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Jesse Brown Withholds Ghomeshi Evidence, Fails To Disclose CBC Conflict

In a stunning twist to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, new details emerge from the reporter who broke this story that cast doubt on the professional integrity of his investigation. On or about December 11, 2014 and after charges were laid against Ghomeshi, Jesse Brown provided a friendly interview to Ed The Sock that raises considerable issues (clip appears below).

 

Ed The Sock is a provocative puppet personality and a former fixture at CityTV. The character was played by Steven Kerzner who no longer stars on MuchMusic, but he maintains an obscure podcast to keep in touch with nostalgic fans. Kerzner previously ran for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario before supporting the NDP, as well.

 

With fewer than 1,200 listeners, Brown admitted numerous details he withheld from the Ghomeshi exposé, that was eventually published in conjunction with the Toronto Star. A hearty dose of laughter accompanies this discussion about Brown’s “recriminations”, that may precipitate a need to examine his involvement.

 

Personal & Professional Conflicts at CBC

 

Jesse Brown begins by confessing he is a personal friend to Kathryn Borel, the former CBC producer who alleges Ghomeshi threatened to “hate f–k” her during a business meeting at Q. It is unknown whether Brown failed to disclose his personal conflicts, or if the Toronto Star agreed to withhold the information in light of Ms. Borel’s intention to remain anonymous at the onset. Neither Brown nor the Toronto Star would respond to questions about this matter.

 

 

Not only were Brown and Borel friends, but they were also coworkers. Jesse Brown failed to disclose his relationship with CBC as a radio host, in competition with Ghomeshi, at the very time Borel confided in him about the alleged harassment. The three were CBC colleagues and Brown now admits he was the employee who didn’t come forward to report the abuse. He goes on to suggest that all men need to have this conversation, about why they remain silent as he did and what is required of men to protect women in modern times.

 

From Brown’s perspective and due to the shrinking pool of available jobs in journalism, he felt that reporting Ghomeshi would result in losing his position for rocking the boat and forcing CBC to confront its workplace issues. No events were mentioned to cause this apprehension, but Brown freely admits his own ambition was a factor in staying quiet, as the only person who also confesses to knowing about Borel’s predicament. Every insult and allegation leveled against Q staff and CBC producers was ultimately directed inward.

 

CBC Complaint & The Missing Witness

 

The other part of Brown’s explanation for remaining silent raises issues for the internal investigation. CBC hired an outside lawyer to determine what went wrong, because Borel claims to have submitted a complaint that was ignored by the union and broadcaster.

 

However, the Canadian Media Guild denied receiving a complaint that included sexual harassment allegations and CBC is under fire for failing to discover corresponding records that identify her claim. In the audio clip, Jesse Brown mentions that Borel never made a complaint and he was sworn to secrecy because she didn’t wish to come forward. He says it wasn’t his place to betray Borel’s wishes and he supported his friend by instructing her to keep notes, at least.

 

Brown adds there was a witness to the former producer’s allegation; but none was mentioned in the Toronto Star report, witnesses were excluded from the Ghomeshi narrative and Brown is continuing to withhold that name. Without it, neither the CBC nor the police and Ghomeshi’s lawyers can investigate.

 

Kathryn Borel also approached foreign press at The Guardian to finish telling her story, instead of sharing with the immediately concerned Canadian media. In her editorial, Borel adds new sexual assault allegations that accuse Ghomeshi of massaging her upper body and thrusting his private area into her backside (clothed). She claims there was a witness to this event in support of Brown’s recent interview, but doesn’t disclose that name either.

 

The Toronto Star and Jesse Brown declined to comment about their knowledge of Borel’s newly published allegations. It’s unknown if Borel withheld this information in her anonymous account, or if the investigating reporters withheld these details since the beginning. The more fulsome description that was published in another country isn’t aided by Brown’s confession that he “amended details” about all the women’s stories, due to his self perceived “license” to direct, craft and alter their reports.

 

This is also the first time a friendship between Kathryn Borel and Jesse Brown was disclosed, by the complainant and not the journalist. Furthermore, Brown admits he was the one to solicit Borel’s allegation for the news. He explains sharing her story with the other women and offering to seek his friend’s support to bolster their claims.

 

Based on Jesse Brown’s confession, there appears to be a conflict of interest to protect his old job while selectively blaming former colleagues and censoring the bulk of details that include his direct involvement. Ethics forbid this behaviour and the failure to disclose, but Brown admits he is new to investigative journalism and believes that online reporting is allowed to play by ‘different rules’ than the mainstream is required to uphold. These rules are understood by journalists as libel law and issues that concern truth in reporting, vetting and verification.

 

Were The Women Using Jesse?

 

In this interview with Ed The Sock, Jesse Brown elaborates on the other female complainants. He describes the initial email from the first woman and says it led to consecutive interviews with the others. Brown nor the Toronto Star would comment if the first complainant coordinated the others, or if these women approached Brown independently.

 

But he did accuse the females of “using him”. When Ed The Sock realized the inappropriate nature of this comment, he guided Brown to describe the event as washing each other’s hands, as opposed to being used. Brown responds by agreeing and admits his professional position was compromised, that he crossed into “sticky territory” as a supportive and friendly therapist. There were questions if the women were “pissed off”, that Brown used their friendship to obtain a story – one they didn’t wish to be told. He describes a process of having to remind the complainants about his status as a reporter, when they shared details about their relationships with Ghomeshi.

 

To achieve the females’ consent, Brown admits he amended details and yet there were still “certain places they didn’t want him to go”. He admits altering more than their names and “all sorts of stuff” was withheld. This suppression occurred in concert with censorship that Brown demanded, because to him this wasn’t about a sex scandal. In his license and authority to reconstruct the narrative, he admits fighting with the Toronto Star to bury and exclude information that would shift from his focus on violence and CBC as a sick institution.

 

Regarding acts of sexual violence, Jesse Brown reports the women questioning their memories and if they could trust their recollections. According to the interview, he describes having to “push and pull” the complainants to obtain their information and admits “media proofing” them prior to the Toronto Star‘s publication.

 

Strombo Equated With Ghomeshi, Levant On A Pedestal

 

Expanding on Brown’s view about the real problem surrounding Jian Ghomeshi, he blames the CBC for creating stars when they’ve done nothing to earn that prestige. To him, this wasn’t about the criminal charges and rather the success of talent that he doesn’t deem worthy. Brown goes on to discuss his greater performance and believes he lost his position at CBC because they’re not looking for skilled staff of his caliber.

 

For some time Brown rants about the employment of George Stroumboulopoulus and claims the same case can be made against him as Ghomeshi. It’s not that Brown is alleging sexual misconduct, but this drives the point home that his concerns about Ghomeshi didn’t focus on the women or the alleged assaults. To him, this was strictly about the future of CBC, his own access to employment and ratings.

 

It’s Ed The Sock who feels compelled to defend George Strombo and he appears surprised by Brown’s attack. The clash occurs again when Brown slurs “they could never wash the CityTV off” and then accuses CBC of poaching unmerited celebrity from competitors like MuchMusic and bands like the one Ghomeshi starred in.

 

To provide context, Jesse Brown lavishes Ezra Levant with admiration for his exceptional talent at pushing everyone’s buttons. Two weeks before this commentary, Levant lost an $80,000 lawsuit that was filed against him for defamation. The judge cited his “reckless disregard for the truth”, but this had no effect on Brown’s perception of successful news personalities, versus the substandard celebrity he attributes to the CBC and the vast majority of Canadian entertainment.

 

Politics & Jeffrey Dvorkin

 

In another interview with J-Source that slightly pre-dates the Ghomeshi story, Brown describes himself as a bitter and disgruntled, ex-employee of the CBC. He says Canadaland was losing money and the show’s more generous sponsorship had come to an end. At the midpoint of a Ghomeshi investigation, Brown told The Walrus he was struggling so badly that filmmakers and comedy writers were being added to cover the gap in entertainment. He felt the podcast had become poisonous to his connections and career.

 

These commentaries span a few months and mere weeks before the Ghomeshi story broke, he lamented about a need for stable funding to continue. Brown attributes some optimism to daily encouragement he received from other journalists, specifically naming Jeffrey Dvorkin.

 

Dvorkin hails from Calgary, Alberta and now serves as the Director of Journalism at the University of Toronto. Before that, he held positions in Canada at CBC Radio and on the stateside at NPR. In 2010, he accepted an assignment from the U.S. Department of State, to lecture Niger and Guinea on the role of press in elections. This was followed by a similar mission to teach Turkish reporters about their powers in 2011, despite the widespread incarceration of journalists and a government-media scandal that ensued.

 

Dvorkin is also a major force behind the push to remove CBC from television airwaves, converting solely to internet production and the often debated Canadian Netflix. He was making this case at the same time Jesse Brown began the Ghomeshi investigation.

 

Before any news about the sexual allegations surfaced, Dvorkin appeared on Canadaland to encourage support for the dismantling and reconstruction of CBC. During this interview with Jesse Brown, Dvorkin scoffs at senior CBC staff for suggesting that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would restore funding to cure their ills. He closes by citing cuts from Liberal governments as the reason he left CBC for greener pastures in the United States.

 

This viewpoint appears to influence Jesse Brown’s position, as heard in the audio clip with Ed The Sock. At length, he parrots the same talking points and goes on to assert the CRTC should plan for obsolescence too. This rant is peppered with much criticism for Canadian talent and programming, with a dig at ACTRA forming part of the exchange.

 

It should be noted that Lucy DeCoutere, one of the Ghomeshi complainants, is also one of these Canadian actors that Brown carelessly disparages with gusto, in addition to his description of feeling used.

 

Friends & Eyes Wide Shut

 

Less known is Brown’s entry into the lucrative tech business, as the co-creator of Bitstrips. This app was once popular on social media and allows users to express their lives in cartoon caricature versions of themselves. It’s still popular in the school system and the company received a $3 million investment, but articles about Bitstrips fail to mention Brown and he’s the only source to assert this relationship. He declined to answer questions from FreeThePressCanada about this issue.

 

In his other pursuits, Brown’s investigation of Ghomeshi benefited from an allegation that arose from Professor Jeremy Copeland. The Toronto Star published that Copeland shunned his students from pursuing internships at Q due to inappropriate behaviour, but Western University denied this was possible and so did the student newspaper. Other journalism programs then came forward to deny issues or complaints about Ghomeshi at their facilities. The matter was never questioned or readdressed by the press.

 

Cautiously and coincidentally, Jeremy Copeland worked with the U.S. government to fill a similar role as Jeffrey Dvorkin. The former was the American spokesperson for out-of-country voting in Iraq and he trained Iraqi journalists how to cover their election after the war that responded to 9/11 attacks. The same as Turkey, this country descended into chaos and lost the battle for message control. Both are now mired by ISIS and political-media issues, along with the greatest threat to the survival of journalists.

 

Jesse Brown describes this cast of personalities as the media version of Eyes Wide Shut in his discussion with Ed The Sock. He claims the community is Toronto-centric and he singles out neighbourhoods from Beaches and the Annex, as those who know and contribute to the decline by playing along. Brown believes they’re all friends or married to one another and he admits being part of this dysfunctional but influential posse, that determines the narrative for Canadian views.

 

Brown describes the group as inbred and David Akin reminds everyone that Sun TV was pursuing a ‘hotbed’ of sexual harassment suspicions at CBC since the year before. He used the Ghomeshi scandal to suggest that CBC mislead parliament when it responded to accusations in the last round. In that example, the broadcaster was accused of processing 1,454 sexual harassment complaints in Toronto and Ottawa alone (proven untrue, see link for details). Regardless, Ezra Levant from Sun TV appeared on Canadaland a few days ago.

 

Cash Flow Returns, But Politics Remain

 

In Jesse Brown’s history with the CBC, he once faced a dispute about the right to republish work from The Contrarian on his own website. The broadcaster has a policy to archive online materials after a period of 2 years, thereby causing the content to become inaccessible. As Brown attempted to save his creative input from the compression pile, he received a takedown notice from CBC management and today these shows are nowhere to be found on the internet. When the same issue arose regarding Jian Ghomeshi and the public’s sensitivity toward archiving programs from Q, Brown was at the forefront pushing for this content to be relegated in the same manner.

 

After the Ghomeshi story broke, the Globe and Mail reported Brown’s income had risen to more than $9,000 per month. The Columbia Journalism Review went one step further and tracked these increases on a monthly basis since October – the same month Brown’s crowdfunding campaign went live and the Ghomeshi allegations were published.

 

One month after that major headline, Ed The Sock was a guest on Jesse Brown’s Canadaland in a role reversal. During this interview, Steven Kerzner (aka Ed), is asked about sexual misconduct allegations involving Moses Znaimer at CityTV. Odd behaviour is discussed, but Kerzner declines to contribute to any rumour mills.

 

When Brown visits Kerzner less than two weeks later, they discuss Jesse’s pitch to all the major publishers for an earlier version of his media criticism program. Brown reports he was prepared to be ‘more responsible and sober’ and ‘not a satirical’. These blanket denials to provide him with a venue resulted in the establishment of Canadaland, described in the audio clip as kicking people in the shins, in lieu.

 

When the income generated by Brown’s podcast hit the $10,000 per month benchmark, he intended to hire staff. Brown declined to answer questions about his income, but Sean D. B. Craig was employed to break the Amanda Lang story on behalf of Canadaland more recently. Craig is unknown as a journalist and no bio can be found online. Originally he promoted himself as a CBC producer on social media, but later apologized for the humorous misrepresentation, due to the commotion and confusion it caused. Brown then introduced his new hire as a “pinko comrade”. The term pinko is commonly directed toward supporters of the NDP, both fondly and as a slur.

