This is an open letter to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Canada, Hon. Premier of Ontario, Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Public Safety Minister of Canada, Attorney General of Canada, Privacy Commissioner, Ontario Chiefs of Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Barrie Crown Attorney’s Office, Liberal Party of Canada, Young Liberals, Conservative Party of Canada, New Democratic Party, Green Party of Canada, Canadian Bar Association, National Newsmedia Council, parents and children in the riding of Simcoe-Grey, as well as parents and children across Canada:
Dear Mesdames and Messrs,
This is a very important letter regarding current child sex charges against a political figure in the riding of Simcoe-Grey. This riding is represented by MP Kellie Leitch, who is better known for her controversial campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). It is lesser known, until today, for a police task force probe against a Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA) executive, and the complete failure of all democratic pillars pertaining to this case.
I’m a peripheral witness in the matter of Jared Nolan, as well as a journalist and a former fellow executive on the same board of directors. I shared communications with the accused in the days before he was arrested and I made lengthy reports with both the Barrie Police Service (BPS) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who’ve partnered for the sake of a larger criminal probe. The charges involve multiple youth complainants and allegations of child luring, child pornography, and distribution of child pornography. I have urgent information to provide the public, government and law enforcement, in an effort to protect more children who remain at risk due to institutional oversights and competing political agendas.
I’ve thought long and hard about writing this and I accept there may be consequences. I’m not even sure if whistleblower protections exist in our country, to cover what I have to say. The only thing I’m sure about is that I can’t possibly remain silent. I also acknowledge this will inflame numerous parties, so I feel the need to explain my agenda before I begin and the venomous accusations begin to fly.
Although I’m a journalist, this isn’t written as a news item. This website earns no income whatsoever and exists as a platform for free speech only, beyond the limitations of mainstream media. It doesn’t collect data and I don’t profit in any way. In fact, I’m about to burn all my professional bridges by going public with a scandal of this magnitude.
The reason I must do this is because of who I am. I grew up as a Crown Ward and I’ve been affected by similar issues, so I can relate to the childhood, rehabilitation and legal repercussions of child sexual exploitation. I’m brutally familiar with the cracks in our system and perhaps one day you’ll know my own story. Obviously it’s not something anyone wants to have to say out loud, but if I don’t do this, I feel like other children will lose their innocence as a result of our collective ignorance. I couldn’t live with that, knowing what the journey looks like to heal.
When I’m not actively publishing, I moonlight as a child rights advocate. I’ve done this my entire life and I’ve assisted with various inquiries and events, like the G20, government consultations, a military investigation and policy changes within the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). I’ve also muddled through the industry meltdown in journalism by collaborating with universities to give lectures about ethics, conflicts of interest, the purpose of a Fourth Estate and modern threats to press liberty.
The following statement seems to have chosen me as the messenger because I would understand the full peril of everyone’s actions. By ‘everyone’, I mean the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), the police, the news media, and our member of parliament. By ‘full peril’, I mean the continued sexual exploitation of children, because each of these entities doubled-down in their own ways to cover it up.
I don’t know if this happened due to error or arrogance, but countless regulations were (allegedly) broken by all of the above. To save myself from any libel accusations, I verily believe that countless regulations were broken and I’m sharing all my evidence to explain who, what, where, why, when and how. I believe parents have been stripped of the right to protect their own children, as an unfortunate consequence of institutional lapses in judgment. I believe this case presents a much larger issue that impacts tens of thousands of kids across Canada – directly, not indirectly, as a result of possible legal obstructions and political interference.
My statement begins that I became a director of the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA) in the Spring of 2016. I was taking an extended break from political investigative journalism and I placed a few big projects on the back-burner to deal with my health and some family issues. I’m a political animal and aggressive defender of constitutional rights, so despite my hiatus from publishing, I remained interested in our local matters.
I know many Canadians complain about a ‘liberal biased media’ and I will prove some of their comments true by the time I’m done. Hopefully my actions will speak for me fairly and disarm any critics that would accuse me of partisanship, by the time they’re done reading this too. Many political journalists have been involved with various parties and it is our constitutional right to participate in a democracy, just like everyone else. We have to tread a fine line the same as lawyers and public servants, but I believe I did this responsibly to remove any conflict of interest. At the end of the day, my ethics trump partisanship and the effect of coming forward should be evidence of my moral compass. I walk the talk that I give to students of journalism and if I’m forced to be an example, then please let it be a good one.
My resignation letter to the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association, including reasons:
When I joined the SGFLRA there was a coup of sorts, to replace the previous board of directors. During the federal election cycle, the executive was comprised of lifelong Liberals who were thoroughly dedicated to the LPC. Mike MacEachern was chosen as the candidate to vie for the seat against Kellie Leitch. There were considerable disputes within the SGFLRA regarding Mr. MacEachern and an investigation was initiated by the Liberal Party to resolve questions about his electability (more details below).
For unknown reasons, the LPC remained supportive of MacEachern as the candidate and no result of the investigation was ever communicated to the riding executive, despite the board’s many requests for assistance and guidance. As such, he formed a campaign team that refused to cooperate with the SGFLRA and MacEachern’s associates nearly ran the election alone. The riding association supported the candidate to the best of its ability under these strained circumstances, but they were denied access to a majority of plans. They were even denied the ability to fundraise on behalf of MacEachern in a handful of examples. It was so bewildering and antagonistic that some of the old executives quit the riding association as they came to terms with the lack of unity and hostile treatment.
Upon conclusion of the election and his unsuccessful campaign, MacEachern’s team formed a slate to take over the riding association entirely. This included Jared Nolan as the Executive Vice President, Rob Glozier as the President, Jeff Kerk as the Organization Chair, and Christine Guergis-Brayford as the Vice President of Membership, among others. I became a director of this organization and only a few spaces on the 2016 executive were occupied by members who weren’t part of the perceived coup.
As the LPC was notified in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Christine Guergis-Brayford is the sister of Helena Guergis and was her campaign manager for elections as a Conservative, before Kellie Leitch was chosen to displace this political family dynasty.
They were also notified of personal and professional ties between MacEachern and much of the 2016-coup-executive, that already involved a successful lawsuit against the candidate for abuse of power in a public office as the mayor. Allegations pertained to a relationship with Guergis-Brayford that may have improperly affected municipal officials in the Town of New Tecumseth. Several replacement riding executives were also colleagues of MacEachern’s, from this same troubled municipal council.
(Please note that all links are hosted by Archive.is. It’s a traditional archiving site from Iceland that respects privacy rights and it was used to preserve what may become evidence, so the data can’t be altered after the fact. If there is high demand to access pages at the same time, it may spawn a request for CAPTCHA responses to load the site. They do this to prevent DDOS attacks and in no way are the links malicious. They should load like any HTML website, with the original link and date the page was archived.)
Regarding the statement of claim against MacEachern:
And regarding MacEachern’s countersuit:
For political context, the staffer was a special advisor to Toronto’s Mel Lastman, before migrating north and taking a position under the direction of Mike MacEachern:
In a nutshell, the MacEachern entourage was ousted from local politics and the perception of impropriety may have been a factor. There’s a gag order on the settlement and it’s unknown if any part of the allegations are true, but the town paid $150,000 to resolve the complaint against MacEachern pertaining to this incident. He received $8,000 as well:
There was a second legal matter during MacEachern’s tenure as the Mayor of New Tecumseth, where he used the power of municipal council to endorse a militant protest for men’s rights, that led to criminal charges. A demonstrator from Fathers For Justice concocted a dangerous public display at the side of Hwy 400, to encourage support for misogyny with the blessing of MacEachern and his colleagues:
While the news covered MacEachern’s endorsement, it failed to investigate the purpose of Fathers For Justice and reported the group’s mission as ‘raising awareness for equal parenting’ only. There are legitimate advocacy organizations that deal with divorce and family issues on behalf of men, but I reiterate this particular ensemble encourages militancy, destruction, and criminality to revoke human and constitutional rights for women.
Overlooked was the group’s member support for the legalization of rape. Lobbying for men to have legal authority over women, whether they could have an abortion or not. Subscribing to the premise that women should have no legal rights, because they’re ‘crazy’ and abuse their access to any rights at all. Promoting the idea that women suffer from False Memory Syndrome, if they accuse their male partners of violent or sexual abuse. Asserting that homosexuals are violent and unable to safely parent. And preaching that women are inherently evil, from a religious perspective:
Fathers For Justice is additionally proud of the danger it causes to the public and millions of dollars in damages that result from shutting down major bridges and causing courtrooms to be evacuated (including those in Ontario):
Knowing all this, the LPC supported MacEachern as the Liberal candidate on behalf of a ‘feminist prime minister’. They felt this was the best strategy to compete with the extreme positions of Conservative candidate, Kellie Leitch, and a sliver of the riding’s voters who might have been disenfranchised by the loss of Helena Guergis. If anyone wondered how Dr. Leitch could gain a platform to promote radical ideas, I encourage them to consider the alternatives. All parties consider this riding an experiment for right-wing ideologies (NDP and Greens too), despite the fact that two thirds of Simcoe-Grey identifies with centre and left perspectives. In any event, I don’t mean to meander and this information will be illuminating as we continue.
