Sunday, March 30, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jason Kenney's math mojo

Employment Minister Jason Kenney explained that "none of us know exactly what is going on in the labour market of today" because ... math!!!  
The quest was made even more difficult by ignoring StatsCan's official statistics showing a declining job vacancy rate in favour of using data based on hiring "an outside software program that searches for online job ads" and adds them up.

This data showed the "job vacancy rate has been increasing steadily since 2009" - which, as it happens, turns out to be spectacularly useful for bolstering the Cons' corporate-friendly argument in favour of importing temporary foreign workers.

But why did the wonky Kijiji-based data falsely show an increase in labour shortage in Canada?

Chris Harris, Kijiji’s head of Jobs and Housing, provides a clue. 
He explained : "the job postings on the site are rising in part because the site itself has had major growth in terms of popularity."


Update : Good read from Susan Delacourt: Trolling the web for job data, Conservative-style

Shorter : The problem wasn’t fake ID in the 2011 election; the problem was fake phone calls. The same Cons who were outraged at the supposed intrusiveness of the gun registry and long form census have spent the last decade scooping up info on Canadians for their CIMS political database -- yet were strangely unfussed about the data breach of CIMS in the last election.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Laurie Hawn does Brad Butt

In the House on Monday, Con MP Laurie Hawn's memory appears to have picked up where Brad Butt's left off, repeating Butt's earlier allegations - later retracted - about voter information cards being picked up from apartment building lobbies for fraudulent voting purposes. 
Hawn, as per my vid excerpt above :
"In the 2006 election, I was called personally and offered hundreds of voter cards that had been left in apartment buildings and so on. Like an idiot, I said, “No, we don't do that sort of thing”. I should have said, “Yes, come on down”, and had the police waiting."
But according to Hill Times last night, in light of Mr. Hawn's 8 year old allegations :
"Elections Canada told The Hill Times the voter information card was not accepted as voter ID in the 2006 election, when it was used solely as mail-out information to voters about their poll locations and was not required at the polls even as a way to help polling officials direct voters to their polling station ballot box."

As it happens, on April 27 2006, the very year in question and three months after the election, Hawn brought up this same allegation with Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley at the PROC Committee
Hawn :
"During the last campaign, we got an e-mail from a prominent Edmonton lawyer about the fact that many individuals were enumerated at their downtown offices instead of at their homes. One individual bragged about how many times he had gotten to vote for my opponent based on the number of leases he had in the riding and therefore the number of voter cards he received. That number was fourteen."
Hawn had a team stay up all night to check into this and they uncovered "300 apparently spurious registrations and several hundred suspicious ones", including "karaoke bars, lingerie stores, dance lounges" :
"We found 100 non-existent addresses in Edmonton's downtown core. In some cases the addresses listed were fictional residences between two genuine buildings. We found hundreds of families registered to vote out of their law offices, medical offices, accounting offices, Government of Canada offices.
In some cases there may have been genuine errors involved, but in other cases married couples, including their children, were registered to vote out of high-rise office spaces. Dozens of people were registered to vote out of office towers, but suite numbers were not listed, making the addresses look like normal residential addresses. Some people were registered to vote in other ridings as well as ours. In some cases people were registered to vote only in Edmonton Centre when it was clear they lived in another riding. One of those included a candidate.
Dozens of people were registered to vote out of storage yards, and yet there's no legitimate way anybody can be registered to vote out of a storage yard. Eighteen people were registered to vote out of one truck stop. People were registered to vote out of karaoke bars, lingerie stores, dance lounges, galleries; you get the picture.
We had other observations with respect to the voter cards. Some nationalities routinely get multiple voter cards."
Then he gets round to voter info cards left in lobbies :
A lot of people in apartment buildings are fairly transient, and voter cards get left in stacks in lobbies of apartment buildings. The cards can then be picked up and used by anyone. Since we don't require identification at the polling station, anybody can be anybody. This election and last, in fact, we got phone calls--anonymous, naturally--offering us extra voter cards, for money, naturally. We, naturally, refused.
Voter cards for money? That's new.
After Kingsley explained he requires a written complaint and cannot investigate on the basis of just hearsay, he turned to voters having addresses in office buildings:
... for purposes of the income tax system, some people register their addresses as their accountant's, so we were getting the accountant's address as a genuine address. We were able to purge the lists of these before the election.
and then to Hawn's complaint about voter info cards left in lobbies. Remember, this is in 2006 :
"There is no voter card in this country. It's a voter information card. It's information that is provided. That card does not entitle one to vote. It certainly does not entitle one to vote multiple times."  
Undaunted, Hawn comes back to his lawyer example again later on :
"The example that I used in the beginning was that of a lawyer, who clearly knows better, bragging that he voted fourteen times for my opponent in the 2004 election because he had a voter card for each of the fourteen properties that he leased in the riding."
Huh. This must be another lawyer that Hawn's "prominent Edmonton lawyer" told him about.

