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Did A Trump Operative Taint Canadian Election With Foreign Interference?

October 17, 2019

By @MsAmyMacPherson

 

With so many dirty tricks at play in this federal election, voters are bewildered and confused about what is true, what is false, and how to find their way through this modern campaign dystopia to cast a ballot with any confidence. Anyone could become overwhelmed if they sifted through the material for fact checking, because parties have been dishonest, candidates have amplified a constant onslaught of disinformation, and the corporate media has availed itself to advancing partisan interests instead of journalizing these events without bias. The Canadian public is fed-up and pushed to the brink of distrust due to these dubious behaviours and their complaints have fallen of deaf ears, because the press corps is also downplaying these concerns with a cut-and-paste response that ‘it’s not state-level interference‘.

 

But Free The Press Canada couldn’t accept these blind-faith excuses and embarked on an investigation to illuminate the power structures behind the corrosive forces that are undermining the electorate’s belief in our democratic institutions. This is a global problem for Western democracies and Canada would be naive to think it was insulated from the rise of autocratic populism, or the many dangerous tactics it uses to taint elections, that are frequently connected to foreign interference.

 

This research began with a theory that it was possible for bad actors to sabotage Canadian voters. What we didn’t expect to find was that an infamous Republican operative, already indicted in the United States, has his fingerprints all over the current debauchery in Canada. We’re now at a point that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has to wear a bullet-proof vest to give campaign speeches and this is not indicative of the Canada we’ve ever known. The public is becoming distressed that our collective identity morphed into a violent alter ego, but Free The Press Canada will show how this perception was manufactured by the same populist kingpin that helped install Donald Trump in the White House.

 

The Buffalo Chronicle

 

Much ado has been made about the Buffalo Chronicle and its barrage of inflammatory articles that have directly impacted this Canadian election. Buffalo is located in Western New York and the website is run by a fellow named Matthew Ricchiazzi. The Canadian media has attempted to warn voters that it’s a source of fake news and to stop sharing Ricchiazzi’s propaganda on social media, because every time he releases a new hit-piece it spreads through Facebook and Twitter like wildfire (original / archive).

 

His work has been described as partially true, mostly false, and usually predicated on the mainstream news by lifting snippets that were already published by reputable journalists. He stands accused of contorting facts with a wild partisan imagination, that’s regularly aimed at destroying the Liberal Party of Canada. But Ricchiazzi has also been minimized by Canadian political operatives as ‘just one guy‘ to whom our libel laws wouldn’t apply as an outspoken American reporter (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Even the chief political correspondent for Global News diminished the Buffalo Chronicle as something that wasn’t real, adding sentiments like there was ‘nothing to see here‘ as another one of those big ole nothingburgers.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Others with significant political agendas retort that it doesn’t matter if the content is only 10 percent true, because the Buffalo Chronicle serves their purpose to torpedo the current government. It appears that hatred for the Liberals by vengeant Conservative actors is a good enough reason to throw Canada’s legal and ethical standards out with the proverbial bathwater.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

At this rate the majority of Canadians would believe that the Buffalo Chronicle wasn’t a big deal, or a threat to the electoral process. The journalists who attack Ricchiazzi’s credibility also make the mistake of diminishing his character as little more than a failed municipal wannabe, with some kind of axe to grind that no one’s been able to identify (original / archive).

 

The most capable coverage to date has come from Adrienne Arsenault at CBC News, in a segment that scoured Western New York for Matthew Ricchiazzi to question him about the Buffalo Chronicle in person. Unfortunately the entire program wasn’t included in the website article and it ended without an interview due to Ricchiazzi’s unreasonable demands to portray him. Instead the piece was filled with comments from a Buffalo lawyer, Alan Bedenko, who claimed he wasn’t aware of Ricchiazzi’s motivation to produce the controversial content despite knowing him. At the very least, Arsenault was able to confirm that the business address for the Buffalo Chronicle doesn’t exist (original only, as CBC prevents its site from being archived).

 

Matthew Ricchiazzi is consistently described as a one-man operation with the odd beef against Canada. Journalists on both sides of the border failed their due diligence and framed him as a lone wolf that no one should waste their time on, dispatching the advice that ignoring him is the best course of action (save and except CBC News).

 

They were, however, wrong… deeply wrong. All the checks and balances that Canadians believed would protect them have abdicated that responsibility, one after the other. Elections Canada doesn’t have the same investigative powers as the RCMP and the federal police can only be activated by complaints after a crime has been committed. They’re not in the business of resolving the administration of elections before anyone has voted and they shouldn’t police journalists as a regular function. The government attempted to establish an election integrity panel, but even that is staffed by five bureaucrats who arguably present a challenging conflict of interest. Notwithstanding everyone’s good intentions, it’s just not possible for five people to police the entire internet and country for evidence foreign interference (original only).

 

This is where the network breaks down, because every branch of the democratic system relies on the media to inform its institutions. In a previous investigation, Free The Press Canada reported several failures of the domestic press and blatant signs of partisan meddling that arose from the blackface scandal in Time magazine (original / archive). So if the Canadian media is fraught with ethical breaches that are void of due diligence, how can it be the body to educate Canada’s legal and bureaucratic audience?

 

Who Is Matt Ricchiazzi, Really?

 

Depending who you speak with or what day of the week you inquire, Matthew Ricchiazzi is a man of many faces, even unto himself. During election cycles whether Canadian or American, he’s the ‘publisher’ of the Buffalo Chronicle. When the scrutiny is less intense he becomes a journalist at the same outfit, but his LinkedIn profile neglects to mention either of these endeavours.

 

Ricchiazzi is a graduate of Cornell University; the same establishment that produced Anna Kambhumpaty and the audaciously misrepresented exposé about the Canadian prime minister in Time magazine (original / archive). Mr. Ricchiazzi appears to have earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and on one occasion he claims to hold a degree in architecture. But his LinkedIn account disputes the second assertion and corrects this casual misrepresentation to a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning. Although the two disciplines are semi-related, a planner isn’t qualified to be an architect and an architect couldn’t double as a planner (original / archive). There doesn’t seem to be a good reason for embellishing Ricchiazzi’s skill set, because he is thoroughly qualified in his field(s) without the need to lie about the ilk of his education.

 

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Source: LinkedIn (original only)

 

It seems as though Matthew Ricchiazzi is also struggling with his identity, because on some occasions he’s a proud Italian American and on others he claims affiliation with the Cayuga Nation, the Seneca Nation, and the Mohawk Nation further north in Canada.

 

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Source: WNY Media & Wayback Machine (archive only)

 

Ricchiazzi claims to have been employed by the Seneca Nation and involved with the tribe’s gaming business, but when an incident occurred at that casino involving a Republican senator, Seneca officials denied knowing Ricchiazzi. It was described as a dizzying affair because Ricchiazzi worked on the senator’s campaign to get him elected and he is a registered Republican, but when this opportunity presented itself Ricchiazzi attempted to extort the senator according to the local news.

 

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Source: LinkedIn (original only)

 

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Source: The Buffalo Record (original / archive)

 

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Source: The Buffalo Record (original / archive)

 

At first Ricchiazzi fabricated an allegation that Senator Grisanti uttered a racial epithet against the Seneca Nation, but he followed up in personal messages with the same senator by encouraging him to sue the Seneca casino for perpetrating an assault on the Republican and his family (original / archive). The details about this sordid affair are messy, but one fact that shines through is that Ricchiazzi was playing both sides against each other for his personal financial benefit.

 

This brash young man had attempted to secure payment of $20,000 USD per month, to defend the senator against his own allegations that weren’t supported by Seneca tribal officials. He defended the alleged extortion by explaining the fee was the going rate for his expertise in public relations and reputation management. (original / archive). In any event, no criminal charges were laid because this incident resulted in bad press for both the casino and the government, with neither party wishing to escalate the mysterious confrontation that placed Ricchiazzi at the centre of this chaos (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. video).

 

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Source: The Buffalo Record (original / archive)

 

Ricchiazzi’s exploitative approach toward the Seneca Nation didn’t stop after the casino altercation. He also claimed to be employed by the tribe’s construction division and took credit for slashing their operating budget while installing a new chief executive.

 

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Source: LinkedIn (original only)

 

Meanwhile this illusive grifter published in the Buffalo Chronicle to register his disapproval with the Seneca Nation for investing in a grand construction project involving the casino property. He attributes this viewpoint to an anonymous ‘local developer’ who happens to own commercial property nearby (original / archive). As Free The Press Canada continues to reveal these details, the source speaking through Ricchiazzi should become apparent. But this story constitutes the first mention of a billionaire from Manhattan, as this investigation begins to migrate toward President Trump’s domain and due north toward Canada. At this juncture, Ricchiazzi shows his hand by taking his complaint to Twitter and lobbying the Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY against his former purported Indigenous employer (original / archive).

 

Regarding politics and identity, Matthew Ricchiazzi wasn’t raised on an Indigenous reserve. He grew up in Buffalo, NY and he emphasizes that urban history without mentioning a word about his ethnic heritage during a long-shot bid for the mayor’s office (original / archive). He was disqualified from running due to issues with his residency and the failure to vote over an extended period. Ricchiazzi was noted as switching his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican at the time Barack Obama was running for president (original / archive).

 

Buzzfeed News is another source that took issue with Ricchiazzi’s inconsistent behaviour, but it also downplayed his rants in the Buffalo Chronicle as a localized anti-gay matter between a disgruntled municipal agitator and a Republican senator. (original / archive). Ricchiazzi produced an excessively homophobic mailer as a threat to Grisanti because the latter changed his stance at the last minute and voted in favour of gay marriage. The young operative saw this as a clarion call to save the Republican Party from itself (original / archive). This dust-up produced enough controversy to catch the attention of senior writers at Politico as well (original / archive).

 

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Source: Queerty (original / archive)

 

Despite this outward appearance of breaking ranks with Senator Grisanti over the gay marriage issue, Matthew Ricchiazzi continued to support the Republican and subsequently came out as a bi-sexual. It’s hard to imagine what would cause Ricchiazzi to attack LGBTQ2 equality if he requires this acceptance to reconcile his own identity (original / archive).

 

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Source: The Buffalo Record (original / archive)

 

Ricchiazzi’s Leap To Canada

 

By June 2018, Matthew Ricchiazzi began to take aim at Canada. He joined forces with the Tea Party faction within the GOP, encouraging President Trump to block ratification of the USMCA trade deal. Ricchiazzi argued that Mexicans are corrupt and therefore they don’t deserve access to the American market. He theorizes that Canada has been financially successful and therefore Americans deserve a piece of our domestic banking industry. He further divines that withholding the trade deal from Canada until we bow to these banking provisions will result in flipping key border states to support the Republican Party. Ricchiazzi asserts that forcing Canada into full integration with the U.S. financial industry will secure Republican control of the senate for at least the next decade (original / archive).