 

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The Response

 

Jesse Brown, CBC, the Toronto Star and lawyers for Jian Ghomeshi were contacted.

 

The CBC was approached with this audio clip and a proposal to run the story. Director of Government Relations, Shaun Poulter, was exceptionally helpful to facilitate contact with others at the broadcaster. The Head of Media Relations, Chuck Thompson, also took a concerned interest to facilitate discussion. The latter agreed this information should be forwarded to the external investigator, but a decision to print the story would need to come from the news department directly.

 

Thompson involved the senior producer of CBC News, Ian Kalushner. After three days of debating the story without hearing the file, he declined any proposition to provide coverage. Mr. Thompson was then re-approached and encouraged to review the clip before another publication was canvassed, in lieu of the broadcaster’s response.

 

At this time Thompson attended the news department to discuss the clip with Kalushner. A compromise was reached and the reporter regularly assigned to the Ghomeshi file was asked to evaluate the evidence, as the most knowledgeable person about these developments on staff. CBC News expressed hesitation to publish freelance work, despite the fact that FreeThePressCanada had a history of reporting politics for the broadcaster in years past.

 

After another five day lapse, CBC journalist Ioanna Roumeliotis accepted the file for review. Both she and producer Ian Kalushner responded,

 

You would be accurate to describe my assessment of the audio clip as material that is not newsworthy.”

 

Chuck Thompson responded,

 

… I don’t make editorial decisions for CBC News and I know you have been in touch with them. It’s their call as to whether or not they want to go further with what you have discussed.”

 

Jesse Brown was notified about the impending article and presented with 42 questions for comment. He declined to provide answers and politely rebutted,

 

The story of my investigation of Jian Ghomeshi is an important one that I will tell the public in detail.

 

It will take a lot of work and care. Here’s what I need to be mindful of:

 

Protecting my sources’ identities. Presenting a full account may expose them, so I need to go over everything very carefully, consulting with them where possible to remove identifying details.

 

Legal concerns. The professional and personal behaviour of many people will be discussed, so this story needs to get lawyered.

 

Accuracy. This is a complicated story, key aspects of which unfolded rapidly. I need to go over hundreds of notes and emails and dozens of public documents. Since I see no immediate urgency in reporting this story as soon as possible (I’m not finished with the investigation of Jian itself yet!) I’m going to take my time and tell it as precisely and as well as possible.

 

Finally, I am in the news business, so of course my intention is to save all this stuff for my own report.”

 

The Toronto Star was provided with a similar opportunity to comment and 25 related questions. Multiple attempts were made to contact investigative journalist, Kevin Donovan, and the newspaper’s editor, Michael Cooke. Both were informed they are the only source that refuses to respond, beyond Mr. Donovan’s messages to inquire about the nature of these questions on social media.

 

That silence was broken by an unrelated Toronto Star columnist, Jack Lakey, who proceeded to insult and intimidate FreeThePressCanada for approaching his colleagues to send the email inquiry.

 

Henein Hutchinson LLP accepted the audio clip quite recently. The law firm representing Jian Ghomeshi hasn’t received a reasonable amount of time to examine and comment. If a statement is forthcoming, this article will be edited to include that response.

 

The Clip: Jesse Brown & Ed The Sock

 

Please be advised this audio contains profanity and racial, religious jokes that some may find offensive. Originally published by Ed The Sock’s Soundcloud account, December 11, 2014. This is re-posted for news reporting and fair comment purposes (original source).

 

Also, this investigation isn’t meant to detract from the seriousness of allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, a police investigation, or the equitable court process. It is not meant to discourage victims from seeking justice, through professional, compassionate and capable members of law enforcement. This investigation only reflects the techniques of a journalist and ethical reporting. No inference or suggestion about the female complainants or Jian Ghomeshi is made by FreeThePressCanada.

 

Government Passes Anti-Constitutional Surveillance Law During Ottawa Shooting

A terrible tragedy befell the nation’s capital yesterday, when a shooter opened fire at government sites in Ottawa. A full investigation must begin to assemble the details, as the flames of hysteria are fanned in the public consciousness. The words “terror” and “terrorism” have been tossed around so casually, that nowadays any hardened criminal would classify as a terrorist according to the Harper Government and mainstream news sources. For that matter, political activists who take issue with the government’s policies at home and abroad are referenced in the same manner.

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, social media is rife with suspicion that this horrendous event may represent a false flag operation, to assist the government’s dismantling of civil liberty and human rights in the name of war, profit, political posturing and public control.

 

That’s not to say this wasn’t an act of terrorism. Maybe it was, but surely it’s too early to reach a conclusion when the names of suspects hadn’t been released to hypothesize a motive. Or had they?

 

At 10:13am EDT, The Globe and Mail‘s Josh Wingrove reported that tactical officers were pointing guns at every parliamentary journalist on site.  (Via Twitter)

 

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At 12:11pm EDT, The CBC’s Kady O’Malley reported her group was ordered to leave a local rooftop by police, as they continued to search for a culprit and attempted to secure the area.

 

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By 1:14pm EDT, Ms. O’Malley reported a continuing lockdown that blanketed Ottawa. She was unclear if the event was over, as no further information was available.

 

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While Canadian news personalities were at police gunpoint, American outlets like CBS News and the Associated Press had a full story to sell, complete with the dead shooter’s name.

 

Before the scene was secure at 10:54am EDT, a joint release was published to identify the culprit. It stated,

 

The gunmen has been identified by U.S. officials to CBS News as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national born in 1982.”

 

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By 4:58pm EDT, the story was edited to remove the shooter’s name, or any mention of the U.S. government’s knowledge.

 

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The only problem is that no one could update the Google database quick enough with these changes, so the original information still appeared with search results.

 

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This story was altered again in the evening, when the Canadian government allowed the name of a shooter to be released and American media added law enforcement to their list of official sources.  They also added a middle name, Abdul, to emphasize the suspect’s Islamic ties with an accusation of terrorism.

 

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As members of parliament begin to piece this tragedy together, they’re advised to inquire how American intelligence knew the name of a ‘possible terrorist’ as the mayhem was still unfolding. How did Americans know when Canadians didn’t, and how was the information so widespread that foreign media and Google had access to distribute, but domestic reporters on the scene did not.

 

Canadian parliamentary bureau chiefs didn’t posses the same information as their U.S. counterparts and they faced the barrel of police guns as a narrative was provided on their behalf by another country. If this is dubbed an act of terrorism that American sources had knowledge to pre-report, then why weren’t steps taken to prevent the violence?

 

Many have questioned how a gunman could enter parliament with a rifle unnoticed, despite the massive security and busy lineups. Some are calling for greater state police control and warmed to relinquishing their Charter rights, in an effort to fight the new war on domestic terrorism. Something has to justify police militarization since the War on Drugs has been transformed into a lucrative product of capitalism.

 

All Canadians who pay attention to the news are acutely aware of a creeping police state and the loss of privacy rights in the tradeoff. In fact, one Liberal MP, Joyce Murray, proposed Bill C-622 to gain oversight of CSIS and CSEC, so law enforcement can’t overstep its bounds to the degree that’s been revealed through Snowden leaks.

 

This shooting event also occurs at a time when the Mayor of Ottawa is seeking re-election, with a history of accommodating CSEC as a business partner.

 

The journalist who brought these Snowden leaks to light is in town to promote his new book about the overreaching powers of a surveillance state. Glenn Greenwald will be speaking just a few blocks from Parliament Hill, in the same neighbourhood that’s under lockdown. It’s purely coincidental that he wrote a scathing piece about the Canadian government and co-dependent media’s abuse of the word “terrorism” a day earlier.

 

Meanwhile, the NDP noticed a different terrorism anomaly regarding the violence in Quebec on the day before as well. The Prime Minister’s Office was accused of planting a foreboding comment in Question Period, that preempted police reports of a “possible terror attack against soldiers”.

 

Public Safety Minster Steve Blaney reported the Monday event was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology”, but the Toronto Star reported multiple witnesses saw the suspect with his hands in the air, when at least one police officer opened fire. They also say a knife was “lodged into the ground near where the incident occurred”.

 

Well, that’s what the original story by Allan Woods, Bruce Campion-Smith, Joanna Smith, Tonda MacCharles and Les Whittington stated. A syndicated copy had to be located at the Cambridge Times, because a newer, edited version at the Toronto Star appeared dramatically altered by Tuesday.

 

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Forsaking journalism ethics, the Toronto Star surprised industry watchers by editing this story without providing a notice to reflect the consequential changes. Now the article claims the suspect was an Islamic radical, who emerged from the vehicle with a knife in his hands. There is no mention of any witnesses who saw his hands in the air and the knife was no longer lodged in the ground. All information from witnesses was removed without explanation, or apology for reporting incorrectly at the onset, if indeed the witnesses were mistaken. The French press at TVA still values the eye witness accounts, but no English speaking media reflects these reports from the scene.

 

This TorStar article was more than edited and qualifies as being replaced entirely, having lost its tone, facts and spirit from the original published version. It was radically changed to support the government’s narrative and censored independent sources that previously appeared, replacing them with quotes from the Harper administration that focus on the suspect’s motive for Islamic terrorism.

 

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If it wasn’t for smaller newspapers syndicating the Toronto Star‘s original content, there would be no proof of the first comprehensive version. Professional journalists don’t normally condone editors changing the spirit of their work without a caveat, especially when five reporters collaborated to produce the same entry. The history created by print newspapers also couldn’t be erased with the click of a button, before the press migrated to internet-based reporting that appears to lack mechanisms of accountability.

 

These two examples oppose each other due to the disparity between facts and there is no footnote to reflect this glaring incongruency. The Toronto Star has been a leader in journalism ethics and wouldn’t alter published pieces to discredit their own reporting without a reason being provided. That is, until they and a bevy of established journalists who remained silent, had a taste of the politics of fear.

 

Any reasonable person should be afraid when gunshots are flying from hostile individuals, but will fear be allowed to dictate a terrorism narrative in place of the facts? The Opposition’s privacy and ethics critic, MP Charlie Angus, also describes gunshots around 10am EDT, while American media had solved the event by 10:54am EDT and members of parliament were being detained without access to the same information.

 

If the U.S government could assess a terrorist attack on Canadian soil before the Canadian government was aware, then why was it not prevented? On the same token, if the Canadian government was in the middle of mayhem, then how did Americans obtain information that wasn’t available to affected bureaucrats, from their own intelligence and law enforcement agencies? What powers does America have over Canada that Canada doesn’t have itself? If a shooting on government property can be solved before it’s even finished, then why wasn’t CSIS, CSEC, DHS and the NSA capable of early intervention? After all, the Wednesday shooter was already placed on the government’s watch-list.

 

The timing is incredible and may very well be motivated by the war against ISIS/ISIL. Canada shed its peacekeeping status for more aggressive combat that generates profits for the Canada Pension Plan, with the potential to invite ideological backlash. This is not disputed. An unbiased investigation is required, but the public should be patient for confirmed, judicial facts; bearing in mind political motives, various narratives and the race to sell fear.

 

On the very day terrorism was alleged in Quebec, the Harper Government passed Bill C-13 without much notice from the peanut gallery. Until Monday, Bill C-13 was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation that was presented under the guise of cyber-bullying, but even the mother of Amanda Todd spoke against the exploitation of her daughter’s death as a tool to create a warrantless surveillance state in this vein.

 

Due to terrorism accusations made by the Harper Government that took up most of the day, no mainstream news reported the bill’s passage later in the same day. CBC was the only major outlet to mention the bill on Monday, but they neglected to note the House of Commons vote or passage of this legislation at any point in the story. They presented the information as incremental progress while failing to report its successful, parliamentary completion.

 

This too presents a problem with ethical journalism, but CBC has seen its fair share of challenges since the Harper Government appointed ten Conservative donors to the board of directors, with influence over the public broadcaster’s direction.

 

Regardless, the only mention of Bill C-13 passing arises from a Saanich News editorial. The smaller publication urges everyone to be vigilant as this legislation completes the last step of approval (ascent) with senate, that is dominated by a Conservative majority.

 

Surprisingly, the senate passed a first reading of Bill C-13 the very next day. It accomplished that hurdle expediently on Tuesday, but this wasn’t reported by any source whatsoever. Senators then scheduled a second reading in two days’ time, on Thursday, October 23, 2014. The only lapse in this process was the Wednesday parliamentary shooting.

 

By today Bill C-13 may see the quickest passage through any bureaucracy in the democratic world, without the public or media noticing and while legislators are reeling from the ominous smell of gun smoke. Neither the parliamentary reporters who stared down the barrel of a police gun on Tuesday, nor the members of parliament who were barricaded, would be rested very well.

 

Plus there’s an RCMP press conference about the Wednesday shooting that will surely distract attention from the new law. In the days ahead, it’s likely they’ll tout Bill C-13 as a way to catch terrorists, also under the guise of cyberbulling and even though being watch-listed with preexisting surveillance powers didn’t prevent Michael Zehaf-Bibeau from taking action.

 

This brings us to what’s at stake. The taboo that nobody wants to evaluate. The decision senators will have to make while recovering from a psychologically traumatic breach of personal security.

 

We’re talking about public data surveillance, or what closely resembles stalking.

 

There are plenty of ambiguous words used to describe big data monitoring, but few understand what it means or how deeply it’s abused behind the sealed doors at CSEC. Warrantless internet surveillance has the potential to track a target’s GPS movements with updating by the minute. It can penetrate the entire chain of communication between an individual and their contacts, including strangers who make reference to the target by any degree of separation across the world wide web. The technology has predictive behaviour capabilities. Every citizen caught in this widespread dragnet is psychologically assessed through language semantics and assigned a persuasion, to determine if any of them presents a public relations issue, or if the original target has too much influence to garner support for their business, political and/or social beliefs.

