Monthly Archives: February 2012

There Should Be No Statute of Limitations On Democracy

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Apparently, we are running out of time to run the Conservatives out of office.

According to this blog, we have 20 days to make our case.

If not, Canadians will have to continue to suffer at the hands of the Conservative Party of Canada.

FoneFraud: Stephen Harper vs Erin Brockovich

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Yes, I’m introducing this line of thought, but bear with me.

As a sheer coincidence, I was watching the movie Erin Brockovich last night and a number of comparisons and situations struck me as they relate to the Conservative Party of Canada ‘Fone Fraud Fiasco’.

In the movie, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was the company being sued by hundreds of citizens of a little town called Hinkley.  They almost seemed to be daring the public to prove them wrong.  Is Stephen Harper basically daring anyone to challenge his authority on the situation at hand and is he defying all culpability and accountability in this situation?  It sounded that way in the House of Commons yesterday.

Like PG&E, Stephen Harper seems to represent the ‘corporate head office’ that is limited in any kind of liability because the subsidiary being sued didn’t have direct and routine contact with the head office (despite the obvious control, demand for paperwork, dividends, benefits, profits, etc).  According to Stephen Harper, there’s no knowledge of what happened, nor is there any history or documentation related to the Fone Fraud Fiasco.

Worse for Canada is the prospect that the organization responsible for investigating this fraud – Elections Canada – simply doesn’t have the resources available, possibly due to budget cuts, but realistically because they could never have imagined a crime so well organized, so well rehearsed and so immense to face Canadian voters.

Even worse still (yes!) is the prospect that if Elections Canada is not able to prosecute and jail the offenders in this case, politicians will likely expand their abuses of power and continue to exhibit their cynicism towards Canadian democracy as we wallow and weep in piles of paper and blogs.

Like PG&E victims, Canadians don’t know what to do, don’t know how to organize themselves and don’t really have a clue about how to approach the situation.  We certainly can’t expect our media to act in our best interests, as they clearly don’t support Canada, but they do support the CPC.

Result:  Our democracy will simply die from the cancer inflicted on us by our most cynical and teflon-coated politicians.

Is there hope?

Going back to the PG&E situation: the case was nearly a ruin.  They couldn’t connect the head office with the local company, so it was doomed to go sideways in courts and appeals until the resources of the plaintiffs would be exhausted.  Is Stephen Harper counting on the same situation to save himself from fraud charges?  Without evidence, there is no case.  Bits are trickling in, but they don’t seem to be enough to tip the scales against the Conservatives.

Until … Charles Embry, an ex-PG&E employee comes along and saves the massive class action lawsuit by confiding that he kept some of the files that execs with PG&E were so desperate to shred.

A hero by any account because he decided to do the right thing, Charles Embry took the high road and helped hundreds of people restore their faith in ‘the system’.

Will a Canadian version of Charles Embry step up to the plate and help blow this case wide open?  Who will be the one person who will restore the faith of millions of Canadian voters who got robbed on May 2, 2011?

And who will Canada’s Erin Brockovich be if things finally start to heat up (as they should)?  Can we trust Elections Canada and the RCMP to handle this case, knowing that so many of the senior managers have been placed by Stephen Harper?

Canada deserves better.  Let’s demand it now.

“Fone Fraud Fiasco” Finalizes Federal Fate

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Canada’s Fone Fraud Fiasco threatens to be the biggest corruption scandal uncovered.  Ever.

I’m mad.  I’m excited.  I’m frustrated.  I’m nervous.

The lines are finally buzzing with all kinds of demands from Canadian voters:

  • Fire them
  • Catch Harper in his own web
  • Recount, recall, by-elections
  • Restore Canadian democracy

This shit is hitting the fan.  Big.

It’s about time the nooks and crannies of the Conservative Party of Canada’s fraudulent activities pissed off enough Canadians to demand that Stephen Harper step down, but will he?

We know he’s good at blaming junior staffers and others for the mid-deeds and cheating of his party, but will he let go of his clench on power?

Will he continue to cower in his office, avoiding any responsibility, or will Stephen Harper finally own up to the mess that he’s created or at least enabled?

What will Canadians do to get justice in our democracy?  Will we demand recall?  Can we?  Will we organize a massive one-day strike against the Conservatives and their threats of austerity, fiscal waste and bloated military expenditures?

More than 30 ridings are in question now following the Fone Fraud Fiasco, more than enough to eliminate Stephen Harper’s majority.

How soon before we have our country back?

Stephen Harper, Fascist?