 

Then in January 2019, Ricchiazzi resumed pressure on the Canadian government. This time he falsified information regarding Senator Chuck Schumer, pretending to have access to the Democrat Senate Minority Leader, as a Tea Party operative that uses the Buffalo Chronicle to advance alt-right causes. He didn’t see the irony in claiming to represent Indigenous voices with a faction that harbours significant racism and has historically opposed the rights of Indigenous peoples. But off he went, trying to sell propaganda that the Democrats were planning to block ratification of the USMCA if it didn’t include language to identify Indigenous trade as protected and separate from the negotiations with Canada (original / archive).

 

Ricchiazzi then tweeted this false flag warning to Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, First Nations in British Columbia, and a handful of mainstream media outlets (original / archive). Of note, he did not think to include the AFN or Indigenous Affairs ministers, indicating he doesn’t know the difference between treaties and unceded territorial claims. Furthermore, National Chief Perry Bellegarde was consulted on the USMCA and he approved of this trade deal as the most inclusive agreement for Indigenous peoples in First Nations’ history. Bellegarde penned his own statement in Macleans magazine that incidentally refutes Ricchiazzi’s Tea Party declaration, before the Buffalo Chronicle plotted to exploit Indigenous tribes across all of North America. If Ricchiazzi truly cared about their interests, he would have sought their input before attempting to (mis)represent them (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

But Matthew Ricchiazzi is an unrelenting individual and the next development will help to define his disposition as well as agenda. In June 2019, he followed up with a divisive entry about the Mohawk Nation in Ohsweken, Ontario. The Six Nations of the Grand River are part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (people of the longhouse, Iroquois, Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora) and they have a Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC, band council) that liaises with the hereditary chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), to govern this Indigenous reserve. This arrangement blends the past way through birthright (tribal) with the new way through democracy (colonial), but due to the elected council’s power to manage band finances, this relationship is sometimes delicate to manage. To both parties’ credit, they are in the habit of consulting and negotiating through tribal sticking points.

 

The Buffalo Chronicle sought to inflame that relationship by exacerbating the tension and asserting the elected council is a criminal entity. It accuses the elected leadership and administrative managers of defrauding the people out of 90 percent of the territory they’re owed. It says that compensation is worth billions of dollars and mismanagement has resulted in no reliable supply of clean drinking water (original / archive).

 

Ricchiazzi goes on to inform readers the government is supposed to compensate both the hereditary chiefs and the elected council for development projects like the Niagara Region hydro corridor. This infrastructure project is in the process of being upgraded to deliver more power from Niagara Falls to Toronto. But the Buffalo Chronicle mixes part truth with an incredible fabrication, that the band council agreed to pay $13 million in exchange for a 25 percent stake in the transmission line, meaning the people were fleeced by their negotiator. Ricchiazzi makes a point of noting that Matt Jamieson was in charge of the deal and claims he didn’t have the authority to decide on behalf of the Haudenosaunee. The article mentions his father, Ron Jamieson, who was a Bank of Montreal executive that created Aboriginal banking. The Buffalo Chronicle then deduces the son is in a conflict of interest to represent the Mohawk Nation, in its explanation of this fraud allegation (original / archive).

 

Free The Press Canada warns readers these details are central to foreign interference in the current federal election. This is not reported for semantic reasons and we are trying to be respectful of Indigenous peoples as we navigate these important details. The information provided in this section is key to resolving the purpose of dubious foreign actors.

 

Continuing, the Buffalo Chronicle combines this complaint with the report of a protest initiated by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council to terminate the Six Nations Elected Council permanently, due to the reassertion of hereditary rights over an elected democracy. Ricchiazzi characterizes the standoff as the next Standing Rock and floats that protesters will continue to flood the reserve all summer long, in an election year (referring to the federal government). The entire portrayal is predicated on that hydro issue (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

A Google reverse image search located the original photo that was used by Ricchiazzi to tell his story. The TorStar chain covered that protest, but it was actually about the Indigenous Rights Framework and the hereditary chiefs’ demand that elected council reject the proposed legislation (original / archive).

 

The truth of the matter is that both sides met to negotiate on the fourth day of protest and there was evidence of misinformation among the hereditary chiefs because the elected council had already rejected the government’s proposed framework. They were on the same side of this issue.

 

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Source: Hamilton Spectator (original / archive)

 

When that situation didn’t produce the next Standing Rock, Ricchiazzi followed up with another article the next month. This time the Buffalo Chronicle claimed a court injunction sought by Hydro One had sparked unrest at the same reserve. It also offered more defined allegations of fraud against the band’s economic development manager, Matt Jamieson, by adding illegal cannabis to the mix (original / archive).

 

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Source: Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive)

 

The claims portrayed by Ricchiazzi on behalf of the hereditary chiefs were even more fantastical in the second example. He wrongfully asserts, based on the misinterpretation of his purported Cayuga heritage, that American Indians and their companies can’t be sued or prosecuted for crimes by the colonial government, because they are sovereign kings of their own nations. He portrays tribes on the Canadian side of the border as lacking this diplomatic immunity that is inherent, in his mind, to all Indigenous peoples in North America.

 

The next bit of propaganda requires more untangling, as Ricchiazzi characterizes the injunction sought by Hydro One as a criminal pursuit against the Iroquois people and attempt to steal their land, by the power company and Ontario government. He encourages the hereditary chiefs to commence roadway blockades and frames the elected band council as Indian agents of the federal government (original / archive).

 

In a leap of curious logic, Ricchiazzi maintains the purpose of this energy project is to benefit the private businesses of Matt Jamieson’s family members, as if increasing the provincial power load and modernizing that infrastructure would be done to help a single family prosper.

 

Free The Press Canada reiterates these details are key to revealing the American interests and Trump operative behind foreign interference in the federal election. This situation is not confined to the Haudenosaunee, the Province of Ontario, the Niagara Region, or Greater Toronto Area, but the reasons and ways this group was manipulated are integral to understanding the unprecedented severity of hostile action undertaken against Canada.

 

This publication goes on to raise the issue of eminent domain and supports hereditary chiefs in reclaiming land from Niagara Falls, to Haldimand, to Port Dover, that control all access and economic activity for the interior Great Lakes region (original / archive).

 

Ricchiazzi then forwarded this political play to the attention of Warren Kinsella, Andrew Coyne, Christie Blatchford, and Robert Fife from the Canadian media establishment.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

It bears mention that some of these reporters were implicated by Free The Press Canada in a previous investigation regarding the Time magazine exposé against Justin Trudeau (original / archive).

 

Free The Press Canada was able to conduct another reverse image search and found the photo of Matt Jamieson used by Ricchiazzi originated from a gala where he received an award for running one the most successful Indigenous businesses in the country. The economic model used by Six Nations reinvests all the profits in these Iroquois communities, paying for several social and infrastructure projects (original / archive).

 

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Source: Hamilton Spectator (original / archive)

 

Regarding the injunction pursued by Hydro One, the truth can be found in a CBC News article. The company sought permission to resume work on the energy corridor that was blocked by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council. Although that much resembles what the Buffalo Chronicle reported, the rest of the story differs tremendously (original / archive).

 

The lawsuit was filed as a measure of last resort because the Six Nations Elected Council and Hydro One were asking the hereditary chiefs to return to the negotiating table. The original deal proposed a 45 percent stake in the Niagara transmission lines for affected Indigenous reserves (unlike the 25 percent stake reported by the Buffalo Chronicle), but the Haudenosaunee Confederacy wanted an extra payment and ownership in the line for hereditary leaders that would not be shared with the residents of the Six Nations. It was deemed a bad faith request and Hydro One, with Six Nations of the Grand River, were more than willing to mediate an agreement that didn’t resemble a kickback for an exclusionary group of blood relatives.

 

The elected band council took the position that it wasn’t proper for the hereditary chiefs to pursue a land claims argument through Hydro One, when it’s the federal government’s domain in an ongoing process to resolve the treaty – not a private company’s business to overstep. They also felt it wasn’t right for Hydro One to be tasked with resolving disputes about the superiority of hereditary leadership versus elected Indigenous governments. Despite that deep contention, Six Nations of the Grand River reiterated their intention to resolve these leadership challenges with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Iroquois people internally.

 

Six Nations added that the decision to enter an agreement with Hydro One was determined through an open, transparent, and democratic process that engaged in consultation with the community. During the injunction proceeding, hereditary chiefs also conceded they’re willing to negotiate and only objected to Hydro One’s ‘colonist and patriarchal’ character (original / archive).

 

In summary of this dispute, the elected council circulated a newsletter that itemized what it accomplished during its mandate. It achieved the elimination of hydro delivery fees for every First Nation resident living on reserve. It brought forward a proposal in conjunction with Hydro One and the Government of Ontario that would compensate Six Nations with no less than $46 million dollars for participating in the energy corridor. It also acquired equity ownership as a shareholder in Hydro One, worth up to $750 million over 25 years (PDF only, opens in browser and not an automatic download).

 

The newsletter also demonstrates what the economic development branch, led by Matt Jamieson, helped contribute to the community. There are several improvements such as a water treatment plant, water main expansion, a fire and ambulance building, two new fire trucks, a convention centre, a 95-unit housing development, a stake in wind and solar installations, recreational facilities, as well as 80 public works projects in a single year that generated numerous high paying jobs. This Six Nations’ newsletter refuted false allegations published by Ricchiazzi, especially as they pertain to clean water.

 

Free The Press Canada noticed that Matthew Ricchiazzi claimed to work for Six Nations of the Grand River but was unable to confirm that employment with the elected band council. It’s noteworthy that his LinkedIn profile placed him as third in command, with the identical job duties that belong to Matt Jamieson – the very person the Buffalo Chronicle is attempting to undermine as illegitimate (original only).

 

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Source: LinkedIn (original only)

 

Later in the same month and during the federal pre-writ period, the Buffalo Chronicle assailed Mark Hill to interfere with his ability to run for the Six Nations elected band council. He was attacked due to his uncle’s position as an executive of a successful Indigenous tobacco company. Ricchiazzi exerted pressure for the Iroquois to stop complying with federal taxation and withhold those proceeds from the colonial government by refusing to acknowledge its authority over health and fiscal regulations. He was pushing for the Mohawk reserve to come in direct conflict with the law in an attempt to overthrow it and the government itself. He attempted to saddle Mark Hill’s family with the duty to establish Indigenous sovereignty against the whole of government, because he felt the Hills could produce enough money through their cigarette sales to replace the transfers from Indigenous Affairs that constitute the operating budget for the reserve. It goes without saying that Ricchiazzi fails to grasp those transfers come from an Indigenous trust that metes out their own savings (original / archive).

