Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Standing with Israel through fire and water and sunny ways

This is what we look like at the United Nations General Assembly right now - one of a half dozen outliers of little red squares on the big screen voting NO on every single vote to do with Palestine.  It's the same look we've had for over a decade - standing with Israel through fire and water and now sunny ways - in the yearly UN ritual of non-binding resolutions on a humanitarian disaster that inconveniently implicates Israel.

The other NO voters are always Israel, the US and their coalition of the willing islands where the US has military bases, and occasionally Australia. We do not choose to abstain from voting, as some of the other 193 member nations do when they object to some part of the language of a resolution being biased or too critical of Israel; we just vote NO to all of it. 

Last Tuesday we voted against this one, sponsored by South Africa, calling for Palestine's right to sovereignty over her own natural resources :

December 22 2015 - Resolution 70/225 :
“Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”   (document A/70/480) excerpted :
"Deploring the detrimental impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources, including the destruction of orchards and crops and the seizure of water wells by Israeli settlers.... Further calls upon Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks" 
  • 164 in favour
  • 5 against, (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, United States)
  • 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu).
Here's another dozen Canadian NO votes on Palestinian issues from the last month :

December 17 2015 
Resolution 70/441 : The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination 
  • 177 in favour
  • 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Tonga, South Sudan).
December 10 2015
Resolution 70/108 : Assistance to the Palestinian people -introduced by Luxembourg on behalf of the EU and yet to be voted on.
A representative of the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine noted the World Bank had recently assessed the economy of Gaza to be “on the verge of collapse” and more than 100,000 Palestinian civilians remained displaced after 2014"

Israel responded that it "made continuous efforts to improve the well-being of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" and blamed the Palestinian Authority for "evading its responsibilities regarding governance in Gaza".
  • 158 in favour
  • 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) 
  • 10 abstentions (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)
"by which it condemned Israel’s continuing settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as violations of international humanitarian law" 
  • 161 in favour
  • 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu) 

"The Assembly reaffirmed the Geneva Convention’s applicability, and further demanded that Israel accept the Convention’s de jure applicability in those territories"
  • 163 votes in favour
  • 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States)
  • 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)
Resolution 70/87 : Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories 
  • 158 in favour
  • 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) 
  • 10 abstentions (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)
Resolution 70/86 : Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues
"By its terms, the Assembly reaffirmed that Palestine refugees were entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom"  
  • 167 in favour
  • 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

  • 169 votes in favour 
  • 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States)
  • 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nauru, Paraguay, Vanuatu)
Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities
  • 164 in favour 
  • 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) 
  • 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Paraguay)

"the continuing detrimental impact of ongoing unlawful Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, such as excessive use of force by Israeli occupying troops against Palestinian civilians" 
  • 92 in favour
  • 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States)
  • 75 abstentions

November 24 2015 
Resolution 70/15 Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine excerpted :
"The Assembly reaffirmed the need to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. It called for the intensification of efforts by the parties, including through negotiations, with the support of the international community, towards the conclusion of a final peace settlement, as well as urging renewed international efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions; the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace; the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session; the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the conflict; and existing agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides."
  • 155 in favour 
  • 7 against (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States) 
  • 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Nauru, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).
Resolution 70/14 : Special information programme on the question of Palestine 
  • 155 in favour 
  • 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga)
Resolution 70/13 : Division for Palestinian Rights 
  • 99 in favour 
  • 8 against (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 59 abstentions
  • 102 in favour
  • 8 against (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 57 abstentions
General Assembly of the UN Resolutions for November and December 2015

Sunny ways.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Another *grassroots* industry-funded Con tank

Canadian Cynic wonders how the astroturf/fundraiser actiontank Conservative Voice, according to their own website, can manage to juggle :
"Conservative Voice believes that Canada needs an organized, non-profit voice financed by industry to ensure that the Canadian political landscape remains in balance"
with :
"Funded and supported by citizens who cherish individual freedom, free markets, and smaller government." 
Good question. They also declare :
"Conservative Voice is independent of all political parties."

