball CBC interview with Royal Bank CEO Gord Nixon on TFWs and RBC/iGate in-and-outsourcing in April 2013 was revisited when Canadaland revealed Amanda Lang is in a relationship with RBC board member Geoffrey Beattie.  
I don't really care who Lang is doing.
My own interest in Lang stemmed from her outrageous G&M opinion piece, also from April 2013, defending outsourcing while attacking her CBC co-worker's TFW coverage as "a sideshow" - a mere 10 days before Lang's scheduled keynote address at an iGate/RBC sponsored conference on outsourcing. 

Dear G&M : re your piece on Canadaland's Jesse Brown yesterday and your many "disclosures" including one on Lang's piece for your paper.
You missed one. 
The US Security and Exchange Commission - General Electric 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders lists Lang's beau Geoffrey Beattie as "a director of the Globe and Mail" in addition to being on the board of RBC. That bio is also repeated here.
You're welcome.
Tuesday update 
George Monbiot at The Guardian : Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite reviews the CBC debacle

Frank KollerCBC Ombudsman Declines To Review Conflict-of-Interest Policy Violations

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Banking on RoboCon - A Fractured Fairy Tale

Guest post from the Salamander - An analogy ...

Across Canada, Trust Funds & Savings accounts at 240 branches of THE BANK are robbed on the same day via electronic theft using directories, passwords & access codes shared within Head Office of THE BANK in Ottawa as well as the branches. Thousands and thousands lose all their savings and Trust Funds

THE BANK spokespersons & lawyers immediately bluster that the robberies did not happen - 'Baseless Smears' says one, over and over and over again. Then they grudgingly describe the alleged event as isolated to just one branch... and that all the other banks often allege they have been robbed... and that people who lose all their money often exaggerate. 

Banking agencies and the 'Authorities' slowly show some interest. After a year, THE BANK reluctantly states it may allegedly involve more than one branch in Guelph Ontario but if it even happened, it must have been the action of a lone perpetrator - perhaps the bank volunteer who's name they have already leaked to newspapers and TV media. Most all the bank staff from that branch have left the country or soon arrange 'immunity'

The funds are NEVER RECOVERED.. and there is ZERO REFUND for THE BANK's thousands and thousands of clients. After several years of investigation the closure rate is left at 1 out of the 240 criminal fraud cases. The remaining 239 'cold cases' are declared unsolvable by The Banking Authorities & THE BANK cites the conviction of a single person as a great victory for Crime & Punishment & THE BANK. New banking secrecy laws are passed to make this so.

Now my question for erudite and non partisan pollsters is ..

After all this, do you know anyone 'Crazy' enough to keep their money in a branch of THE BANK ?

Request UN election monitors/observers for Canada


Friday, January 02, 2015

Poll : 23% of us are Con loonies

                                                                        updated below

Ottawa Citizen : Some say PM could justifiably shut down Parliament in crisis: survey
"A small but growing minority of Canadians says the prime minister would be justified in closing down Parliament and the Supreme Court in the face of “very difficult times,” according to a survey
What a fabulously leading survey question! Who wants to know this?
It found 23 per cent of respondents said the prime minister would be justified in shutting down Parliament when the country is facing a crisis or “very difficult times,” and 17 per cent would accept dissolving the Supreme Court for the same reason. 
Keith Neuman, executive director of Environics Institute, said he couldn’t explain the findings. "
Here's a wee bit of a clue, Keith. That 23% who are happy to shitcan Parliament and the Supremes under "very difficult times"?  It's not near a quarter of Canadians - it's just the 349 Con voters out of the 1517 Canadians you interviewed .
24% self-identified as "right wing" this year in response to your question on page 29 for the Americas Barometer survey : "According to the meaning that the terms 'left' and 'right' have for you, and thinking of your own political leanings, where would you place yourself on this scale?" 

This, as it happens, is about the same proportion of eligible Canadian voters that voted Con in the last election after Harper had already shut down Parliament twice. "Difficult times" is apparently code for not wanting to answer difficult questions in the House.

The article also makes mention that this 23% of people happy to shitcan Parliament and Supremes has been "inching up" compared to the 2010 and 2012 surveys. Given that less than half of the 1500 surveyed in 2010 and 2012 were asked this question, I'm not sure how it's possible to determine that percentage is "inching up", but yes, indeedy in 2010, 83 respondents thought it would be justifiable to close Parliament while 70 thought dissolving the Supreme Court would also be just fine. 

I must say the 2010 survey seemed a lot more fun -- particularly their inclusion of a number of leading questions about whether a military coup would be justified in Canada if there was "lots of corruption" - 264 said yes, or "lots of crime" - 226 said yes. The stats :
Coup justified - lots of corruption
264 - A military take-over of the state would be justified 
474 - A military take-over of the state would not be justified
4 - Don't know        1 - Skipped              757 - Not Asked
Coup justified - lots of crime
226 - A military take-over of the state would be justified 
513 - A military take-over of the state would not be justified 
4 - Don't know            0 - Skipped            757 - Not Asked
Really? More than a third of those you asked thought a military coup would be justified in Canada?