 

Ultimately the Buffalo Chronicle proposed if the largest tribal group in Canada relinquished its own assets (held in trust by the government) that they could each become self-sustaining countries that are instead funded by the Hill family and cigarette sales. Ricchiazzi suggested that every bit of that prosperity was owed to the hereditary chiefs because these Indigenous businesses operate on ‘their’ land. In this regard, the Buffalo Chronicle painted the Haudenosaunee Confederacy as a type of Indigenous mafia that was owed by all of its people if they didn’t ascend to royal leadership through a particular family bloodline (original / archive).

 

The same report then follows that not only are Indigenous businesses defrauding the Confederacy by failing to forward all profits to hereditary leaders, but they’re somehow stealing 300 megawatts of electricity from the tribal elders as well. Ricchiazzi obsesses about these 300 megawatts in multiple entries without explaining the logic and torques that argument to reflect poorly on Justin Trudeau and the Liberal plan for reconciliation, at the behest of Conservative Premier Doug Ford.

 

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Source: Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive)

 

In a final curious leap, Matthew Ricchiazzi closes the piece by suggesting the Hill family is responsible for hiring “lobbyists and political operatives” to take down the federal government, because they have enough money from the profit of cigarette sales to assert the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy on its behalf – albeit against the interests of Indigenous families that ascribe to elected tribal leadership that is required to be transparent and accountable to the community. The Buffalo Chronicle ends by encouraging the hereditary chiefs to assert eminent domain over Indigenous businesses on its land and evict them altogether. In other words, obey the royal leadership or leave and assimilate with the Caucasian population.

 

Free The Press Canada is not attributing this threat of cultural violence to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It recognizes challenging issues between the hereditary and elected leadership, but appreciates their intention to coexist and co-manage this Six Nations reserve. We are tasked with outlining the agenda and methods of American Tea Party operatives to depict how and why they’ve focused on inflaming this particular relationship. The aforementioned suggestions belong to these Americans, who do not view the Iroquois people as equals and we regret the need to voice these hurtful tactics.

 

To understand the Buffalo Chronicle’s purpose with these disputes requires going back in time two years prior. In 2017 Matthew Ricchiazzi attempted a hostile takeover of the Maid of the Mist tour boat line by asserting his own claim to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and eminent domain over the Great Lakes and Niagara River via the State of New York. In a nutshell, Ricchiazzi put forward the legal argument that all the waterways between the United States and Canada are owned and controlled by Aboriginal title.

 

He is not a lawyer and this argument had never been made in either country, but he sought to assemble a team of “Indian ivy-league lawyers” to pursue his claim, with the end goal of acquiring the Maid of the Mist business tax free. Ricchiazzi cites the Treaty of Canandaigua as providing ownership of those waters and he believes a Trump-era Republican Supreme Court will grant his wishes. From there he intends to assert those powers over Canada (original / archive).

 

The Buffalo Chronicle published 11 stories about the Mohawk Nation in Ohsweken, Ontario from March 2017 to July 2019 (original / archive). All claimed to represent the view of the Haudenosaunee Hereditary Chiefs to sow division with the band council and everyone living on the Grand River reserve. No sources for this propaganda were ever named.

 

Matthew Ricchiazzi is an Italian American who is engaging in self-indigenization for the purpose of reaping power from treaty agreements through a process of exploitation. Although Free The Press Canada respects Indigenous peoples discovering their identity and reclamation of rights, Ricchiazzi’s business partner has spent decades fighting to end Indigenous rights with immense racism toward the Iroquois people. That partnership can’t be reconciled with Ricchiazzi’s purported goals and discovery of his powerful backers will make this hypocrisy clear.

 

Enter Frank Parlato & Roger Stone

 

Matthew Ricchiazzi’s main partner is Frank Parlato Jr., a New York developer who made his fortune the same way Donald Trump’s father did. He gentrified properties in Buffalo and exploited government-backed mortgages through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Parlato Sr. was audited due to a 23 percent foreclosure rate on the properties flipped and sold by him and his son, Frank Parlato Jr. In 1998 the family was accused of taking advantage of poor people, then collecting the payout from government for their bad debts (original / archive). This is the same behaviour that led to the more recent American meltdown of the financial market that the country is still recovering from.

 

This also accounts for Parlato Jr.’s disdain for Democrat Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio who is the Democrat Mayor of New York City and a former candidate in the race to select a leader to run for the Office of President. Back in 1998, the two were involved in the case against the Parlato family regarding abuse of the HUD program. Cuomo was the Secretary of HUD and de Blasio was his executive assistant. They addressed Parlato Jr. specifically in an OpEd that’s still published in The Buffalo News. They explained Parlato was welcome to appeal the ruling against his real estate venture, but that Cuomo was committed to reducing fraud in the housing development program (original / archive).

 

By 2008 Frank Parlato (Jr.) was the owner of One Niagara, the welcome centre across the U.S. border as soon as drivers exit the Rainbow Bridge. He obtained the property through a foreclosure due to a foreign investor who didn’t complete an ambitious project and instead left a trail of exorbitant back taxes. It was in a shambles when Parlato took possession and he built it with his own money into the landmark is today. Now the building boasts the only panoramic view of the Niagara Peninsula from the American side.

 

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Source: Niagara Falls, NY directory (original only)

 

But this building would give rise to Parlato’s extreme and longstanding abhorrence of the Seneca Nation. He initiated political and community campaigns against his Indigenous neighbour, that owned and ran the tax free casino that Matthew Ricchiazzi attempted to undermine, as mentioned earlier (original / archive)

 

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Source: The Buffalo News (original / archive)

 

Parlato was also competing with State Parks for the lucrative parking market at the Niagara Falls border. He was locked in a bitter battle with the Senecas and the government, and he attempted to have both of his immediate neighbours evicted (original / archive).

 

From that endeavour Parlato moved on to publish two tabloid papers in the Niagara Falls area, ArtVoice and The Niagara Reporter. In this way he could control the narrative and lambaste any of his detractors in the government, or real estate and tourism businesses. Free The Press Canada was not able to ascertain when he became a partner to Ricchiazzi, but in 2014 his tabloid was syndicated in the Buffalo Chronicle and both men wrote for each other’s papers (despite the fact that neither of them are journalists). There are two pages of Parlato entries still hosted at the former’s website (page 1 original / archive, page 2 original / archive).

 

Of interest, one of Frank Parlato’s beefs is that New Yorkers don’t receive cheap hydro from the Niagara Falls generating operation and this may account for the insidious campaign unleashed against the Iroquois peoples in Ontario (original / archive).

 

Perhaps the most interesting story to come from Frank Parlato is his own perspective about the One Niagara development project, and his eventual success in obtaining the Maid of the Mist boat tour on the Canadian side for $300 million. Also mentioned is Parlato’s criminal indictment by a grand jury, but no details are provided about that part of his legacy (original / archive).

 

With only a little bit of digging, Free The Press Canada was able to locate the 19-count indictment against Parlato from November 2015. The charges were laid in the Western District of New York and included conspiracy to defraud the government, money laundering, wire fraud, as well as obstructing the Internal Revenue Service. This was the culmination of a 4-year investigation undertaken by the FBI (original / archive).

 

By May 2018, a few of the charges were dropped but new ones were added, still focusing on the money laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction allegations. Parlato and his female partner stand accused of moving large sums of money through 50 different bank accounts, more than 15 shell companies, and a “dizzying array” of limited liability corporations, in addition to multiple attorney trust accounts to perpetrate the scheme (original / archive).

 

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Source: Niagara Gazette (original / archive)

 

Free The Press Canada will resume examination of those charges, but first the rest of this colourful personality must be explained for readers and investigators to make sense of them. Updates regarding Parlato’s relationship with Matthew Ricchiazzi and Roger Stone are also required.

 

Regarding Roger Stone

 

The infamous Roger Stone, now indicted through the Mueller Trump-Russia investigation, is an extremely close friend and partner to Frank Parlato. He’s at least as close to Parlato as he is to Donald Trump and he writes for the former’s ArtVoice publication (that also partnered with Ricchiazzi’s Buffalo Chronicle).

 

In fact, this is where Roger Stone mounted his public defence against the Mueller investigation and where he took to taunting the media, in addition to some of the highest ranking members of the American intelligence community. From February 2018 to the end of December 2018, Stone was a prolific writer and managed to publish 26 entries before the gag order came down from Justice Amy Berman Jackson (page 1 archive, page 2 archive, page 3 archive).

 

This is the same period of time when Matthew Ricchiazzi began his fake news attacks on Canada in the Buffalo Chronicle sister venue.

 

Stone was no shrinking violet and he touched on personalities such as Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump, James Comey, Richard Blumenthal, a Russian FBI informant, Richard Nixon, Adam Schiff, Julian Assange, John O. Brennan, Jeff Sessions, the Clinton family, Barack Obama, and a handful of mainstream journalists.

 

In the meantime Frank Parlato was campaigning on behalf of his friend, Roger Stone, on both his own website for the ArtVoice publication and Stone’s personal website, The StoneZone.

 

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Source: ArtVoice (archive)

 

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Source: The StoneZone (archive)

 

Parlato, Stone, The Bronfmans & NXIVM

 

Frank Parlato is credited with taking down the NXIVM (nex-eee-uhm) ‘sex cult’ with the help of Roger Stone, but this narrative is missing too many pieces of the puzzle and the omitted parts are a cause for concern (original / archive).

 

Free The Press Canada is approaching this topic carefully, because we don’t want to promote any conspiracy-based theories. It’s unfortunate that such a lurid topic could affect the federal election, but due to the Bronfmans’ involvement and their connection to the Liberal Party of Canada, it’s not possible to avoid this discussion.

 

The media has greatly sensationalized this story and focused solely on the smaller group of ‘sex slaves’, but that narrative was concocted by Frank Parlato and Roger Stone and this is why it must be evaluated with sober reflection.

 

The reality is that NXIVM was an exclusive group for the upper echelon of society, predominantly for networking between multi-millionaires and billionaires, with the added allure of enlightenment and support for one another. It was founded by Keith Raniere (ren-ear-eee) and his business partner, Nancy Salzman. He’s reported to hold a Guinness World Record for the highest IQ, but even that information is disputed due to an alleged month-long period to complete the test with outside help. She is known as a nurse with neuro-linguistic expertise and this field is heavily related to programming/brainwashing. That’s not to say what Salzman did with her talents, but that’s the primary use for them in psychology.

 

In order to join NXIVM applicants were required to submit kompromat on themselves, in theory to protect the group from anyone speaking about its private matters and relationships. It’s regularly described as a pyramid scheme and each new pledge was tasked with recruiting additional members. That format likely arose from Raniere’s past experience with Amway and in the end it caused NXIVM to behave like a clearing house of compromising information on some very powerful people.

 

Free The Press Canada believes that was the group’s predominant goal, and even if it was a side benefit it was surely tantalizing to political operatives. According to Jeffrey Peterson, who is considered the pioneer of Hispanic internet in the United States, he was recruited to join NXIVM by the son of the former Mexican president (original / archive).