The sole director for Conservative Voice listed at Industry Canada is Dan Hilton, who was personally hired on by Irving Gerstein as Executive Director of the Conservative Party of Canada in January 2009, a position Hilton held til October 2013. 
The Conservative Voice website was registered five months later in March 2014 and Hilton is still thumping up business for them.

(You'll perhaps recall Conservative Fund head Irving Gerstein told Hilton about Nigel Wright's $90K personal cheque to Duffy long before the rest of us heard about it.)

Political analyst Alise Mills, who divides her analyzing time between Ezra Levant's Rebel Media and CBC's Power and Politics, was named National Executive Director at Conservative Voice this past July by "Dan Hilton, Founder and Chair". 
Alise Mills' previously plumped for the astroturf pipelines booster site British Columbians for Prosperity, and apparently will continue to do so in her new gig at ConVoice
"On Monday November 9th, our Executive Director, Alise Mills, stands up for Canadian jobs, ethical oil and notes the hypocrisy of cancelling Keystone XL."
I'm not sure what Industry Canada means when it lists Conservative Voice as a "Non-Soliciting" Corporation, but ConVoice held a big fundraiser at the Marriott in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago on December 9 with guest speaker Tony Clement and Rebel Media's Brian Lilley.

Last year, Conservative Voice explained their fundraising objective
" ... the real battle takes place between elections."
“We need your corporate support now to build a campaign for the Conservative Voice .... This seed money should be considered a lobbying/activism expense as we promote your conservative corporate agenda. We are seeking funds to finance a national mail and telephone campaign to small and medium sized business owners to build our war chest ahead of the next election so that we can start to push our message in early 2015.”
Corps will get their tax receipt outside the writ period which imposes spending caps on PACs.

Their Mission Statement :
"To raise support and awareness for conservative ideals; and to keep Canada on the right track of Conservative principles and policies while keeping Canada’s political landscape balanced."
Big C in Conservative. Alrighty then.

Monday update : via Greg Fingus : How the Koch network rivals the GOP, overtaking political parties and candidates, infusing money and talent, and answerable to no one. 

This, Greg notes, underscores our need up here for counterbalancing citizens' movements  working across party lines. 

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."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Duffy, Sona, Finley, and Lunn

Three live accounts from CBC, CTV, and the Ottawa Citizen covering Mike Duffy's allegations under oath at his trial that :
1) Con campaign chair Doug Finley's "black ops" team perpetrated the Saanich-Gulf Islands robocalls in the 2008 federal election (Dec. 10 testimony) and 
2) Doug Finley said Sona could not have perped the Guelph robocalls in the 2011 election because he hadn't taken their black ops course. (Dec. 16 testimony)