Exactly who needed to have this kind of info about Canada in 2010? Why were over half "Not Asked"?

Another set of questions from both 2010 and 2014 inquired whether people who disagree with our form of government should be allowed on television or to vote or to run for public office. And what survey on governance would be complete without those 85 Canadians who answered affirmative in 2010 to the statement : "We need a strong leader who does not have to be elected" ?

I don't blog polls anymore because they're pretty much just noninfotainment when they aren't outright push polls - but the Citizen/Global has eked a half dozen stories out of this one survey in the last week, including one with the entirely misleading headline : "Majority of Canadians worried about potential voter fraud, study finds". 
As the 50+ commenters below it point out, it's not non-existent voter fraud we're worried about - it's election fraud for the third time in a row. 

Note : For the 2014 survey, in addition to the 24% righties, 15% of respondents self-identified as "left" and 61% as "middle" in Canada. This was the lowest percentage of self-identifying lefties of the 27 "Americas" countries surveyed, minus the USA where the question was not even asked. The gender split in Canada was 50/50 with approximately 60% of respondents between the ages of 30 and 60.

h/t CC

Sunday update : Dr. Dawg takes issue with my scepticism re the Americas Barometer survey and the signs of fascism inherent in some of its findings. I left a comment there which I'll expand on a bit here. 

It isn't that I think that Canada is immune to fascism - certainly history has shown that if the public sphere is set up to only reward bastards, eventually many of us will fall in line and become bastards to each other - and it does seem the neoliberal corporate experiment we have all been living under these past few decades has grown increasingly tired of our noisome plaints about rights and freedoms.

Rather, my scepticism re the survey is based on its questions having originally been designed for the US's southern neighbours - hence its name : Latin American Public Opinion Project - and that its principal funding comes from USAID, recently featured in the news for running covert disinformation campaigns in neighbouring countries, presumably on behalf of US interests.

The Canadian affiliate and sponsor of the Canadian portion of the survey, the Institute on Governance, is "an independent, not-for-profit public interest institution with a mission to advance better governance in the public interest through exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere."

Ok ... except the board is chaired by the Deputy Minister of Industry Canada whose IoG bio touts his oversight of the dismantling of the Wheat board, while IOG VP of Public Governance did the same under Deputy Minister of Transport Canada for the Navigable Waters Act ... so yes, I'm thinking their mission of "good governance in the public sphere" might have rather more to do with privatization and gutting enviro legislation.

Also I'm sceptical as to why Canada has been included for the last four surveys in what was originally a USAID project aimed principally at Latin America and why a PostMedia paper has now run six separate stories touting the results of this year's survey without mentioning that.

Friday, December 19, 2014


If the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is so concerned that Michael Sona's nine month sentence for election fraud is "demonstrably unfit and fails to reflect the gravity of the offence” - so concerned in fact that they are appealing to have his sentence increased - why don't they direct that same concern towards investigating the Pierre Poutine perps behind him? 
Especially given both the judge and prosecutor in the case stated that Sona didn't act alone.

So reasons the Council of Canadians in their new formal complaint to the PPSC.

“PPSC is not an investigative agency,” responded PPSC spokesey Dan Brien. “It’s not in our mandate to initiate, conduct or direct investigations.”

Meh, said a spokesey for Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Côté, who now falls under the purview of the PPSC thanks to the Fair Elections Act, noting that the case is now closed as far as they are concerned unless someone submits a formal complaint or new information comes to light. 
“We conducted an investigation. All of the evidence that we found was presented to the Crown,” Michelle Laliberte told Global News.
"Asked if the office has received more information, Laliberte said, “Not at this point.”
Andrew Prescott's immunity-protected testimony that 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 - that isn't "new" or "more" information? Isn't a new lead? Isn't worthy of further investigation, if not a few subpoenas?

You know, it's really too bad Canada lacks a national police force who could look into this kind of crime on our behalf when they aren't busy dragging a 61 year old woman off her walker and throwing her to the ground and handcuffing her for being unclear what was being asked of her, or protecting foreign oil corporations from local protesters or First Nations, or protecting themselves from the possibility of staples, or shooting a vet with PTSD twice in the back and killing him on his own property because they didn't have a warrant to follow him into his house or .... where the hell was I? Oh yeah ...

In the absence of any interest from the horsemen, and for an idea of how much help Council of Canadians can expect from the Elections Canada Commissioner this time round in their bid to have the Poutine case in Guelph re-opened, lets have a look at the commissioner's response to their request for help in their March 2012 election fraud court case, launched on behalf of six plaintiffs from six ridings :
In early August. Commissioner Yves Cote refused to give a federal court more details on its ongoing investigation into the robocalls scandal.
To avoid sharing the information, Cote filed for a special exemption, saying releasing it would “encroach upon the public interest,” and that “public disclosure of information from a partially completed investigation carries the serious risk of compromising the investigation by, among other things, influencing the testimony of witnesses, impairing the ability to verify information already obtained and affecting the willingness of witnesses to speak.”
And then, as far as anyone knows, some time after that they just stopped.

Jan 1 2015 Update : Elections Canada confirms total lack of interest in pursuing election fraud.

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."

"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

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.

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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