 

Around a year ago Peterson posted a lengthy Twitter thread that laid bare his fear of repercussions for declining the invitation to join NXIVM. He was once a Democrat and close to Hillary Clinton, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Marco Lopez. Nowadays he counts on Peter Thiel as his business partner and Canada should recall that Thiel was involved in the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

 

But that Twitter thread was truly remarkable, as it accused Lopez of threatening his family with assassination. With no explanation how they fell out as best friends, Peterson attributed all of his misfortune to declining that NXIVM invitation. Free The Press Canada has verified the account and that it belongs to the appropriate Jeffrey Peterson. The thread is still posted and he hasn’t seen fit to delete any part of it (original / threadreader / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / threadreader / archive)

 

What Peterson alleges is beyond extraordinary and more shocking is that it drove him into the arms of Frank Parlato, for support with his perceived NXIVM situation. He allowed Parlato to cover his story in one of the publications that are also used to advocate for Roger Stone (original / archive).

 

There doesn’t seem to be any proof that someone did Peterson harm, or that it has any relationship to the Democrats or even NXIVM for that matter. But since the internet mogul allied himself with Frank Parlato and Peter Thiel, he began campaigning for Andrew Scheer in the Canadian election without knowing him (original / archive).

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

A small handful of people were convicted for the NXIVM sex scandal and it’s likely this gave birth to debunked conspiracies such as ‘pizzagate’.

 

Free The Press Canada stresses it does not wish to have to cover any aspect of the NXIVM issue in a political investigation. There is too much opportunity for the public to attribute dubious behaviours to the wrong people. But it’s important to stick with this as briefly as possible because it does have bearing on the fake news sex scandals that were initiated against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an effort to taint the election by means of foreign interference.

 

Considerable attention has been paid to Clare and Sara Bronfman, as devout supporters of Keith Raniere. They paid for all his legal bills and for reputation attacks on anyone who disparaged the NXIVM group. It’s rumoured they lost their entire portion of the family fortune by giving it away to Raniere. All of mainstream media chased that story but it may have been for the wrong reasons (original / archive).

 

The truth of the matter is that Edgar Bronfman Sr. disapproved of NXIVM strongly and he investigated enough to believe his daughters were being defrauded of multi-millions. Clare turned against her father and succumbed to the NXIVM brainwashing, in turn causing him to be viewed as an enemy to their cause. The part of this story that often gets suppressed is that Clare hired Frank Parlato to initiate Operation #Smashmouth and that meant Edgar Bronfman Sr. was a target of that very operation.

 

Numerous accounts belonging to Q-anons and Yellow Vests have attempted to exploit that family name in relation to the prime minster, so it’s important to understand that Stephen Bronfman, who is a friend to Justin Trudeau and treasurer of the Liberal Party, did not grow up with Clare or Sara. They’re only cousins with different fathers and the girls were raised on a different continent.

 

In any event Vice News was the only media source to interview Frank Parlato and obtain information about Operation Smashmouth. A young reporter attended his vacation property in Key West and without any political experience, she was smitten with their conversation. He played a song on the keyboard and proceeded to reveal emails from NXIVM about the plot to destroy their enemies with propaganda and worse.

 

Parlato confessed that a hit paid $225,000 but he didn’t say who the target was or what Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman wanted done. Another entry he explained was worth $15,000 to tarnish someone’s reputation, and $25,000 was available if he could get the person disbarred from practising law. To get another person indicted paid out $50,000 and these were merely a few entries on a long page that flashed by the Vice News camera.

 

Free The Press Canada reiterates that Frank Parlato admitted to a hit job worth $225,000 on video. A murder for hire doesn’t cost nearly that much on the black market and no one including law enforcement thought to investigate nearly a quarter-million dollar payment for destroying or terminating another human being(s).

 

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It seems to pay to have friends in high places such as Donald Trump and Roger Stone, but the media and the public have no excuse for the collective failure to see any problem with hiring a hitman. Whether that’s socially, semantically, professionally, or physically, it represents a criminal conspiracy and at the very least extortion. It’s as if the 18-count grand jury indictment against Parlato was the easy way to cover up the more serious crimes with administrative and monetary ones.

 

And everyone let Frank Parlato control this propaganda, to sell himself as the hero who blew the whistle on NXIVM for the most exclusive sub-group keeping sex slaves. His story doesn’t add up because he claimed to be hired by Clare Bronfman, then brought into the circle of trust with Keith Raniere. But according to this bulletproof serial assailant, he only spent a few months with NXIVM before deciding it was a bad apple. Free The Press Canada can’t imagine who in their right mind would offer a $225,000 hit to someone they’ve only known for a few months.

 

More incredible is the fact that Parlato admits he only had a change of heart after the Bronfman sisters accused him of stealing $1 million from them. He didn’t report NXIVM to the police or FBI. Instead he used his story to profit from it by leaking it through his own tabloid – the one connected to the Buffalo Chronicle and Matthew Ricchiazzi. But celebrity press took off with the story and even CBC News didn’t attempt to address the hit jobs or why Parlato never admitted who he unjustly and extra-judicially “destroyed” on behalf of his clients.

 

Contrary to any amount of sane logic, this menace was permitted to continue destroying reputations with his suite of tabloid publications. This man has never been stopped and no one has tried to hold him to account, so he and Ricchiazzi felt above the law when it came to interfering in the Canadian election and treating Justin Trudeau like just another hit job.

 

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No one has even held Frank Parlato to account for publicly shaming the sex slaves within NXIVM and turning a profit for it. That too was a reputation hit job and the precedent he’s been allowed to set endangers all rape victims in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It stands as proof of how effective the Parlato/Stone/Ricchiazzi propaganda machine has been, that feminist activists are more excited the rape survivors were outted than they are concerned for their physical health, emotional well being, and psychological recovery. Perhaps that’s proof of how effective Nancy Salzman’s lessons in neuro-linguistic programming have been as well.

 

Challenging all belief that we live in a civil society, in the next development Frank Parlato was excused of any wrongdoing against the Bronfman sisters (original / archive). Perhaps that’s why it matters that American judges are flipped and traded like hockey cards. Parlato was keen to publish the story about his other comrade, Steven Pigeon, also in the Buffalo Chronicle, to demonstrate his handle on the U.S. justice system and what kompromat can accomplish when it’s needed (original / archive). In the story about his exoneration for charges related to defrauding Clare Bronfman, Parlato was brazen enough to admit that his threats of publishing more about the victims was a mitigating factor. Now he’s free to use NXIVM as a bargaining chip for Roger Stone, and Canada is left to deal with the audacity of these political operatives interfering in our federal election (original / archive).

 

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Source: The Frank Report (original / archive)

 

There is much that can still be said about the NXIVM file, but to close this section Free The Press Canada will only contribute one last reflection. Parlato brags in The Frank Report about a NXIVM party that was attended by Stormy Daniels, Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Wiener, Roger Stone, and himself from a decade ago (original / archive). Spitzer was forced out of politics due to a sex scandal, Weiner was forced out of politics due to a sex scandal and jailed for 21 months, while Daniels is still litigating and Parlato is profiting from his hit piece on Michael Avenatti, with a declaration that he’ll die in prison (original / archive). Meanwhile no one is questioning Parlato’s connection with NXIVM for more than a decade and his many hit jobs.

 

Buffalo Lawyer Alan Bedenko

 

Although Alan Bedenko plays a bit part in this saga, it is an important role because he appeared on CBC News to represent Matthew Ricchiazzi and the Buffalo Chronicle.

 

Bendenko portrayed himself as an enemy of Ricchiazzi, backed by a blog entry he posted about Parlato’s apprentice. In it he embedded the full segment by Adrienne Arsenault, even though it’s not readily available for Canadians to find on the CBC website (original with video / archive without video).

 

In the short interview he did not disclose that he had been a lawyer for Erie County and known Ricchiazzi for several years in the course of municipal and state politics. He didn’t disclose that he engaged with Ricchiazzi at Parlato’s sister website ArtVoice, where the latter two regularly published along with Roger Stone (original / archive). He didn’t allude to knowing anything about Matthew Ricchiazzi’s agenda, or that his attack on the Canadian election was a concerted effort as opposed to a one-off fake news specimen.

 

Alan Bedenko has been involved with Matthew Ricchiazzi since at least 2012, when he participated in the uproar about the Seneca casino for a Buzzfeed article and the subsequent banter about it on Twitter (original / archive). Bedenko’s handle is @BuffaloPundit and he curiously tagged two bystanders into the conversation. One of those accounts belongs to a Russian who doesn’t follow or interact with anyone. It’s a suspicious account to say the least (original / archive). As Bedenko didn’t provide his full disclosure for the CBC News broadcast, it leaves much to the imagination why a strange Russian account was deemed important to the exchange about Ricchiazzi.

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

Furthermore, Alan Bedenko, as a qualified lawyer, suggested that Ricchiazzi may have a relationship with the Maggadinos, Todaros, and “Butchie Bifocals”. Free The Press Canada is aware the first two are part of the Buffalo Italian Mafia and that includes the Musitano crime bosses who were murdered in Hamilton, Ontario due to the ongoing turf wars. They are all part of the same organized crime family network.

 

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Source: Alan Bedenko, The Public (original / archive)

 

The suggestion of mafia is especially unsettling, given that Frank Parlato defended a biker gang accused of making pipe bombs and in the process he cited Angelo Musitano, who was the top boss until he was murdered in Waterdown, Ontario. These hotspots are all around the area where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was required to wear a bulletproof vest to be able to give campaign speeches. This disturbing reference was made by Parlato on Ricchiazzi’s Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive).

 

What Did Warren Kinsella Get Himself Into?

 

It’s well known by Canadian pundits that Warren Kinsella vowed to get Justin Trudeau out of office. He held a grudge that he wasn’t able to run in the last federal election and hated the Trudeau Liberals ever since. Hate is strong word, but his Twitter feed supports that characterization.

 

Around the same time that Matthew Ricchiazzi began publishing fake news about the prime minister and cabinet, Warren Kinsella embarked on seeding rumours about sexual allegations at the Hill Times in Ottawa – possibly the worst rumour mill in the country and he darn well knew it. That was purposeful.

 

At the beginning of February 2018 there was an uproar about his articles that professed he knew about affidavits from young people who claimed they were sexually assaulted by a high ranking politician. Kinsella went so far as to say that he spoke with that politician’s friend, and everyone in Ottawa intuited that he meant Gerry Butts and Justin Trudeau (original – subscription / archive – public).

 

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Source: Hill Times (original – subscription / archive – public)

 

Kinsella kept at it to ensure his rumour took hold. In a matter of two days, his story changed to say that the affidavit ruse had resulted in more young people claiming to have the same experience. The only problem? Not a single person came forward and this destructive rumour was unleashed to dog Trudeau like a pitbull, straight through the entire writ period currently (original – subscription / archive – public).

