Sunday, October 04, 2015

Joyce Bateman - Strike Two

Incumbent Winnipeg South Centre Con MP Joyce Bateman got pilloried this week for reading out a list of Liberals she deemed insufficiently pro-Israel at an all-candidates meeting hosted by B'nai Brith. Her booed list included Omar Alghabra, Borys Wrzesnewskyjand retired Canadian Forces lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist and event moderator Don Lett described what he called her "enemies of Israel list" as "creepy".

But really why wouldn't she play the anti-Semitism card again?
This is her second campaign running with it :
"Three years ago, the Conservatives sent flyers to Jewish homes in Mount Royal, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler's riding. The flyers claimed the Liberals had participated in a UN conference known as Durban I that descended into anti-Semitism. They also said a Liberal MP had shown support for Hezbollah, a designated terror group.
A letter with similar allegations was used in Winnipeg South Centre against incumbent Liberal Anita Neville, distributed by Conservative Joyce Bateman's campaign. 
Bateman's Elections Canada file shows she sent out a letter from a prominent lawyer and businessman. The letter included examples identical to the ones used in the Mount Royal flyers."
The year before, former Conservative Party president, Vic Toews campaign manager, and now Senator Don Plett, sent out taxpayer-funded flyers into Neville's riding. This time the charge was that she was insufficiently tough on crime and Plett wanted a revealed list of dangerous young offenders. Because this is what we pay senators to do.

Senator Runciman, "who distributed almost identical material" explained it was the “Conservative campaign folks” that put him up to it.

"It's hockey, not figure-skating," explained a source in the Con war room.

Fun fact : Bateman was a Liberal herself up until 31 days before the 2011 federal election when she decided to run as a Conservative against Neville. 

Bateman beat Neville by some 700 votes in the riding receiving the second highest number of bogus robocalls in Canada. Elections Canada declined to investigate despite voters having been misdirected to take a 20 minute drive out of the riding to a non-existent polling station. 

And so it goes ...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Diane Watts, Jihadi Fighter

The election flyer landing on doorsteps in South Surrey-White Rock BC shows the three main party leaders - Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair, and an apparent new entry to the race :"YOU WILL NOT FEEL SECURE IN YOUR BEDROOMS". 

They are featured above a brave pledge by CPC candidate Diane Watts to "fight Jihadist Terrorists at home and abroad." 

You go, girl. 

In response to catching flack for "the worst example of politics of fear that I’ve ever seen" as one of her constituents put it, Watts issued a statement :

"ISIS has clearly declared Canada as a target for terrorism. We have seen such acts on Canadian soil with the death of our Canadian soldier in Ottawa — in Quebec and a foiled attempt at the B.C. Legislature."

Someone in her office purportedly explained the flyers were not really Diane's fault : 
"That came directly from Ottawa."
Which interestingly enough is the same response local CPC campaigns gave to Elections Canada the day before the last federal election about CPC live and robo-calls purveying incorrect poll location information. Elections Canada  :
"When contacted by returning officers, local Conservative Party campaigns advised that the calls were from the national campaign of the party, and that the campaigns could not stop them.”

Meanwhile two ridings away, households in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country received CPC incumbent John Weston's 6"x10" glossy flyer. Half of it features Trudeau and the other half the actress from the Cons' "Just Not Ready" video. 

Notice what's missing in these flyers? 

They might come from "directly from Ottawa" but there's nary a mention in them anywhere of Steve.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Prior to the 2011 federal election fraud/robocalls scandal, few Canadians had ever heard of CIMS, the Conservative Party of Canada’s national permanent voter-tracking database, or its close relationship to Responsive Marketing Group or RMG, the Conservatives' main GOTV phone bank and fundraising company used in that election by the CPC national campaign and 97 individual Conservative candidates.
Canadians did not know that the Conservative Party paid RMG $1.4million and provided them with a CIMS voters list and a script for its call centre employees to read to voters. That script, according to Canada Elections investigators, read in part : 

“Elections Canada has changed some voting locations at the last moment. To be sure, could you tell me the address of where you’re voting.”

This last in direct contravention of Elections Canada's request that "users of the dataset of all polling sites respect the following restrictions: that the dataset be used for internal purposes only; that it not be used to inform voters of their voting location."

As it happens, the percentage of voting stations across Canada that changed location in the final week of the election was just 0.003.

In their section on RMG in the 2014 Summary Investigation Report on Robocalls, Elections Canada reported that investigators who listened to the recorded live calls noted that “RMG provided wrong poll location information in 27% of the cases involving complainants.”

“In some cases the difference was a few kilometres; in several cases the difference was more than 100 kilometres. The furthest location, provided to an elector called twice by RMG, was 740 kilometres from the correct location.”