So the MacEachern faction from the Town of New Tecumseth lost the public’s support and/or access to municipal resources. They reorganized as the LPC campaign team in 2015 and after a poor showing against Kellie Leitch, reorganized again in 2016 to take possession of the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association. There are continuing complaints regarding partisan finances that have also been made on the record, but I don’t wish to distract from the issue of child exploitation and accounting can be handled by the appropriate people.
In part I joined the executive to observe the effects of this ‘coup’. I was the reporter who covered Kellie Leitch throughout her inauguration to politics, before anyone knew her name in Simcoe-Grey. All of CBC‘s 2011 election coverage in this riding was assigned to me, including broadcast, digital and investigative segments. I was the resident expert and I never participated in politics when I was reporting on them, but I admit to caring about what happens in the privacy of my personal time in the years that followed.
This is when I would meet the accused, Jared Nolan. He wasn’t particularly known to anyone, except the close-knit team of MacEachern associates. The same was true of Jeff Kerk and the rest of us came to learn that the three gentlemen worked together at the Stevenson Memorial Hospital. MacEachern sits on the board of directors, while Kerk managed patient data and diagnostic, paramedical services. Nolan managed the hospital’s communications and they participated in multiple board meetings together:
Now criminal charges have arisen due to a youth complainant alleging Nolan abused patient data to target (a) child victim(s). The case is so serious that a special task force was assembled between the Ontario Provincial Police and Barrie Police Services to conduct a larger probe. Two additional youth complainants have already come forward and the court issued a partial publication ban related to the investigation expanding. The names of youths are also protected but general information about the case is being covered by CTV and Postmedia, like the extreme bail conditions imposed on Nolan and a forensic warrant for eleven computers.
Regarding the initial arrest and search warrant:
Regarding bail conditions and additional youth complainants being identified:
I’m not doing anything to break that publication ban, or interfere with the Rule of Law and rights afforded to the prosecution (alleged victims) or defence. I wouldn’t do anything to imperil children, or the right to a fair trial either. I believe that achieving both goals is possible at the same time, if everyone just follows the rules. I’m deeply concerned however, that neither the LPC, the police, nor the media, are behaving within reasonable bounds.
It began with my first letter to the riding executive and LPC brass, asking how they planned to handle the situation with Jared Nolan. Instead of paraphrasing, it’s important that everyone absorbs the full details by reading what I said in its entirety:
I was shocked when no one from the riding or party would respond. Instead of answering pertinent questions that affected me and everyone else who remained on the executive, they deleted proof of my relationship to the SGFLRA, as well as Jared Nolan’s, during the execution of a forensic warrant to investigate his communications.
Given that I’m an investigative journalist, it’s my nature to document everything I see. If I read it, I archive a copy; so it can’t disappear from the internet in the age of hearts and minds and message control. I’ve seen it happen far too often and I’m invited to give lectures about my experience with this topic. It’s a discussion I have with historians and scientists, who are also plagued by the public record going missing, or being vandalized and altered. I advocate for an Internet Bill of Rights and modern legislation to regulate digital records, as well as intelligent privacy protections for consumers, members, children, researchers and/or journalists.
Therefore I archived a copy of the SGFLRA website, that listed Jared Nolan as the Executive Vice President and me as a Director (see time and date in upper right corner):
It was immediately after my email to the riding and party that someone interfered with the police investigation by deleting evidence of these relationships to the LPC (see time and date in upper right corner, with mine and Nolan’s names concealed. Nolan was still incarcerated and awaiting bail when this occurred):
I was worried this could constitute tampering with evidence, if the police investigation needed to explore Nolan’s contact with minors through the Liberal Party or election campaign. Normally I wouldn’t publish the contents of my private communications and I apologize profusely to the other individuals. It is only due to the protection of minors that I would ever relinquish privacy, and it’s important for authorities to understand what was happening organically as this situation unfolded, that no part of this report is concocted in any way:
When two new complainants came forward, I also felt compelled to share what I know with police. No information is available about the subsequent girls and it’s unknown if their allegations are confined to hospital records, or if anyone knows to inquire about Nolan’s greater access to children through the Liberal Party of Canada. All we know is the investigation is ‘expanding’ and I wasn’t sure if they were aware of The Liberalist database. It contains far more information than any hospital records and it’s so sensitive pertaining to children, that it can absolutely be used to stalk and lure them, more effectively and dangerously than any other source of records (more info below).
I’m about to tread some particularly difficult ground now, explaining what I reported to the police. I do NOT allege anyone’s guilt or innocence and my statement is NOT meant to impugn anyone, or detract from complainant allegations. I wouldn’t publish these details as a professional journalist and I’m doing this today because there is no other recourse, as a constituent. I feel it is my civic duty when children continue to be endangered and the system is failing them as a whole. By the end, you will come to appreciate that I’ve tried every available avenue, before conceding to this one. I attempted to let the justice system do its job. I attempted to let the LPC devise a management plan with legal counsel and I attempted to let the media express what it could, to extricate myself from this conflict of interest. But I can’t stand idly by as so many people have chosen to use the kids as pawns and proverbial human shields. I’ve spent many days not eating or sleeping as I’ve wrestled with this conundrum.
I spoke up for the purpose of assisting law enforcement with peripheral information that may, or may not, be relevant to the investigation. The names I mention were provided to police because regardless of what happened, I believe they need to be interviewed as Nolan associates who may possess deeper insight.
It was approximately the first week of December 2016 that I contacted the Barrie Police Service (BPS). The task force created for the Nolan case is a partnership between the BPS Child Exploitation Unit and Technical Crimes Unit, with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The Nottawasaga OPP detachment owns this file and the lead investigator is from the OPP Headquarters in Orillia, but I chose to call the Barrie officers to avoid another potential conflict of interest.
As I explained to Constable Callahan (badge #4244, extension #2648), Mike MacEachern sat on the Police Services Board, to determine the local OPP’s annual budget. He was also involved in selecting the Nottawasaga OPP commander and in MacEachern’s own words,
“Over time we’ve been able to assert our influence over police services that maybe wasn’t being asserted in the past.”:
Since the information I have to provide about the Jared Nolan case is immediately connected to Mike MacEachern, I remain concerned that his ‘influence’ over the investigating force may compromise a full and fair outcome from either perspective. Just like journalists, police have to observe conflict of interest regulations to prevent abuses of power, even accidentally. When professions involve competing community interests, we’re directed to take great care in our ethical approach. It’s not a negative thing to recuse oneself and on the contrary, it’s deemed respectable. Especially in small town areas where there are a limited number of officials to go around, we must be cognizant and careful of the public interest.
I spoke with Constable Callahan for nearly two hours. He was friendly, insightful, receptive, and he respected my concerns about this conflict of interest. I had no issues whatsoever, reporting to this officer. He found the facts I relayed to be helpful and quite possibly relevant. He even commended me for putting the report together concisely, so it was analytic and complete.
I explained about Jared Nolan’s access to youth data in The Liberalist and the connections between Stevenson Memorial Hospital executives with the Liberal riding association. I explained that I didn’t think the hospital was even aware of a close relationship between Mike MacEachern, Jeff Kerk and Jared Nolan, because I hadn’t seen any disclosures of conflict in meeting minutes that involved the three of them.
It’s more than a colloquial relationship to run an election campaign and certain positions on the SGFLRA. There was a legal exchange of money for various expenses, acting as agents-on-behalf, liability insurance binding the group together through the riding association, and soliciting donations to benefit one of them directly.
I found it curious if this presented no issues for the hospital and no matter what, it put Mike MacEachern on all three boards of directors (past, during and/or present) affecting the investigation of Jared Nolan. He sat on the police board (investigators), riding association board (source of data I’m attempting to have investigated) and the hospital board (where charges have already been laid). I’m humbly and respectfully concerned for the sake of public perception, this dynamic means a different police force will need to oversee the case.
I was asked by Constable Callahan if I knew how Jared Nolan got involved in health care. I explained that I didn’t and he was unknown to most riding executives, outside of the MacEachern entourage. According to Nolan’s LinkedIn account, he had no experience in the health industry prior getting the job at Stevenson Memorial Hospital, at the time of MacEachern’s nomination campaign:
It seemed increasingly important that police interview Mike MacEachern and Jeff Kerk, for their help to put these pieces of the puzzle together. Without prejudice, I relayed what information I knew about these gentlemen and I made no accusations to the police about them either. I stated what facts were available in hard copy, without any melodramatics.