"Hawn's campaign actually issued a news release in January of 2006 to announce it had filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections Canada about "massive voter list irregularities" in his riding of Edmonton Centre, alleging that non-residential buildings or "non-existent" addresses were listed on the voter rolls. 
But the 2006 release does not make mention of an offer for voter identification cards."
Or money for turning them over. That's odd. Perhaps the Opposition could ask him about that today. Back to CBC :
About a week before the 2006 election, Hawn's campaign gave a list of suspect names found on the voters list to Elections Canada.
Hawn's campaign office "made such a stink about it" that Elections Canada put on extra staff in Edmonton Centre on voting day. Hawn won that election. 
A year later in January 2007, Elections Canada issued a release about the results of its investigation into Hawn's complaint. It found 93 voters who used what it called "non-residential addresses" and reports it interviewed "most of these electors."
The upshot of the investigation was that 23 voters who did not live in Edmonton Centre nonetheless voted there. Elections Canada found that all had "updated" their addresses, although the report doesn't say when that happened. The report says none voted twice and nor was any link found between them.
Perhaps because of Hawn's complaint, the report goes on to say, "On election day, electors listed at potential non-residential addresses, including these 21, were highlighted on the lists of electors, and election officers obtained proof of residence from these electors before they voted."
Blithering idiot parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Paul Calandra :
told the House that in the 2006 election, as a scrutineer for the Conservative Party, he had seen his dead mother's name on a list of voters who were recorded as having already voted.
"She had actually passed away in 2005, and when I asked the person why her name was checked off the list, she assured me that my mother had been in earlier in the day to vote. When I explained to her that was not possible, I was ushered out of the polling station," Calandra said.
Reached by phone late Tuesday, Calandra said he made a mistake when he said he was a scrutineer in that election. 
Sigh. Well, it is Calandra after all.
In 2007, new rules stipulated voters must provide specific ID, such as driver's licences, utility bills or other forms of identification, in order to cast a ballot.
For the 2011 election, the voter information cards were permitted to be used for proof of address, but only for specified groups, such as aboriginals, students and seniors in assisted living or retirement homes.
The Fair Elections Act [contrary to everyone but the Cons] eliminates the use of the voter information card..
Thursday update : Elections expert Harry Neufeld schools Laurie Hawn in 2 minute clip in PROC committee.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things that go better with Koch

We don't hear much about the Koch brothers' tarsands dealings in Canada so when a headline in the Washington Post reads : 
The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers ,
it's still notable even after follow-up spats as to whether Koch was only the biggest lease holder in northern Alberta or the biggest US lease holder or perhaps only the second or third biggest overall and whether they actually stand to gain on the Keystone XL pipeline given they haven't reserved any space on it. 
For their part, Koch Industries has repeatedly denied any interest in K-XL one way or the other - despite their Application  to the National Energy Board for K-XL Intervenor Status for their Alberta subsidiary, Flint Hills

"(Flint Hills) is among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters, coordinating supply for its refinery in Pine Bend, Minnesota. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application."