John Paul Tasker, live blog at CBC  Dec 10 2015 10:01am :
"[Gary] Lunn met with Duffy and a lobbyist for Molson (big sponsor of the Olympics) at Hy's steakhouse in Ottawa. He wanted to discuss his 'election problems.' Duffy says Lunn was concerned, he had only squeaked by in the last election. 'He wouldn't have won without the intervention of Doug Finley's black ops at headquarters ... They used robocalls to misdirect NDP voters headed to the polls,' Duffy says, the Conservatives knew who all the NDP supporters were (because of their voter database), they made targeted calls to NDP urging them to vote for the NDP candidate. Problem is, the NDP candidate had dropped out after the deadline to withdraw, would still be on the ballot. Lunn told Duffy he had no idea he just a call after from HQ 'saying you're welcome Gary.' " 
"Lunn wanted Duffy to come out for 'third party validation,' to help him win over non-Conservative voters, because it had been so close last time and he had only won because of Finley's dirty tricks."  
John Paul Tasker, liveblog at CBC, Dec 16 2015  1:08 pm today :
"Turning now to June 18, 2009. 'Duty entertainment' with Gary Lunn at Hy's. ... This is the meeting where you described election fraud, Holmes said. Duffy said I didn't say it's election fraud, I said they mobilized robo calls to confuse NDP voters, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not sure if it's fraud, they thought it was clever. Did you think it was clever? I didn't think about it too much. That's why Lunn told me 'I was hanging on by my fingernails,' please come out and help me on labour day to win by riding. Duffy says the motivation to invite me out was for me to help him with campaigning. Would Harper have known about Doug Finley and his black ops? I have no idea. Duffy says I have no knowledge if Harper knew about those robocalls."
"Duffy says robo calls or misdirecting goes on in every party especially during leadership races; Duffy says parliament hill is rife with stories of manipulation. Holmes says did you keep Lunn's story to yourself. Yes. You didn't see it fit to go to Elections Canada to report this? No. Lunn only knew that he got a phone call when someone says 'you're welcome.' 
Duffy says when Michael Sona took the fall for the robo calls in Guelph [in 2011], Doug Finley flew off the handle. 'He hasn't taken our courses,' on black ops, 'he wouldn't know enough to do this,' Duffy says Finley said."

Katie Simpson, live blog at CTV  Dec 16 2015 today :
"Duffy says members of Conservative political "black ops" teams went to international conferences to learn tactics.
When Michael Sona robocall story broke, he was with Doug Finely. Duffy says Finley said "this kid doesn't know enough"
Duffy says Finley said that Sona hadn't been on this course."

Kady O'Malley, live blog for The Citizen on Dec 10, re Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2008 :
"The only way Lunn hung on to that seat, according to Duffy, was through the "black ops" robo-calls campaign to misdirect NDP voters, which was, he recalled, perpetrated by then-Conservative campaign chair Doug Finley."
Today in her Ottawa Citizen blog however, after she quotes Duffy : 
"Doug Finley "raced out" saying that Sona "couldn't be guilty" as he hadn't been on their course."
she writes :
But Duffy *now* concedes that at no point was Finley mentioned during the meeting at Hy's -- Lunn just told him about the subsequent phone call saying "you're welcome."
So just to clarify, Duffy is now backing away from his headline-ready anecdote last week about Doug Finley's black ops teams in Saanich, which now seems to be a conflation of separate stories, but which he acknowledges he didn't share with anyone else, including Elections Canada. (Nor does he seem to have been particularly surprised or appalled by the revelation.)"

Back in February 2012 before he went under the Con bus, Duffy was busy attempting to deflect blame away from the Conservatives about the 2011 election robo/live calls 
“I don’t believe it was the Conservative Party. But if something is going on, don’t forget, we have all these other groups,” Mr. Duffy said. 
“People have to remember that it’s not just political parties that are operating during a federal election campaign,” he added. “Under the law, we have all kinds of interested third parties that are operating in election campaigns, and I think that’s where we have to be careful. People are throwing stones but there have been third parties that have been attacking Conservatives as well as Liberals and New Democrats.”
Nice try but third party operations are not necessarily independent of the parties they support.
Also notable that Duffy mounted this handy 2012 deflection for the Cons nearly three years after his 2009 meeting with Lunn and his presumed knowledge of Con campaign chair Finley's alleged "black ops" operations in Saanich-Gulf Islands that he never mentioned to Elections Canada.

An excerpt on the 2008 Saanich-Gulf Islands robocalls pilot project from the documentary Election Day in Canada : The Rise of Voter Suppression is online here

With Harper now out of office, the media is bored with the whole business of election fraud because it's never going to happen ever again, right?  After Elections Canada determined there had been a widespread campaign of electoral fraud targetting non-Conservatives in at least 247 ridings, they closed their puny investigation and declined to put it before the courts.

Democracy Watch is taking the Conservatives to court because government lawyers won’t. 
If you have a few bucks to spare, kick them over a donation towards their court costs at the link.