 

Five Eyes governments have established media surveillance programs specifically. They surveil news topics and journalists, to monitor the reporter’s effect on public perception. When anyone posts a news link on any form of social media, all comments are collected and ranked for government and law enforcement dissemination. Canada spent $20 million and hired 3,300 staff to spy on journalists and political opponents since 2012. The European Commission and United States does the same, in this vacuum of nonexistent legislation to protect the public’s privacy in the modern age. Instead of updating constitutional rights to reflect modern technology, they’ve crafted legislation like Bill C-13 that revokes those rights entirely.

 

This goes beyond the confines of metadata and only the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has taken up the cause, likely to the chagrin of political parties that have begun to use similar technology against their opponents during elections. Whatever good this intrusive spying could accomplish is outweighed by the bad. Michael Sona only possessed a list of phone numbers and intentions, let alone mapping of the entire public’s thoughts and updates on the location of political foes by the minute.

 

If anyone physically tailed a political candidate, volunteer or supporter every minute of the day and night, or attempted to record every one of their exchanges, it would be considered criminal harassment. If that person also tailed every contact who spoke about their target and psychologically assessed them to create charts, it would surpass Hollywood’s fascination with the complex plotting of serial offenders.

 

But this isn’t fiction and warrantless internet surveillance can be used to harm a civilian, based on their political beliefs. In the United States it’s already used to surveil judges, adding a difficult challenge to the essence and appearance of democracy. The dialogue is strictly controlled to conceal these uses and they’re couched in the terrorist argument, to discourage the public from searching deeper.

 

Residents have been told if they don’t break the law, there is nothing to fear. This subverts any purpose of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and replaces that document with a Trust Me clause from the government. It replaces the core legal relationship between citizens and law enforcement, with unrestrained power and no oversight to justify its use. It imperils evidentiary laws that are designed to protect the innocent.

 

Beyond the dry language of legislation, this is how the words of Bill C-13 can be utilized by an aggressive government and the Five Eyes intelligence community. Suggested reading provides the history and development of technology and related policies in Canada, the United States and Europe. It was becoming law in Canada when the airwaves were filled with terrorism accusations and the government expected no one would notice. It also relates to media surveillance that could explain a few altered stories, deleted posts and political misunderstanding.

 

Edit, November 22, 2014:  Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette published a diary of events during the Ottawa shooting, while barricaded in an office with numerous colleagues.  Her honest and forthright account also challenges the Harper government and American explanations.  The timed entries conflict with media reports, as documented above.  She further includes mention of a second shooter.

The Granddaddy of Government Scandals #cdnpoli #onpoli

Note from the author: Originally this report was set to explore the federal government’s hand in the anti abortion lobby. Surprisingly it grew to include an anti gay lobby, anti aboriginal lobby, anti prostitution lobby, anti human rights lobby, anti green energy lobby, anti tax lobby, among other issues.

 

These developments are so widespread, they had to be expressed in a timeline to alleviate confusion and allow the reader to reach their own conclusions. Numerous hyperlinks lead to the documents cited and supporting multimedia appears throughout.

 

While each of these topics deserves a dedicated headline, it is the collaborative nature and coordinated efforts of a particular network that is gaining the support of government. The issue that needs to be addressed is the sum of these parts that would normally be lost in a 24 hour news cycle if examined individually. With that said, the report patiently continues.

 

The 2014 March for Life began Thursday on Parliament Hill, marked by a handful of FEMEN activists being carted away by police. A topless convoy crashed the rally in support of women’s rights, but apparently their message was too avant-garde for the masses. It’s a story of disparity when anti-abortionists are permitted to flood the streets with photos of mutilated foetuses and the female body it comes from is censored by law enforcement, but this situation depicts the polarized views that dominate Canadian discourse.

 

Credit: Tony Caldwell, QMI Agency

Credit: Tony Caldwell, QMI Agency

 

Credit: Tony Caldwell, QMI Agency

Credit: Tony Caldwell, QMI Agency

 

Justin Trudeau came out the day before, to warn anti-abortionists they needn’t apply for candidacy in the federal Liberal party. Aside of political platforms and moral persuasion, this decision was in keeping with a Supreme Court precedent that determined a woman’s right to choose under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

On the surface these sentiments appear to be shared by Prime Minister Harper, as he worked to quell anti-choice motions from Conservative backbenchers in his own party. The government claims to respect the legal status quo, but an investigation has led to serious revelations that challenge that outward appearance.

 

Several documents retrieved from Conservative MP’s and supporting sources will illuminate a contentious matter on the Hill. For years the media has been chasing rumours about the existence of a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC) and historically it’s been denied as an unofficial gathering of MP’s with similar preferences.

 

Everyone appreciates there is a heated difference of opinions as they relate to these human rights, but there is greater concern if this caucus is operating as an official branch of the Harper government, in defiance of the Charter and Supreme Court position. Consistent denials from members of parliament who engage with the anti-abortion group have helped to keep the issue at bay, but their words are incongruent with caucus literature and the many real actions they’ve taken.

 

In addition to the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus having an office on Parliament Hill, it became apparent they’re working with a private lobby that has used this access to infiltrate ministries and the PMO. The lobby itself describes the operation as “infiltrating the government” and success has been so great that they’ve replicated the process for provincial legislatures in parallel campaigns.

 

Some of their goals include abolishing social welfare programs for every walk of life. They include Native assimilation, censoring television and media, widespread privatization, controlling women, facilitating hate speech and rescinding human rights. A common response is disbelief that it could be anything more than ideas, but the following challenges that inclination toward apathy by outlining this government-supported lobby’s significant progress.

 

A Timeline

 

1989, October – The Campaign Life Coalition mentions sub organizations such as Tories for Life and Liberals for Life, referring to Canadian political parties. The movement is planning to infiltrate the Liberal leadership convention, to facilitate anti-abortion legislation by selecting representatives who are friendly to it.

 

1998, September – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus is re-established, according to the movement’s newspaper. The first co-chairs are MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister), MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, departed government in 2008 to become legal counsel for Campaign Life Coalition) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired in 2004 but continued to chair the Conservative election campaign in Atlantic Canada).

 

In the announcement, Campaign Life Coalition is described as the “political arm” of the movement and they vow to complete their work in the background “from now on”. Their services will include assisting MP’s draft private member bills to achieve anti-abortion legislation. Under Prime Minister Chrétien (Liberal majority government), they plan to lobby for less stringent treatment of private member bills and the first March for Life rally attracts “almost 50 MP’s and senators” to planning meetings on the Hill.

 

It should be noted that Jason Kenney made history by trying to suppress pro-choice activists in the university setting, pre-dating this caucus by more than a decade. The Walrus attributes his religiously motivated government aspirations to that defining experience with the American movement.

 

1999, May – The first anti-abortion March for Life is a two day rally on Parliament Hill. It’s hosted by the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC) and a press conference is held by co-chairs MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister), MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008, Campaign Life Coalition counsel) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004).

 

At this time Kenney made accusations against the Calgary Foothills hospital, that nurses claimed mothers were being induced prematurely and the babies were left to die. The hospital sought a court injunction to stop these reports and Kenney responded by compelling a police investigation.

 

When the hospital wasn’t found to commit infanticide as Kenney alleged, the technical arguments about abortion were re-asserted. This time the future minister of employment suggested the police failed to properly investigate and he may compel the Attorney General to engage in a province-wide probe. At issue is whether the foetus is technically alive in the surgery removal process.

 

After this press conference the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus held a luncheon for anti-abortion MP’s and activists to network. In attendance were the co-chairs as well as MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, CPC), MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, LPC, retired 2011), MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC, retired 2008), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Norman Doyle (St. John’s East, CPC, became senator in 2012), MP Mark Muise (West Nova, CPC, retired 2000), MP Reed Elley (Nanaimo-Cowichan, CPC, retired 2004), MP Janko Peric (Cambridge, LPC, retired 2004), MP Eric Lowther (Calgary Centre, CPC, retired 2000), MP John Nunziata (York South-Weston, LCP turned Independent, retired 2000), MP Pat O’Brien (London-Fanshawe, LPC turned Independent, retired 2005), MP John O’Reilly (Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes-Brock, LPC, retired 2004), two unnamed senators and additional members of parliament.

 

2001 – Social and Cultural Archives prepares the fonds for Campaign Life Coalition, itemizing all lobbying correspondence with schools, hospitals, community organizations and members of government. It covers the years 1967 to 1993 and notes communication with MP Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, CPC) since 1986, before he became the Justice Minister and current Defence Minister of Canada.

 

2001, May – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus holds a press conference in conjunction with the March for Life rally. They share their praise of co-organizer and lobbyist, Campaign Life Coalition. The group spoke briefly about the PPLC’s work and noted MP Garry Breitkreuz‘s (Yorkton-Melville, CPC) motion to redefine the meaning of a human being to include unborn children. The rest of the PPLC’s projects had to be kept private.

 

In attendance were MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004), MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008), MP Reed Elley (Nanaimo-Cowichan, CPC, retired 2004) and MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, LPC, retired 2011).

 

2001, May – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus elects new co-chairs. MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004) remains the same; while MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) replaces MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008) and MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) replaces MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister).

 

Vellacott introduces a “conscience bill” that would allow health care workers to opt out of job duties related to abortions. Wayne is working on a bill to de-fund abortion and MP Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon-Humboldt, retired 2004) is re-introducing a similar de-funding bill from years ago.

 

Pankiw was also embroiled in controversy due to a public letter condemning the University of Saskatchewan for policies related to First Nations enrollment. He compared supporters of affirmative action to a modern day (reverse) Klu Klux Klan and he would later be convicted of drunk driving in 2014.

 

2001, December – In the Canadian Alliance leadership race between Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper (pre CPC), the future prime minister lodges a complaint against his challenger for the unethical procurement of memberships. Day was reprimanded for allowing the Campaign Life Coalition to sign up party members directly through their website and feed them into the political campaign without oversight from officials. This lent to distrust and Harper emerged the victor.

 

2003, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) commemorates the sixth annual March for Life in parliament. Anti-abortion activists complained about a media blackout hindering their event, but together they celebrated an increase of 1,000 participants, for a total of 3,500.

 

2003, DecemberPrime Minister Paul Martin succeeds Jean Chrétien as he steps down and the Liberals appoint a new leader from within. It remains a majority government.

 

2003, OctoberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The letter denounces Bill C-13 and claims a majority of Canadians do not support embryonic stem cell research. They state that human babies must be killed for this scientific experiment and follow with similar accusations in the parliamentary press gallery, but it doesn’t appear the media covered this appearance. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)

 

 

2004, OctoberPrime Minister Paul Martin wins election, to a Liberal minority government.

 

2004, OctoberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. They advocate for the anti-abortion conference occurring in Winnipeg and the Silent No More campaign that focuses on women who later regretted having an abortion. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)

 

 

2004, DecemberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, that compels federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler (LPC) to intervene in the Saskatchewan NDP government. He cites a Supreme Court decision that allows marriage commissioners to deny gay unions, based on religious conscience. He goes on to say the highest court determined that gay marriage is not a human right and asks the federal government to ensure the provincial counterpart can’t force anyone to perform the ceremony. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery. A backup file can be found here.)

 

2005, FebruaryMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, accusing the Martin Liberal government of “discriminating” against Canadian parents for trying to establish a national daycare program. He states that 75 percent of families would rather have stay-at-home parents or relative babysitters, instead of government intervention that allows them to work. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery. A backup file can be found here.)

 

2005, FebruaryMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, in cross-party support of MP Paul Szabo‘s (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) Bill C-206. Szabo is a fellow member of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and this legislation is intended to regulate alcohol labelling with health and maternal warnings, similar to cigarettes today.

 

Vellacott explains that alcoholic beverages are consumed by 30-40 percent of pregnant women and this is the “leading cause of mental retardation in Canada”. According to this government presser, he says that 50 percent of inmates suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and alcohol related birth defects. Then, he attributes 50 percent of hospital emergencies, 65 percent of child abuse and 60 percent of homicides to alcohol abuse. These claims are not supported by cited studies and it’s unknown where these statistics originated. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives that has since disappeared and a backup file can be found here.)

 

2005, AprilMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, arguing against Bill C-38, The Civil Marriage Act, to recognize same sex unions. He warned this will result in ruinous lawsuits against his constituents and cause them to lose employment due to religious conscience. This legislation passed two months later by a vote of 158 to 133. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives that has since disappeared and a backup file can be found here.)

 

2005, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address for the PPLC. The topic is titled Violence No More and it calls on physicians to justify the reason for each patient’s abortion, to ensure the medical community isn’t supporting domestic violence by keeping it secret from the government.

 

A study coinciding with this year’s March for Life determined that repeated sexual abuse was responsible for many of these decisions and the caucus felt government should be alerted to support victims of molestation to deliver their babies instead of aborting.

 

Another conference was scheduled in the parliamentary press gallery, but again no record of media coverage could be located. (A copy of this letter was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)

 

 

The annual March for Life is a product of the Campaign Life Coalition. This non-profit is also a registered lobbyist (see here and here and here) and lobbying constitutes a vast majority of the group’s work and purpose.

 

003.xLobbySenatorPlett

 

2006, January – The Harper Conservatives are first elected to a minority government.

 

2006, MarchMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, accusing the Canadian Cancer Society of lying to the public on CBC. He cites a scientific report that proves birth control causes cancer and so do abortions. That report arises from an American agency that is staffed by known anti-abortion activists and was discredited as biased by the global cancer community, as well as the World Health Organization.