 

It’s disgusting behaviour not unlike Frank Parlato, who could manage to facilitate every Canadian’s worst nightmare – uniting the American Prince of Darkness (Roger Stone) with the Canadian Prince of Darkness (Warren Kinsella). Both are relentlessly exploiting girls and women of every age who’ve survived a sexual assault. This is conduct unbecoming of a lawyer that may need to be reported to the Law Society of Upper Canada (original – subscription / archive – public).

 

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Source: Hill Times (original – subscription / archive – public)

 

To be sure of Kinsella’s intentions, he wrote another provocative post on his own website. This one was titled, “Why did Justin Trudeau abruptly leave that school midterm?” and he permitted others to post links to the Buffalo Chronicle to boost his prospects of causing damage. Kinsella was all too eager to assist Matthew Ricchiazzi in spreading fake news about the prime minister that crossed the boundaries of libel that he couldn’t (original / archive).

 

Day after day Kinsella allowed more posts from Ricchiazzi’s Buffalo Chronicle to spread further on his website with each of his new blog entries whether they were of a sexual nature or not (original / archive).

 

When the sexual innuendo about Trudeau wasn’t working well enough, Kinsella doubled-down and made the affidavit allegation outright. He accused the prime minister of inappropriate contact with “various” young people, meaning he alleged knowing about more than one. Still no one came forward, but the assault on Trudeau’s reputation was solidified for the writ (original / archive).

 

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Source: The War Room (original / archive)

 

Kinsella was further berated for actually sharing Buffalo Chronicle posts on his Twitter account. He was finally forced to declare Ricchiazzi a fake news source and this was so contentious that CBC News included mention of Kinsella during its broadcast about the Buffalo Chronicle that hosted lawyer Alan Bedenko (original / archive).

 

As Warren Kinsella was rocking Ottawa with the spread of unfounded sexual rumours, Matthew Ricchiazzi upped the ante too. The Buffalo Chronicle libelled the prime minister and claimed he paid a young woman “more than $2.25 million” to keep quiet about a sexual assault from when she was a student. To be clear, this isn’t true. It’s a straight-up fabrication.

 

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Source: Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive)

 

But as Kinsella had to deny the Buffalo Chronicle as a legitimate news source, someone by the name of Frank made a death threat against him, invoking the murders of Honey and Barry Sherman near the bottom of the comments section (original / archive)

 

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Source: Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive)

 

In step with Warren Kinsella, the Buffalo Chronicle also got bolder and escalated the fake allegations to say that Justin Trudeau had an ejaculating competition in his school workplace. It may have been awkward when he threatened Andrew Scheer with a libel lawsuit, but one is truly called for on this occasion. Matthew Ricchiazzi is a paper maché gun for hire and he is invalidating the election by means of foreign interference, with guidance from the likes of Frank Parlato and Roger Stone. This is their bread and butter in America and they’ve exported it to Canada now (original / archive).

 

In one example Kinsella even followed the lead of Ricchiazzi, by copying his propaganda to split the Liberal Party by promoting Chrystia Freeland as the new party leader to evict Justin Trudeau. The Buffalo Chronicle said it first and Kinsella followed suit (original / archive).

 

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Source: Buffalo Chronicle (original / archive)

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

After all that damage was done, through a concerted effort by malevolent actors, the idea had finally sprouted legs and it was reinforced by the Conservative Party as well as the mainstream media (original / archive).

 

Free The Press Canada confirms these allegations are false, but to give Canadians some idea of the level of foreign interference impacting this election, the most sensational and abhorrent of fake news headlines made it from Ricchiazzi, Parlato, and Kinsella all the way to Israel, in that nation’s third largest newspaper. With regret, it is not possible to get the truth to that many people in time to correct the record. If the Jewish people understood what was being done to them however, they would not forgive the perpetrators (original / archive).

 

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Source: Israel National News (original / archive)

 

If it was possible to plumb the depths any further, there’s an indication that a Conservative riding executive had put a bounty out for trumped-up sexual allegations. Free The Press Canada wouldn’t normally rely on simple social media evidence, but it was reinforced in quadruplicate via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The YouTube channel is traceable to a particular group of people and the video copy remains in circulation.

 

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Source: Facebook

 

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Source: Facebook

 

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Source: Twitter (original / archive)

 

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The End Game

 

The end game is not a simple summary in a case as convoluted as this, but all the moving parts have at least coalesced at Matthew Ricchiazzi’s alternate hit-job website, The City Politic. He always had this backup in case the Buffalo Chronicle became blocked (original / archive).

 

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Source: The City Politic (original / archive)

 

This single article manages to explain the American Tea Party gameplan for Canada. At least some, with a considerable amount of power, are preparing to challenge Canada legally regarding our relationship with First Nations as a backdoor to undermine our sovereignty over energy, water, rights of way, and banking. They believe they have the grounds to proceed under American law to inflame a Crown – Indigenous constitutional meltdown and Matthew Ricchiazzi targeted specific members of the Mohawk Nation they believe could trigger this chain reaction. There’s a reason you needed to read everything prior to be able to understand this, because even with the greatest amount of caution, it still verges on a declaration of war with Canada.

 

See here, in their own words:

ORIGINAL / ARCHIVE

 

It is with tremendous regret that Free The Press Canada must inform voters the Canadian media establishment has utterly failed in grasping the most important story to happen to our country since the War of 1812.

Political Warfare: The Truth Behind Axing Jody Wilson-Raybould

It appears that everyone got played, from the Canadian media to the Liberal Party and Jody Wilson-Raybould. The SNC Lavalin affair took out some of the biggest players in the Canadian government, including the prime minister’s principal advisor, clerk of the privy council, and the attorney general. It’s a stark reminder the election is on, even before the writ drops.

 

I will now perform the post mortem analysis, armed with new details that were hidden from testimony to the justice committee. The reality is this scandal had less to do with SNC Lavalin than it did with Jody Wilson-Raybould’s indigenous heritage. A campaign was afoot against the former attorney general by various partisan interests to undermine her reputation and hamstring Liberals from making legal progress on the Indigenous Rights Framework promise.

 

The only question is – was Jody Wilson-Raybould a completely unwitting target, or did she willingly participate at any point, against the interests of her party? Hopefully this assessment will provide her with a safer space to explain certain actions than the viciously skewed battle-ring constructed by Canada’s hyper-partisan media.

 

Please note that sources will be linked for your inspection, including archived copies of the same pages (where possible) in case originals are deleted from the internet.

 

This begins with a helpful timeline that puts agendas in greater perspective, followed by sections examining key players, the relevant conflicts between them, and the potential legal consequences for Canadian press freedom.

 

An Illuminating Timeline

 

2014 – Multiple charges are laid against SNC Lavalin executives, related to the Libyan bribery scandal.

 

February 13, 2015 – Sami Bebawi, the former vice president of SNC Lavalin construction, is released on bail for obstruction of justice charges related to the Libyan bribery scandal. Charges were originally filed in 2014, but the accused was delayed in returning to Canada. (original + archive)

 

February 19, 2015 – The RCMP lays corporate charges against SNC Lavalin and two of its subsidiaries, regarding the Libya bribery scandal. (original + archive)

 

February 11, 2016 – SNC Lavalin begins lobbying the prime minister’s office (PMO), Liberal cabinet ministers, and several opposition MP’s including Andrew Scheer (Conservative leader) and Jagmeet Singh (NDP leader) for a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), after firing its bad apples from the company. (original + archive)

 

***Edit – After publishing, NDP candidates took to social media to deny Jagmeet Singh’s involvement. A link to the lobbying record between NDP officials and SNC Lavalin is now provided, to resolve that partisan attempt at misinformation. (original + archive) Also added is the full lobbying record of SNC Lavalin, identifying every government official from every party they met with, in an effort to secure a DPA. (original – click Monthly Communication Reports for chronological list)

 

July 8, 2016 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules on R v. Jordan, setting a precedent that defendants must be tried within 18 months of being criminally charged, or within 30 months if a preliminary inquiry is pursued. (original + archive)

 

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(source + archive)

 

December 12, 2017 – Justice Richard Wagner is appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was previously selected by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Wagner is the son of a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister and federal candidate for Conservative leadership. Peers describe his rulings as somewhat Conservative leaning, although he’s upheld Charter rights on significant cases favouring Liberals. (original + archive)

 

May, 2018 – A private member’s bill (C-262) by MP Romeo Saganash (NDP) to harmonize federal laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) passes the first reading, with Conservatives voting against it. (original + archive)

 

September, 2018 – The Liberal government implements deferred prosecution agreements (DPA’s) in the omnibus budget bill, bringing Canada up to speed with our trading partners – the United States, United Kingdom, and France – to ensure they don’t have an unfair advantage – also to protect employees and pensioners who were not involved in wrongdoing. (original + archive)

 

September, 2018 – While still Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould battles with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, over the implementation of an Indigenous Rights Framework. The Trudeau government promised this action, but Bennett was opposed to moving quickly enough for this to happen before the next election. She also opposed the Department of Justice having control of the legal aspects, despite the attorney general’s expertise. (original + archive)

 

October 10, 2018 – SNC Lavalin stock prices plunge upon the prosecutor’s decision to deny a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). (original + archive)

 

End of October, 2018 – The Privy Council Office (PCO/Wernick) requests a legal opinion from the Department of Justice regarding the potential impacts if SNC Lavalin is criminally convicted. As attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould instructed her deputy minister to withhold that report. (original + archive)

 

This is arguably insubordination, for refusing to provide legal advice to the PMO. The request didn’t constitute pressure to offer a DPA; instead asking what happens when one is denied. The legislation enabling a deferred prosecution agreement had only been live for one month when the prosecutor denied this option to SNC Lavalin. Also denied was advice to seek outside legal guidance on using a DPA, by the attorney general.