“From April 29 to May 1, 2011, returning officers in 11 electoral districts reported elector complaints of incorrect poll location information coming from Conservative Party callers. When contacted by returning officers, local Conservative Party campaigns advised that the calls were from the national campaign of the party, and that the campaigns could not stop them.”

“Investigators were told by the Conservative Party national campaign chair that Elections Canada had no authority to limit a party's use of the poll location data.”

The Conservative Party’s partnership with RMG dates back to 2003 when RMG founder and president Michael Davis pitched the idea of a fundraising machine attached to a national permanent CIMS database to Stephen Harper's mentor Tom Flanagan.
Mike Harris strategist Stewart Braddick came on board to head up Target Outreach, an affilliate firm providing "fundraising and direct voter contact solutions to U.S. Right of Centre Political Organizations". 
Greg Kaufman signed up with RMG in 2007. From his bio at RMG parent group iMarketing Solutions, where he became Chief Knowledge Officer in 2010 :
"Greg has extensive experience in IT management. For six years, he worked for the Ontario PC Party as part of the IT / Direct Voter Contact Team. There, he helped develop CIMS, a revolutionary political database tool that is in wide use today.

Following his time with the Ontario PC Party, Greg spent three years working for Elections Ontario as a manager in the register division, where he compiled and managed the Provincial Voters List."
Flanagan : “CIMS provided a receptacle for the hundreds of thousands of records generated by RMG’s large-scale calling programs.”

In 2009 Preston Manning at the Manning Centre for Building Democracy presented RMG founder Michael Davis with the Manning Centre Pyramid Award for Political Technology, “recognizing RMG's role in helping to build the conservative movement in Canada” :
“Since its inception, RMG has raised more than $75 million for right of centre causes in Canada, and helped to elect hundreds of 'right of centre' politicians at municipal, provincial and national levels."

In March 2010 RMG parent company iMarketing Solutions merged with Xentel, a company with an alarming history of lawsuits on both sides of the Canada/US border over its fundraising practices. That year they spent $1,839,000 on equipment to update their dialing platform and another $1,453,000 in 2011.
In the first quarter after the 2011 election, iMarketing Solutions posted $24M in revenue, but according to their Canadian Stock Exchange statement : "For the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company had a loss of $5,253,000."

A 2012 legal challenge supported by the Council of Canadians was based in part on the affidavit of Annette Desgagne, a RMG call centre worker who reported that three days before the 41st federal election she and her co-workers were given scripts to mislead voters on election day into going to the wrong location to vote.
From the Desgagne 2012 affidavit :

“The new scripts we were to read did not identify that we were calling on behalf of the Conservative Party nor did we mention the local Conservative candidate. The new script, as far as I can recall, was as follows: “Hello. My name is Annette Desgagne. I am calling from the Voter Outreach Centre. Elections Canada has made some last minute changes to the polling stations.”

Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton served motions to have the case thrown out of court before the supporting evidence had been filed. 
RMG CEO Andrew Langhorne, a former election campaign worker for Stephen Harper and seven years a Director of Voter Contact and Information Management for Premier Mike Harris and the Ontario PC Party, filed an affidavit in August calling Desgagne's affidavit "categorically false". 
The plaintiffs' suit to overturn election results in six ridings was unsuccessful and the court ascribed no blame to RMG.

Four months later on April 8 2013, RMG announced it was closing its call centres and laying off call centre employees, and four days after that iMarketing Solutions and all its 18 Canadian and American subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the US.
At the time they owed the Canadian federal government $1 million in unpaid taxes.

CEO Andrew Langhorne was sanguine :

“The nature of our business often necessitates ramping work up and down based on business requirements.”
And sure enough the 42nd federal election has brought them out above ground once again, now known as IMKT Direct Solutions in Canada and iMarketing Acquisitions in New Mexico. They are currently posting ads to hire call centre workers across Canada and Andrew Langhorne is once again launching those phone banks for Voter Outreach Centre, the name registered in February 2011 and used by RMG in the previous election as well. 

Households across Canada from Ottawa to BC reported receiving their calls beginning in December.
Port Alberni municipal councillor Chris Alemany got a call on August 4 :
“Hi, this is the Voter Outreach Centre for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We would like to know if we can count on your support for Stephen Harper in the upcoming election”
His wife picked up another call 11 days later :
"Hi, this is _name of person_ with the Voter Outreach Centre. We would like to know if we can count on your vote for Stephen Harper in the upcoming election."
Councillor Alemany "Note the difference from my call? They didn’t specifically identify the Voter Outreach Centre as being a part of the Stephen Harper campaign."

A new script or a bit of free lancing on the part of the call centre employee?
Either way, they did mention Steve in there so it's all still legal.