 

He goes on to educate about female breasts in pregnancy, but this MP is not a doctor and rather holds a Master of Divinity (to church minister). This government press release closes with another suggestion against the Canadian Cancer Society, that it may be failing to adopt this (discredited) study due to a monetary relationship with Big Pharma, that would rather see cancer prevail for profit and mutual benefit. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2006, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The information claims that breast cancer is caused by abortion. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)

 

 

2006, May – Sun Media National Bureau Chief, David Akin, reports members of parliament who attended this year’s March for Life on his personal blog. Supporting evidence cited in this piece has been removed from internet, but he describes “many Conservative MP’s” including Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister). Kenney was joined on stage by fellow Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus speakers, MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008), MP Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) and MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008).

 

2007, May – A secret Conservative party handbook is leaked to reporter Don Martin at the National Post. It’s a 200 page document that includes instructions on how to bring government business to a halt, as well as how to select Conservative friendly witnesses to give committee input.

 

2007, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. In recognition of International Women’s Day, the caucus condemns sex-selective abortions and alleges a Canadian epidemic in six pages of footnotes, that compare this country to China.

 

The literature also confirms the PPLC will hold a conference in the parliamentary press gallery (Centre Block), to kick off the annual March for Life. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)

 

 

2007, May – The annual March for Life occurs in Ottawa, to Parliament Hill. The group’s anti-abortion banners are endorsed by the Government of Canada logo. This cannot be done without permission and it’s unknown if the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus approved this request or provided funding. It’s not possible to track their business or disbursements because the caucus operates in secret.

 

004.x2007picMarch4LifeCanadaLogo

 

2007, May – Due to complaint from the public and a former MP, the Treasury Board Secretariat investigates the Campaign Life Coalition lobby, for use of the Canadian government logo (aka word mark) on anti-abortion signs. The original story by Macleans magazine has since been removed from internet.

 

Kady O’Malley’s story from the following year remains hosted and it confirms the 2007 debacle. She reports the government sent a cease and desist order, but March for Life organizers say they used the logo for five years without ruffling any feathers. Ultimately they agree to remove the symbol and blame the incident on volunteers.

 

2007, May – At the same March for Life event in Ottawa, a number of officials attend as the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. They include MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, CPC, Independent since 2013 due to Elections Canada charges), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Bev Shipley (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, CPC)MP Jeff Watson(Essex, CPC), MP Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, CPC), MP Dave Anderson (Cypress Hills-Grasslands, CPC), MP Mark Warawa (Langley, CPC), MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC), MP Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC), MP Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC, retired 2008), MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga, CPC), MP Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008).

 

While some of these legislators decline to speak, Steckle addresses his private member Bill C-338, to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks gestation. The footage pans to Dr. Morgentaler’s medical office, where he and staff faced firebombs and attempted murder for their willingness to provide abortions in the past.

 

 

2007, MayMP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, CPC, now Independent) was Prime Minister Harper’s parliamentary secretary when he gave this speech at the March for Life, on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2007, August – The Abortion Rights Coalition produces a list of anti-choice members of parliament.

 

2007, OctoberMP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC) introduces private member Bill C-484. It’s titled the Unborn Victims of Crime Act and would eventually be defeated.

 

2008, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The information explains the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a priest and anti-abortion activist (representative of Silent No More).

 

This year she will attend the March for Life in Ottawa with caucus MP’s and address the parliamentary press gallery to kick off events. Again there is no record of media coverage, despite the government hosting such a high profile figure who is also a Republican employed by a Conservative think-tank. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)

 

 

2008, May – Although the Treasury Board Secretariat claimed to issue a cease and desist order, the Canadian government logo re-appeared on anti-abortion signs. This time they explained it was due to the printer’s oversight and the government was considering if it would take action in response to complaints.

 

Credit: Kady O'Malley

Credit: Kady O’Malley

 

2008, May – Ezra Levant posts a blog that unabashedly slams the Human Rights Commission. The piece accuses investigators of obtaining “illegal warrants” and downright “hacking” the targets of complaint instead of following proper legal procedure.

 

It reveals an email from then Justice Minister Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, CPC, became Defence Minister in 2013) in support of a motion from MP Rick Dyskstra (St. Catharines, CPC), to have the commission reviewed. MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Minister of Employment) is also feted for “stickhandling” the matter and resolving that it be heard by the government’s justice committee.

 

006. xEzraBlogSnippet

 

2008, October – The Harper Conservatives are re-elected to a second minority government, with a slight increase improving upon the first.

 

2008, DecemberMP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) is newly elected to co-chair the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, replacing MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008). Both chairs are now Conservative MP’s.

 

2009, March – An event is organized on Parliament Hill for MP’s and senators by ARPA Canada (Association for Reformed Political Action). The organization is a registered lobbyist and the evening was co-sponsored by MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC).

 

Legislators were greeted by an expert in the Old Testament (Old Testament aka “eye for an eye”, New Testament aka “turn the other cheek”), Dr. Cornelis Van Dam. His speech was titled God and Government: A Biblical Perspective on the Role of the State (full audio available here and text available here).

 

The ARPA lobby reports that fifteen MP’s from Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties attended, as well as one senator and staff for MP’s that weren’t available. Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre (TWU) was also present and according to another priest, the event was held in an NDP committee room in the West Block.

 

007x2009NDPgodandgovt

 

After a lecture defining God’s ultimate sovereignty over government, the church and lobby representatives say they were encouraged by MP’s to have ‘their people’ search for jobs within legislative offices.

 

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2009, MayMP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) issues a press release on letterhead that identifies the West Block in the House of Commons as the new Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus mailing address. This media advisory argues for freedom of speech on behalf of anti-abortionists and informs the PPLC will appear in the government’s press gallery the following day to elaborate.

 

A common complaint from these activists is they cannot protest within the “bubble zone” surrounding medical clinics to harass abortion patients as they come and go. Some have faced repeated criminal charges for purposely breaking this rule. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)

 

 

2009, May – Corresponding with the item above, MP’s in the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus were joined by students in the parliamentary press gallery. This time they were filmed as an act of government led by PPLC Chair, MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC), but all major media outlets failed to cover the event.

 

This clip is telling from both perspectives, in that the caucus succeeded in making the anti-abortion plight become government business and the press continues a near-blackout, so their actions aren’t seen by the public. To schedule time in the government press gallery it must be booked with the bureau chiefs who cover it, so every major outlet was aware but simply declined to attend. Of the reporters who did show, no hard questions were asked; but the caucus did reveal there may be members from the NDP and other parties on the Hill.

 

A 2007 article about the PPLC was written by Kady O’Malley and published by Macleans magazine. It was titled Lust for Life, but has since disappeared from the internet. (A backup copy can be found here.) This is the only known video of the caucus’ government pressers and it does a good job of speaking for itself in lieu.

 

 

2009, May – Signs at this year’s March for Life don’t bear the Canadian government logo. The word “National” replaced “Canada”, but the lobby continued to use the identical font with flag placement, mimicking the trademark instead of replicating.

 

009x2012signNOlogo

 

2009, DecemberThe Hill Times publishes a story about the Tory Anti-Abortion Caucus Committee. MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) writes a letter to correct (page 8). He informs it’s the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and it’s a “multi-party caucus of parliamentarians”, “open to MP’s of the House and the Senate”. He identifies MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) as the new caucus chair and mentions a former Liberal, but will not divulge the roster of names because it’s a member’s choice to go public or continue in secret.

 

2010, MarchCampaign Life Coalition is accused of associating with groups that employ violence to achieve the anti-abortion agenda, by the Canadian Bishop’s Conference. In a 10 page report, the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace alleges the lobby is a “militant anti-abortion group” that has targeted some of their priests with “slanderous attack campaigns”, for the appearance of supporting a woman’s right to choose. These bishops say the lobby “continuously misrepresents facts and distorts reality to serve their purpose,” but the lobby proudly defends these actions. It has not admitted the use of violence however.

 

2010, AprilMP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) proposes Bill C-510. It’s An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort.

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, former CPC, now Independent) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Kelly Block (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Royal Galipeau (Ottawa-Orleans, CPC, former Deputy Speaker) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Gurbax Singh Malhi (Bramalea-Gore-Malton, LPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Mark Warawa (Langley, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

 

2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Brad Trost(Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. He celebrates their success in convincing government to cancel foreign aid to the poorest countries that provide abortions. Even the ones with an epidemic of molested child brides, just as the lobbies requested.

 

 

2010, September – ARPA Canada develops an “EasyMail” service. ARPA is a sister registered lobbyist to Campaign Life Coalition and they will tackle larger legislative projects together in the future.

 

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EasyMail is created so lobby supporters can assist the group with email campaigns to MP’s and senators. They publish policy reports to advise the government and have fellow activists forward copies to elected officials “in a matter of seconds”, without needing to add personal comments.

 

In total, ARPA provides 78 different form letters with their own policy attachments to affect federal laws and provincial matters in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Some of these topics include kindergarten, sex education, gender identity, human rights, green energy, anti-bullying, WSIB, abortion funding, prostitution, euthanasia, Aboriginal rights, income splitting, pensions, public service and physical discipline. (This is only a sample and some topics will be discussed in detail as the investigation progresses.)

 

011xEZmail (2)

 

2010, SeptemberMP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC) films a video campaign on behalf of lobbyist ARPA Canada. Together they push a second motion for a parliamentary committee to assess the Human Rights Commission for alleged abuse of Section 13. One infamous Conservative dubbed this tribunal the “thought crime” police when it comes to hate speech. Others in the anti-abortion movement feel the interpretation of human rights stifles their ability to express displeasure at women entering medical clinics and against gay sexuality.

 

 

Of interest, the executive director and head lobbyist at ARPA is Mark Penninga. He interned with MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) as the latter was chairing the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. In a book by Marci McDonald, the author notes that Penninga graduated from Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre. This is the same TWU that participated in private parliament events hosted by the lobbyist. They’re also at the centre of a current controversy, for trying to create a religious law school that can deny admission to gay students.

 

Another student, Jared Kuehl, went straight to work in Prime Minister Harper‘s office in the issues management division (leaving in 2013 to become head of government relations for Shell). Thirty more Trinity Western graduates would staff the Harper government, whether working for other MP’s or through permanent positions in policy departments.

 

2010, November – ARPA Canada takes their anti human rights project across the country. Mimicking the true government tribunal, they promote a website titled HumanRightsCommissions.ca, with the goal of abolishing them altogether.

 

The website publishes quotes from MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC), MP Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC), MP Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC), MP James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, CPC) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) that appear to support the endeavour.

 

012xARPAhumanrightscommissions

 

The ARPA advertisement provided by MP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC) is featured on the site’s multimedia page, in addition to clips from Ezra Levant and Rex Murphy. The launch of this project is also covered by the Campaign Life Coalition news site, Sun Media and AM980 (audio). All promote the material as a “grassroots” movement called Stand Up For Freedom Canada without mentioning the ARPA lobby whatsoever.

 

The public relations campaign to abolish human rights tribunals is touted in defence of Macleans magazine, Ezra Levant and those accused of hate speech against gays. Going by this grassroots pseudonym, ARPA explains the commission has been overtaken and manipulated by “leftist” activists to “target Conservative citizens” and organizations. They encourage the public to pressure politicians for swifter action through the EasyMail service, as an investigation was initiated by parliament and they needed to convince the government there was strong public will behind this ARPA concern.

 

The lobbyist managed to get the plight covered by fourteen large newspapers and they thank followers for assisting with letters to the editor that get them additional free coverage.

 

2010, December – ARPA Canada produces a video to incite political pressure for the second reading of Bill C-510 in parliament. The organization is clearly a registered lobbyist,

 

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with a Christian anti-abortion mandate, but the director asserts they’re a non-profit entity when it presents a problem for Tories in the Ontario election (federal and provincial campaigns intertwining). At least one funeral home accepts memorial donations in the name of ARPA as a charity as well.

 

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This ARPA campaign is then hosted by the national president of Campaign Life Coalition – a sister registered lobby. Both supported MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) as Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, but the legislation they promoted was defeated by a vote of 178 to 97.

 

 

2011, March – Escalating from last year, a Quebec Catholic priest sues the Campaign Life Coalition news service. Media describes the battle as pitting “two extremes of Canadian Catholicism against each other”. Father Raymond Gravel was also an MP for the Bloc Quebecois in the riding of Repentigny and he was open about his younger years as a sex trade worker in Montreal’s Gay Village. It’s believed this history and open-mindedness attracted numerous articles against him.

 

One campaign by the anti-abortion lobby resulted from Gravel’s lack of support for a PPLC member’s bill. MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC) proposed C-484 to make it a separate crime when a baby is harmed in the womb, in addition to the mother who is already protected by law. When the modern priest stood opposed, the Campaign Life Coalition began publishing his contact details, as well as associates and superiors within the Church.

 

As a result of this relentless publicity, Gravel reports he was warned by the Vatican that he would be de-frocked if he bothered to seek re-election. At the same time the anti-abortion lobby proudly took credit and praised supporters for ousting a member of parliament. (All claims remain alleged as the case is unsettled and Gravel retired from politics.)

 

2011, AprilPrime Minister Harper announces he will create a religious freedom office if re-elected.

 

2011, May – The Harper Conservatives are re-elected, this time to a majority government.

 

2011, May – Campaign Life Coalition distributes a wire announcement. They advise media of their presentation in the government press gallery to kick off the March for Life (Centre Block), but the lobby is speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and MP’s who are eligible to schedule the government’s press events.

 

2011, May – At least four MP’s speak on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, at the annual March for Life rally that occurs under their sponsorship.