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Canadian Dimensions has an excellent review of the classic 14 traits of a fascist and the winner seems to be Stephen Harper.

While Nick Fillmore, the author of the article, is much more kind to Canada’s current Prime Minister, the comments seem to indicate that many of the categories under question crystallize the point of view that Stephen Harper’s idea of Canada just doesn’t match what the rest of us think it should be.

Do you own survey and post your own scale.  Let me know how it turns out.

Here’s mine:

  1. Nationalism: (Excited Delirium: 8).  During the elections and other events, Stephen Harper has put everything and anything he could into Canada winning and winning again.  His constant leveraging of the military and defense spending increases all point to fervent nationalism.
  2. Human Rights: (Excited Delirium: 6).  The G8/G20 fiasco was just a start. Watch what happens under Steve’s watch when the crime bill starts putting Canadians in jail by the thousands.  The main reason this isn’t higher is that Stephen Harper actually did initiate the Truth and Reconciliation process Canada’s First Nations People.
  3. Enemies as scapegoats: (Excited Delirium: 10).  As he climbed the ladder, it was on the backs of Liberals, Socialists and everyone else that he could turn into a scapegoat.  Harper is an expert at blaming others while failing to take accountability for anything except his own aggrandizement.  Look at the low-level hack with the robo-call scandal as a perfect example of failure to take responsibility.
  4. Supremacy of the Military: (Excited Delirium: 10).  Canada is becoming a ‘one-trick’ pony, with defense spending going through the roof.
  5. Rampant Sexism: (Excited Delirium: 7).  While he’s not overt about sexist views, the policies of the Conservatives reflect a ‘women should be in the kitchen’ attitude. Read the fine print on a lot of their platform.  You’ll be surprised.
  6. Controlled Mass Media: (Excited Delirium: 10).  Harper has the mainstream media locked under his thumb, through the combination of subsidies, advertising close personal connections.  Even the CBC has become a wash-out under his leadership.
  7. Obsession with National Security: (Excited Delirium: 10).  Four words:  Vic Toews Surveillance State.
  8. Religion and Ruling Elite tied together: (Excited Delirium: 10).  It’s been common knowledge that Harper and his crew get considerable backing from the religious right not only in Canada, but from the US as well.  I’m surprised that Fillmore suggests there isn’t a connection.  I suggest you read Armageddon Factor to kick-start your research.
  9. Power of Corporations protected: (Excited Delirium: 10).  The power of corporations in Canada is now an absolute.  Harper would sooner have our parents eating Alpo than retire in dignity while corporate tax cuts continue.
  10. Power of Labour supressed/eliminated: (Excited Delirium: 10).  The death of labour in Canada is a done deal.
  11. Disdain/suppression of Intellectuals: (Excited Delirium: 10).  Two words:  Stockwell Day.
  12. Obsession with crime/punishment: (Excited Delirium: 10).  Three words:  Omnibus Crime Bill.  We are either with them or we are pedophiles (or environmental ‘terrorists’).
  13. Rampant cronyism/corruption: (Excited Delirium: 8).   Eight words:  Tony Clement’s Gazebo and the Economic Action Plan.
  14. Fraudulent Elections: (Excited Delirium: 10).  While Canadian elections have not been fraudulent per se, Harper’s cynicism towards democracy is more than abundant when we look at the leveraging of vote-splitting, pocket-book politics and other schemes to shift the attention of voters from the real issues.  I originally had this as an 8, but along came the robo-call scandal to remind us that there should be no confidence in this government because they stole the election.

Total score:  129 out of 140.

May 2011 Federal Election Cheaters? I Want A Re-Call.

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This is BIG. This is possibly the biggest case of corruption and political scandal that Canada will ever see and yet I heard nothing of it on the news this morning.

What gives?

The CBC outlines the 12 ridings that benefited from the robo calls that went out during the May 2011 Federal election in Canada.

I have copied the results of a preliminary investigation by Elections Canada from the CBC web site, just in case they happen to got washed out during the upcoming (and necessary) controversy surrounding this issue.

The numbers amount to a minimum 14 ridings where voters were called, told to go to incorrect locations, or where they received conflicting information about the election and issues.  My suspicion is that the company mentioned in the CBC article is not the only company that was recruited for these kind of tactics.

The company involved – Rack Nine – has denied any knowledge of what had happened, opening up the requirement for a full Elections Canada and RCMP investigation.