I’ve already addressed the information surrounding Mr. MacEachern and in the example of Mr. Kerk, I only had his LinkedIn account to go by. Kerk was at the hospital the longest out of this group of colleagues and he reported his involvement with patient data in that position,
“Oversee data processing requirements, plan and implement end-to-end data transfer to replace Hospital Information System in collaboration with four allied hospital facilities. Repeatedly meet patient care goals through streamlining systems that optimize patient flow across numerous performance measurements.”:
Emphatically I repeat this should not impugn Jeff Kerk without cause, but given the relationship between Kerk, Nolan and MacEachern, it appears to make his knowledge relevant to the investigation overall. If the hospital isn’t aware of that connection, they can’t effectively investigate either. And no one may be aware of these connections, because Kerk quit the Stevenson Memorial Hospital a couple weeks before the charges were laid against Nolan. He departed to a different set of hospitals in another region altogether.
As Kerk relocated his employment, MacEachern also abdicated as the LPC candidate. An unexpected letter was submitted to the SGFLRA on October 23, 2016, saying he was no longer interested. This came as a great surprise because until the charges were pending against Nolan, MacEachern was adamant about staying on. It was the source of much discord between some old and new executives and the campaign wasn’t backing down for any reason. Then all of a sudden, within days of each other, this group of colleagues began to scatter. Constable Callahan asked if I thought they heard a leak about the pending charges for Nolan. As I told law enforcement I couldn’t know and I could only provide them with circumstantial info.
Regarding Jared Nolan himself, there was another curious entry. Although he didn’t have experience in health care prior to the hospital, he did have a history in politics with the LPC. He was a Special Assistant to the Office of Nancy Karetek-Lindell, a former MP for Nunavut and Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs standing committee:
She departed federal politics despite enormous success and returned to municipal matters, where she remained incredibly active at the local level. After Jared Nolan spent 4 years working in her office, he disappeared from politics until this reappearance in Simcoe-Grey that has been marred by criminal charges, a decade later. I suggested to police and the LPC that they may wish to inquire with Karetek-Lindell about his tenure. It’s unknown why Nolan might have departed a high profile position in Ottawa, only to resurface in the background so many years later.
I was clear with Constable Callahan that I didn’t know if this information was pertinent. We seemed to agree that it did invite questions that appeared to need answers, however. He asked what my motivation was to make this report and I answered that I didn’t think it was my right to determine if these facts were relevant. I was only sharing what I knew, so police could evaluate and make that unbiased decision.
Although PC Callahan was congenial and helpful, it was unfortunate I had to make this report with an officer who wasn’t assigned to the Nolan case. Special investigations are housed at a separate location from the Barrie detachment and it wasn’t possible to reach the applicable officers when I called. Constable Callahan thanked me for the report and assured me he would deliver to the correct people. I was then to wait for their contact, in case they needed me to attend and make this statement official.
A few weeks passed and I was distracted by the holiday season. After Christmas I began to worry that I hadn’t heard back from anyone and I began leaving messages for Constable Callahan. I did this intermittently for a number of days, because I’m familiar with police schedules and the possibility of catching shift changes that could cause a 4-day delay.
After more than a week I began to wonder why I couldn’t reach PC Callahan and I rang the Barrie dispatcher to inquire about his availability. That person (badge #5561) became argumentative when she couldn’t locate information for Callahan and she suggested I was mistaken, that he must not be a Barrie police officer.
When I confirmed I was sure, she asked me to explain the whole situation. I did my best in this pressing moment, but it made her more convinced that I must have the wrong police department. I then explained the partnership between the OPP and Barrie Child Exploitation Unit for the purpose of this case, but that was met with belligerence and her denial that a Child Exploitation Unit existed. It took some bantering back and forth for the dispatcher to clarify, as she chastised me for calling the department by an incorrect name. She said it was the Crimes Against Person Unit (or ‘CAP’ for short) and there are many special units within that heading.
Beleaguered by now, I asked to speak with the CAP unit. I was told they’re unavailable and dispatch can’t put calls through to them. So I asked to speak with any officer in the Barrie Police Service, but this staffer refused to connect my call and flatly threatened to hang up on me.
I was absolutely stunned as this amazing pattern took root and I asked how police can refuse to take a report. Before the person hung up I managed to ask for a supervisor and Bonnie (badge #5660) took over the call.
Bonnie was wonderfully helpful and she agreed to pull the recorded conversation I just had with the previous dispatcher for review. Bonnie found that Constable Callahan’s schedule wasn’t in the main system and he was off work indefinitely, for an extended leave. There was no date available for his return and I could try the next morning to see if he attended. If that wasn’t possible, I was advised to speak with a different officer because no one could account for PC Callahan’s whereabouts. His voicemail wasn’t updated to say he’d be away, but at least a supervisor could confirm he was a BPS officer.
In the meantime I was notified by a third party that an Annual General Meeting (AGM) had been called for our riding. An election was planned to solidify the executive and no one from the party or SGFLRA let me know. I was concerned that I was in the process of reporting to police and the party hadn’t responded to any concerns surrounding Jared Nolan.
I sent a second email to the riding president outlining my concerns, with a request for Vulnerable Sector checks to be implemented as a precaution. It won’t be much longer until I explain what The Liberalist database contains, to understand why this is paramount to youth safety and relevant to the Nolan case. I was polite, balanced and professional in how I approached this, but you’re welcome to see for yourself:
I immediately followed with another email to LPC brass, primarily Anna Gainey and Rob Jamieson. It stated many of the same issues and began to broach the topic of liability for the LPC, if the party refused to intervene for the protection of children,
“I’ve written to you as a director of this very EDA, as a constituent and as a reporter, but you still refuse to respond, as if youth information in the hands of LPC is free-to-abuse for anyone who wants it. This is not acceptable. Full stop.”:
The Liberal Party of Canada didn’t respond and neither did the riding association, but Jeff Kerk replied on both their behalves as an executive. His letter appears at the bottom and my response to all is at the top. He threatens that my party communications have been given to police in an effort to silence me, and I caution against intimidating me from reporting:
After this occurred I attempted to contact an officer at the Barrie Police Service again. This time I was able to cite the Crimes Against Person Unit properly, to locate someone working the Nolan case who would be able to understand the information. But this dispatcher seemed to take offence that I was asking to speak with a CAP officer. She refused to put me through and after interrogating me about the problem, decided that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak with a Barrie officer and I must contact the Nottawasaga OPP instead.
I didn’t have time to make the full report to every dispatcher having a bad day in Barrie. This frontline is one of the most discontent I’ve ever come across in policing and their supervisors don’t behave anything like that. But again the administrative staff at BPS attempted to deny my call altogether. Again I tried to explain about the conflict of interest with OPP and the task force partnership with Barrie. By now I had learned to just insist on speaking with an officer, because the gatekeepers weren’t familiar with specific cases. The only thing I know for sure is they get particularly upset if you ask for the CAP unit, like no one is supposed to communicate with that department.
This time I spoke with Constable Coopman (badge #7572, extension #2936) from the Barrie Police Service. He was also understanding and congenial, like his colleague Constable Callahan. I didn’t give a full re-report, but enough was expressed, including my update from Mr. Kerk, to spur him into contacting an investigator from the CAP team.
I was then put in touch with Constable Monroe (unknown badge #, extension #2948). We went over much of what happened and he sought to relieve my worries about trying to give a report. Every officer I’ve spoken with agrees there is merit to what I’ve explained and supports my attempt to provide them with the evidence (namely the altered data about Nolan, relationships with the LPC and The Liberalist database).
When Constable Munroe recognized the importance of what I shared, he asked me to wait as he contacted the lead investigator. I was then told he spoke with Detective Sergeant Doug Rees, from the OPP Headquarters in Orillia. This is the primary officer for the Jared Nolan case, making a total of 3 or 4 locations trying to coordinate the investigation (depending how you count Barrie police and the separate CAP unit).
I’m assured that Constable Monroe is part of the CAP unit and he was a pleasure to speak with, just like the other officers. I’m unclear if he’s part of the OPP or BPS in this equation, though. We didn’t need to speak anymore and I forgot to get his badge number, because he returned with the first bit of progress and I was relieved to hear it. He explained Det. Sgt. Rees was ‘stuck in Eastern Ontario executing a search warrant’ and when he returned the following week, I would get a call to schedule an appointment. An officer was finally going to receive this report and perhaps the dysfunction was resolved.
In the meantime I had run into an issue with the Globe and Mail that still needed sorting out. On the heels of my last letter to the LPC, the prime minister gave a speech to youths about his promise to do more about sexual violence. There were only a few days between my letter and his public address and it was striking, because the party was denying my request for Vulnerable Sector checks, pertaining to Young Liberals and volunteers. It was refusing to respond for the sake of any children in Simcoe-Grey, in the face of criminal charges against an executive. The hypocrisy was astounding and too much salt in a wound to ignore.