 

November 28, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) about the Indigenous Rights Framework, to advise she fulfilled an important part of her mandate letter from the prime minister. She advises she would publish the Attorney General Indigenous Litigation Directive the following day and she’s very happy about it. Wilson-Raybould indicates she negotiated with fellow ministers and notably, Conservative lawyers within the Department of Justice, to gain their approval. She fielded concerns from the PMO on this very day and presumably gained their support, because Butts doesn’t respond for a week and never dissents. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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December 5, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould meets with Gerry Butts (PMO) for dinner at Chateau Laurier. She says the vast majority of conversation was not about SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

December 11, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) again, this time inquiring about changes the prime minister wants to the Attorney General Indigenous Litigation Directive (informal working title), what the outcome was at a cabinet meeting, and if she had approval to distribute these guidelines. She assures Butts that she made all the changes required by “Elder” (Elder Marques, senior policy advisor to the prime minister). They wouldn’t resume texting again until a month later. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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December 19, 2018 – Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick (PCO) meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for lunch. Wernick testified that he attempted to contact Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould later in the day at her home, to discuss SNC Lavalin and the consequences of her decision on whether to intervene in the case. (Some phone tag ensued before the two got in touch.) (original + archive)

 

December 19, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould meets with ex Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell at a coffee shop in Vancouver, for advice on political interference in the attorney general’s office and the latter’s experience with the David Milgaard case for comparison. (original + archive)

 

December 19, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould calls Michael Wernick back about the SNC Lavalin matter and records the conversation without informing him. (Bear in mind there is a three hour time difference between Ontario and British Columbia.) (video analysis + full call audio + archive)

 

As with many journalists, lawyers, and pundits, I argue this is a breach of ethics and give reasons in a viral Twitter essay. The thread addresses cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege as different paths to arrive at the same conclusion. (original + archive)

 

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January 8, 2019 – After a few days of phone tag, Jody Wilson-Raybould learns she’s being moved from the attorney general post and texts with Gerry Butts (PMO) about the appearance of being “pushed out”. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 9 & 10, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould is on vacation in Bali. She and Gerry Butts (PMO) have trouble getting in touch with one another, and she acknowledges her fate being in his hands. Butts responds that it’s okay if she wants to tune out and enjoy her vacation for the next couple days. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 11, 2019 – While still on vacation, Jody Wilson-Raybould publishes the Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples on the Department of Justice (DOJ) website. It’s important to read this document in its entirety, because it’s at the heart of the current controversy and what the former attorney general is trying to protect – from Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, Conservative lawyers in the DOJ, and through negotiations with cabinet, the PCO (Wernick), and PMO (Butts/Trudeau/Elder). (original + archive)

 

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January 12, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould returns home from her vacation. (original + Scribd docs)

 

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January 14, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott is shuffled from Minister of Indigenous Services to President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. Jody Wilson-Raybould is shuffled from the Attorney General’s Office and Minister of Justice, to become the Minister of Veterans Affairs. (original + archive)

 

In response, Wilson-Raybould publishes a poignant letter addressing Indigenous issues that was subsequently deleted from the Liberal website upon ejecting her from the party. (original PDF now missing)

 

However, the Google cache maintained a copy that has now been archived. The following photo is an excerpt. (cache copy + archive)

 

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February 7, 2019 – The Globe and Mail publishes an exposé that claims the PMO politically interfered in the SNC Lavalin prosecution and placed undue pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould to offer the corporation a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Principal Secretary Gerry Butts (PMO), and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick (PCO) all denied the allegation, that was based on an anonymous source. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

One point of contention is the leaker cited confidential information within the Prime Minister’s Office that only staff in the PMO or PCO would be privy to.

 

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February 12, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns as Minister of Veterans Affairs. A number of anonymous sources leaked to media that senior government officials, including the prime minister, tried to negotiate with Wilson-Raybould for weeks leading up to this moment. They say the former attorney general had a number of conditions, such as apologizing and firing Gerry Butts, as well as Michael Wernick – but obviously that mediation was unsuccessful.

 

Five conditions were reported but the leakers would only describe three, with no explanation why they withheld part of the information. This indicates again that only Cabinet, the PCO, and PMO would have been privy to these details, to be able to inform reporters. (original + archive)

 

February 15, 2019 – Charges are dropped against Sami Bebawi, the former vice president of SNC Lavalin construction, due to the Jordan ruling and unreasonable delay. (original + archive)

 

February 18, 2019 – Gerald Butts (aka Gerry) resigns as Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister. His letter is distributed to the public and he cites anonymous allegations against him regarding SNC Lavalin as the reason for his departure. He says those allegations are false and reiterates his good working relationship with Jody Wilson-Raybould throughout. This positive relationship is supported by Wilson-Raybould’s similar recollections and the text messages they shared previously, in contrast to the media’s depiction as adversarial. (original + archive)

 

February 19, 2019 – Charges are dropped against another SNC Lavalin vice president, Stéphane Roy, due to the Jordan ruling and unreasonable delay. (original + archive)

 

February 21, 2019 – Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, testifies at the justice committee. (original transcript + archive)

 

February 22, 2019 – Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, floats the idea that Jody Wilson-Raybould believed she was removed as the attorney general due to her position on the Indigenous reconciliation file. (original + archive)

 

February 27, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould testifies at the justice committee. She claims to have faced undue pressure to intervene in the SNC Lavalin case and offer a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). (original transcript + archive)

 

February 27, 2019 – Self-professed Liberal strategist (and lawyer) Warren Kinsella publishes a photo of his wife, Lisa Kinsella, hugging Jody Wilson-Raybould upon conclusion of her testimony. This caused a stir on social media where he also posted and it was deleted shortly after. However, the Google cache retained a copy from the original webpage. (original deleted + cache copy + archive)

 

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February 28, 2019 – Social media and Liberal activist ‘Paddy O’Limerick’ commented about the photo Warren Kinsella posted on Twitter of his wife hugging Jody Wilson-Raybould, in connection with the SNC Lavalin scandal. (archive)

 

Kinsella responded by trying to obtain her personal information in a threatening way and the internet considered this a threat to dox her.

 

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Concerned individuals reported the threat to Twitter, but the social media company declined to intervene because ‘Paddy’s’ personal information had not yet been published. They decided that threats to publicly identify a user’s name and address are within the terms of service. (original + archive)

 

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While Twitter may condone this behaviour and driving women off the internet, I warned the parties that Pat (aka Patty, Paddy) is the wife of a police officer through my personal and professional knowledge. This is why she uses an alias, to protect the safety of her family. (original + archive)

 

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It is unknown if doxxing is considered conduct unbecoming of a lawyer by any law society. I’m not aware of a professional complaint being filed, although additional considerations about Mr. Kinsella are addressed in a subsequent section.

 

March 4, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott resigns as Treasury Board President and Minister of Digital Government. She makes this decision in support of Jody Wilson-Raybould and claims she has lost confidence in this government, over the handling of SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

March 6, 2019 – Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts (aka Gerry), testifies at the justice committee. He doesn’t wish to quarrel with Jody Wilson-Raybould about their recollection of events, but denies putting pressure on the ex attorney general regarding SNC Lavalin. Instead he reports in their December 5, 2018 meeting that she was primarily concerned with the Indigenous rights and civil litigation directive. (original transcript + archive)

 

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March 6, 2019Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, testifies again and publishes a supplementary statement on the government website. In the last paragraph he warns the justice committee needs to investigate the Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples that Jody Wilson-Raybould published on January 11, 2019, because ‘it marks a profound change in the legal landscape’. He advises it can be easily rescinded, and characterizes the question of support for Wilson-Raybould’s directive as an election wedge issue. (original + archive)

 

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March 8, 2019 – A federal judge rejects SNC Lavalin’s application for judicial review of the prosecutor’s refusal to negotiate a DPA. The court cited the company’s failure to suggest there had been an abuse of process. (original + archive)

 

March 18, 2019 – Michael Wernick resigns as Clerk of the Privy Council. He cites the non-partisan duties of an impending election and that ‘there is no path to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the Opposition parties’. (original + archive)

 

March 19, 2019 – The Trudeau Liberal government delivers the federal (election) budget, but it fails to gain much traction against the political sniping surrounding Jody Wilson-Raybould and SNC Lavalin. (original + archive)

 

March 19, 2019 – A photo is sent to Susan Delacourt (Liberal columnist at the Toronto Star and iPolitics) depicting Jody Wilson-Raybould, Dr. Jane Philpott, and Lisa Kinsella engaged in a post-budget chat at Chateau Laurier. Kinsella is Warren’s wife and his partner in the Daisy Group political consulting business. She was with Wilson-Raybould at the conclusion of the latter’s testimony as well. (original + archive)

 

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March 20, 2019 – Retired judge, Brian Giesbrecht, publishes a screed against Jody Wilson-Raybould for her directive to the Department of Justice regarding Indigenous rights and how to approach civil litigation involving Section 35 matters. Giesbrecht claims that Jody Wilson-Raybould instructed federal lawyers not to appeal decisions against the government and a wide range of boogeyman allegations; but that simplistic regurgitation isn’t wholly true, nor is it a reasonable representation of the former attorney general’s guidelines. For context, Giesbrecht is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy – a known Conservative institution. He also published in Troy Media, that plainly states it is a Conservative operation. (original + archive)

 

Of note, Giesbrecht was formerly criticized for a racist attack on Indigenous peoples in prior mainstream media. (original + archive)

 

And here’s an excerpt from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s directive that refutes his sensationalized characterization. (original + archive)

 

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March 21, 2019 – Dr. Jane Philpott gives an exclusive interview to Macleans and claims, “There’s much more to the story that needs to be told.” She encourages the government to tell Canadians the truth, but withholds what truth she’s talking about. (original + archive)

 

March 24, 2019Owner of the Daisy Group political consulting firm, Warren Kinsella, trades friendly repartée with ex Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell and brags about his nickname as the Prince of Darkness. (archive)

 

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March 25, 2019 – An anonymous source leaks that Jody Wilson-Raybould recommended Justice Glenn Joyal for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. This information is highly confidential and she is criticized for backing a known Conservative, who took issue with Charter rights being used as a means of political activism to ‘govern from the bench’.

 

This source knew the former attorney general submitted a 60-page report in support of Joyal and the only people who would have known this fine detail are close colleagues in the Department of Justice, the PCO/PMO, or the ‘independent’ advisory board that was headed by former Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell. (original + archive)

 

March 25, 2019 – Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench slams the government leaker and Canadian media for engaging in a political smear campaign using his name. Joyal corrects the propaganda and reports that he withdrew his name from Supreme Court deliberations due to his wife’s cancer diagnosis before a decision was made. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

March 26, 2019 – One day later, another anonymous source peddled more detailed information about Jody Wilson-Raybould’s thought process behind nominating Justice Glenn Joyal over Justice Richard Wagner. This leaker had such exclusive access to the highest levels of government that they must have received the former attorney general’s 60-page nomination report. These details indicate a serious breach in parliamentary security. (archive for those without a subscription)

 

March 26, 2019 – Self-proclaimed Liberal strategist (also attorney) Warren Kinsella slams Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as blameworthy for the leak about Justice Joyal and the Supreme Court appointments process. He claims the PMO is responsible for a campaign to smear Jody Wilson-Raybould. (original + archive)

 

April 1, 2019 – A preliminary inquiry concludes and a judge must decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial against the SNC Lavalin corporation, regarding the Libyan bribery scandal. (original + archive)

 

April 1, 2019 – Bill C-262 (by Romeo Saganash, NDP) to harmonize federal laws with Indigenous rights enters the second reading at the senate level. The Assembly of First Nations urges support to pass this legislation (given that Conservatives voted against it). (original + archive)

 

April 2, 2019 – Former Principal Secretary Gerry Butts (PMO) submits his text messages with Jody Wilson-Raybould in response to her testimony at the justice committee, and to supplement his own statement. They largely confirm both parties’ recollections that SNC Lavalin was hardly mentioned. (original + Scribd docs)

 

April 2, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould and Dr. Jane Philpott are ejected from the Liberal Party of Canada. The former shares an impassioned plea about remaining with the party, but the prime minister reports that trust is broken with the government caucus. (original + archive)

 

Wilson-Raybould urges, “… rather than letting authority be the truth, let truth be the authority.”