 

 

2011, July – Lobbyist ARPA Canada partners with the Holland Shopping Centre in British Columbia, to offer $500 in prizes for letters to the editor in mainstream media. They note their success with a similar drive in Alberta regarding the repeal of human rights and hope to inspire additional editorials in response to the new campaign. In this way they won’t appear to come from the lobby and are made to look independent.

 

2011, August – Lobbyist ARPA Canada consults on the federal budget. The report is accepted by the House of Commons standing committee and recommendations include de-fuding and disbanding the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal.

 

ARPA calls for a 90 percent reduction to arts funding for a few noteworthy reasons. The lobbyist sees no point in the National Film Board and they take special offense to Telefilm for objectionable content. In this government report they complain of “lewd and crude” material, like a “poo testament” with an image of Jesus ascending to Heaven as a piece of feces. The album was titled “Holy Sh*t” but they failed to see the humour in it. In fact, they say every Canadian is mortified and therefore art should not be encouraged by the government.

 

They also complain of a movie titled “Year of the Carnivore” and suggest the main character engaged in sexual activity in a room full of children. ARPA points out that child pornography is a criminal offense imply the actor should be charged, but a review from the Globe and Mail didn’t get anyone’s libidos or fists pumping.

 

The last concern noted is producing a balanced budget by reducing the role of government. ARPA believes citizens relinquish their personal responsibilities when they look for handouts like childcare and forms of social support. They believe business and charities can handle these needs more efficiently and ask the government to defer. They also promote income splitting as a fairer way to treat families that want to keep one parent at home.

 

2011, SeptemberMP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) proposes private member Bill C-304, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act; to repeal Section 13 entirely and any mandate over hate speech. As noted by Slaw legal magazine, there was little if any debate from opposition parties. The assessment goes on to describe the consequence of allowing racism and bullying to flourish online. Although the bill was promoted as a vehicle for freedom of speech, there are countless examples of white supremacists, anti-abortionists and anti-gay activists celebrating the move. MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) was also green-lighted by the Campaign Life Coalition as being onside with the lobby’s agenda.

 

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2011, September – Lobbyist ARPA Canada publishes a policy report on prostitution, calling for the federal government to enact legislation that criminalizes johns, “rather than risk the Supreme Court creating another legal vacuum” due to the case that’s being argued from Ontario.

 

Ultimately they wish to see prostitution eradicated, but they’re willing to classify the female service provider as a victim of violence if the male is still incarcerated for a crime. ARPA bases this position on the writings of Dr. Melissa Farley, who was arrested 13 times in 9 different states as a prolific, American, anti-prostitution activist. She also led a “Rampage” campaign to destroy copies of Penthouse and Hustler in book stores.

 

ARPA asks followers for help to lobby the government in another EasyMail campaign, but this time they’ve created three different form letters so MP’s don’t receive “ten that look identical”. Another branch of ARPA operates in Tasmania and they lobbied that justice department for similar intervention, accusing the government of becoming a pimp if they sought to decriminalize.

 

2011, October – Campaign Life Coalition distributes a press release through the wire service. It announces a protest at the Ontario legislature to de-fund abortions; the first of its kind in the province. In this literature the lobby claims that 60 percent of Ontarians “oppose the status quo of paying for all abortions” and this is based on an Abacus poll of 1,015 people, from an online panel in which Roman Catholics and Conservative voters account for the majority of respondents (Ontario has a Liberal government). Abacus is also the house pollster for Sun News and Sun Media.

 

After examining the data it might be said that claims were misleading, in that 60 percent didn’t wish to de-fund all abortions and the responses supported health coverage in emergency procedures, even when a panelist appeared to be opposed. Only 10 percent opposed abortion completely. Furthermore, Bloomberg Businessweek has written about the accuracy of online polling and there is still an issue of reliability due to sampling pools of biased “enthusiasts”.

 

2011, October – Registered lobbyist ARPA Canada is invited by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (Ottawa West-Nepean, CPC) to consult on the establishment of a religious freedom office. In their response, ARPA describes itself as a representative of the Reformed Church community. The Reformed Church is commonly referred to as Calvinism, that believes all humans are depraved but some are elected as righteous, regardless of their actions and good deeds. It also believes in theocracy (a God based government) and the faith accomplished this feat in Geneva, Switzerland, circa 1500’s.

 

ARPA’s recommendations include:

 

  • Ignore “political correctness” when it comes to monitoring and assistance. They state that Christians constitute 75 percent of the world’s persecuted and therefore 75 percent of resources should be dedicated that faith.
  • Assist “emerging democracies” with implementation of religious freedom.
  • Continuous monitoring of countries where Canada has contributed military support “of any magnitude or length”. This includes Libya and Afghanistan.
  • Escalate sanctions, withhold foreign aid and pursue military intervention “should the circumstances warrant”. (It’s unknown how adhering to this philosophy would impact the situation between Israel and Palestine.)

 

2012, JanuaryMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, berating CTV for an investigative report on pregnancy crisis centres. He makes allegations against the broadcaster that cite ethical impropriety, because they didn’t report similarly undercover from medical clinics that provide legal abortions to find wrongdoing.

 

He continues to intimidate the interviewed sources with comments about their charity designation, officially as a member of parliament. He states it is his duty, but one might question if Vellacott penned the complaint independently, in light of three pages of footnotes that suggest additional legal intimidation and the lobby’s prior statements that indicate they would assist. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2012, February – ARPA Canada publishes a report that determines environmentalism is a religion and proceeds to explain the doctrine. The lobby labels David Suzuki its “High Priest” and lambasts the CBC for stories about climate change “as if it is an objective science beyond repute” and not a religious doctrine that’s really used to program children in the school system.

 

ARPA contrasts this environmental religion with true Christianity and determines that God made man the stewards of His earth, therefore we must trust man’s judgement because to question human actions would be equivalent to questioning God. This assertion is supported by an EasyMail campaign that promotes a Fraser Institute report against green energy and calls for a moratorium against wind and solar production in Ontario.

 

2012, FebruaryMP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) introduces Motion 312, to determine the definition of a human being and when life begins in the womb. It causes much controversy and is criticized as a backdoor to re-open the abortion debate.

 

2012, FebruaryMP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) appears in a multimedia ad for lobbyist ARPA Canada and together they produce material to advance Motion 312. This is the second ARPA video that is hosted by the national president of the Campaign Life Coalition lobby, Jim Hughes.

 

 

2012, March – Campaign Life Coalition shares a press release with the wire service. They create a website to assist MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) with advancing Motion 312.

 

2012, MayMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, pressuring the federal government to include abortions under the popular anti-bullying campaign. He cites an Oregon doctor who claims the foetus is able to feel the pain of being attacked. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2012, May – The annual March for Life rally occurs on Parliament Hill. At least five MP’s spoke on this video, as well as students from Catholic schools who were covered for the trip by their boards of education. A pro-life mass coincides with the march and the Church says, “they need to challenge the false idea that abortion is a private, personal decision.”

 

The director of Campaign Life Coalition who worked with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus to advance Bill C-510 and Motion 312 also appears on the clip. He explains his group is there to see that MP’s who stand in the way of the anti-abortion movement are “removed from office in the next election”.

 

 

A second video arising from this event captures at least twelve MP’s addressing the crowd on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. A new addition to the public face of this group is MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC).

 

 

2012, June – Campaign Life Coalition begins community presentations against Ontario Bill 13, the Toronto District School Board and Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, for adopting gay-straight alliances and “homosexualizing school curriculum”. Bill 13 was anti-bullying legislation and it passed despite the lobby’s objections.

 

A second video from the same event berates a handful of gay, Liberal and NDP members of provincial parliament.

 

2012, August – The ARPA lobby congratulates supporters for creating a stir in parliament. A petition campaign to support Motion 312 was devised (regarding the definition of a human being) and the group bombarded MP’s with numerous, separate petitions to be read in the House. Many only contained 25 signatures, but MP’s from every party stood to read them into Hansard.

 

Participating doesn’t indicate support, but the majority of MP’s didn’t present them. Others rose multiple times to address every paper individually and this includes shadow cabinet members from opposition parties. In all, these MP’s might have represented petitions more times than signatures appeared on each document.

 

2012, SeptemberMP Stephen Woodworth’s (Kitchener Centre, CPC) Motion 312 is defeated. However, there is much ado in the media resulting from Conservative cabinet ministers who voted in favour. They include MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast), MP Peter Van Loan (York-Simcoe), MP Julian Fantino (Vaughan), MP Gerry Ritz (Battlefords-Lloydminster), MP Gail Shea (Egmont), MP Ed Fast (Abbotsford), MP Peter Penashue (Labrador, defeated 2013), MP Diane Ablonczy (Calgary-Nose Hill), MP Alice Wong (Richmond) and MP Rona Ambrose (Edmonton-Spruce Grove).

 

Ambrose took the most heat for siding with anti-abortionists as Minister for the Status of Women. But these Conservatives were joined by a few Liberals who include MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood), MP Lawrence McAulay (Cardigan), MP Kevin Lamoureaux (Winnipeg North) and MP Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt). Visit here to see the 91 MP’s who supported the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus position.

 

2012, OctoberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) nominates two anti-abortion activists for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. One of them was in jail for violating laws that are supposed to protect women who are entering abortion/medical clinics. Regardless, both are selected by the Harper government to receive the award for this “civil disobedience” that was deemed criminal.

 

2012, October – WeNeedALaw (initiative of ARPA Canada) publishes a paper on the Overton Window. It’s promoted as a theory to shift public thinking from the impossible to the inevitable.

 

Joseph Overton was an American Tea Party Libertarian from Michigan. He established the Mackinaw think-tank that pushes for charter schools, right-to-work legislation, low tax – no government, extreme right-wing policies. This is accomplished by use of the Overton Window, that in practical summary may resemble this:

 

Begin by asking for the unfathomable. It gains attention and infects the public dialogue. With a long term vision, gradually pull back from the extreme by increments and make the proposals a little more bearable. With each proposal, it keeps the dialogue going and entrenches the language in popular society. It then becomes an issue for politicians as the consistent language in media and their communities. Now the unthinkable gains some amount of consideration. By repeating this process it can shift public perception and bring them to the negotiating table.

 

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An example from your children might also resemble this:

 

Mom says no snacks before dinner and Joe says, “But I want a whole cake!” Mom responds with a scowl so Joe compromises, “Well how about just one piece?” Mom still denies, but she tilts her head to the side and Joe can see he gained at least one iota of sympathy. Eventually the child asks for a “tiny cookie” and swears he’ll starve to death without something to put in his belly. Mom raises her eyebrow and agrees in frustration, because at least it’s only a small treat. But Joe has learned how to shift his mother’s window of what’s considered reasonable and now he can push for a treat before dinner every night. Once he gets the cookie, he can also push for larger snacks in the future.

 

This ARPA paper describes the strategic purpose of tabling consecutive private member bills, in an effort to shift perception about abortion and what the public considers normal (within the “window” of being acceptable). This piece also documents the group’s achievements, in shifting government attitudes and controlling the mainstream media.

 

2012, October – Lobbyist ARPA Canada is heard by the BC Finance Committee, in advance of the 2013 budget. They encourage the government to withdraw from early learning education programs. They request mandatory repayment of debt and phasing out the BC Human Rights Tribunal. They also implore legislators to de-fund abortion, so patients who can afford private surgical costs are the only ones who would have access to this medical care.

 

2012, October – Three Ontario Progressive Conservatives sponsor a Campaign Life Coalition press conference, to de-fund abortions through the public health care system. MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington), MPP John O’Toole (Durham) and MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Essex) didn’t attend the event despite hosting it. Liberal Education Minister Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, OLP, retired 2013) was described by Sun Media as “self righteous” for accusing the Tories of trying to re-open the abortion debate.

 

2012, October – The president of Campaign Life Coalition writes an editorial about the need to stack parliament and senate with anti-abortion supporters, if they’re to pass legislation the lobby group is seeking. He mentions the Harper government’s opportunity to appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court of Canada, in an effort to help the process along judicially. He closes by noting an interesting tidbit about the group’s history.

 

Campaign Life Coalition takes credit for establishing the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus back in 1986, when it was often chaired by Senator Stanley Haidasz (Liberal, deceased 2009).

 

2012, October – ARPA congratulates supporters for helping to ensure the Alberta Education Act would not be subject to compliance with the Alberta Human Rights Act. The lobbyist claims parental freedom is at stake and encourages additional support for the overall human rights campaign, to abolish these laws and tribunals completely.

 

2012, NovemberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, promoting an email from a communications rep with the Toronto Right to Life Association. His office is used as a media centre on behalf of the anti-abortion movement and together they condemn MP Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, LPC, retired 2013, former leader of the Liberal party) for defending the Supreme Court and his concern that awarding criminals with the Diamond Jubilee Medal may incite more unlawfulness. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2012 NovemberMacleans publishes an article about the death of an infant that was heard by the Supreme Court. This frames a discussion about renewed action from members of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and adapting the lobby’s language to be more acceptable to the public.

 

MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) follows by vowing there will be repeated attempts at anti-abortion legislation that “might be every six months”, until they accomplish the caucus mandate. ARPA is also interviewed to make the human rights argument, but a hardline on Muslim immigration is also noted. Finally, MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC) contributes his sympathy and opines the anti-abortion issue is “a vote mover” that gets people to the polls.