The words "direct and substantial interest" here, say the Kochs, merely refer to "curiosity" and presumably not to having a direct and substantial interest in eventually getting their crude to the Koch refineries on the Texas coast at the other end of the pipeline from Flint Hills.

The National Energy Board passed K-XL in March 2010. 
Meanwhile at the same time south of the border, the Koch brothers were brazenly hoovering up members of NEB's US counterpart, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, through their conservative political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, which succeeded in signing up 600 lawmakers and candidates to their "No Climate Tax Pledge" in 2010.
Of the 12 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2011, 9 signed the pledge.

The only other Koch-related news we received regarding Canada, aside from Ezra Levant's  "wonderful summer internship" as a Koch fellow 20 years ago, was that Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party and President of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, is also a senior fellow at the Koch-funded Fraser Institute.

Then earlier this month, the Manning Centre held one of their Networking Conferences in Ottawa featuring Adam Guillette, a Koch-connected speaker, on "Recapturing Popular Culture and the Arts" by "framing the debate in narratives".  
Guillette is director of development and outreach at Moving Picture Institute, which boasts  Charles Koch's wife Elizabeth as a founding director and board member and seeks to fund and promote young right wing film makers.
Guillette's MPI bio states he was a "founder of the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity" which pours money into defeating Democrats, where "he served as state director and head of donor relations".

Press Progress snagged 2 minutes of his Manning Centre speech on how to reframe fracking and charter schools as underdogs instead - shades of Frank Luntz! - plus further notes from it at the link. 


Two minutes not enough?
Here Guillette addresses Tea Party Orlando as Florida State Director for Americans for Prosperity "doing grassroots training all around the country" as part of the "Global Warming Hot Air Tour against Global Warming Alarmism" :
Global warming legislation will raise taxes by $1.2-trillion, lose millions of jobs, and even if it works it will only result in a reduction of one tenth of one degree celsius by the year 2100. 
The phrases freedom, liberty, and free market also come up a lot.

Well done, Manning Centre.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Social contracts - they're so-o-o last century

According to lawyers for the Attorney General fighting the class-action suit filed by six Afghanistan veterans, the social contract Prime Minister Robert Borden promised to Canadian Armed Forces and their families just before Canadian soldiers went off to Vimy Ridge in 1917 was just a politician talking so they are under no particular obligation to honour it.

Good to know.

Federal government response, BC Supreme Court, Page 17  :
"The defendant further pleads that at no time in Canada's history has any alleged "social contract" or "social covenant" having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation, or as a constitutional principle, written or unwritten.   
The terms "social covenant" and "social contract" have been used at various points in time by a number of different groups and in a number of different ways to describe the relationship between members of the CAF and the government and people of Canada. No set of principles exist that can be stated with certainty, understood with clarity, or accepted with unanimity among the people of Canada to define a "social contract" or "social covenant" as alleged."
Really? I could give you a really simple one that everyone in Canada except you agrees on even without Borden. When you send soldiers off to risk life and limb in some foreign Great Game adventure, you better have a really good fucking plan in place for them when they get home.
"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."

This is their third argument against the vets. 
The first one sought to dismiss the case on the grounds the vets had no hope of winning it. The second one argued that court was not the appropriate venue for members of the Canadian Armed Forces to express their concerns - which pretty much exudes the very definition of a special social covenant in itself.

Next time Steve is in the mood for a military adventure, perhaps he should consider hiring mercs or contractors from a Canadian firm like GardaWorld instead. In Canada we think of Garda as a Brinks security trucks competitor that also does airport screening but you may recall the first daylight abduction and eventual assassination of four British ex-servicemen at gunpoint in Baghdad in 2007 were employees of GardaWorld"one of the world’s largest privately owned security companies."