Operators are standing by...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

RoboCon : Skippy vs Lenny

"What happens," asked the Ottawa Citizen, "when a “Pierre Poutine”-style robo-caller, like the automated system that sent Guelph voters to the wrong polls in 2011, meets a robo-responder like Lenny?"

"Every minute Pierre Poilievre's telemarketer spent with our recording was time she wasn't bothering someone at dinner."
And we thank you for that, Alberta software developer Mango 

The telemarketer calling here on behalf of the re-election campaign of Pierre Poilievre, champion of the Fair Elections Act, told "Lenny" she was from "Campaign Support". 

Guelph-based "Campaign Support" made calls into Liberal MP Irwin Cotler's Mont-Royal riding in the fall of 2011 suggesting that Cotler may be resigning so how's about you support our Steve in a non-existent upcoming by-election? 

From Campaign Research principal and Conservative strategist Nick Kouvalis' affidavit : 
“The calls were conducted under the business name of Campaign Support, which is a business name registered by Campaign Research for the specific purpose of conducting telemarketing activities.”
Cotler was not of course considering resigning at the time and kicked up a stink about the dirty tricks telephone campaign in the HoC. 
House Speaker and $8198.79 Campaign Research client Andrew Scheer dismissed the campaign as "reprehensible" but not actionable, thereby preserving Campaign Research's other founding principal - Richard Ciano, president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario - from being dragged into any committee investigation of his firm's actions.  

Kouvalis, also former campaign chair and chief of staff to Mayor Rob Ford, promptly went on CTV to explain that his job is "ending Liberal politicians' careers". 

Campaign Support was soon spun off Campaign Research as a separate legal entity headed up by Kouvalis and Greg Dunlop. Dunlop left Kouvalis's firm two months ago after four years - if LinkedIn can be believed - and now heads up his own telemarketing firm iFusion Research.
iFusion also used to be a shell company for Campaign Research 

Here's Steve in 2011 campaigning in Irwin Cotler's Mont-Royal riding on behalf of Con hopeful Saulie Zajdel, presumed beneficiary of the later Campaign Research phone campaign. 
Zajdel lost to Cotler and was put on the payroll in Heritage Minister James Moore's office as a shadow MP doing ethnic outreach while awaiting a new shot at the riding.

Zajdel pled guilty this year to charges of corruption and breach of trust in two real estate deals involving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Conservative Party spokesey Fred DeLorey expressed surprise at Zajdel's arrest in June 2013, saying none of this had come out in their screening of Zajdel. 
A few months earlier, DeLorey was also surprised when McMaher busted the Conservative Party and RackNine shell company Chase Research for being behind the Republican-style push-poll robocalls about changes to Saskatchewan's electoral riding boundaries. 

And so the story has turned inevitably back to Con robo/live calls ... which is where I think we came in... 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Duffy-Cons of Canada - they're just not ready

... in their own words.

Bumped from comments ;-) :

Kev : "I'm sure Harper rejects that "rendition of the facts ' as well"

Boris : "Kev, oh, their rendition of the facts tends to be extraordinary. There's a vault in the Turks and Caicos where they lock them up. It's full of papers and reports from government scientists, scandalous emails, models of the solar system, a globe, post-cold war maps of the world, the Constitution Act 1982, a photo of PET, a CBC logo, a UN logo, a census long form, Harper's economics degree, IPCC reports, submitted questions from the newsmedia, and so on. It's guarded by 23 year old PMO interns in shorts and blue golf shirts, and knee socks. Cabinet ministers periodically fly down to beat them up and scream at them. The facts I mean, and maybe the interns, come to think of it."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Terrorism-To-Go Advisory System

Rob Nicholson's communications team set Foreign Affairs bureaucrats a quota of producing three terrorism-related statements per week for minister Rob Nicholson to make to the media. 
They were to be crafted from an event reported by the news media. 
"One Foreign Affairs bureaucrat, who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said: "We're not making a special effort to fulfil this odd request."
What a bunch of slackers. 

Here's 6 terrorism-related news reports from just the past 24 hours :

1) Inquisitr, July 23 : Lafayette Movie Theater Shooting: Terrorism Fears Raised After Six Shot In Louisiana Theater
Old white guy starts shooting spree 20 minutes into the movie Trainwreck

Dylann Roof, the white 21-year-old man who allegedly gunned down nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 in order to "start a race war" not charged with domestic terrorism.
"Tolerance toward terrorists ends today. A stone-thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment,” Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said"

“The honourable minister [Mackay] expressed his appreciation for the major leading role played by the kingdom on the international arena,” wrote Prince Saud. “He emphasized Canada’s desire to develop relations with the kingdom in all fields.”
OK so admittedly that last one doesn't have the word terrorism right in its header like the others but just add this handy graph and you're good to go :

There ya go, Rob. You're welcome.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Manning Centre for Building American Majority

Last month in Ottawa, PM Stephen Harper and House Leader Peter Van Loan quietly met with Scott Walker, the anti-SSM anti-abortion anti-union Wisconsin governor whose imminent 2016 Republican presidential candidacy is already teetering atop a pile of Koch Bros. dark money. 