 

2012, DecemberMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, praising an anti-abortion blogger for releasing heath statistics the lobby interpreted to support a homicide allegation in relation to abortions. These conclusions are cited as a reason to compel the RCMP and the matter is re-ignited under the title of “infanticide”, nearly identical to the move by MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister) in 1999. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2012, December – Campaign Life Coalition attempts to interfere in the federal Liberal leadership race. The lobbyist pressures a Catholic high school in Sudbury, Ontario to cancel an appearance and communication with MP Justin Trudeau (Papineau, LPC), because he doesn’t represent anti-gay and anti-abortion ideals. The say, “The Board may be inviting spiritual harm to children,” by allowing Trudeau near youngsters in a widespread press release. If the Board doesn’t back down, the school will face embarrassing demonstrations.

 

2012, December – ARPA Canada publishes a report on their 2012 lobbying successes. It’s described as manipulation of the Overton Window to shift the public psychology and some of these advancements include favourable attention from Macleans magazine. After their consultation regarding Native affairs (explained in detail at 2013 Sidebar), ARPA found the government listened and began to legislate private property on reserves. They convinced the CBC to cancel racy content after a campaign of complaints. They obtained private group meetings with multiple MP’s and the Ontario Human Rights Commission asked for ARPA to present a legal opinion.

 

In the same communiqué, ARPA receives thanks from MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC), for helping to pass Bill C-304. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was officially repealed and would no longer apply to hate speech.

 

In a second entry ARPA explains how MP Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC) approached them to co-sponsor events between these politicians and the lobby. Storseth also contributed to an ARPA video that is ultimately used to solicit donations.

 

2013, JanuaryMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Leon Benoit (Vegreville, CPC) and MP Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga East-Streetsville, CPC) write the RCMP commissioner on House of Commons letterhead, requesting a homicide investigation for each abortion where the foetus might have exited a female’s body (after 19 weeks) without being technically dead first. (A copy can still be found in Benoit’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2013, FebruaryMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, chastising the Canadian Press and CBC for reporting the story above. He clarifies his position and re-asserts the call for homicide investigations, if the foetus is more than 19 weeks and not yet technically dead in the removal process. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2013, February – Campaign Life Coalition publishes a press release celebrating the “demotion” of Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, OLP, retired 2013). They claim it was a response to her sex-ed classes being forced on Catholic school boards, but in reality the minister was switched to a different portfolio under the new premier. The lobby goes on to warn the next Minister of EducationLiz Sandals (Guelph, OLP), not to meddle with religious curriculum and a similar rebuke of outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South, OLP, retired 2013) was expressed in a scathing press release.

 

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2013, February – The Office of Religious Freedom is established by the Harper government. It will promote religion as a “Canadian foreign policy priority”.

 

2013, February – The Whatcott decision is rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada and it upholds key parts of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, as it applies to hate speech. Whatcott is a religious anti-gay activist who distributed disturbing flyers with strong language that resulted in complaint.

 

Although ARPA applied for intervener status, it wasn’t granted. Instead legal counsel for the lobby contributed video analysis of the decision. In it they suggest the presiding Supreme Court Justices should be criminally charged for case exhibits they included in the reasons. ARPA goes on to justify hate speech as a fundamental need for Christians to critique others’ sexual lifestyles and warns they will need to lobby provincial governments for new laws to protect these rights.

 

 

2013, March – Campaign Life Coalition begins a crusade against Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity). This legislation to prevent discrimination and violence against those with alternative gender identities is still before the senate, awaiting Royal Assent.

 

As such, the lobby is focusing on senators in an effort to have the bill denied and they’re targeting Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) with a letter writing campaign, encouraging him to use his authority over the Tory caucus.

 

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2013, MarchMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, regarding his Motion 408 to condemn sex-selective abortions. He bases the reason on a CBC investigation, after attempting to discredit the broadcaster a month before. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2013, MarchMP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, on behalf of a private research group from Chile that determined abortion is violence against women. While the report cites Chile as having a low maternal death rate they attribute to the government’s anti-abortion stance, it fails to mention that Canada has less than half the deaths per 100,000 women. Regardless, it’s promoted to media as a member of parliament. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)

 

2013, March – ARPA Canada attends the Manning Institute Networking Conference as an exhibitor, promoting itself with right-wing political celebrities such as Preston Manning, Tea Party founder, Ron Paul, and Conservative party legal counsel, Guy Giorno (PM Harper’s former chief of staff).

 

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2013, March – Campaign Life Coalition releases a newsletter that details a new endeavour to host De-fund Abortion rallies at the Ontario legislature. In March they attended with words of support from MPP Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering, OLP), as he accepted their petitions to cancel this health care funding. Similar encouragement was sent by a federal counterpart, MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, CPC) from Saskatchewan.

 

2013, April – Mark Penninga (former Vellacott intern, TWU grad, turned exec director of ARPA) publishes an update on the lobby’s use of the Overton Window. He cites MP Mark Warawa‘s (Langley, CPC) motions M-312 and M-408 and how they garnered massive media attention with public sympathy when the MP was muzzled.

 

From the NDP to Margaret Wente, this lobby claims to have won their support, if not in a backhanded way. As a result of this fiasco the Liberals filed a motion that would allow backbenchers to speak freely and Penninga describes this as playing into their hands. MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) then thanks the PMO in Question Period, for drawing greater attention to their cause. Global News reports that he’s speaking from an informal pro-life caucus.

 

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2013, April – ARPA submits a policy paper to the federal government in support of corporal punishment for children. It’s in response to Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette‘s (Liberal) Bill S-204, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (protection of children).

 

This time the lobby claims that hitting kids is beneficial, akin to the benefits of martial arts. They claim all science proving a negative effect is wrong and they assert contrary reports to debunk. However, new “science” cited by the lobby arises from anti-abortion activists and their letters to the editor. As in previous examples, when letters submitted by fellow lobbyists are published by a newspaper, they become cited as fact in subsequent policy papers and ARPA declines to mention this conflict.

 

The report also accuses the government of playing God by assuming any rules over children. They state that parents are accountable to God directly and this does not require “Orwellian” oversight from bureaucrats. The lobby then encourages followers to use their EasyMail system, to overwhelm MP’s and senators with a copy of the same report.

 

2013, April – The Canadian Catholic News applauds Speaker of the House, Andrew Sheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, CPC) for his ruling on MP Mark Warawa‘s (Langley, CPC) complaint that parliamentary privilege was abused when the whip quashed his statement about an anti-abortion motion. It opened the door to getting anti-choice opinions debated on the floor and Sheer was previously noted as being supportive of the PPLC cause.

 

2013, May – At the annual March for Life rally on Parliament Hill, MP Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC) tells the crowd they must get involved in politics and stack nomination meetings to select anti-abortion candidates. Although the Canadian Press produced this story, very few outlets carried it. There was little coverage this year except for the lobbyist news service that estimates there were 25,000 in attendance and a CBC piece explaining how they’ve re-framed the movement as a human rights issue that discriminates against the foetus by giving women a choice.

 

At a prayer meeting before the march, a Baptist church compared abortion to the Holocaust and quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in support of their plight (but the quote is blatantly taken out of context). They also note the movement had been struggling for a decade, but it gathered momentum in the past six years (coinciding with repeat bills from PPLC members in the Harper government). The main commentary in this Campaign Life article is also provided by legal counsel for the sister lobby, ARPA.

 

In related news, the PMO refused to comment or commemorate the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler. That space was filled by MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) who asserted that victims of sexual assault are abused when their tormentors drag them to abortion clinics. He says many of these victims are children and their “immeasurable” suffering is attributed to Dr. Morgentaler (not the sexual abuser).

 

Only MP Bob Rae (Toronto Centre) rose for the Liberals and MP Niki Ashton (Churchill) for the NDP, to honour the doctor’s courageous work in women’s and patient rights.

 

2013, MayMP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) receives a lifetime achievement award from the Campaign Life Coalition lobbyist. It’s titled the Joseph P. Borowski Award, in recognition of that cabinet minister leaving the Manitoba NDP to stay true to anti-abortion causes. Only eight Conservative and Liberal MP’s have received this honour.

 

2013, JuneMP Brian Storseth’s (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) private member Bill C-304, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, receives Royal Assent and becomes law. Sections that prevented hate speech have now been repealed. ARPA and Campaign Life Coalition also noted contact with MP’s and senators during this period, in the government lobby record.

 

2013, JuneMP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) celebrates the first National Aboriginal Prayer Breakfast in the House of Commons (as unspoken Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus).

 

 

Aboriginal Sidebar

 

Deeper investigation of this event produced unsettling material that requires explanation as a group, as opposed to chronologically.

 

Indigenous cultures have traditional, spiritual beliefs that do not resemble the trinity of Christianity or narrative of the Bible. This isn’t meant to disparage Native peoples who subscribe to organized religion, as many of them do and it’s an individual’s right to choose without judgement from any person.

 

It’s when one group speaks for the other that issues may arise and this very scenario clouds the parliamentary prayer breakfast. Thousands of Aboriginal children were taken from their homes by government and the Church and the history of residential school abuse didn’t stop until the early 1990’s. Therefore a great number of Canada’s First Peoples still have distrust for both the government and religion.

 

With that said, in June 2012, ARPA Canada submitted a report to parliament that lobbied for changes to the Indian Act. It was titled “Respectfully Submitted – Aboriginal Affairs”, similar to all the lobbying reports before it. Because they’re all generically titled “Respectfully Submitted”, it makes it extremely difficult to locate these documents through a general search on the internet.

 

ARPA supporters would have received an alert at the time, urging them to visit this page and EasyMail extra copies of the report to their members of parliament. This is how the lobby group gets coordinated action from anti-abortion activists and why they thank supporters for defeating bills or helping them oust elected officials. But this time a Christian appeal would be applied to Indigenous interests.

 

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This particular report can only be summarized as a comprehensive call for Native assimilation. Based on Bible scripture from Romans 13, the group believes that First Nations can’t heal until they accept God and pay taxes.

 

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In the same Aboriginal file containing government submissions, ARPA publishes a ditty from their “resident poet”. It’s titled “Call to Discriminate – A Moral Responsibility!” and it explains how Psalm 1 instructs Bible followers to discriminate against those who mock the Christian God. It says those on the “right” will be helped by God to “thwart the wicked’s might” and the enemy that refuses to believe will be “blown away” like “useless chaff”. This lobby rep also believes that no one has the right to retire from working, according to the book of Genesis.

 

ARPA goes on to argue that Natives must become indebted through mortgage and sell their lands to enjoy prosperity like everyone else. They approve of the infamous 1969 white paper but due to the contentious Charter, the lobbyist realizes they can’t nix land claims and therefore the best option is converting them into municipalities.

 

The report says Native peoples must forget about the past and forgive their oppressors to move forward. It chastises the Supreme Court for conveying the idea that Aboriginal ancestry entitles anyone to victimhood. They claim “every Canadian can point to their past to get the same label”.

 

ARPA blames the First Nations struggle on collective “spiritual brokenness” and believes “the ultimate goal of poverty alleviation is not to see our standards of wealth and prosperity applied to others, but to see people restored to what God created them to be”. The document closes with reference to an Aboriginal organization named Gathering Nations, who they applaud as getting that message.

 

 

The lobbyist was pleased to update that MP Rob Clarke (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, CPC and First Nations RCMP) responded to ARPA’s recommendations with Bill C-428, Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act.

 

Gathering Nations International led to a number of surprising pages in support of ARPA. It begins with Kenny Blacksmith who was a Deputy Chief to the Cree Nation of Mistissini, near James Bay in Quebec. A missionary went to live on the reserve in the 1960’s and Kenny with his wife were converted to Christianity by 1991.

 

In 1997 the family left the reserve for Ottawa inspired by a prophetic vision and they converted the Bible into Cree, so they could teach the un-ministered to find salvation and adopt the settlers’ way. Ever since relocating to Ottawa, Mr. Blacksmith became politically involved and these activities are related to both lobbyists and the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.

 

In June 2006 Blacksmith created The Covenant of the First Peoples of Canada and a conference was held in the capital with other religious leaders. The Cree pastor is consistently addressed as an ordained minster, but at no point is a school named and there is no record of training or seminary college. No denomination is ever stated to inquire with a regulating body.

 

Twenty-four signatories and twelve witnesses endorsed the document on National Aboriginal Day in Ottawa. It’s unknown who they are and there is no record beyond a photo of the signatures. Despite being a First Nations contract, the content was solely about God and supporting the people of Israel.

 

023xNativeCovenant

 

When this document was signed, Blacksmith claims the group was free from carrying an Aboriginal grudge and they rejoiced in the church plus the government, enough to sing the national anthem twice (something most Indigenous peoples will not do). This was also done without approval from the Assembly of First Nations or any Chiefs who can be found on record.

 

In 2009 Blacksmith returned to the reserve to run for the Grand Chief position. In an interview with the Cree Nation news he boasts, “I know Jean Charest and many of the ministers and the government leaders on a personal level – not just in Quebec but also in Canada, in the federal government”. He didn’t win the honour and Chief of the Mistissini Cree is Richard Shecapio, but Blacksmith is called the chief by himself and everyone in parliament.

 

By June 2010, Blacksmith organized a National Forgiven Summit at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Religious leaders and Christian Aboriginals met with MP’s and senators, to engage in an elaborate ceremony that ran parallel to the first Truth and Reconciliation event.

 

MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) was pleased with the gesture, as was Senator Nick Sibbeston (Liberal, former premier of NWT). The latter reported to senate that Aboriginals forgave the prime minister and showered him with gifts, as a Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was presented to the government on behalf of Native peoples.

 

AFN Chief Shawn Atleo took a more hesitant approach, asking the group to be “very careful” while reminding a Grand Chief had already complained they weren’t ready for this. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission hadn’t finished its work and Atleo countered the prime minister’s apology with examples of program closures.