GardaWorld's website boasts security operations on every continent : Afghanistan, Basra, Colombia, Haiti, Kurdistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Baghdad, Argentina - pretty much anywhere guns are required to protect corporate interests.

Derek Burney is Chairman of GardaWorld's International Advisory Board. 
Brian Mulroney's chief of staff, head of the Steve's government 'transition team' in 2006 and a member of the Afghan panel which advised extending the Afghan mission, Burney worries about Canadian "aversion to war-fighting"
Advisory Board members assist GardaWorld in developing key relationships among corporate executives, industry associations and appropriate government agencies.
Another GardaWorld luminary is Daniel Menard, former Canadian head of the NATO-led Task Force Kandahar in 2009, during which time he had 2800 Canadian troops under his command before he was court-marshalled in 2010 for canoodling. He returned to Afghanistan the following year as head of Afghan operations for GardaWorld after the Department of National Defence paid $40,000 to relocate Menard to his new job headquarters. There was also that bit of unpleasantness about him being jailed in Afghanistan for alleged gun smuggling on behalf of GardaWorld earlier this year but that's all straightened out now. 

A Freedom of Information request to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the amounts the FCO spent hiring "Private Military and Security Companies from Nov. 2010 to March 2012" reveals they paid GardaWorld £56,000,000 for security services in Iraq from Dec. 09 to Jan. 13 and £1,740,000 from Feb. 11 to July 11 for the same in Libya.

Now that's a contract the Cons can respect.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stephen Harper - tilting at windmills

No stats supporting a rise in crime? It's invisible crime! Steve will slay invisible crime for us. Ha!

No stats supporting a rise in anti-Semitism in Canada?  Never mind. Steve set up a special parliamentary committee to slay the invisible rise of anti-Semitism in Canada and give it a whole new definition that might include you.

No stats supporting public outcry against long form census? No problemo. It was an invisible public outcry. Long form census slayed, and bonus! -  cripple StatsCan's budget.

No stats supporting examples of voter fraud? Must be invisible voter fraud then, the kind only Steve and his minions can see. Best cripple Elections Canada investigations just to be on the safe side.

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Tilting at windmills and slaying invisible monsters seems to provide excellent cover for attacking whoever Steve as Donkey Otay perceives as opponents.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dragnet Nation

A lengthy excerpt from Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin, Pulitzer Prize winner, WSJ biz and tech writer, and now an investigative reporter for Pro Publica :
 Here’s How You May Already Be Getting Hacked

It's one thing to take for granted that we are all now being tracked via our cel phones, online banking and forums, voter lists, health file records, Google searches, Whole Foods digital signs that are actually facial recognition scanners,  etc.
Verizon even sells a product that allows businesses to track cell phone users in malls.

But it's quite another to read the stories of innocent people including minors who have found themselves outed, in virtual police line-ups, photographed in their bathrooms and while they were sleeping, blackmailed - all without their knowledge or being sloppy about their online privacy. 
The teenagers who were spied on at home by their school via webcam spyware installed on the laptops given out by the school - neither they nor their parents signed up for or knew about it.

News to me was that if you go online price shopping, retailers vary their prices to you depending on their assessment of your financial worth based on your geographic location.

Angwin's book primarily addresses privacy considerations in the US but as Steve is fond of saying - the War on Drugs and the GWOT, those bullshit policies and programs which fueled these invasions of our privacy right alongside the tech that made that made them possible, know no national boundaries.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is hosting a symposium : "Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy" at UofT on March 20 and 21. Free to public but you have to register. To be webcast later.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Elections Canada youth vote vids vs ... puffin poop?


Noon Update : Hill Times : "Elections Canada says a video ad the Conservative government cited as the type of advertising campaign it wants to prohibit the elections agency from using under the proposed new election law was never actually aired." 
The ad was uploaded to their own Youtube account in 2008 by FluoHill, the art collective that produced it.
Mayrand cancelled it before it aired in 2007. Back to original post :

This Elections Canada video promoting the youth vote is exactly what the Cons intend their Fair Elections Act to put a stop to, an anonymous gov official told The Hill Times, providing them with a link to the video. 