The speech was published as part of the Globe and Mail‘s ‘Unfounded‘ series, that investigated police for failing to investigate sexual violence reports. This was relevant to my topic and the LPC censoring its connection to Jared Nolan, so I went the following day to archive a copy of Trudeau’s coincidental comments. But low and behold the speech was missing and not only that, it was completely scrubbed from the Internet. There wasn’t a trace in Google caches and that’s a difficult feat to accomplish in less than a 24-hour turnaround.
It turns out the Globe and Mail rewrote the piece entirely. They added a second author and deleted most of the prime minister’s talking points, while replacing them with an alternate version that was attributed to different politicians. They pointed at police to erase a public record and broke every rule in the ethics guide for Canadian journalists along the way.
I only asked them to be respectable and I had no intention of making this public. I asked for an original copy of the article that contained the speech and I offered the Globe and Mail this exclusive about The Liberalist data, if they could just be straightforward with me. What happened next was straight out of the Twilight Zone and it’s beyond comprehension to paraphrase. The Public Editor responded by accusing me of trying to hack her because I didn’t type in the Globe and Mail font. You read those words correctly and I will let the newspaper speak for itself (begin at the last page for chronological order):
I’m not sure what to do about a mainstream publisher that doesn’t care about ethics, professionalism, or its legal obligations. The Public Editor argues it’s the Globe and Mail‘s right to vandalize history however it pleases. That would mean the paper is nothing more than corporate/government relations and it can’t promote any of its stories as bona fide journalism. I can only hope this becomes a case study, as another pillar of democracy cowers behind vulnerable children. They’re not interested in a story about youths in danger if it’s connected to a political party either.
The tone of my writing is probably changing now, just as it did in real time as this all happened. I’ve maintained professional decorum. I’ve extended patience, empathy, and benefit of the doubt. I’ve been as honest as humanly possible and focused on the greater good of these children. But there comes a point when humanity begins to show through.
It was right before the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association AGM that I sent Anna Gainey and Rob Jamieson a final email. If you don’t bother to read the other letters, please make sure you sit for a moment with this one. It’s the most pointed words I’ve ever used with the LPC. I preface them by repeating that I make no allegation against any individual and the only thing I’m asking for is an investigation to ensure the safety of children. I don’t claim to know who did what or if anyone is guilty. I only claim to know there is a severe vulnerability created by The Liberalist and that SGFLRA executives need to be interviewed in relation to the Jared Nolan case.
So it can’t be denied that all my letters were received, here is a copy of the ‘read receipts’. Following this, I will address the AGM and the exact perils of youth data in The Liberalist:
I prepared a speech for the Annual General Meeting, despite the fact that it was technically illegal (improper, unregulated, anti-democratic?). No one was allowed to know the name of candidates until the ballots were being distributed. They couldn’t even tell us during the pay-to-play dinner (details in my speech). No Agenda was distributed to members prior to the meeting and the impromptu copy supplied by LPC was contrary to Robert’s Rules for this election. It denied any riding business. It denied the constitutional right to speak. It denied any capacity to deal with an emergency. It approved meeting minutes that were never recorded, seen, or distributed. It approved annual accounting that couldn’t be explained or supported by the treasurer. And it did this all on camera in front of CTV News, with Postmedia bearing witness as well.
The media was invited by the riding association and a few reporters received my prepared address. I brought copies of the LPC Constitution and applicable Bylaws, so no one could dispute my grounds to speak. But the meeting Chair and Returning Officer tried to shut the reporters down. The Chair said he was ‘directed’ to prevent me from speaking and if it was against the rules, he would have to ‘fall on his sword’ to see it through. No one would answer who ‘directed’ this party rep to revoke member rights, but there were phone calls flying and officials for the meeting are delegated by the LPC itself.
When the media wouldn’t kowtow and some members spoke in my support, I convinced the Chair to read my speech during a break and include it in the AGM minutes, despite denying my right to say it aloud. It contained motions to preserve our democracy in the Liberal Party and emergency maneuvers to protect the children. I was specifically denied the right to utter words about Jared Nolan, Vulnerable Sector checks or The Liberalist database.
Here is a copy of my prohibited remarks, that were accepted into the SGFLRA record as silent documentation. No one was taking minutes for this AGM just like the previous meeting produced no minutes; but somewhere, somehow, the Chair assures us that the following is included in them:
It’s worth noting the riding president, Robert Glozier, didn’t attend the AGM. Mike MacEachern didn’t attend the AGM and neither did Christine Guergis-Brayford. The former and latter were elected that night, without anyone being allowed to know they were running. Jeff Kerk was also elected, as the party allows him to interfere with me and my attempts to report to the police. The LPC continues to obstruct parents from knowing what the party does with their children’s most sensitive information.
This is the only video available from the AGM, but more of the event was captured by CTV News. The beginning of this clip is fairly quiet and the second half is crystal clear. It demonstrates the abuses of power undertaken by the Liberal Party of Canada:
About The Liberalist:
I spoke at length with CTV News about their interest to cover this story. It was described as a ‘bombshell’ and ‘nuking the LPC’, but from my humble perspective, it’s just asking people to do the right thing. Due to the Liberal Party of Canada’s unexpected and negative response, I have no choice but to get this information directly to parents. Whether Jared Nolan is convicted or exonerated, it has no bearing on the overall harm being caused by the party. He’s just one example of what could go awry, when you build a non-consensual, unprotected and secret database about children.
Whereas the Conservative Party has a CIMS database that was thoroughly covered by media during the Harper Government, the LPC responded by assembling The Liberalist, built from the same technology used by Democrats and former US President, Barack Obama.
Everyone who purchases a Liberal membership is recorded in the database. Every survey you complete is recorded, to determine your political and psychological interests. What events you attend are recorded. How much you donate is recorded. Your address, contact and family connections are also recorded. This seems pretty harmless and par for the course, in the case of adults.
But more is recorded about children without them even knowing it. A child can be as young as 14 years old to join the party, but they can be even younger to volunteer. No one has to join to be allowed to volunteer and kids in Ontario require 40 community service hours to obtain a high school diploma. Political parties are near the top of the suggested list in many guidance counselor offices.
So what happens when your teenager contacts a Liberal riding association in pursuit of fulfilling their volunteer hours? Someone with Level 3 clearance will engage the student to learn of their interests and availability. The party representative has been instructed by the LPC to fill all the standard fields, as well as:
- Their age
- Personal contact info (cell phones where possible, thereby bypassing parents in many cases)
- School info
- Opinions on any matters
- Their household background and demographics
- If they’re from a single parent family
- Do they have siblings
- Do they drive or need transportation from riding executives
- Relationship status, are they involved in romantic activity yet
- Their activities
- Their schedules
- And any emotional vulnerabilities
They’re also asked to provide the names of friends, so the LPC can recruit new volunteers based on the trust of their referrals. Those children will be recorded in The Liberalist without ever contacting the party, or knowing that someone else provided their information. Kids who request volunteer hours won’t receive a consent page to collect the aforementioned data. They’ll just believe they’re speaking with a party member who cares to hear about their interests.
Once this information is recorded in The Liberalist, any party member with Level 2 or 3 clearance can access their personal details. This is Canada-wide, not even confined to provincial territories. A campaign manager in Nova Scotia can look up the kids in British Columbia if they wanted. Anyone suffering from illness that would cause them to prey on children can track the ones in their region in real time.
When volunteers go door knocking and one of them has a tablet, they’re entering information about the families while chatting with them on the front porch. These people didn’t have an opportunity to consent either. They have no guarantee that a criminal isn’t collecting their data the moment it gets uploaded, because the LPC refuses to implement any protections like Vulnerable Sector checks for party members who manipulate that data.
Yes, Jared Nolan had access to the highest levels of The Liberalist, for the election campaign and then as Executive Vice President of the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association. He had access to this information for the same amount of time that he spent at the Alliston hospital, because these positions commenced in tandem with one another.
Hospital records can tell you basic facts about a person and provide a phone number easy enough. But Liberalist records can tell you what they think, hope, fear, or struggle with, and where you can find them for a rendez-vous according to their schedules. They may even tell you if a teen is sexually active, based on responses to dating questions.
Making the situation in Simcoe-Grey even more complex, is the fact that one of the executives from the MacEachern entourage is a high school principal. Mr. Kerk and his family have been heavily involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters as well. I don’t say this to impugn anyone and they must understand that I’m advocating to protect the children around them. While Kerk has been exceptionally angry with me, I would hope he feels the same about preventative measures. MacEachern also works with vulnerable youths through his employment support organization.
The accused, Jared Nolan, had an overabundance of access to children through the party. It’s undeniable and I don’t understand why everyone is rushing to hush me up, instead of rushing to seal the gaps that ever placed these kids in danger. I believe the police need to investigate Nolan’s use of The Liberalist and crosscheck the names of youth complainants with the party database. But that would require cooperation from the LPC and they would rather silence me than have to talk about it. They revoked their own Constitution in the eleventh hour of attempting to mediate and I hope my emails indicate that I made a sincere effort.