 

April 3, 2019 – Jody Wilson-Raybould attends the Daughters of the Vote event on Parliament Hill. She cites supporting the young ladies, but also ex Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell, whom she believes is an “amazing person”. (original + archive)

 

April 4, 2019 – Bullets are fired at the home of Toronto city councilor, John Filion, and CBC host, Anna Maria Tremonti. The event is so recent that police don’t know if the attacker was motivated by his municipal work, or possibly her coverage of Jody Wilson-Raybould. (original + archive)

 

April 5, 2019 – Conrad Black publishes a screed against Jody Wilson-Raybould in the National Post. He opens by accusing the former attorney general of advancing Indigenous causes at the “expense of the Canadian national interest”. Only after attacking her racial heritage does he continue with the SNC Lavalin matter. (original + archive)

 

For context, Conrad Black was publisher of the National Post and that newspaper was founded by fellows from the Fraser Institute, in an effort to broadcast more Conservative voices into Canadian media. This included Ezra Levant, Jon Kay, and Conservative Member of Parliament John Williamson. (original + archive)

 

Black cited his motivation as a response to the Globe and Mail; a publication the disgraced Lord deemed to be a Liberal platform. But the Globe and Mail has since revealed its own Conservative bias, when editor-in-chief David Walmsly overrode the editorial board’s endorsement of a Liberal government. In a haphazard fashion, it was changed to support one of the worst-performing Conservative leaders in Canadian history and silence the paper’s journalists. (original + archive)

 

Lord Black is a convicted felon who renounced his Canadian citizenship to accept a Conservative appointment in Britain (for younger readers who don’t remember). (original + archive)

 

He is married to Conservative columnist, Barbara Amiel, who is criticized for espousing racism and Islamophobia. (original + archive)

 

April 5, 2019 – Now as an independent member of parliament, Jody Wilson-Raybould provides an interview to Mercedes Stephenson at Global News. The ex attorney general makes a valid point that she was never criticized or disciplined for her job performance prior to resigning from cabinet. Even as the Globe and Mail allegations broke pertaining to SNC Lavalin, the prime minister and principal secretary supported her. It therefore stands to reason that any criticism afterwards may be classified as a smear campaign. (original + archive)

 

Insofar as getting a fair shake from colleagues and media goes, it doesn’t appear that Mercedes Stephenson disclosed her conflict of interest with Jody Wilson-Raybould. In 2010 the journalist participated with Gerry Butts in penning a report for the G20 that praised the effect of climate change opening the Canadian Arctic for business. It was crass and harboured racist attitudes toward the Indigenous peoples and their traditional food sources.  (Scribd doc)

 

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Liberal Women Divided Over Indigenous Affairs

 

If you skipped it before, it would be prudent to read Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples now. (original + archive) It was the most important work she did at the Department of Justice and the most controversial to Conservative opponents, as well as Michael Wernick (PCO) and nail-biters in the PMO.

 

A full reading indicates she did not preclude government appeals against Indigenous claims, as the retired Conservative judge exclaimed. In fact, she walked an incredibly careful path to fulfill her mandate from the prime minister without hamstringing government lawyers from addressing Section 35 matters and civil litigation. Jody Wilson-Raybould did what she was instructed to accomplish. This despite opposition from Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, and misogynist whisper campaigns that she was “difficult”.

 

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Dr. Bennett carries herself like the white saviour of Indigenous peoples and it’s plain to see she resented any lived and legal experience from Jody Wilson-Raybould. Michael Wernick (PCO) went so far as to defend Dr. Bennett’s honour in his justice committee testimony and the policy spat he revealed between the women was widely covered by the media. It’s just unfortunate the narrative was spun to impugn the former attorney general as the party who was being “difficult”. That’s an entirely different ilk of putting pressure on Wilson-Raybould, to see her name destroyed if she didn’t come to another minister’s heel. (original + archive)

 

Moreover, Dr. Bennett came to Michael Wernick’s defence when he was appointed by Trudeau as Clerk of the Privy Council. Previously Wernick was the Deputy Minister of Indian (sic) Affairs under the leadership of former Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper. These were cruel years to First Nations and he was part of the campaign that implemented spying and disruption tactics against Indigenous advocates. (original + archive)

 

Cindy Blackstock is only one example and she was tormented for filing a human rights claim as executive director of the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society. The Assembly of First Nations supported Blackstock and she eventually won in a ruling that blasted the federal government for discriminating against Indigenous children by underfunding child welfare agencies on reserves.

 

Wernick was tasked with an investigation into the spying allegations and he fudged a report to absolve the Conservative administration of any wrongdoing whatsoever. He was later refuted by the privacy commissioner who independently investigated and confirmed the anti-Indigenous spy campaign was in fact true. (original + archive)

 

It was so true that 189 federal public servants were found to be tracking Blackstock, under the management of Michael Wernick. (original + archive)

 

In Wernick’s testimony to the justice committee, he acknowledged a policy stand-off between Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and Minister of Justice/Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. But Wernick never describes the policy they disagreed about and the only one it wouldn’t be is SNC Lavalin.

 

Dr. Philpott was the Minister of Indigenous Services and had to work with Dr. Bennett on the most regular basis out of all the cabinet ministers. Their jobs were related to serve the Indigenous population and both these women are physicians. But Dr. Philpott took a principled stand and supported Jody Wilson-Raybould, as an Indigenous attorney general, over Dr. Bennett and every other person in Cabinet.

 

Philpott repeatedly warns there is more to this story and she compels Cabinet to be honest with the Canadian people. She accuses the prime minister and his closest advisors of ‘shutting down the story’, but never reveals what part of the story she feels is being silenced.

 

Likewise, Jody Wilson-Raybould won’t disclose two of her conditions for staying with the party, before her unceremonious ejection occurred. The high-ranking government leakers who peddled that story to multiple news agencies won’t discuss those two conditions either.

 

Despite Gerry Butts tabling his text messages with Jody Wilson-Raybould, her Attorney General of Canada’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples is the one thing that can’t be mentioned – even though it was part of their recurring discussions and part of the justice committee evidence.

 

But key Conservatives are squawking about it and Micheal Wernick tried to make this directive an election issue. In some circles it’s been suggested that Jody Wilson-Raybould owed a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC Lavalin, to equalize the favoured treatment she’s been accused of giving to First Nations.

 

In a text conversation with the prime minister’s principal advisor, Wilson-Raybould further discusses the approval she needed from Conservative lawyers within the Department of Justice. The DOJ is supposed to be non-partisan, yet two of the highest-ranking officials in the country acknowledged needing that partisan buy-in to be able to proceed with the Indigenous directive. No one is questioning the tyranny of an attorney general needing to pacify the Opposition within the public service.

 

Jody Wilson-Raybould may have committed an ethical breach when she recorded Michael Wernick without informing him. It appears she may have been insubordinate when she instructed her deputy minister to withhold the legal opinion on SNC Lavalin from the Privy Council. This requires discipline.

 

If we were to view this situation through a tort law lens, it could be compared to a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver causes the accident, but the victim with injuries wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. In cases like these the victim is still entitled to damages, but they lose 25 percent of the settlement due to their part in the negligence for failing to wear a seatbelt. In Canadian law our judgment doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.

 

It’s apparent there were extenuating circumstances for Jody Wilson-Raybould and a multi-faceted political campaign to deeply undermine her. It doesn’t seem even-handed to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples along with it. The former attorney general’s Indigenous directive is at stake and this is a decisive moment in Canadian history. Whether Cabinet and mainstream media want to discuss this or not, the repercussions of excluding Wilson-Raybould for writing that directive will reverberate for decades. This also comes after the Conservative experiment with attempting to manipulate Senator Patrick Brazeau.

 

Dr. Philpott and Ms. Wilson-Raybould were willing to sit as back benchers and still contribute the wealth of their experience to representing constituents. Extraordinary investments were made in their professional development and it’s being wasted so a timid government can keep secrets about Indigenous issues as we head into an election. The Conservatives and NDP must not have wanted to be pigeonholed on reconciliation either, because it was their duty to know this and they chose to ignore or remain silent.

 

The truth of the matter with SNC Lavalin is that two executives were exonerated when everyone wasn’t looking. Lengthy court delays intervened to make this a non-issue; and the Jordan ruling may yet prevail to dismiss the case against the corporation. If SNC Lavalin is forced to trial, they could still plead political interference based on the government leakers and partisan media spectacle over the past two months, non-stop. This isn’t a justifiable reason to discourage women in politics, or sever communication with Indigenous partners.

 

On Warren Kinsella’s Inner Battle With Liberals

 

I’m well aware that Mr. Kinsella threatens lawsuits against his detractors liberally. We tangoed once before when his wife was an executive at ORNGE (the Ontario air ambulance) and that company was spectacularly scandalized. This section will begin by taking that elephant out of the room and thanking Kathleen Wynne for SLAPP legislation that was long overdue in Ontario. If Kinsella engages in silencing tactics anyway, perhaps the Ottawa bubble will pitch in for a Kickstarter campaign to fund a proper defence of press freedom. Preaching for Jody Wilson-Raybould to be allowed to speak her truth doesn’t mesh with censoring the analysts who know a thing or two about it.

 

It’s become necessary to address the Kinsellas because they’re ingratiating themselves to Jody Wilson-Raybould and implanting their influence in the SNC Lavalin matter. The former attorney general wouldn’t be familiar with the company she’s been keeping, or their conflict of interest with Indigenous issues that are being muffled by all the players.

 

Warren Kinsella projects himself as a Liberal strategist, and indeed he was integral to the Ontario McGuinty government. (archive) He was also a staffer to Jean Chrétien, who was eventually undone by Paul Martin in a Liberal family coup. McGuinty was turfed as one of the most shady administrations and these rifts within the party have never quite healed. (archive) You can gauge that damage through the behaviour of Sheila Copps, lately on social media.

 

Gerry Butts is the best friend of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he was McGuinty’s principal secretary before assuming the same role with Trudeau. (archive) Both Kinsella and Butts were instrumental to the Liberal administration when the ORNGE bribery/kickback scheme was transpiring.