As you can see, it shows Xs representing ballot votes moving from a rock concert to a recycling symbol and industry emitters and ends in a quiet forest : "Vote. Shape your world."
Interesting that the Cons would cop to admitting that a vid loosely advocating that youth exercise their vote for a cleaner environment in a better world is not in the Cons' own best interests.
" ... the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23."
Right. So just for comparison, here is an example of the kind of "political parties and candidates" outreach the anon gov official is presumably referring to : the Con Party puffin poop election ad that came out at the same time as the EC vid [that never aired]:


Galvanizing stuff really, except that six year olds don't have the vote. 
A spokesperson for Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre (Nepean Carleton, Ont.) said the government is addressing the content of Elections Canada voting promotion campaigns.
I'll bet. Can't be offending the industry dudes who wrote the Environmental Assessment Act 2012 for them. 

And I'm way past fed up with this Con tripe about shutting down EC's ads promoting the youth vote - on the grounds they are not successful because the youth vote hasn't increased -in favour of having individual political parties do it instead. Party ads targeting youth have run concurrently with the EC ads so using the Cons' correlation error logic, they've already proven they don't work either.

You know what does keep the youth vote from dropping off the electoral map entirely? Vouching. The next election will presumably fall in October 2015. How many students who just moved to a new campus the previous month are going to have voter ID with a current address for that riding one month after they arrive in it?

Remember that scene in Annie Hall when some pompous pontificating blowhard in a theatre line-up is grandly interpreting Marshall McLuhan and McLuhan shows up and says he's full of shit? If only life was like that, says Woody Allen.
Well that happened to the Cons this week when Harry Neufeld, the expert they've been heavily citing in support of their bid to kill off vouching and voter info cards due to widespread voter fraud, showed up and said they were full of shit. 
Neufeld's argument in favour of actually widening the use of vouching and on the dangers of the Cons' new voter suppression bill here.

Poilievre of course just shrugged it off. He likes his own pompous pontificating blowhard interpretation of Neufeld's report better than he likes Neufeld's.

The Cons don't even care any more that the Fair Elections Act has been revealed to be a ploy to suppress the vote. They're just counting on Team Con showing up to vote and as many other voters as possible becoming too disgusted to bother.

Monday, March 10, 2014

EPIC's epic NEP - Part 2

Con "fixer" Bruce Carson and Lib National Campaign Co-Chair Daniel Gagnier worked together on a national energy program for industry lobby group, the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, and have both given speeches and published numerous papers in support of it
Former EPIC president, now Senator, Doug Black was duly grateful :
"I would like to acknowledge our three vice chairs that presented our work to the energy ministers: Bruce Carson, Gerry Protti and Daniel Gagnier."
In light of EPIC's subsequent presser in 2012 (h/t Hugh) that :
"Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced legislative changes that would put EPIC's recommendations into federal law. Regulatory changes within omnibus Bill C-38 reflect recommendations of EPIC surrounding regulatory streamlining." 
... I thought we might take a look at a few of EPIC's regulatory streamlining recommendations and how they have shaped current Con policy on property rights, pipelines, public participation, and First Nations.

EPIC itself has been offline since last Thursday's press coverage of new RCMP allegations against former vice-chair Bruce Carson.
Tuesday Mar 11 Update :  EPIC's website is now a single blank page with a note saying HACKED BY and a very long name which seems to be Turkish.
Tuesday update #2 11am : EPIC website back up, listing same leadership as before. 

