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

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. 

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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nice heir, though.

Conservative strategists recognized too late the obvious pitfall of crafting an election strategy around making fun of their main opponent's 'nice hair'.

Turns out just about everyone likes nice hair.

Last week the Cons sought to rectify that mistake by electing Rona Ambrosia as their own hair apparent and interim leader.

"We're going to be nice hair all the way all the time from now on," promised the new leader, pledging to usher in a new era of 'sunny ways glaze' after a whole decade of apparently just getting the tone wrong.

Fellow MP ShamWow Tony Gazebo best summed up this new direction in grooming for the Cons : "At the end of the day, we're moving ahead with going forward."


Saturday, October 31, 2015

NaPo : Wagging the dog whistle

National Post, flagship of the largest media conglomerate in Canadian history run by a foreign hedge fund, inhales a MEMRI *report* based on the online musings of four anonymous 'known' jihadi dudes titled :

"Pro-ISIS Activists React Joyously On Twitter To Canada's Elections"

Then they give it the fabulous new Trudeau-torqued headline you see at left.

NaPo tweets it. While your standard NaPo tweet gets around 1 to 15 retweets if they're lucky, this one gets 159.

VICE News follows suit with its own rewrite of the MEMRI report : 
"Canada Ran Away:' Jihadists Reportedly Rejoice Over Trudeau Victory"
as do others, and NaPo rewriter Bell retweets them too.  

"Disturbing but predictable" retweets the disturbing but predictable Jason Kenney.

btw None of them bothered to blur out the identities of the 'known' jihadi tweeters as I have done here. 

Is this a thing now?
It's fine now for the Minister of National Defence to promote tweets of 'known' jihadis if their messages can somehow be torqued to slag off on Trudeau?

Just as disturbing but predictable is the NaPo pipelining of MEMRI. Founded by a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence and the wife of a Dick Cheney advisor, MEMRI got a thorough thrashing from The Guardian over a decade ago in "Selective Memri" : "Investigates whether the 'independent' media institute that translates the Arabic newspapers is quite what it seems.".  
Right Web and SourceWatch provide background and a handy list of MEMRI's PNAC and NeoCon advisors and directors.

Hey kids, remember this bullshit NaPo front page, complete with Hungarian couple from 1944?

It was May 2006. NaPo torqued up another report they'd been pipelined from another outfit and later had to retract and apologize for it. 
But not before it had been republished around the world and Steve got a chance to refer back to it publicly
"We've seen a number of things from the Iranian regime that are along these lines .  It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany."

So I'm just sitting NaPo's MEMRI presskit offering here while we wait to see if it gets the same overwrought reach-around treatment.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Barnstorming the strategic vote

CBC : Liberal voters in Victoria confused after candidate drops out
"Jean Oliver lives in Victoria and is a long time Green Party supporter. But in advanced polls, she decided to vote strategically, and cast a ballot for the Liberals by ticking Thomas's name.Oliver is worried that less informed voters will be casting ballots Monday based on misinformation."
I worry about that too. Three things to note here :
The "long time Green Party supporter" in the Victoria riding decides to "vote strategically" for the Liberals even though :
  1.  the Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas had withdrawn from the race three weeks before
  2.  the Liberals had come in third or fourth place in that riding in the past three elections
  3. the voter's first choice, the Green Party, had come second in the byelection one year before and strategic vote proponents projected a similar ranking for this election. 
In the end, 8,489 votes were strategically cast for a Liberal candidate who had dropped out, more than the party received in the previous two elections, one of them a byelection, and more than the margin of difference between the first and second place NDP and Green candidates. 

Graphic from Wikipedia

Manipulating the strategic vote ...

A month ago, "10 ridings where strategic voting might decide the election" at Global News explained how Conservatives in this same Victoria riding would benefit from voting strategically for the Green Party in order to oust the NDP incumbent : 
"Conservative voters could vote strategically, if so inclined, in Victoria, where NDP MP Murray Rankin won a close byelection over the Green Party three years ago.
A Green Party win in Victoria wouldn’t directly help the Conservatives. But it would take away one seat from the NDP—and in an election this close, one riding could make a big difference.
Two months prior, former BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff penned a column entreating people to eschew strategic voting and vote Green Party.
In the last provincial election, the BC Liberals bought a full page ad in the Victoria Times Colonist promoting the BC Green Party leader as a principled alternative to Christy Clark in a blatant attempt to split the vote between Greens and the NDP, then leading in the polls.

All voting is tactical. Strategic voting is the moniker commonly used to mean supporting a candidate other than your sincere preference in order to block a candidate or party you dislike.
Its popularity is helped by a media happily promoting a poll-driven "who's the most popular leader/" horse-race approach which results in voters imagining they vote in their local ridings for some distant party leader.  

In December in the HoC last year, Justin Trudeau voted against an NDP motion to bring in some form of mixed member proportional representation as recommended by the federal Law Commission, stating his personal preference for a ranked ballot system that would - he did not say - mostly benefit the Liberals. He then campaigned on ending the First-Past-the-Post system that just gave his party a majority government by the same percentage the Cons got theirs last time round. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stephen J. Harper International Airport

R. Curtis Mullen in Olathe Kansas started a petition to rename the Calgary International Airport after Steve.  It's currently sitting at 6,000 signatures with a counter-petition at 19,000.

Turns out there already is a Harper Airport a few miles away from Mullen in Kansas...

and bonus! ... it already has a STOP sign.

Perhaps Mullen could work on getting this airport renamed first, kinda work his way up.

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