When Glen McGregor reported on the meeting yesterday, PMO spokesey Stephen Lecce came out of his little spokesbox and said "These are not the droids you are looking for," and went back inside again. 

Harper and Walker have so much in common to talk about -  union-busting and voter suppression legislation, campaigning on transparency and creating jobs and being completely crap at both, support for tough-on-crime legislation, opposition to gun registration and minimum wage increases and clean energy jobs policies, budget crises due to corporate tax cuts, unfortunate appointments of people who become felons in office ... and the Koch-affiliated American Majority creating a "national farm team of conservative leaders" and "training them in guerilla internet tactics."

Wait. What? American Majority political training group is in Canada?

Why yes it is. On July 4 the Manning Centre for Building Democracy and American Majority sponsored a social media webinar from guns and jesus gal Aubrey Blankenship, communications director of American Majority, to "help you become a better voice for conservatism online."

I don't know what Aubrey's training session on how "to become a better Conservative online" entailed so instead here is one from American Majority's Austin James teaching Tea Party members to spam Amazon profiles of liberal books with negative comments and bad reviews. 

You can still catch another American Majority webinar at the Manning Centre on Aug 10 when Political Communications Expert Jess Nicholson will teach "Crafting Your Message—The art of getting to the heart".

Ok sure, I hear you thinking, but the Manning Centre sponsors tea party trainers all the time so who cares what dumbass shenanigans American Majority touts at the Manning Centre this year?

Well, because as of 2015, American Majority's Wisconsin chapter had trained 128 successful candidates for state or local office for Governor Scott Walker. 
128.  In just one state.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Mothra Canada

I'm completely mystified by the  near-universal  negative  reaction that Never Forgotten National Memorial 's proposed Mothra Canada war memorial has provoked in my fellow Canadians. Who wouldn't like a tax-payer subsidized 10 storey statue to Mothra on Cape Breton?

Come on, guys. What's your problem? Ecological vandalism? That the monument will ruin "a pristine geological site of peaceful scenic beauty"? 

They did an 86 page Detailed Impact Analysis. Ok sure, so it was done by the engineering firm Stantec, who are one of the corporate sponsors listed on the NFNM "Partners and Supporters" page but it's not like they're putting up the world's largest ball of tinfoil or twine on the site.

Here's a nice letter from Chief of Defence Staff General Tom Lawson to project founder Tony Trigiani pledging the help of the Canadian Armed Forces.  I didn't know CAF did that.

And just look at the list of Honorary Patrons : JustMin/AG Peter MacKay, Tom D'Aquino, Mila Mulroney, Frank McKenna, Jean Charest, some corps, plus CBC stars Rex Murphy and Peter Mansbridge. Oh wait, Mansbridge was on there last week when I looked but now he isn't, and Rex Murphy is listed as a "Freelance Journalist". 

A privately directed enterprise since described by Peter MacKay as a "private-public partnership", the site will feature the names of "Major Gift donors" but not those of the war dead.

From the NFNM website :
"The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation has developed recognition opportunities for Major Gift donors at varying levels, for both Canadian and International donors.
As a living, breathing and fully interactive memorial, the Never Forgotten National Memorial will offer ongoing marketing opportunities for individuals and corporate partners."
A fitting motto for a war memorial because war has always done exactly that.

Bumped up from comments : Brian Busby quotes :" Naming rights located throughout the Founders Hall and other special areas of the Interpretive Centre will also recognize the contributions of project partners and other major donors." 
and then responds : A shame the Ross Rifle Co. is no longer around.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Harper's Perps with Perks #17

Dean Del Mastro - Stephen Harper's Parliamentary Secretary, Ethics Committee appointee, and elections fraud pointman for the Cons in the HoC - shown here in cuffs as he went off to the big house today in shackles in a real life perp walk. He was convicted eight months ago on four counts of Elections Canada charges and trying to cover it up. 

"Why, Mr. Speaker, why?" he wailed in the HoC two years ago before resigning the Con caucus to keep his pension intact.

Sentenced today to a month in prison plus four months house arrest and eighteen months probation, he will probably be out again tomorrow on appeal of both his sentence and conviction. 

"I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to stand for the truth," he explained to reporters today.

Maher : Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro passed up chances to avoid disgrace

Kirby Cairo : Del Mastro - Poster Boy of Harper Corruption

By request

Harper's Perps with Perks - Collect 'em all

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