Let's start with Property Rights under the push for tarsands-to-tankers pipelines. 
Theirs, not yours. 
EPIC : Canadian Energy Strategy Framework, Page 31 :
"It is a well established common law principle that a right to mines and minerals includes the right to do all things necessary to work and recover the minerals. In other words, since a grant of mineral rights is essentially meaningless unless accompanied by the right to actually recover those minerals, it is assumed that the grant of mineral rights includes the right to recover the minerals as well.
Therefore, since an initial grant of mineral rights also conveys the right to recover the minerals, the regulatory scheme should focus on how these rights are exercised, not whether they can be exercised. Otherwise, the initial grant of rights would be rendered meaningless.

This does not suggest that a right to recover minerals provides the rights holder with a free pass to recover those minerals in any way they see fit, regardless of the environmental or social implications. It does suggest, however, that if recovering the minerals will necessarily result in certain and acceptable environmental effects, then the initial grant of rights should be interpreted as impliedly authorizing those effects."
I had never considered that mining or mineral rights automatically pre-approves accepting their resulting effects on the environment - as say the results from fracking - but EPIC cites the Aberta courts and Supreme Court of Canada as backing them up on this.
For what this looks like in real life, see: Alberta Mother Fights Five Neighbouring Fracked Wells (h/tMogs)
Back to EPIC :  
"If the regulatory scheme determines whether or not each resource development should be allowed to proceed based on equal consideration of environmental, social and economic factors, then the scheme is failing to take into account the previous acquisition of property rights and is disregarding long established legal principles relating to private property. "

Consideration of environmental and social factors subordinate to corporate rights to private property!
EPIC then extrapolates a further extension of those rights in getting product to market.

 "... just as there is a presumption that mineral rights-holders should be able to recover the minerals in question, there should also be a presumption that mineral rights-holders should be able to transport recovered minerals to market, such as through a pipeline. Otherwise, the mineral right would lose its inherent value. 
This does not mean that all proposed pipelines should automatically be approved without examination of environmental and socio-economic considerations. What the presumption does mean, however, is that the need for a pipeline required to move resources to market should be evident in the proposal itself, and that any proposed pipeline project that aims to connect a new supply basin to market must be evaluated with the understanding that a pipeline (though not necessarily the specific pipeline project being proposed) should be allowed to proceed to allow producers to access downstream markets.
Otherwise, the upstream mineral rights become worthless.
With respect to most renewable resource projects, pipelines, transmission lines and nuclear generation projects, similar logic should also apply.
Just as the initial grant of mineral rights creates a presumption that those rights
should be developed, a preliminary determination by elected public representatives that a renewable project, pipeline, transmission line or nuclear generation project is needed and in the interest of the province or country ought to create a presumption that the development should be allowed to proceed."
Wow. I wonder if that would obtain under legal challenge or if, as Steve would say, it's a "no-brainer".
And speaking of Steve
"Statements from the Prime Minister claiming that Canada should become an “energy superpower,” and his recent promotion of Canada as an energy supplier to China, are examples of the kind of leadership required, at least at a general policy level, to provide clear signals of the government’s intent to officials, regulators, industry and other governments."
Strong stable Steve gets a cookie. A fortune cookie. Public regulators get the point.

Tarsands-to-First Nations-to-Tankers Pipeline, Page 24 :
"The federal government needs to take a proactive role in negotiations with First Nations to ensure the national interest is effectively represented. [Well hello, Jim Prentice!]  Almost all potential opportunities for market diversification require new or expanded infrastructure and the collaboration of First Nations."
Tarsands-to-tankers-to-China, Page 25 :
"China, Korea and Taiwan are seeking more secure supplies of oil and natural gas. Both the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and the Kinder-Morgan expansion in Vancouver could help to meet this growing Asian demand, and there is clearly an opportunity for even further capacity development."
Public participation, Page 52
"Joint review panels are a unique aspect of environmental assessments in Canada that have created a plethora of legal concern and given rise to significant delays and accompanying costs with no apparent benefit to the decision-making process. 
In addition, joint review panel members are often independent from the regulators and are divorced from governments’ overarching energy policy goals.  
The federal government must develop regulations that restrict participation in federal EA reviews to those parties that are directly and adversely affected by the proposal in question. 
... determining whether increasing energy infrastructure from Alberta to the west coast is in the Canadian public interest, but once that policy has been determined it should not be revisited in specific project reviews. Regulatory proceedings for specific projects should focus on the merits of the project and the evidence on the record. The only third parties that should be allowed to participate in these reviews are those parties that have the potential to be directly and adversely affected by the proposed project."
... which is exactly what we got in the pipelines hearings in BC. 