Everyone is so angry but I still don’t feel like the bad guy, because I know in my heart this is the right thing to do, under impossible circumstances. When I was young and in the care of CAS, I grew to learn that if something made you feel terrible inside, it needed to be talked about. I won’t throw that lesson away now, because someone is more worried about liability than they are about the children. Politically speaking, a good PR specialist would have owned this and made it a lemonade story. The LPC could have led the way and implemented Vulnerable Sector checks, while challenging every other party to follow suit. If they really wanted to take the hardline votes away from Kellie Leitch, they could have legislated mandatory Vulnerable Sector checks for all volunteer organizations that work with kids. And if really sober people were allowed to sit at the table, there’d be a policy discussion about the collection, handling, and privacy of data.
So that brings us to the end of the AGM, but I’m still not finished making my statement. I began by saying that all democratic pillars fell at the same time and there are a few more calamities to address yet. I’m not religious but I pray now for the Provincial Advocate’s help to make this a teaching moment. This will be the more daunting part that I need to explain and I can’t stress enough that I’m not out to ‘get’ anyone. If you just granted these conversations we wouldn’t be here, but everyone doubled-down at the same time to completely paralyze the investigation.
I’ll begin with CTV News and their negotiations to do this story. They have footage from the AGM and all the documents I’ve provided here. First they wanted to interview me on camera. Then they didn’t. Producers didn’t want to cover the ‘procedural stuff’ and they were only interested in The Liberalist. Then they needed another witness to verify how the database works, as a condition of running that part of the story. Under the strictest of conditions, I put them in touch with a source that had to remain protected. That person was professionally significant and provided anonymous interview, corroborating what I’ve explained. CTV got exactly what it asked for and then changed the terms.
The reporter, just like police I’ve had an opportunity to actually speak with, was supportive and helpful. He wrote the proposed story and submitted to his superiors, only to be reassigned for the next week straight. He wasn’t able to look at The Liberalist material, but did keep pushing to do the story. I don’t hold any of this against the journalist, but the producers are a different story. They reneged the agreement to produce another witness and wanted to push for more.
I was informed by the reporter that CTV News wants him to find a student who volunteered for the riding association to cultivate for the story. ‘Cultivate’ is my description, but I’m including our text messages so you can draw your own conclusion. They would also like to hear evidence against Nolan at the trial that he abused The Liberalist, before CTV News will tell any parents or children about the vulnerability of their information.
I’ve lost all respect for CTV News (as an organization, not the individual reporters). This is not the Fourth Estate and we have countless lessons throughout history that teach us not to behave this way. Cultivating prospective victims has caused the guilty to go free and the innocent to be wrongly convicted. This is not the business of journalism and we have a duty to be ethical in educating and narrating on behalf of others. When I warned the LPC this would be tricky for me to navigate, I meant what I said because I recognize the need to let the justice system handle the Nolan case, while media still needs to educate about the protection and privacy of youth data. I regret the party refused to listen, that they should have addressed this before it became a public safety issue. Because now, a producer starved for ad revenue will decide how they want to pursue your story.
On the flip side they could bury it altogether, like the example from the Globe and Mail. From that perspective we’d have three flavours of state media and the public will continue to tune out until publishers finally get the message and there are no jobs left in Canadian political journalism.
Here are the screencaps regarding CTV and they’ll be followed by developments with the Leitch campaign, Rogers, new evidence, and the Ontario Provincial Police:
They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows and the dynamics in Simcoe-Grey are unique to the entire country. Our MP is Kellie Leitch and if you need assistance, that’s who you have to call. I haven’t been allowed to attend her events since 2011 and that time she called the cops to have me removed, because I was reporting for the national broadcaster. I departed peacefully and there was no need to get upset, for the record.
But I thought, because it’s her riding. And I thought, because it’s a hospital that concerns her. And I thought, because it’s about children that she’d have to uphold her Hippocratic Oath. And I thought, I’d be selling my soul to let her skewer good people in that Leitch campaign style. And I thought, I’d be accused of playing partisan with children’s interests if I didn’t try everything that I’m supposed to.
So I called Nick Kouvalis and tried to explain. We ended up arguing and he quit two days later, but everyone thinks it’s because of an old cuss word because they didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. In any event, Kellie Leitch wouldn’t speak for the kids in Simcoe-Grey either. At least no one can say that I didn’t try hard enough:
As all these angles were developing, I set out to organize the evidence. I was supposed to meet with Det. Sgt. Rees in the days following the AGM, so I needed to be prepared for that anyway. I had to hunt for a few things and a riding member told me about a picture that was posted to Facebook, showing Mike MacEachern with Jared Nolan and a handful of teenagers volunteering to do the canvass.
I mean Mr. MacEachern no disrespect or suggestion of guilt. He knows I disagree with his past politics toward women, but they don’t automatically suggest wrongdoing. I wouldn’t want to be accused of heinous crimes for having a polar-opposite opinion and I don’t mean to cause anyone else that type of harm. If this picture existed, obviously it could be important to the Nolan case and a lot of riding members are upset about the situation – it’s not just me. The conflicts of interest I’ve mentioned are simple facts and they only need to be mitigated to protect the integrity of the investigation. These are not personal attacks and even if you don’t want to believe that, then consider I can’t afford one lawsuit, let alone one for every person or agency I’ve pissed off throughout the course of this letter. And the worst is yet to come.
When I examined social media in pursuit of this alleged photo, I found that I was blocked from many of the 2016-coup-executive accounts. I had to perform cursory searches to inspect what public information was available. It was then I discovered Jared Nolan’s Facebook account had changed, even though his bail conditions prevent him from going online. His avatar appeared to be displaying a photograph of Jeff Kerk’s children. I won’t publish these pictures of toddlers widely and I regret needing to reference them at all. I will hyperlink for the purpose of an investigation only, and I ask that no one distributes them any further – please. To do so may be an act of child exploitation in itself, if this evidence becomes valid to the Nolan investigation. I do this because I am genuinely concerned for the safety of these young persons and possibly their family, and I have no other way of notifying the authorities (more info regarding that obstruction below).
This is a link to an archived copy of the Jared Nolan account, displaying the noted photograph.
This is a link to an archived copy of the avatar photo expanded, that includes access to Facebook metadata from the original page. I hope it will assist law enforcement in researching the details, to determine who might have posted this and when.
I’m not positive if this is a photo of Mr. Kerk’s children, but comparative analysis has led me to this concern. I overlaid the photo from Nolan’s account with others that were published by the Kerk family and despite a small age difference between the images, it does appear to be the same girl. Her ears are unique and constant throughout these comparisons.
If it seems odd that I would take such a step, it’s because I know this Nolan account to be legitimate and that it has changed since the accused was legally prohibited from accessing the Internet.
With the greatest and most sincere apology to Jeff Kerk, this is a link to a photo he posted of his little girl, campaigning with Mike MacEachern in the 2015 election.
These photos were so unhinging and needed to be collected due to another development on social media. When I was researching the accused, I stumbled on a Facebook account for “Jeff Jared Kerk Nolan” that I was not familiar with existing in the past:
I don’t know who created the account but it’s definitely contrary to the Facebook user agreement. It appears to be relevant to the investigation and I’m unclear if it was shared between the two SGFLRA executives, or if it may represent a threat to the Kerk family, or possibly a cry for help. The only claim I’m making is that police need to inquire about its purpose, to ensure no children are in danger, including the Kerks.
Because I’ve been threatened by Jeff Kerk directly, with full knowledge and power of the party, I attempted to bring this to the attention of police, instead of addressing the matter in private. I have never tried to inflame this situation for children to bear the consequence and I couldn’t have predicted the responses from LPC, the media, or what was about to happen with the Ontario Provincial Police.
I was supposed to hear from Detective Sergeant Doug Rees at the OPP Headquarters in Orillia, the same week as the riding association’s AGM. Preliminary contact was negotiated through Constable Monroe (as mentioned earlier) and a physical meeting was supposed to occur in the week of February 20, 2017, to facilitate my report and submission of evidence. It had now been more than three months since police lost my report to Constable Callahan, and through various administrative dysfunctions or confusion about jurisdiction, failed to receive the information via three different officers already. In the meantime Nolan had another hearing and his case was winding through the courts.
On February 22, 2017, I called the OPP Headquarters to ask for Det. Sgt. Rees. It was the middle of the week and I hadn’t heard from him yet, as the Facebook evidence was weighing on me heavily. Administrative staff by the name of Randy Shore answered the call (in the vicinity of 3:30pm EST), and reported there was no Det. Sgt. Rees within the Ontario Provincial Police.
I politely responded that I was sure about the information and I was scheduled to communicate with the officer this week. I explained knowing he was the lead investigator for the Nolan case and that our meeting was delayed because he was ‘stuck in Eastern Ontario executing a search warrant’ in the week prior.