Monday, November 30, 2015

James Moore, UNBC Chancellor

This is James Moore campaigning for Stephen Harper on October 18, the day before the last election :
"... all that effort that you've poured into everything that we've fought for for so long, all of it is for naught if over the next 24 hours, we don't make sure that we get out that vote and re-elect Prime Minister Stephen Harper." 

This is *a government that actively muzzled Federal Scientists, that steadfastly failed to take meaningful action to address global climate change, that stifled legitimate democratic dissent, that discounted the need for a Federal inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous woman, and which sought to exploit anti-Muslim sentiment amongst Canadians in order to bolster its electoral fortunes.

This is University of Northern BC Board of Governors Chair Ryan Matheson on CBC Daybreak North defending the board's appointment of Moore as chancellor two days ago : 
"James Moore represents a lot of great things about what UNBC is - James being one of the most public alumni from UNBC ... UNBC being a great educator of minds is producing world class leaders."
UNBC Chair Ryan Matheson is the provincially appointed alumni representative on the Board of Governors 

This is the petition to Ryan Matheson created by a UNBC senator:

UNBC must reverse its decision to appoint James Moore as Chancellor *

Update : Prince George Citizen, Nov. 30 : Faculty, alumni call on UNBC to reverse James Moore appointment as chancellor

Amy Blanding #takebackunbc : "Members of Parliament of Canada are not eligible to be members of the board (a chancellor is considered a board member). Moore was nominated while he was still a sitting Member of Parliament. This seriously calls into question the legitimacy of his appointment and the process."

The Province, Dec 1 : Ex-Conservative MP Moore faces backlash over UNBC appointment
"Ryan Matheson, chair of the UNBC board of governors, said the university is listening and plans to reach out to those who have voiced concerns but will not reverse the appointment.
Matheson said it is “unfortunate” Moore is being judged on his previous political affiliations."
Previous political record, if you please, Mr. Matheson

Tuesday update : So remember that sexting scandal about James Moore and Vanessa Schneider, senior aide to Con Minister of Infrastructure Denis Lebel?
I don't care who James Moore is doing or isn't doing but it turns out that in April this year, Vanessa Schneider was appointed new communications director to BC's Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson : BC Liberals stock-up on spinners for advanced education

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A closer look at the CRTC Voter Contact Registry

The Fair Elections Act mandated the first ever Voter Contact Registry. 

Phone-bank companies, candidates, political parties and third party groups hiring an outside company to make live and robo calls had 48 hours from the start of their use in a campaign to register with the CRTC. Parties and candidates making their own in house calls were not required to register. The DoNotCall list does not apply to political calls.
This same Fair Elections Act prevented release of the list til a month after the election. This meant voters were unable to check it to see if the calls they were receiving were legitimately registered with the CRTC - not that it would have mattered in the case of Pierre Poutine in the last election as he hid his use anyway.

The CRTC list was published a week ago: 
"A total of 1460 registrations have been filed to the CRTC for the 42nd General Election, including 554 from calling service providers and 906 from other persons or groups."
At first glance, the list appears to be one long list of Con MP/candidate names and phone service providers so I added them up :
118 Con candidates used Responsive Marketing Group (RMG), for live calls
92 Cons used ElectRight for live/robo calls or both, Bergen, Clement, Raitt, Nicholson, and Scheer among them.
38 Cons used Nik Kouvalis' Campaign Research/Campaign Support for live/robocalls or both, including Harper, Poilievre, Oliver, Alexander, Rempel, Leitch, O'Toole, Lukiwski  
But First Contactwhich told CBC that in the 2011 election it "provided services to more than 80 Liberal candidates", is listed on CRTC's 2015 Voter Contact Registry simply as 

where "Both" refers to both live and robocalls. No names or numbers so we don't know how many Liberals signed up with them for how many calling contracts this time.