 

But AFN did not intervene in Blacksmith’s event and the three day conference included special segments. There was the forgiveness summit itself, where The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was unveiled. This is another document concocted by Blacksmith to release the government for Native abuse. No text can be located on the internet and again there’s only a photo of signatures.

 

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It was presented to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, CPC, retired), who attended. Of note, Strahl left this cabinet position to become the top watchdog over CSIS, but he had to step down when the press revealed he was performing double duty as a lobbyist for the Enbridge pipeline. The Northern Gateway project has been met with opposition from First Nations and CSIS was additionally convicted in the media for spying on Indigenous peoples and sharing the intelligence with major oil companies. Strahl is also a graduate of Trinity Western University (TWU) in the company of fellow parliamentarians and he was appointed to mentor at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation.

 

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After the forgiveness summit, organizer Kenny Blacksmith had the opportunity to meet personally with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC). Another copy of The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was presented to absolve the government and then it was off to the Pastors and Leaders Gathering.

 

The second event was held by Blacksmith and a co-host from the 700 Club – an evangelical ministry that prays and raises funds on Christian television. It’s unclear what transpired at this gathering, but leaders and teachers were invited in addition to “prophets and apostles”.

 

On the following day there was a National Aboriginal Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast that was co-hosted by “Members of Parliament and with the Senate of Canada”. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, CPC, retired) was a keynote speaker along with Blacksmith and the theme of this meeting was “Beyond Forgiveness”. First Nations peoples who wished to participate and forgive the government were charged $55 admission to accept their sorries.

 

This prayer breakfast in 2010 occurred at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, at 1 Rideau Street in Ottawa. This is the same address ARPA uses in suite #700, that otherwise rents as a virtual office. ARPA uses this virtual address on the lobby registry, as well their work with the Supreme Court of Canada. Technically speaking it has no legal, physical address, unless the alternate PO Box number is considered and a business registration that lists Alberta is no longer valid.

 

Adding to the confusion about ARPA’s address is a claim to have an office on Parliament Hill. According to web data company Zoom Info (relied upon by Google and Dow Jones), this lobby’s base can be found in Room 574, Confederation Building at the House of Commons. The phone number provided belongs to MP Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex, CPC) and the fax belongs to the PMO. The only way for Zoom Info to present this data is by crawling the internet for places it was listed, and/or if the company entered a business listing itself. This parliamentary location was further confirmed by seven different sources from 2011 to the end of 2013.

 

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ARPA’s director, Mark Penninga, is listed with the same government address, in addition to a home base in West Virginia.

 

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ARPA’s legal counsel is listed with the same government address and in cached pages, Andre Schutten is described as ARPA’s “parliament contact”.

 

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On the federal registry, ARPA lists Mark Penninga, Andre Schutten and Mike Schouten as paid lobbyists (see lobbyist details tab).

 

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2013, June – Coming back to the chronological date, pastor Kenny Blacksmith obtained a position on the board of directors for Canadian Race Relations. Here he was listed as an Aboriginal management consultant; providing services in rights, education, negotiations and Christian leadership training.

 

That leadership brought Blacksmith to open the Canada Celebrates Israel conference, where parliamentarians met with the “Jewish, Christian, Zionist” community to discuss the country’s commitment to a Jewish state. He beat the Native drum, sang Indigenous chants and offered Christian prayer, as others in the group complained of apartheid allegations becoming the new anti-Semitism.

 

For context, Blacksmith devised the new Indigenous Charter and Covenant to honour Israel as the number one priority. He teaches that First Nations must respect the political state and Israeli people to find Indigenous salvation, even though traditional beliefs do not embrace the biblical trinity (and neither does Orthodox Judaism that relies solely on the Torah).

 

2013, June – The first National Aboriginal Prayer Breakfast is officially recognized. Despite earlier events that were similar, this one is a matter of public record and will continue to be promoted as a yearly event. It’s co-hosted by Kenny Blacksmith on behalf of First Nations (without their consent), along with MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC) and Senator Don Meredith (Conservative). The Ontario Minister for Seniors, MPP Mario Sergio (York West, OLP) represented the provincial government and speakers included the co-host of 700 Club.

 

Meredith is the same official who recently came under fire as one of the senate’s top spenders, also boasting degrees from non-accredited institutions. One of those degrees is an honourary Doctor of Divinity he received from the Christian television program, 100 Huntley Street. Huntley was established by the same creator of the American 700 Club mentioned prior. Since that exposé Meredith stopped calling himself a doctor, to shield Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) from criticism regarding his appointment.

 

Credit: Huffington Post

Credit: Huffington Post

 

At the prayer breakfast, newly retired Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Chuck Strahl gives the keynote address. Both he and Kenny Blacksmith discuss the duty of First Nations to forgive the government under God. Blacksmith says the work of missionaries 500 years ago was not in vain and the black book (Bible) would yet teach his people. This was reinforced by Strahl’s belief that a Christian God would help with the power of forgiveness because he couldn’t write legislation that would force Native peoples to become the government’s friend. Both men spoke as if they forgot it was Christians who placed Aboriginal children in electric chairs and sexually abused them, en masse.

 

The Catholic Register ran a feature article but took their site offline as this investigation was being written. Luckily a backup copy was saved before this happened, because the piece displayed a poignant photo that is likely to inflame First Nations. During this event Strahl stood at the podium wearing a Native headdress while making his assertion that forgiveness was owed to the government, in order for Aboriginals to heal. Behind Strahl is an Israeli flag, a Canadian flag and an American flag, but nothing to represent Indigenous cultures.

 

031xChuck001

 

2013, November – Kenny Blacksmith attends a religious event on Parliament Hill with Mennonites. He’s described as the Chief of Cree Nation in Mistissini, but he doesn’t hold this position and hasn’t lived on the reserve for sixteen years. He prays with the group encouraging “shalom”; a Hebrew word signifying peace and the underlying principle of the Torah and Judaism. It’s expressly important to the Jewish religion, but it’s not traditionally spoken or known by First Nations.

 

As a result of this prayer the Mennonites were overcome with guilt for past racism and indifference toward Aboriginals. The event organizer apologized to Blacksmith on behalf of this religion and Blacksmith accepted on behalf of all Natives.

 

2014, February – The Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association announces their official partnership with the ARPA Canada lobby. In the extensive newsletter, Bill Whatcott of the earlier Supreme Court case (to allow hate speech against gays) is noted as a regional representative. A number of paid ads appear from law firms, in addition to MP Ed Komarnicki (Souris-Moose Mountain, CPC), MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MLA Greg Ottenbreit (Yorkton, Saskatchewan Party).

 

2014, March – Campaign Life Coalition begins a project against doctor assisted suicide and bills addressing compassionate patient rights in parliament. MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, CPC) was paralyzed from the neck down, but he became a target of the pro-life movement when he proposed legalizing euthanasia (bills haven’t been tabled yet).

 

MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) came out against him and Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt (Halton, CPC) cited her Catholic faith as a barrier to supporting. Sister lobbyist ARPA Canada has also taken up the cause, while congratulating its supporters for quashing previous euthanasia bills. They warn their masses to remain vigilant, in case a call to action is needed to defeat the next attempt.

 

2014, MarchMLA Shayne Saskiw (Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, Wildrose, Justice Critic) proposed motion M-502 in the Alberta legislature. It called on government to repeal sections of the Alberta Human Rights Act with respect to hate speech, similar to what was accomplished at the federal level. This initial attempt had support from the provincial Conservative justice minister, however it was defeated.

 

2014, March – Legal counsel for ARPA Canada, Andre Schutten, makes a submission to the Law Society of Upper Canada compelling certification of a Trinity Western University (TWU) Christian law school. At issue is the intention to deny gay students admission, that ARPA believes is a justified requirement.

 

A second piece is distributed to the ARPA community, filled with unrelenting criticism of respected lawyers Clayton Ruby, Gerald Chan “and others like them”, for speaking against proposed, discriminatory enrollment provisions.

 

2014, MarchThe Loyola case is accepted to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s about a private Jesuit boys’ high school in Quebec that was required to teach Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum, as mandated by the Ministry of Education. This course also requires a secular approach that conflicts with the private school’s Christian purpose.

 

Legal counsel for ARPA Canada, Andre Schutten, is also acting as legal counsel for the Association of Christian Educators and Schools Canada, that achieved intervener status. This case is being promoted on the ARPA website as one of their own, but ARPA isn’t named anywhere in the Supreme Court file. Mr. Schutten then supports this project with an article in the Ottawa Citizen, that states ARPA is an intervener. It’s unclear if this statement means the educators’ group is another entity within the lobbyist organization.

 

2014, March – Lobbyist ARPA Canada releases a new policy paper titled “The Supremacy of God”. It’s sent to every senator and member of parliament, followed by a campaign to have supporters discuss these concepts involving the EasyMail program.

 

The paper begins with explanation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms preamble. “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law,” they reason that a Christian God is the basis for all laws. ARPA asks legislators to consider the powers bestowed upon them were given through the Bible and forsaking that would bring an end to the rule of law. It would bring an end to slavery and racism protections, because these laws were proposed by religious leaders. It would end human rights and the Criminal Code of Canada. It would also disrespect Magna Carta and the basis of constitutional law.

 

ARPA finds that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin errs when she says the law is supreme, because laws can change and it’s the power of God that remains constant to reign supreme. They say Christianity is responsible for civilized society and attributing an MP’s power to religion is hardly as radical as it sounds. They also find the premise of law is built on the Ten Commandments and therefore secular courts and governments are hiding behind a veneer to conceal their true purpose.

 

Tucked in the middle is how this ideology applies to make anti-bullying legislation inappropriate. ARPA continues to explain how “feminist” MP Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP) is really no less religious than Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC). They use this opportunity to push support for their Loyola Supreme Court case as well.

 

2014, May – The focus of this year’s March for Life includes gendercide and criminalizing abortion, with “gendercide” taking root in the public vocabulary due to the PPLC and lobbyist efforts. Two new campaigns are launched to compliment that progress. The first is meant to ban “abortion drug RU-486” from becoming available in the Canadian market. The second is meant to establish Silent No Moreas a Canadian staple (imported from the US, the same as Campaign Life Coalition), to bring the anti-abortion plight mainstream and nudge the Overton Window a little further.

 

A list of MP’s and senators in attendance is published by the Campaign Life Coalition. In 2014 they doubled their numbers and the roster includes 23 names, but this wasn’t covered by mainstream media. These elected officials are presumably part of the growing Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, as the PPLC hosts this lobbying event, according to historical press releases.

 

032x2014CLCmpsandsenators

 

2014, May – ARPA publishes God & Government 2014: A Huge Success. The write-up celebrates their “infiltration” of parliament and claims 70 ARPA lobbyists met with 50 MP’s and senators in the week leading up to the March for Life event. Three days of activity included a reception that ARPA hosted for members of parliament, a speech to ARPA from Employment Minister Jason Kenney (Calgary-Southeast, CPC) and a mutual prayer service.

 

ARPA had access to Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green officials, to discuss their lobbying concerns about prostitution, palliative care, abortion and sports betting. They were invited to attend government committee meetings beyond the standard Question Period and pictures weren’t taken to protect the identity of the MP’s hosting them.

 

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In the same article ARPA mentions spearheading a political tour through Alberta on behalf of MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) of Ontario. It’s unclear how a registered lobbyist can run a campaign for an active member of parliament and this appears to resemble Prime Minister Harper‘s complaint against Stockwell Day during that bitter leadership cycle.

 

034xARPAwoodworthTour

 

They close by offering thanks to a “generous company, which does not wish to be singled out for its financial sponsorship of this venture”. Whether it’s related or not, the Knights of Columbus have long been known to foot the bill for ARPA’s sister lobby, Campaign Life Coalition. That doesn’t signify a correlation to these particular events, but they were part of the annual March for Life and Knights have traditionally subsidized the endeavour. The lobby has also enjoyed joint publication in Knights of Columbus newsletters. The jet-set MP from Ontario, Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC), is also a longtime member.

 

2014, May – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, publicly scolds Liberal leader MP Justin Trudeau (Papineau, LPC), for the party’s new policy that disallows anti-abortion candidates. Six days earlier the cardinal hosted an anti-abortion mass in conjunction with Campaign Life Coalition events. This left Trudeau to defend his pro-choice convictions as a matter of human rights against excessive pressure from the Catholic Church.

 

2014, MayMP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC) reacts to the Liberal leader’s news above, in the Catholic Register (site abruptly taken offline but with patience a cached copy may still load from archives – a backup can also be found here). During the interview McKay laments about the party position, but says they needed to react to an influx of anti-abortion activists who pursued nomination without any Liberal, political history. He believes the issue needs to be handled “ambiguously” in the political arena, without fundamentalism inflaming the dialogue on either side. McKay remains an anti-abortion proponent and closes by questioning the Liberals’ lack of position on “ethnic politics” as well.

 

2014, MayMP Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP) proposes a motion for the government to affirm a woman’s right to abortion as a fundamental question of equality and human rights. She also moves to reverse a policy that rescinded foreign aid to countries that perform abortions. The media sees this as a bid to gain political points against Trudeau that has the potential to backfire, especially as the NDP didn’t make this a priority for years since the policy was enacted.

 

ARPA rejoiced immediately as an opportunity to re-open the debate. Within a few days they put together an EasyMail campaign, supported by a new telephone campaign that comes with a script and computer auto dialing to reach every member of parliament. The lobby is using this break to show vocal support for the anti-abortion cause and their ranks were ready for this gift to mobilize, whereas pro-choice activists weren’t prepared with their own campaign to refute. Ashton may very well stand for women’s rights, but using them as a political weapon against the Liberals who are in the middle of addressing the issue may only weaken the plight of females.