This caused Mr. Shore to put me on hold as he checked some information. He returned to confirm that Det. Sgt. Rees is in fact an OPP officer, but just like the problem with Barrie Police and the CAP Unit, there was a separate database to locate him. Shore wasn’t able to give me an extension number for the investigator, but he asked me to wait as he placed a call to the officer’s mobile telephone.
Shortly after, the OPP Headquarters called back. Mr. Shore informed me that Det. Sgt. Rees is refusing to speak with me, or meet with me in any capacity. I retorted this must be a mistake and I explained about the intervention of Constable Monroe, that he already planned to meet with me, to accept my evidence and report.
Mr. Shore was caught off guard and responded that he might have misunderstood what the sergeant meant. He asked me to wait again, as he called the officer to clarify his position. I added that I have new evidence pertaining to the safety of children and that I’m deeply concerned it’s been impossible to share it with the police. If they refused to accept a report, then I would have no choice but to make the information public.
Shore then responded, ‘I guess I should do my duty and ask if kids are in immediate danger‘. I replied that I didn’t know and it may be possible – that’s why getting the evidence to police was imperative to do a proper risk assessment. It was on this note that we disconnected our call and Shore was supposed to call me back immediately, after gaining clarification from Det. Sgt. Rees.
But my telephone didn’t ring for an hour and a half, so I called the OPP Headquarters back myself. I was stunned to find the office had closed and no one would be addressing these issues today, even though I explained a threat assessment was required for children at risk. That report in itself, was left in limbo. I also haven’t taken the time yet to read the Police Services Act because I’ve been dealing with these emergencies, but I’m positive that somewhere it must say that law enforcement is required to accept reports and provide the administrative numbers associated with them.
The following day, on February 23, 2017 at 10:08am EST, Detective Sergeant Rees finally called me back from his mobile device. Whereas my conversations with other officers were generally pleasant and supportive, Det. Sgt. Rees was quite aggressive and arrogant. He demanded to know what evidence I possess and I tried to explain it requires a full background to appreciate the substance of my report.
This made the officer angry and he demanded, ‘What evidence do you have, what evidence do you have, what evidence do you have‘? I felt intimidated and I began by humbly trying to explain the pages from Facebook first. I was belittled for this and the detective stated he didn’t care about a relationship between Jared Nolan and Jeff Kerk. He said if I was worried about children to report separately to my own detachment, because he refused to accept this as being related to the Nolan case.
I then tried to explain that I had more evidence of Nolan’s information being altered, to conceal his access to children. I mentioned the Liberal website tampering, the LinkedIn page and that police didn’t understand the significance of his access to The Liberalist. It was at this point that I became extremely disheartened, because Det. Sgt. Rees laughed at me and reiterated he would never meet to take a report.
My face paled and I was astonished. I pleaded that it was important for police to have this context and it further relates to physical contact with partisan youth volunteers. But just like the Liberal Party Chair at the AGM was predetermined to silence me, the OPP became adamant about preventing my report as well. The latter changed its direction 180 degrees over the course of one week and I couldn’t understand why, if it’s not related to the conflict of interest issues I expressed in the beginning. Were they not being negligent in failing to check if Kerk’s children were being threatened in any way? At the very least they decided that possibility was ‘Unfounded’ without examining any of the evidence.
Exasperated by now, I told the detective he was forcing me to publish this information if the OPP refused to receive it. It relates to the public safety and I would also have to complain to his superiors. But Det. Sgt. Rees continued laughing and taunted me to follow through. He said, “Go ahead and publish whatever you want,” and through his authority, I believe I have police permission to do what I’m doing today.
I didn’t overreact or respond in anger and haste. Instead I telephoned Constable Coopman from the Barrie Police Service, because he was helpful and receptive in my experience with trying to report. Unfortunately the officer wasn’t available so I left two messages on his voicemail. I explained what happened with Det. Sgt. Rees and that I didn’t think it was advisable to publish everything to the general public. I didn’t think it would help the case or any affected parties, if they encouraged these matters to proceed extra-judicially. I didn’t think it would look good on the police if they forced me to do this either.
Those messages were left on February 23, 2017 and I didn’t receive a callback until yesterday, March the 3rd. Constable Coopman inquired if I was considering civil action and I was stunned by that question as well. I said I wasn’t, which led to him inquiring why I called and what did I expect him to do.
I told Constable Coopman that I wasn’t sure how to proceed and that I felt I had police permission to make these matters public, in light of the response from Det. Sgt. Rees. As an officer of the Barrie Police Service he wasn’t able to comment and I asked him to help me obtain the report number from my original contact with Constable Callahan, in lieu. I don’t know what will come of this because PC Coopman is off work for nearly the next week, but he said he will inquire about what’s happening ‘behind the scenes‘. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to obtain my original report number, so I’ve done my best to document this contact independently, to show what’s happened with the police.
There is nothing more daunting than having to confront law enforcement and I sought to avoid these complications since the beginning. In addition to MacEachern’s own comments about his influence over the OPP (linked earlier), there is plenty of evidence this type of pressure was exercised in all local matters. Therefore, I attempted to collect my phone records to document what I could.
That brings us to the final pillar collapsing and my experience with the policies at Rogers Communications. My conversations with the BPS and OPP transpired over both my landline and cell phone. The mobile device automatically records the data for all incoming and outgoing calls, whether local or long distance. It also displays the call duration as a matter of basic service, so I was able to screencap a record of that without assistance.
In the case of a landline however, the service provider must be contacted through a privacy request for information. Even if you purchased call display, there is additional charge from Rogers to obtain the details of a home phone. Unfortunately for this case and the safety of children, the majority of my conversations with police occurred on the home phone.
It took a total of three days for Rogers to provide me with accurate instructions. Customer service reps provided the wrong information and Live Chat reps weren’t able to deal with the matter. I had to push hard to get in contact with the manager centre in Dartmouth, just to explain. No one was listening that my request was due to ‘exigent circumstances’ and the safety of children.
Upon sending my privacy request, it was kicked back by the legal department. They first refused to provide anything at all and would only respond to a subpoena, to provide my records to the police. They wouldn’t let me obtain my own calling data, even though I wasn’t asking for anything more than what my cell phone provides by default.
I explained the police wouldn’t subpoena the records because this related to a complaint about professional misconduct against them. I don’t understand why Rogers won’t let me prove my own activities and the services I pay for, but they will give my records directly to the party that I need to complain about. There’s something very wrong about this that causes an actual police state. How am I not supposed to feel intimidated, when the entire system is allowed to collaborate to gaslight youth complainants, their witnesses, or advocates?
Given this strange anomaly, I amended my request to Rogers. I specified that I only need proof of my calls with police phone numbers and the duration of those communications. I’ve spent numerous hours reporting on the telephone and my records will surely prove this. Then law enforcement will need to explain why there are no report numbers to associate with our lengthy conversations. For three full months this stonewalling and unaccountability has persisted. For three months I’ve known that children may be compromised and I’ve tried everything possible to report it. And for three months the Nolan case has been progressing through the courts, lacking what may be some rather important evidence.
Rogers has decided to provide a copy of my outgoing calls only. It won’t let me prove that police have ever called my house. It also won’t acknowledge ‘exigent circumstances’ and refuses to expedite my request. The company won’t respond to children in danger and complaints involving child pornography will have to wait in line, just like everything else. The police are allowed to take all my records from Rogers to defend against this complaint, though.
Please see my communications with the Rogers legal department about these concerns:
Please see photos of the calls I was able document with police as well:
I reiterate that I do not know if my report will be relevant to a conviction or the defence. I reiterate that Jared Nolan is presumed innocent and a trial hasn’t concluded to determine the outcome of these allegations. I reiterate that everyone named in this letter is also presumed innocent of being involved in any way. But along with the presumption of innocence, our Charter provides for a full and fair hearing of all the evidence, to determine a legitimate outcome. This is meant to protect both the complainants and defendants, in an adversarial system where everyone adheres to the same rules.
In closing, I’ve addressed many issues that have arisen from this case. The matters pertaining to law enforcement require a resolution before a miscarriage of justice can be alleged by any of the parties. I sincerely believe the probe will be incomplete if it doesn’t examine access to youths through The Liberalist and ensure child complainants don’t appear in that sensitive database. There is a distinct possibility for crossover between the hospital and the riding association. It’s possible that current evidence could appear misleading if it doesn’t have the rest of this context. I also believe the Facebook evidence needs to be evaluated, to assess if any members of the Kerk family are in danger, regardless of the Nolan case.
Regarding the Liberal Party of Canada, they need to confront the consequence of their actions, or lack thereof. Why are they concealing Nolan’s relationship to the party and a treasure trove of extremely sensitive data about children? Why will they take no steps to secure that data from criminal abuse? Why won’t they discuss the type of information they collect about children and whether this action is ethical in the first place? Why won’t they conduct an internal investigation, to at least determine if the high school students recruited by a fellow executive and school principal were impacted in any way? Why won’t they let youths and their parents determine control of their own privacy permissions? Why won’t they alert families to speak with their children, to ensure no abuses have been committed through the party?