Likewise NGP VAN, a Washington DC company used by Obama in 2012 on which Liberalist is based, is just listed as : 

Perhaps NGP VAN is considered "in house" but I wonder on what grounds the CRTC allowed First Contact off the hook about their specific use in a list that is supposed to be about public disclosure. 
Glen McGregor writes : Compared to their rivals, Tories used a whack more telephone contact firms during the election
but I don't think we can know that if data for large firms are missing.

Onwards ...
127 Liberals used Prime Contact Inc
Only 4 Cons used RackNine this time round, Jason Kenney being most notable.
5 NDP candidates used Strategic Communications. This appears to comprise the entire extent of reported NDP phone campaigning for individual candidates. There were another 4 Strategic Comm listings for the NDP Party at large.The bulk of Strategic Comm users were third party groups like unions, Greenpeace, and Council of Canadians. The NDP as a party also used Direct Leap Technologies.
And lastly, a brief look at Blue Direct, new to me and used by Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, and 10 other Cons for both live and robo calls according to the CRTC list. 
In his 2014 book, Winning Power: Canadian Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century, Tom Flanagan writes Blue Direct is owned by a former student of his, Matt Gelinas, formerly of RMG and the Manning Centre. 
Gelinas' partner at Blue Direct is Richard Dur, a Morton Blackwell Leadership Institute alumnus, seen here being honoured as Leadership Institute graduate of the week in 2011 :
“LI graduate and Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders said it well when he described LI training as ‘taking a drink from a fire hose,’” Richard said.
Ok then.

Edited for clarity.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tony Clement, Deputy Chairman of the IDU

 CBC reports on Con interim leader Rona Ambrosia's top shadow cabinet jobs yesterday,
"Tony Clement, who has virtually no international experience, having served as minister of health and president of the Treasury Board under Harper, will be the critic for foreign affairs."
No international experience. Really, CBC? 

Here's Tony a couple of weeks ago at the International Democrat Union Committee on Foreign Affairs meetup in Marrakesh.  The IDU an international alliance of some 80 centre-right and rightwing parties from around the world - has featured Tony as Deputy Chairman for a year now.

He's been Canada's representative as a vice chair at IDU, alongside now deceased Senator Doug Finley, Harper’s former bagman and in-and-out scheme campaign director, for years. 

Founding members of the IDU included Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then US Vice-President George Bush Sr, President of France Jacques Chirac, and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Until quite recently their photos formed the IDU front page :

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was chair for 12 years. 
This might explain how Harper came to recite verbatim a speech in support of George Bush's war on Iraq delivered just two days before by PM Howard, and why Harper's former chief of staff and election war room strategist Patrick Muttart travelled to Australia to learn and refine Howard's micro-targeting election techniques for use in four successful Conservative Canadian elections and later returned to Australia to work on their 2011 election campaign. 

On March 28 to 30, 2012, the IDU Standing Committee on Elections and Campaigns was hosted by the Conservative Party in Ottawa - one of the IDU's regular election technology seminars. 
In August 2014 Tony Clement hosted Pierre Poilievre's address on 'Democratic Reform' to a meeting of the IDU Executive held in Ottawa after the passage of the Fair Elections Act.

From the IDU History page : 
"Through the IDU, member Parties can exchange policy ideas, assist each other to win the political argument, and to win elections. The IDU plays an essential role in enabling like-minded, centre-right parties to share experiences in order to achieve electoral success.
A major event is also held every four years to coincide with the Republican Convention."
This might not be what you mean by "international experience", CBC, but it certainly is what the Cons and the IDU mean by it.  And it wouldn't hurt you and other promedia, Linda Diebel excepted, to mention this international cross-fertilizing agency of rightwing electioneering at least once sometime in your news broadcasting lifetime. 

Update on Con/IDU links : In 2013 the Harper government paid $8000 for former PM/IDU Chair John Howard to address the annual Manning Conference in Ottawa.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Welcome back, Mr. Togneri

BC Premier Christie Clark's government ran into a spot of bother of late over the triple-deleting of emails and the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner's consequent report into their serious breaches of access-to-information laws

Additionally, as noted in May by Laila Yuile , two days before former executive assistant to BC's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Tim Duncan blew the whistle on what he contends is a widespread practice of email deletion within the Clark government, that same Clark government "removed penalties for staff who improperly destroy documents". 