So there it is - EPIC's word made flesh in the Environmental Assessment Act 2012.

I guess EPIC's bragging rights about their influence on government legislation for their 38 energy member organizations wasn't an exaggeration at all. They wrote it.

To you small and large L liberals. I'm sure it's royally pissed you off that I've tarred Liberal national campaign co-chair Daniel Gagnier for his work with Bruce Carson. 
I don't much care about Carson - he's gone as a fixer for Steve. 
What I do care is that we now have Gagnier, representing EPIC's views since 2010 and currently their registered lobbyist and President , as still shown at EPIC as of Friday, fixing up a tarsands agenda for Trudeau.

Thank you for reading.
EPIC's epic National Energy Program, Part one


Sunday, March 09, 2014

EPIC's epic National Energy Program

After CBC reported that the RCMP had seized Bruce Carson's bank records as part of their investigation into his alleged illegal lobbying on behalf of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, the policy think tank comprised of most of Canada's energy resource extraction corporations promptly went offline.  It's still offline.

This is not the first time poor old EPIC's website has melted away when struck by sunlight, only to reanimate a few days or weeks later with a member or two missing.

EPIC's whole purpose is to formulate a national energy program and get it implemented. 

Last night while I was reading their January 2011 report to government, A Strategy For Canada's Global Energy Leadership, [currently missing pages 11-26 and 29 and yes, I have no life], commenter Hugh left a link to their Aug 2012 presser announcing its release. 
Energy Policy Institute of Canada: Key Directions for a Canadian Energy Strategy Released    Excerpted, bold mine :
"EPIC's concentration on regulatory improvements were clearly laid out in draft documents presented to provincial and federal ministers in the summer of 2011 and, earlier this year, Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced legislative changes that would put EPIC's recommendations into federal law. Regulatory changes within Bill C-38 reflect recommendations of EPIC surrounding regulatory streamlining." 
That would be Bill C-38, aka the Environmental Destruction Act, the 400 page omnibus budget bill fast-tracked by the Cons through the House and finance committee, amending or repealing 70 federal laws in a single bill, including gutting environmental legislation and, as EPIC boasts, streamlining the regulatory review process. 

As APTN reports, then EPIC president and now Senator Doug Black put it the previous year :
"I would like to acknowledge our three vice chairs that presented our work to the energy ministers: Bruce Carson, Gerry Protti and Daniel Gagnier."
Yeah, Team Tarsands :
  • Bruce Carson, Harper's "The Fixer" inside the PMO, a lawyer disbarred for fraud in the 80's currently facing charges of influence peddling on behalf of his 22-year-old ex-sex worker fiancee to sell water purifiers to First Nations with polluted water, and also lobbying for millions in government grants within 5 years of leaving government
  • Gerry Protti, founder of the oil industry lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and now head of the 100% industry-funded Alberta Energy Regulator, which streamlines the regulatory approval process for oil companies - the very recommendation touted in EPIC's presser and Global Energy Leadership report.
  • Daniel Gagnier, active registered lobbyist for EPIC, go-between between Bruce Carson and Quebec Premier Charest in 2010, and now President of EPIC and Justin Trudeau's national co-campaign manager