A lot of good-meaning Liberals are distraught about this situation. Some who have entered these details about children into The Liberalist database are now questioning themselves and how ‘stupid’ they might have been. They sought this information on behalf of the party with the best of intentions, hoping it would allow them to be sensitive toward the next generation of pundits. No one really considered the way this data could be abused, until the case of Jared Nolan brought that possibility to our doorsteps.
In the case of Simcoe-Grey, there were past boards of directors that did require Vulnerable Sector checks to become a youth representative. But as we’ve learned, these traditions are optional and individual to every riding association across Canada. It requires party leadership and mandatory regulation, because national databases require national oversight. The 2016-coup-executive didn’t require safety precautions and it left us with the current situation.
While there is no way to completely protect children without any gaps in the system, failing and even refusing to implement Vulnerable Sector checks for users of The Liberalist database may be a breach of fiduciary duty. It’s an unnecessary source of risk that blatantly invites abusers to join the party and take advantage of it. Individuals who suffer from psychological illness that would cause them to become a child predator can’t control their impulses and this fact is wholly established by the justice system. So why invite damage that can last a lifetime, to the kids who represent our collective future?
This situation has left me in a such position, that all I can do is hold up a mirror. Every pillar of democracy has been afflicted by the Unfounded illness, that prevents us from evolving past it. The police are waiting for me to break this information with the news, to give them cause to investigate. The news is hoping to find its own victims, before it will tell the public or police. And the LPC appears to be silencing anyone who tries to remedy the threat to children. I’m not the only person writing letters to the party and every single member has been ignored. Some are threatening to cancel their donations and even that hasn’t merited a response.
These collective behaviours have served to paralyze the Nolan investigation, as well as the entire establishment. One pillar won’t hold the other accountable and if that continues, it would represent the collapse of our democracy. I’m hopeful this is an opportunity for everyone to show leadership, if I sit you down at the same table to talk about these matters frankly. I’m not looking to sue anyone and I claim no personal damages, but I can’t let this go until you acknowledge your responsibilities to the children of Canada. I add this problem is not unique to the Liberal Party alone, and all partisan organizations must collaborate to find a solution, before Gen Y becomes the generation that doesn’t vote.
Yours very truly,
***Edit, March 6, 2017 at 6:45pm EST:
To assist with understanding the implications of Jared Nolan’s access to The Liberalist database, I’m including archived links to a majority of the party’s user guide. At this moment the website is still live and you can visit the original pages to inspect further. Unfortunately archiving isn’t able to replicate the proprietary videos that appear on some pages, but I advise visiting the direct source to view these illuminating tutorials.
I also note that all sections describe Level 1 and Level 2 access. While Level 3 is mentioned as having administrative powers, the guides do not describe what those powers are. My letter above addresses that missing information regarding Level 3, that Mr. Nolan is believed to possess throughout the MacEachern election campaign, as well as the riding association as the Executive Vice President. He maintained this access for a period of 2 years and it was the identical amount of time he spent employed at the Stevenson Memorial Hospital.
My speech for the AGM addresses the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada didn’t take any steps to revoke his permissions as an administrative, precautionary, or disciplinary action. The party claims it asked for Nolan’s resignation upon learning of the charges, but to my understanding, nearly 2 months lapsed before Nolan agreed to abdicate. Therefore he maintained access to this sensitive youth data, even under strict bail conditions regarding the exploitation of children. I couldn’t know if Nolan continued exercising that access while prohibited from the internet, but the LPC didn’t seek to prohibit him or any alleged predators from logging into The Liberalist, by denying a response, cooperation with the investigation, or the implementation of Vulnerable Sector checks for this (or any) riding association.
I allege the LPC is entrenching its plausible liability, by refusing to protect the most sensitive information about voters and their children, in the party’s exclusive possession. This is exacerbated by the fact that the LPC advertises access to this data, in an effort to attract volunteers they decline to screen for criminal reference, before handing over information like youth schedules, school identification, dating info, family info, contact info, and emotional vulnerabilities. This was always a nightmare waiting to happen and it must be amended forthwith.
(Liberal and Liberalist websites are built from WordPress bases. Although this blogging/website platform is one of the most convenient and easy to use, it’s also one of the least secure ways to store data on the internet and is subject to countless amateur hacking attempts, as well as practice for data engineers in training. This is a well known fact to the data, privacy and security communities: https://archive.is/8zy8z And despite the fact that LPC claims ownership of the data they collect, it’s managed by an American company and stored on American servers. This subjects the information to US oversight and the US Patriot Act, in addition to anyone like the accused, Jared Nolan, who was granted the highest access without a Vulnerable Sector check.)
Liberal Data Warehouse https://archive.is/oksXT
User Guide for The Liberalist – Levels 1 and 2:
Liberalist user guide index https://archive.is/DaTvW
Introduction to Liberalist (includes info about tech creation in US) https://archive.is/VcRL5
Account types https://archive.is/VllzI
Request an account https://archive.is/jDhT1
Finding your active accounts https://archive.is/Hh0Cw
Log in https://archive.is/yDZsC
Setting up your Action ID https://archive.is/jrhac
Linking multiple accounts with Action ID https://archive.is/Z3UO0
Set up profile https://archive.is/TWqyt
Creating Level 1 & 2 accounts https://archive.is/2hID1
Finding individuals https://archive.is/qniGE
Quick look up https://archive.is/mo0Vy
Customizing quick look up https://archive.is/HyYdM
Individual record overview https://archive.is/pegTh
Individual record components (for adults, includes ‘activist codes’) https://archive.is/Waenu
Comparing My Voters and Shared Contacts https://archive.is/R738l
Creating a list of Shared Contacts without My Voter file https://archive.is/q9lDW
Linking My Voters with a Shared Contact file https://archive.is/vjZGI
Create lists https://archive.is/3mXaO
Basics of creating a list https://archive.is/g9WoZ
Types of lists https://archive.is/45c8E
Registered Liberals list https://archive.is/EQqAA
Supporter list https://archive.is/8t9LZ
Donor list https://archive.is/nn8Z3
Transportation list (for volunteers & voters who need rides, page now censored) https://archive.is/Uj6ug
Vote history list https://archive.is/C14as
Finding Liberals and other affiliations https://archive.is/kHmPX
Refining a list https://archive.is/JJe6B
Saving and editing a list https://archive.is/V77mx
Sharing lists https://archive.is/c7qBZ
Data entry https://archive.is/p4zCi
Quick Mark https://archive.is/7JShN
Scan bar codes https://archive.is/PQnPh
MiniVAN (mobile app for real time data entry) https://archive.is/ndTJk
Data entry for voting information https://archive.is/ulVZB
Volunteer recruitment (doesn’t address kids or Level 3, however) https://archive.is/WSoQJ
Stages of recruitment in volunteer program https://archive.is/FAmwV
List creation for volunteer recruitment https://archive.is/LQkA5
New volunteer list https://archive.is/B9Equ
Past volunteer list https://archive.is/kRB6G
Active volunteer list https://archive.is/eiUYa
Flagging your volunteers https://archive.is/hqT0f
Creating an event in Liberalist https://archive.is/kyS2k
Develop a script for volunteer recruitment https://archive.is/oJw46
Create a Virtual Phone Bank (without party oversight to schedule robocalls) https://archive.is/3gQIw
Communications overview https://archive.is/L76fl
Customizing your canvass overview (Level 3 mentioned) https://archive.is/5hWH0
Virtual Phone Bank overview https://archive.is/uxkRb
Sharing your Virtual Phone Bank https://archive.is/MR2bG
Email Blast overview https://archive.is/HZtZ3
Email Blast analytics https://archive.is/Z1sgc
Voice broadcasts overview https://archive.is/DVhXq
Broadcast survey overview https://archive.is/ubla1
Predictive dialer https://archive.is/lAACV
Create phone bank user group https://archive.is/g7dvN
Send your list to predictive dialer https://archive.is/N3aZ0
Customizing your canvass https://archive.is/5hWH0
Creating a canvass list https://archive.is/dnMk0
Create a list using Turfcutter https://archive.is/T0pZO
Create a canvass list by poll https://archive.is/LoqDo
Split your report https://archive.is/Ut0c8
Door to door canvass overview https://archive.is/MXfnv
Using Manage Turf https://archive.is/dVXRU
Generating list numbers with Manage Turf https://archive.is/gLdPD
Sending a list to MiniVAN (mobile app) https://archive.is/nvFnA
Using MiniVAN (mobile app) https://archive.is/ndTJk
Canvass sheet components (mentions Level 3, categorize by political party) https://archive.is/xKw45
Phone canvassing https://archive.is/2MUXl
Making a phone list (based on identities in household) https://archive.is/uvzn5
Campaign tools https://archive.is/tXUvX
Geo Liberal (dot) ca https://archive.is/puxoP
GOTV events https://archive.is/qFGc9
Create staging location events https://archive.is/uQkfV
Create list of your volunteers for GOTV https://archive.is/wVEhj
Creating your GOTV script https://archive.is/PN0tW