 

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Both ARPA and Campaign Life Coalition have an inventory of reliable soldiers (including MP’s) who are professionally ready (audio) to commandeer the discussion with little more than a moment’s notice. The NDP also fails to address its history of privately hosting these same lobbyists in parliament. The courts and a majority of Canadians support a woman’s right to choose, but these reactionary and self serving tactics make it look they don’t because females were never invited to speak for themselves. It’s either a lobby that stands against human rights or a party that’s trying to inflict partisan damage that’s doing all the talking.

 

After examining the evidence, the fable of a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus is hardly built on fiction. There seems to be a concerted effort to keep the project private, but the result of this work has altered significant pieces of Canadian and provincial legislation. It extends well beyond the topic of abortion and has grown to become an unparalleled, right-wing operative. Shielded by a religious front, it has also escaped legal scrutiny.

 

Moreover documents that display PPLC information on House of Commons letterhead were obtained under unusual circumstances. An initial check of MP Maurice Vellacott‘s (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) government press releases came up empty, until a cache was stumbled upon from 2003. It appears every one of these items was tucked into that file and removed from site menus at a later date, except for the memory indexed by Google that remained accessible through web archives. This did not involve leaks or any sort of malicious hacking and anyone could have found the same if researching hard enough.

 

Aside of confirming the existence of an official Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, this investigation reveals a multi-pronged effort for MP’s to reverse Canadian law as coordinated by lobbyists. Members of Parliament produce ads for lobbyists on the government’s dime, from their elected offices. The Justice Block has become a communications headquarters and when The Office of Religious Freedom was created, it came with help from ARPA to make religion the new priority of foreign policy. When 70 lobbyists were given special, extended and private access to MP’s and senators, at the very least it represented an unaccountable playing field. The incessant bragging about media manipulation is an indictment of the fourth estate as well.

 

ARPA Canada and Campaign Life Coalition are registered as non-profits and they’re directly linked in partner projects with MP’s from the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. Both openly boast of their lobbying offices on Parliament Hill, but addresses are impossible to confirm due to secrecy. The vast majority of their work is however lobbying and this doesn’t mesh with regulations that govern the activities non-profits.

 

Campaign Life Coalition also encourages followers to stack political nomination meetings, to ensure a social conservative candidate emerges.

 

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They take further credit for pioneering anti-abortion lobbying at the United Nations. Campaign Life Coalition became one of the first approved lobbies of this ilk and it remains one of few to achieve this status.

 

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This is complimented by a UN contingent of youth delegates that is speaking for Canada and the world.

 

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Sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act were repealed to allow for hate speech. Some Native reserves have become municipalities. The criminalization of abortion has appeared in Hansard in one way or another, every year of the Harper administration. A Supreme Court decision that found abortion was protected by a female’s Charter rights hasn’t done anything to quell these bills, or the media frenzy when Justin Trudeau unequivocally stands up for it. In this way the lobby may be right, that the Overton Window has been skillfully shifted.

 

The Harper government participated from another perspective by impugning the Supreme Court with malicious, unprecedented accusations, regarding developments throughout its term. Supporting every one of these baseless criticisms is the ARPA lobby, with lawyers to take each of these items to the Supreme Court for a decision. As Marc Nadon didn’t make the bench, it appears the campaign to discredit Canada’s Chief Justice has been fired up, right when the highest court needs the public confidence most and ARPA is standing before it.

 

These successes are being measured by the lobby’s proverbial yard stick and now that everyone is aware, they’ll have to decide if they want to keep abetting it.

Is This Politician Insulting War Vets?

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/amy-macpherson/grant-humes-remembrance-day_b_2109220.html

 

Is This Politician Insulting War Vets?

Posted: 11/11/2012 7:59 pm
Remembrance Day Canada 2012
It all began when Conservative MP Bev Oda resigned her position with the Harper government. The disgraced Minister of International Cooperation was responsible for a series of scandals that including being the first sitting cabinet minister to be found in contempt of Parliament, extravagant use of taxpayer dollars and repeat performances defying the law by smoking in her parliamentary office. Her eventual departure from politics spawned a by-election in the Ontario riding of Durham and all eyes across the nation are now fixed on the candidates vying to become her replacement.

 

Campaigns kicked into high gear for this second chance to win the public’s support and federal Liberal Grant Humes has managed to generate controversy amid the excitement. As his election sign was revealed on social media leading up to Remembrance Day, it generated negative responses from veteran families the candidate wasn’t expecting.

 

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Facebook followers of the campaign page shared their criticisms ranging from “offensive” to “publicity stunt,” “classless” and “shameless as stealing a poppy box.” A concerned Afghanistan vet voiced disapproval and others indicated they would not vote for Humes as a result of this material.

 

Part of the problem was confusion about the sign itself. The candidate’s name does not appear and it seems to be an invitation to a patriotic website in support of veterans. Upon arrival at Durham4Vets.org, visitors are greeted by press clippings regarding veterans’ issues, followed by Grant Humes’ reasons for seeking office and a bit about his work history.

 

Clicking the petition displays a form to collect personal information, requests a $20 contribution toward the veterans awareness campaign and support for “sound National Policy” — although there is no petition.

 

In the same navigation bar clicking the “donate” option will cause a different box to appear; this time displaying the candidate’s Liberal Party of Canada donation page pertaining to the by-election.

 

To clarify, I contacted Humes and he put me in touch with campaign manager Quito Maggi to respond on his behalf. By telephone and follow up email exchange, Maggi explained the purpose of the site and how it relates to the by-election. I also learned animal cruelty is an issue dear to the candidate’s heart and a similar venture was set up to address those matters at StopTheCruelty.org. Both endeavours are authorized as part of the Grant Humes Liberal campaign, but some donations are separate for advocacy about the featured issue at each website. Manager Maggi elaborates,

 

“Any money raised through the Durham4Vets.org website goes right back into the public awareness campaign (and) yes the money raised from the animal cruelty campaign goes towards keeping that website active and paying for magnets that have been designed (a number have already been produced and distributed).”

 

When asked about support for these projects, the campaign cited intimidation from the Harper government as a reason veteran groups were afraid to speak up. As a result there were no official endorsements of Humes’ initiatives to report. Regarding the websites and their strategy to educate with continued monetary support; the candidate said he planned to establish veterans and animal advocacy prior to any knowledge of an election. Maggi affirms,

 

“The websites were registered before the writ was dropped (on October 21) and there was no way for us to know when the writ would be dropped.(Referencing veteran website advertising on election signs,)

“If we could keep the signs up after the election we would, but the sign bylaws are very strict.”

 

StopTheCruelty.org and Durham4Vets.org are collecting funds through Liberal party mechanisms in the meantime. Whether a by-election campaign or public awareness for cherished issues, this confusion could result in consequences for those who are unable to tell the difference. The timing of a federal election coinciding with the candidate’s project is reported to be incidental, but surely they should be kept apart for the public to perceive ethics in politics.

The last word is offered by Grant Humes who summarized,

“It’s important we respect our Veterans and give them the benefits they deserve. What the government is doing is wrong and I hope people will add their voice and call on the government to take action.”

 

Federal Election 2011: Sparks Fly At Simcoe-Grey Debate

CBC News Politics

Wasaga Beach: Sparks Fly At Simcoe-Grey Debate

April 23, 2011 3:21 PM

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/myelection/yourtake/2011/04/wasaga-beach-sparks-fly-at-simcoe-grey-debate.html

Region: Ontario Topics:

Amy-MacPherson-52.jpg  By Amy MacPherson (Wasaga Beach, Ont.)

It was standing room only – as far back as the foyer, where the late crowd could only listen by loudspeaker.  Electricity could be felt amongst the candidates, so tangible even a light exploded!  The audience was a tad unruly, although entertaining with their hoots, hollers and odd heckle for good measure.  Simcoe-Grey [voters] are vocal participants in their politics.

Instead of characterizing and paraphrasing, I’d like to share some of the more pointed moments with video.  It helps that we have a supply of political Hollywood in our riding, but I think the mood and personalities all do a wonderful job of speaking for themselves.

Conservative (CPC) candidate Kellie Leitch tested constituents with the party line on coalition governments and took a dig at her opponent, Helena Guergis (Independent Conservative) about who was the real deal.  The audience offers its opinion on negative attacks in our debates, though.

Helena Guergis, embattled by bitter and false attacks on her reputation, was admirably poised in her response about mistakes and forgiveness.

The night included a hotbed of issues, including abortion and women’s rights.  Jace Metheral of the Green Party was charming and witty, surely winning best quote of the night.  When questioned on age and experience he offered the he was “only 22 and had the least time to be corrupted”!  Everyone laughed heartily, but when confronted on the topic of pro choice his answer seemed to waiver.

The recession impacted the Georgian Bay area so severely that we lost a vast majority of all factory work, never to be replaced. This led to questions regarding the different party strategies to help struggling families.  Responses were wide ranging and in some cases went beyond the party line.

Liberal Alex Smardenka believes the Competition Bureau should play a great role in alleviating the family burden:

NDP candidate Katy Austin believes the solution involves caps on credit card interest and chastises Smardenka for comparing family struggle to the cost of golf magazines:

Conservative Kellie Leitch wasn’t shy on using the family to invoke the coalition argument again.  Still the audience remained unmoved.

I was perplexed there were no questions asked about poverty or affordable housing.  Instead there seemed to be much ado regarding illegal immigrants for some reason.  Independent Conservative Helena Guergis melded immigration with bringing seniors back into the workforce.

Jace Metheral of the Green Party, used the issue as a segue into affordable housing by contrast.  He was the only candidate to broach the idea of a national housing strategy.

The NDP’s Katy Austin was also alone in mentioning the word poverty, sadly.  She bravely addressed the gap between rich and poor, challenging the strategy of corporate tax cuts.  With emphatic quotes from both Jesus and Robin Hood, Ms. Austin managed to solicit a joyous round of applause.

The event started out with a big bang and as you can see there was a regular exchange of mortar for the duration.  You’re welcome to visit thisYouTube channel to view the full menu of Simcoe-Grey debate clips, but please be forewarned the audience felt like this by the finale:

The Art of Promising an Un-promise

CBC News Politics

Wasaga Beach: The art of promising an un-promise

April 15, 2011 5:55 PM

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/myelection/yourtake/2011/04/wasaga-beach-the-art-of-promising-an-un-promise.html

Region: Ontario Topics:

Amy-MacPherson-52.jpg  By Amy MacPherson (Wasaga Beach, Ontario)

Like countless others I tuned into the English Leaders’ Debate and managed to be one of the four million who absorbed the performance from beginning to end.  I choose the word “performance” carefully in that lines were for repetition, shoulders squared for the correct camera, and hand movements choreographed as if conducting the words that followed.

All cynicism aside, I think it would have been worth the ticket price had they changed the event to a “Leaders Debate on Ice.” Just imagine the improv we might have seen if they were handed skates and a hockey stick.

Social media, on the other hand, was forthcoming with opinion and – as expected – the airwaves were vibrantly a-Twitter. I soon found I was not alone in my reluctance to embrace the event. Few watchers enjoyed the constant finger wagging or how very few of the questions were actually being answered. A query about immigrants was quickly flipped by Stephen Harper to suggest Quebec was somehow separating. If that didn’t make any sense then neither did Duceppe’s response that Harper signed a coalition in 2004. In any event, six million viewers and the overwhelming majority turned the channel for some reason.

Those who remained were treated to a very special lesson in the art of promising an un-promise. I have never seen a campaign based on programs that might start five and ten years down the road, but that’s the platform the Conservatives were offering. We would have another election before then and even longtime supporters have been wondering who this mandate benefits.

In Simcoe-Grey riding we have numerous small business owners, especially geared to cottage country. I spoke with Tim Wardell of Wasaga Beach, Ont., who has a shop in town. Traditionally he has always identified with right wing ideologies, but after watching the leaders’ debate he’s decided to change his vote. Here’s what he had to say:

The Conservative Party is offering tax breaks for the middle class, but only after the deficit is paid. They’re offering art credits and fitness credits, also after the deficit is paid. The only things they’ve budgeted in the next term are jetssubmarine bombsprisons, Quebec’s HST subsidy, andcorporate tax cuts. Harper has been very clear about where our money is going, except he uses a certain way of describing it: tax cuts!

It’s a very catchy phrase, but if you try to say it too many times you’ll stumble on the words before long. The biggest problem with this picture is these tax cuts are for corporations and not at all for the family or the little guy. The reality is we have a record deficit and it’s only the richest of the rich who stand to benefit. Anyone else will need a good psychic to peer through the next decade to see what happens.

Along with these long range promises for middle class relief, the Conservatives have spent 10 years into the future. They’ve put us on a rent-to-own plan for purchasing the F-35s, with an unlimited price tag upon completion of contract. Unlimited. We just don’t know. The seller can demand any amount it wants.

So how will families ever get their tax cut if we have to carry this burden for another 10 years? By that time Suzy will be in college and her dreams of ballet school will have fallen by the wayside. George will be 70 instead of 60 and never made it on a treadmill to strengthen his heart.

Corporate tax cuts are proven historically ineffective for job creation. We’re already lower than the U.S. and most G8 countries. In the process we’ll remove billions of dollars from our tax base at a time when baby boomers are starting to rely on health care.

Stephen Harper’s pledge to families relies on a number of different variables: If he is elected two more times, in addition to the current vote; If we have a surplus of money after the F-35s are paid in full; If there are no disasters in the meantime; If our health care system can sustain the pressure of an aging population; If the world recovers from a global recession in our time frame; If we don’t commit to any more wars; If wages match food and energy inflation. Only then will the family unit be considered.

As far as I can see it’s campaigning on the hypothetical, the art of promising an un-promise.