Also, the evidence of US involvement with the campaign, particularly with the use of an American robo-call company called Tele-Town, based in Arlington, Virginia should also come into this investigation.  Why were they calling Canadians?  What information do they have on Canadian households?  What information did Canadians share with an American firm?  How much extra money was spent on these calling services?  What ridings did they call and how often?  What information did they disseminate to Canadian voters that may have altered election results, particularly in swing ridings.

This much is clear:  Canadians need to wake up that a new reality of politics and media manipulation is upon us and yet the Liberals, NDPers and Green Party are pretending it’s not happening.  Canadians, too, need to be better informed about what’s being taken from them by these crooks.

Here are the CBC details:

From candidate electoral reports available through the Elections Canada website:
(Note: The second line refers to the expense category under which the amount was listed.  Also, I’ve indicated the number of votes difference between the candidate listed and the candidate that came in second.)

Rona Ambrose (Edmonton Spruce Grove)
Miscellaneous expenses
Apr. 11, 2011    Racknine Inc    1,175.43
May 9, 2011    Racknine Inc    367.54
May 1, 2011    Racknine Inc    5,575.36

Ryan Hastman (Edmonton Strathcona)
Advertising – other
Apr. 27, 2011    RackNine Inc.    4,252.50
May 6, 2011    RackNine Inc.    1,683.16
Surveys – other research
May 5, 2011    RackNine Inc.    816.19

Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre)
Advertising – other
May 9, 2011    RACKNINE INC    1,550.43

Cathy McLeod (Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo)
Advertising – radio/TV
May 24, 2011    RackNine Inc.     328.52

Lee Richardson (Calgary Centre)
Election surveys – other research
May 9, 2011    Racknine Inc.    501.87

Devinder Shory (Caglary Northeast)
Office expenses – other
May 13, 2011    RACK NINE INC    580.30

Tim Uppal (Edmonton – Sherwood Park)
Office expenses – other
May 3, 2011    Rack Nine Inc.    1,199.45

According to invoices submitted to Elections Canada posted by the NDP research office,  there were also several payments to RackNine that do not show up in the list of direct campaign expenses:

Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest)
May 4, 2011 – $117.75 (GOTV campaign)

Lavar Payne (Medicine Hat)
May 4, 2011 – $26.01 .

According to the correspondence that the Harper campaign included with this invoice, this was related to a final GOTV phone blitz in “swing” ridings  the weekend before the election. It appears that RackNine initially billed the full cost, which remains unknown, to the Conservative Party of Canada, which passed the cost onto participating campaigns — including, in this case, that of the party leader.

It’s worth noting that, in the attached emails, the Harper team member charged with handling the invoice initially seems unsure why the campaign is being asked to pay for the calls. Eventually, he decides to pay it, as they were apparently planning to charge the national campaign for a portion of “phone bank” costs, and didn’t want to get into a “dispute” over $118.

Meanwhile, Payne, whose agent filed the same invoice in support of its expense claim, albeit with a different amount listed at the bottom, apparently paid just $26.01 for a personalized phone blast in his riding of Medicine Hat, which, as with Harper’s claim, was charged to his campaign on behalf of the Conservative Fund.

Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright)
Apr. 31, 2011 –  $4,830.00 (teletown hall)
Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
April 19, 2011 – $4,231.50 (teletown hall)

RackNine billed both the Benoit and Kenney campaigns in US funds, and according to the credit card records included with the Kenney filing, the money was actually paid to Tele-Town Hall LLC 2022378051 DC, an Arlington, VA-based firm that specializes in tele-town halls, which suggests that RackNine may have been simply asking as a middleman or reseller.

Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre)
Apr. 23, 2011 – 165.13 (advance poll message)

This is actually one of two RackNine-related expenses listed in the Hawn’s filing — the other appeared as a direct payment in the expense report, as noted above. This smaller amount was actually paid by a Hawn staffer, Peter Watson, who subsequently invoiced the campaign as part of a separate expense claim.

Michelle Rempel (Calgary Centre – North)
March 16/29, 2011(?) – $2,500 (unknown)

According to the invoice, the money was paid — in two installments, a $500 retainer before the writs dropped, and the remaining amount after the campaign had begun — by a “Jason Rempel”, who was the recipient of multiple unrelated payments throughout the election.

Lee Richardson (Calgary Centre)
April 25, 2011 – $5,735.00 (teletown hall)

This invoice — which is over and above the amounts listed earlier — was paid to RackNine “c/o Glenn Solomon”, with an entry for the same amount appearing under Solomon’s name for “elections and other surveys”. It is unclear what relationship, if any, Solomon, a longtime local Tory supporter, had/has with either the Richardson campaign or RackNine.