Monday, December 21, 2015

I love the smell of grassroots in the morning

There's a new *grassroots effort* to defend democracy with a CPC MP-sponsored petition campaign to back it up. 
"Defend Democracy is a grassroots effort to put pressure on Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to commit to holding a national referendum on the issue of electoral reform prior to enacting any changes.
We believe firmly that no one government has the moral authority to fundamentally alter the nature of our democratic system without direct approval from Canadians."
Defend Democracy was created by Harrison Ruess and Stephen Taylor.
House of Commons petition E-48 was launched by Michael Rybacha and sponsored by CPC MP Scott Reid

So how grassroots is it?

Stephen Taylor - self-described "Conservative Party of Canada Pundit", president of the online company Rally For Canada Inc. offering "online issue campaigns, petition drives, and data mining" since 2009. Launched the short-lived HarperPAC with Trudeau attack ad last June. HarperPAC, registered to Corp, still exists but is password-protected now.

Scott Reid, MP, petition sponsor - Conservative democratic institutions critic 

Funny story about Mr. Reid. 
In 2011, someone who worked under Conservative Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella for ten years interviewed Morton Blackwell of the US Leadership Institute for his dissertation. You'll perhaps recall Morton Blackwell, mentor of a young Karl Rove, as the Republican delegate who once handed out pink band aids mocking John Kerry's war wounds in Viet NamHis Arlington Virginia Leadership Institute (budget - $14.8M per year) is a training ground for conservative activists practicing "grass-roots efforts".
"Scott Reid, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, had on two occasions arranged for the Leadership Institute to run day-long seminars for Conservative parliamentary staff and interns. 

Members of the Leadership Institute eventually began to organize candidate training schools in Canada. Mr. Blackwell also mentioned receiving a visit from Preston Manning, the founder of both the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance, when he was establishing his retirement project, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. 
When asked about the criteria the Leadership Institute uses to decide which ideological groups in other countries the organization will work with, Mr. Blackwell indicated his test was their congruence with the political philosophy of Ronald Reagan. 
Today, the staff of the Leadership Institute runs training programs a few times a year through the aforementioned Mr. Reid’s office."


Anonymous said...

Sounds more like the stuff used to fertilize grass roots.

WILLY said...

Sounds more like Crass Roots Effort

Anonymous said...

A well researched piece. I was always taught to find out who was saying something and to follow the money.
What has me shaking my head is these people are screaming for a referendum before they even have a clue what the consultation will be, what options are being considered, and likely before the government has finalized its plans for the process.
Sometimes, it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people just think you are idiots, rather than open it and remove all doubt.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1997 when Stephen Harper was President of the National Citizens Coalition, a position later taken over by Stephen Taylor, he gave a speech to the Council on National Policy in which he stated "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term" at the invitation of Morton Blackwell, then executive director of the CNP.

RossK said...


Wonder if, next time this post is written, Allison will have to add one more tag to reflect the breech-birth of the northern branch plant of the Tea Party.

I'll take short odds on the monicker 'Charter Party'.

(and did you really read that entire thesis?)


Alison said...

Hey, Willy Loman!

Hi Ross and yes I read it a couple of times because I'm interested in the effect of transnational parties on national elections. It's also the first time I've read a Conservative Party of Canada member's account of an event held by the Republican-backed International Democrat Union of which Tony Clement Deputy Chairman. Grover Norquist, Jonah Goldberg, how to counter global warming alarmists, school prayer as a choice issue, Freedom Forums!
Sheesh, as you would say.

Perhaps someone out there who knows Scott Reid could ask him if he's still running Morton Blackwell workshops. This account is four years old.

Danneau said...

Gee, who knew where it would lead when they put fake lawn on the stadium floor of the new Houston baseball team back in 1962, eventually, when they changed the team name from Colt .45s to Astros, giving rise to the term AstroTurf, and we all know what astroturf groups have come to be in the current political lexicon. Things are rarely what they purport to be in the political life of any country.

Also interesting to note that the original Houston name reflected that of a particularly nasty and alcoholic brew, likely still available south of the border, while Toronto, I think I read, originally wanted to be the Blues, to reflect their association with Labatt's. I'm most ready to stand corrected by those who might know better, but it does seem to be yet another domain where things are rarely what they appear to be, and where only those willing to look a little deeper will see the machinations behind the Red Curtain. Ever grateful for the diggers, Alison.

PFilson said...

I am amazed at how stridently they demand a referendum after they totally ignored the CPC campaign promise to give the farmers a referendum on the CWB. Shortly after they got their coveted majority they stated that obviously everyone knew they hated the Wheat Board monopoly so they obviously had their mandate so that was all the referendum they needed. Follow the money to see how many high up CPC retirees are on the board of grain companies.

Anonymous said...

Not grassroots. Astroturf!

Alison said...

Thank you, Filson, will do.

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