Clark's deputy chief of staff retains "almost no sent emails" so presumably Christie's personal predilection for governing by post-it note remains unaffected.

Once upon a time in the west, bloggers like Dave at The Galloping Beaver, RossK at the Gazetteer, myself, and others used to track the various FedCons being cycled out of Harper's employ through the BC government and back to the Harper homeland again. Ken Boessenkool, Chuck Strahl, Sara McIntyre, Dimitri Pantazopoulos, and Nina Chiarelli all helped BC Premier Christie Clark form the BC Libs into a west coast subsidiary of whatever-it-is-the-FedCons-want-now.

So it's interesting to note amid all this controversy around breeches of access-to-information laws that former FedCon access-to-information squashing alumnus Sebastien Togneri  joined Christie Clark's government in February this year as Executive Assistant to the BC Minister of Energy and Mines.

Togneri, you will recall :
"...set off a political firestorm when it was revealed by The Canadian Press that he, as a senior aide to then Public Works Minister Christian Paradis, had ordered the "unrelease" of a sensitive document that the department was set to provide to the news agency after a request under the Access to Information Act. 
As a result, he was the subject of a year-long probe by Canada's information commissioner in 2011 in which he was found to have meddled in a number of access-to-information files in 2010. He quit the federal government as a result."
Between these two stints as senior aide in the Harper and Clark governments, Togneri worked for two years as the caucus whip for the Alberta Wildrose Party and did a stint as an election observer in 2012 for US Republican Senator John McCain's International Republican Institute. 
In May and again last month he monitored elections in the Ukraine for the OSCE.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Dept donated $8M to the International Republican Institute in 2014 "to increase transparency ... and awareness of best practices in local governance" in Ukraine.

Welcome back to the fold, Mr. Togneri

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Legal loopholes - Bruce Carson, Nigel Wright, and Elections Canada

Elections Canada declined to recommend the RCMP investigate and prosecute electoral fraud cases in both 2008 and 2011 elections because, in the *opinion* of Elections Canada, the perps were unsuccessful in their attempt to sway the election results. They were crap at it so no harm no foul.

Yesterday Bruce Carson was acquitted of influence peddling under Section 121 of the Criminal Code - which prohibits anyone from using their influence with the government to obtain benefits for themselves or someone else - because although he approached Indian and Northern Affairs government officials to help set his girlfriend up with a 20% fee to sell water purification systems to First Nations, he approached the wrong people. He was crap at influence peddling so again, no harm, no foul.

This also partly explains I suppose why the RCMP never charged Nigel Wright, who shares lawyer Patrick McCann with Carson, with paying Mike Duffy off with a $90,000 cheque to "make this whole thing go away". It didn't go away, Nigel was crap at making it go away, so again - no harm, no foul.   

Canadian law apparently requires certain standards of felony competence from white collar perps before it is willing to take them seriously. If you can't be arsed to attain a bare minimum of professionalism in your chosen felony, Canadian law just isn't interested.  

This must piss off bank robbers no end. Busted at 4am surrounded by their safe-cracking tools and cops and blaring bank alarms does display a certain wont of proficiency at their chosen profession, yet Canadian law does not offer them the same consideration shown to those who attempt to undermine our elections, take personal advantage of their positions of influence, or buy off political cronies.

Bruce Carson still faces charges of influence peddling and being "the secret sauce" that enabled tarsands/extractive industry lobby group EPIC, according to their own presser, to successfully rewrite government regulations thatwere holding up tar their permits. 
According to the RCMP ITO, Carson allegedly lobbied Nigel Wright and Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council, on behalf of EPIC for a salary of $10,000 a month. 

We await the court's decision on whether he was crap at that too.

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