Note : I have to catch a few hours sleep and go to work. In 12 hours or so I'll replace this note with some unpacking of EPIC's success at writing our national energy program with regard to importing workers to the tarsands, building a pipeline through BC,  etc  
Update : Scratch that. Got tl/dr, so new post instead - EPIC's epic NEP - Part 2

EPIC is not shy about naming the hurdles confronting their goal of making Canada a global energy superpower. In the meantime till I get back, here's a bit of their past research pointing out a few of them : 

1) A comparison of country's share of the total energy R&D investment budgets (in US $ millions) using combined data from 2007 and 2008:

2) Forecast for the US to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017, and a net oil exporter by 2025

3)Estimated loss of $4 billion in federal tax revenue from discounted oil and gas prices

4)Direct employment in the energy industry in Canada in 2008 was approx. 2% of the labour force.

5)The energy supply sector accounted for approx. 7% of Canada's GDP in 2009.


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Bruce Carson : "the secret sauce"

~~~updated below~~~

"You are the secret sauce," Doug Black, President of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, wrote to EPIC co-founder and Harper's disgraced "fixer" Bruce Carson.

Bruce Carson, former PMO staffer, has banking records seized by RCMP 

According to CBC yesterday, an RCMP affidavit alleges Carson illegally lobbied many of his former government colleagues - including Nigel Wright and Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council - on behalf of EPIC, an industry lobby group of 38 energy resource members including Shell, Suncor, Enbridge, EnCana, Imperial Oil, Cenovus, ConoccoPhillips and Canadian Natural Resources, for a salary of $10,000 a month. 
Black responded, "Excellent. Need Nigel on side."
Interestingly, Bruce Carson and Nigel Wright share the same lawyer, Patrick McCann. 
Doug Black was appointed to the Senate last year.

EPIC's mandate was to produce an industry-led national energy strategy, which they did in 2011, and by June 2013 the 100% industry-funded Alberta Energy Regulator was set up with yet another EPIC vice chair and energy lobbyist as chair - Gerard Protti, founder of CAPP.

The EPIC leadership line-up from 2011:
Doug Black – EPIC President 
David Emerson – Chair 
Bruce Carson – Vice Chair 
Elyse Allan – Vice Chair - CEO of GE Canada  
Gerard Protti – Vice Chair - VP of EnCana, founder of CAPP 
Daniel Gagnier – Vice Chair - VP of Alcan

There's another interesting relationship in that line-up as well.

When Carson appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources in April 2010, in addition to plumping for building a pipeline to move oil from Alberta to BC - Enbridge and TransCanada Pipelines are both member orgs of EPIC - Carson also made a pitch for smart meters. 
Nine months later on Jan. 25 2011, BC Hydro gave the first contract for its smart meter program to Corix Utilities, which (is) was at the time half-owned by CAI Capital Management Ltd. 

As it happens, yet another EPIC founding chair, David Emerson, was previously made a senior advisor to CAI Capital Management and then the following day he was named CEO and board chair of B.C. Transmission Corp., which "plans, operates and maintains the province's publicly-owned electrical transmission system" for BC Hydro. 
(BC Transmission was privatized by the BC Libs in 2003 and then reabsorbed back into BC Hydro at massive public cost in 2010)
h/t Joyce Miller at Watershed Sentinel back in 2011 for Corix research.

Photo at top from Canada Ministry of Environment webpage shows Carson attending a meeting with then Environment Minister Jim Prentice and US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu two months after leaving Harper's office. 

updates : Welcome, Gazetteers!
with thanks for your wonderful link to Tyee Will McMartin's piece on Emerson, smart meters, CAI, and Corix.

APTN : Senior Trudeau advisor linked to Bruce Carson's alleged illegal lobbying: RCMP document

That would be Liberal National Campaign Co-Chair Daniel Gagnier from our 2011 list above - president of EPIC since sometime in 2012 and still  going  strong.

Poor old EPIC. Seems every time they get a little publicity, their website goes offline. It's been down since last night so here's a screencap taken yesterday.


Blog Archive