 

The maiden name of Warren’s wife is Lisa Kirbie. She was one of the most central figures to the ORNGE scandal, as the director of government relations. She handled the paperwork for ORNGE, to-and-from government, that was pivotal to the police investigation. (original + archive)

 

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Uncovering the problems at ORNGE occurred because an issue of public safety arose for patients they were transporting. It ballooned into an alleged $4.7 million boondoggle and Kirbie was fired from the company in the course of the fallout. She was offered a severance package, but sued for more on the basis of damages for sexual harassment allegations that were filed after being terminated. (original + archive)

 

Before leaving the company, Kirbie secretly recorded executives in her effort to substantiate the allegations, that included holding Alfred Apps responsible for the ORNGE scandal as the “mastermind”. Apps was a lawyer for ORNGE and president of the Liberal Party of Canada. He adamantly denied Kirbie’s accusations, but was turfed as party president due to the bad press. (original + archive)

 

Not only did Apps leave his post at the helm of the Liberal Party, but he also resigned from Fasken Martineau. The law firm continued to represent ORNGE and Apps departed to practice with his brother. He says that departure had nothing to do with the ORNGE file. Nor has he ever been charged with an offence. (original + archive)

 

As a sidebar, Fasken Martineau is now representing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, to defend against libel allegations levied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the SNC Lavalin dispute. (original + archive)

 

The investigation into ORNGE by Ontario Provincial Police took six years to conclude, without any criminal charges. (original + archive)

 

This fruitless inquiry cost taxpayers nearly $250,000. (original + archive)

 

Kirbie was dating Kinsella at the time of the ORNGE scandal and they married a short while later. It’s unknown what came of her wrongful dismissal suit, but her secret recordings never resulted in criminal repercussions for the company. Only the key colleagues she worked with were terminated or resigned in kind. Their reputations were also destroyed. (original + archive)

 

Continuing, Warren Kinsella is one of the grandfathers of negative attack ads in Canadian politics and he is proud to defend that strategy. (archive) He is a practising lawyer in Ontario, subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct. (original) He’s the owner/operator of The Daisy Group, a political and public relations consulting firm. (archive) He’s also a Sun Media columnist, who once skirted a libel suit brought by a diplomat based on a technicality. (original + archive)

 

Kinsella defended Ezra Levant’s Sun News Network when the channel was closed, as a matter of press freedom that ignored the bigotry and racism it promoted. It was a sister to the Sun newspaper where Kinsella publishes and he frequently appeared on their political television programs. (archive)

 

Sun Media was owned by Québecor until 2015. (archive) And former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney remains Chairman of the Board at Québecor. (original + archive) Pierre Karl Péladeau is the CEO of Québecor and past CEO of Sun Media, as well as being the former Leader of the Parti Québécois. He’s best known for his political stance as a Québec separatist and ran for the PQ in a riding that is a stone’s throw from Justin Trudeau’s Liberal constituency. (archive) These are, or have been, the employers of Warren Kinsella.

 

On the political front, and despite Kinsella’s professed Liberal identity, he worked the John Tory municipal campaign and counts Nick Kouvalis as a best friend. (archive) John Tory is the former leader of Ontario Progressive Conservatives and in that time he ran against Dalton McGuinty for premier. (archive) Nick Kouvalis ran Kellie Leitch’s campaign for leadership of the federal Conservatives, that was widely denounced for racism, Islamophobia, and the pursuit of a snitch line. (archive) He also has a criminal record for drunk driving and an incident related to a different Conservative campaign. (archive) The beef between Canadian media and Kouvalis is that he embraced and defended the spread of fake news, as a source that gleefully libelled Justin Trudeau. (archive)

 

On April 1, 2019 Kinsella and Kouvalis collaborated again, for the purpose of a Sun News article that was a takedown of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Kinsella promoted Kouvalis as a trustworthy authority, and among their comments was a nod to #Gropegate (wherein Trudeau was accused of inappropriately touching a reporter). They further noted that PMJT can only win the impending election if he picks up more votes in Québec. Coincidentally, that’s where SNC Lavalin is located. (archive)

 

But in that article Kinsella forgot to disclose that he was the source of #Gropegate. He forgot to disclose that he advised one of Kent Hehr’s accusers, while also writing extensively about that #MeToo scandal that resulted in Hehr’s removal from the federal Liberal Cabinet. (archive)

 

Although Warren Kinsella vows he is a Liberal strategist, he has a history of batting for more than one team and sniping out more high profile Liberals than the Opposition could dream of. He was ejected from the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign and the feeling was apparently mutual. (archive) He’s attempting to assist the Conservative’s Andrew Scheer in the current election against Trudeau. (archive) In the Hill Times he’s attempting to assist the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. (archive) All the while Kinsella claims to be close enough to the PMO to know that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is the (Conservative) leader that Trudeau speaks with most frequently. (archive)

 

He even harbours ill feelings toward former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. For the record, it was Martin who recruited Jody Wilson-Raybould on behalf of Justin Trudeau. (archive)

 

Kinsella has an interesting take on what constitutes a conflict of interest, but none could be more concerning than his precarious situation and attitude toward Indigenous matters.

 

In celebrating the Daisy Group’s 10-year anniversary, Kinsella boasted about some of his clients. They include: all levels of the Liberal Party, bar associations, law firms, the Department of Justice (where Jody Wilson-Raybould used to work), Indian (sic) Affairs (where Michael Wernick used to work), and a couple of First Nations. (archive)

 

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Warren Kinsella fathered a child from the Carcross Tagish First Nation. He’s deleted most entries that cited his daughter, but kept one published that notes the reserve’s recent support for Jody Wilson-Raybould. (archive)

 

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Other entries on Kinsella’s personal website that reference his Indigenous daughter are deleted from 2012, during Stephen Harper’s tenure. The following titles are no longer available:

July 2012 – Carcross Tagish First Nation: This Time It’s Personal

Aug 2012 – In Carcross Tagish Territory Tonight

Sept 2012 – CTFN: This Is My Daughter’s First Nation

More recently he deleted an entry about his wife’s involvement with Jody Wilson-Raybould, surrounding her justice committee testimony. Now missing from the site is this title:

February 2019 – A Certain Lisa Kinsella Hugs Jody Wilson-Raybould After Her Historic Testimony

 

It should be noted that Lisa Kinsella joined the Daisy Group as a managing partner after leaving ORNGE. She’s originally from British Columbia, where Jody Wilson-Raybould calls home.

 

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So Warren Kinsella and the Daisy Group have professionally represented First Nations, including the one where his daughter resides. (archive) But he also claims to have been an advisor to former prime ministers Chrétien, Martin, and Harper on Indigenous issues and doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest. Representing the government’s Indian (sic) Affairs didn’t ring any warning bells either. (archive)

 

To read the tone of Kinsella’s sentiments toward Indigenous peoples is confusing at best. He sympathizes with their suffering, yet also claims that Indigenous leaders bear much responsibility for the ongoing crises. He wields accusations that have been decried as racist, such as blaming elders for misappropriating their government reparations. For example, Kinsella took a hard line against Attawapiskat and Chief Theresa Spence. (archive)

 

Even staff at the Daisy Group is insensitive toward Indigenous children. The following is from a tiff with Andrew Tumilty in 2017: (archive 1 + archive 2)

 

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He further describes his position at the Daisy Group as a government and public relations consultant who is “living in spin” and an “apprentice of the dark arts”. (archive)

 

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On the serious side however, the Carcross Tagish First Nation is where the Klondike Gold Rush began. It was also one of the first Indigenous reserves converted to a fee simple municipality, as the Harper Conservatives formed government. The negotiations transpired under Paul Martin’s Liberals and came into effect in 2006. The agreement extinguished Indigenous rights in many regards and opened their land for mining, akin to SNC Lavalin interests. It also brought them into the Canadian taxation schedule. (original government link + downloadable PDF, 583 pages)

 

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Warren Kinsella failed to see the irony when his daughter’s First Nation, the one that he represented, gave him a carving of a shark turning into a man. (archive)

 

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Within six years of signing onto the fee simple municipality structure, the Carcross Tagish First Nation was fighting to change the agreement. A number of clauses in the settlement with government prevent that from happening, however. (original + archive)

 

The client list at Daisy Group is full of potential conflicts, between groups and governments, First Nations and governments, as well as various businesses and governments. Unfortunately Warren Kinsella’s policy to deal with these conflicts is not as prominently featured. (archive)

 

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What Kinsella did to silence his detractors is possibly just as alarming. He sued Twitter because the social media giant didn’t remove a post that was critical of his adventures. Instead of going after the commentator for libel and proving the allegation, he forced Twitter to settle with him or face the prospect of setting a legal precedent that would undoubtedly affect its investors. Twitter settled with Kinsella for $200,000. (original + archive)

 

And then, somehow, Twitter became a Daisy Group client. (archive)

 

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Only Jody Wilson-Raybould knows if the Kinsellas disclosed these details to her. Only she can tell us if she was aware that the attorney general’s Indigenous directive conflicts with the fee simple approach. Regardless of her knowledge though, SNC Lavalin has an interest in the way this plays out.

 

Potential Legal Consequences For Canada & Canadian Journalism

 

A number of leaks have now occurred from the highest levels of the Canadian government. Whether it’s about the policy on deferred prosecution agreements, deliberations for a Supreme Court judge, the Khadr settlement (archive), or Jody Wilson-Raybould’s conditions to Cabinet, only the PMO, PCO, or Department of Justice could be responsible for them. A campaign to remove the attorney general couldn’t be more clear and two of the people who aren’t behind this are Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau.

 

But as a country we are nonetheless facing a severe security breach. It must be investigated to resolve the integrity of the federal government and the sanctity of operations – especially with an election approaching. That would mean trying to obtain records from journalists that are supposed to be protected, to determine the identity of leakers.

 

Recently Vice News was responsible for setting a precedent that already stripped away journalists’ ability to protect sources, unless they are anonymous. As expected, the Canadian media resorted to using only anonymous sources after that decision. But now we have a national security risk that can only be mitigated by chipping away at what was left of press freedom and the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada may become responsible for managing that outcome. (original + archive)

 

It is with great regret that I bring this to everyone’s attention. The reason I’ve done this is to spark a genuine, adult conversation about the consequential issues that are going on behind the superficial headlines. So long as we continue to believe the problem is over a DPA with SNC Lavalin, we will continue to fail at addressing these substantive threats to the Canadian – Indigenous relationship.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his lifelong friend, Gerald Butts, enjoy seeking sage advice in historical and contemporary literature. On that note this dispatch will close with a few words of that nature.

 

The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is the sign of rationality, not weakness.” Stuart Sutherland

 

(Full disclosure: When I took time off from journalism, I was the director of a federal Liberal riding association – the one that had to contend with Conservative Kellie Leitch. I have never participated in politics while reporting on them and my ethical values on managing conflicts of interest are set in stone. I guest lecture on matters of ethics and the partisan effect on press freedom, and I’ve been an advisor to the Inter American Press Association. I even managed to score myself a spot on Stephen Harper’s so-called ‘Enemy List’. I believe journalists have a fundamental right to vote and be knowledgeable about the issues, but that we cannot wear two hats at the same time and exploit our personal experiences for professional gain.)

 

@MsAmyMacPherson