Using phone bank for onboarding volunteers (seeks personal schedules) https://archive.is/cvCVq
Assigning roles to your volunteers https://archive.is/Q2WyQ
Use Geo Liberal (dot) ca to plan staging locations https://archive.is/pzdVS
Using counts and crosstabs to plan staging locations https://archive.is/6bRAG
Creating poll kits https://archive.is/OETs6
Find out how many door knockers you need https://archive.is/AJLY9
Creating lists of early voters (with data from Elections Canada) https://archive.is/nnrUl
Analyzing your vote https://archive.is/1Kwg2
Analyzing your vote (original videos http://liberalist.liberal.ca/analyzing-your-vote/)
Adding new voters https://archive.is/hPEjq
Adding new voters (original video http://liberalist.liberal.ca/adding-new-voters-tool/)
Rules for adding new voters https://archive.is/ZuWYV
Process for adding new voters https://archive.is/IWQBs
Managing ride requests https://archive.is/Rh8G0
Create transportation list https://archive.is/amLXQ
Scheduling rides https://archive.is/iePnV
Literature drops https://archive.is/AgND4
Data entry for voting information https://archive.is/ulVZB
Smartphone data entry for voting information https://archive.is/WtpWZ
Smartphone data entry (original video http://liberalist.liberal.ca/user-guide/data-entryvoting-information/)
Bingo sheet data entry https://archive.is/EMx6x
Finding out who voted https://archive.is/nnrUl
Event management overview https://archive.is/tIInN
Private events https://archive.is/92CYf
Public events https://archive.is/2StG1
Schedule volunteers or participants for events https://archive.is/lW6XR
Marking attendees https://archive.is/W3IuQ
Using My List to schedule volunteers or participants https://archive.is/FLGa2
Promoting your event https://archive.is/drzBA
Managing volunteers and participants https://archive.is/WAJ9L
View participants to your event https://archive.is/twHDY
Create a list of attendees https://archive.is/wlXBH
Marking attendees https://archive.is/W3IuQ
Data analysis https://archive.is/YTQn4
Analyze canvass results https://archive.is/Vapdh
Setting report preferences https://archive.is/fAqza
Counts and crosstabs overview https://archive.is/Zk3f3
Layouts of counts and crosstabs (ex. search by sex) https://archive.is/QG159
My Voters variables (assign ‘activist codes’ to identify personal traits) https://archive.is/8wnKe
Shared Contacts variables (assign ‘activist codes’ to identify personal traits) https://archive.is/JCZhd
Analyze a specific list https://archive.is/omVwH
Analyze list of Voter IDs by poll https://archive.is/2Bv5L
(Voter IDs arise from Elections Canada. They’re amalgamated with LPC data collected on these individuals, to build the greater psychological profile)
Analyze your volunteers by volunteer stage https://archive.is/FmeL9
Schedule automated reports (daily, weekly, monthly) to track individuals https://archive.is/SB6QO
Membership, Victory Fund and Laurier Club donor lists https://archive.is/i69Uq
Liberalist User Agreement (claims proprietary ownership of all surveillance data about volunteers, voters, and households) https://archive.is/GUmqy
Train to be a Liberalist Champion https://archive.is/JBdN7
Data entry training for volunteers https://archive.is/3SF8U
Liberalist training videos (for Levels 1 & 2 but no info for Level 3) http://liberalist.liberal.ca/video/
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.
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.
A photo of Canada’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, Peter MacKay, recently went viral on social media. The government’s top legal bureaucrat was seen posing with Canada’s National Firearms Association, sporting a t-shirt in support of the group’s endeavours. The graphic on this gifted apparel melded the country’s maple leaf symbol with a rifle, and everyone in the shot was smiling. Going by the acronym “NFA”, it is the northern counterpart to America’s NRA, that holds considerable influence over gun control laws on the stateside.
The NFA was identified by mainstream news as a social force behind repeal of the Long Gun Registry. The Quebec government was also mentioned for a temporary injunction to halt that repeal, with its case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Despite this acknowledgement, the most important information that raises questions about of conflict of interest appears to be overlooked or censored.
On Docket 35448, Attorney General of Quebec v. Attorney General of Canada, et al, the NFA is listed as a party to the proceeding, that will argue constitutional matters in relation to gun control. Quebec wishes to keep a registry and the federal government is strongly opposed, with the NFA in its corner.
On June 5, 2014, Canada’s National Firearms Association received Intervener status from the Supreme Court. It came with instructions to pay the Attorney Generals (Canada and/or Quebec) any monies required to cover the cost of additional disbursements that may arise from the gun lobby’s participation in the hearing. The NFA is forbidden from introducing new evidence, or supplementing the appellant and respondents’ records.
On July 31, 2014, the NFA filed its documents including a Factum and Book of Authorities. On August 14, 2014, MacKay’s office did the same and the following day the case to suspend Quebec’s gun registry was set to proceed with appeal. It was less than two weeks later that the infamous picture was discovered, indicating a personal-political relationship between NFA members and Canada’s Attorney General.
Given the longstanding ruckus between Peter MacKay, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of Canada, the public has little patience for the appearance of impropriety. Going forward it will be important to learn if or what gifts might have changed hands between these judicial parties, and the appropriateness of campaigning for one another while legally opposing a provincial government.
More to the unsavoury appearance, the Twitterverse discovered additional photos of NFA members who posed with the Attorney General. On veteran Kurtis Gaucher’s Facebook page, he’s found casually bragging about 4 ounces of marijuana. Perhaps Gaucher has a medical prescription, but in light of MacKay’s vehement stance against the substance, it sparked renewed publicity across social media.
On Ericka Clarke’s Facebook account, a photo of the woman holding a significant weapon was discovered. Her social media has since been closed to public access and the option to contact was removed. Before this occurred, a Twitter member took the liberty of pointing out the irony with a Buddies, Bullets & Bongs meme that is quickly gaining traction.
In the meantime this relationship is clouding another Supreme Court case regarding constitutional rights within the provinces. The Attorney General of Canada appears to support ‘gun toting drug slingers’ over public safety, according to the consensus of popular social media. With a little less tongue-in-cheek, the Supreme Court may need to ask if the fees it assessed were paid to the government in promotional t-shirts, however.
Ontario residents have been kept in the dark, but Canada’s most populous province is about to become an unlikely and international battleground. After all, how many times does the Great White North threaten the drinking water of more than 40 million people, including their neighbours in America?
Legislators from south of the border have already taken issue with plans for a deep geologic repository. Less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron, Bruce Power intends to store 200,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste within the natural rock formation. Senators and congressmen shared their dissent with the Canadian government, but the fed responded by sending police to the homes of eco protesters, in what some would call an act of intimidation.
(photo credit: Ontario Power Generation)
It will take at least 300 years for the nuclear waste to decay, to a point that radioactive catastrophes are not a threat to human populations. This Kincardine, Ontario location was also chosen for its low seismic activity, reducing the likelihood of water and soil contamination by earthquake.
This much we’ve always known, due to the federal environment assessment that required public consultation. The Harper government has since levied time restrictions to speed the process along, but this is one project that was too big and too perilous to keep from the radar at all.
Seemingly unrelated, the controversy over fracking and in-situ technologies to harvest oil has been raging around the world. Ohio experts claim it causes earthquakes. Texans say it releases benzene and hydrogen sulfide in the air, causing everything from cancer to nosebleeds and skin rashes. British scientists say it causes radioactive contamination. Researchers at Duke University say it makes water flammable in Pennsylvania and New York, where investigators cite enough contamination to blow up homes with families in them. In Canada, the Idle No More movement continuously defends First Nations from plans to frack their tribal territory and there’s still the argument of numerous toxic chemicals used in the extraction process.
(photo credit: HBO, GasLand)
The topic of hydraulic fracturing is so polarizing that countless provinces, states and cities have sought a moratorium. The mayor of New York City added his voice to the opposition, with strong reservations about the impact to water safety. By contrast and north of this shared water source, scientists from Canada were abruptly silenced by the federal government and environmental laws were gutted, so there is no mechanism or freedom to complain above the forty-ninth parallel any longer.
This much we also knew, but how could it possibly relate to a nuclear waste dump?
Critics warned that sweeping changes to de-monitor water, curtail public input and failure to assess smaller power projects would have a grave and lasting impact on the Canadian ecosystem. They denounced newly legislated secrecy and threw their hands in the air when the government conducted a good old-fashioned, scientific book burning. They went so far as to accuse the Harper administration of oppressing Canadians for the sake of Alberta oil profits, meant to benefit the Prime Minister’s friends at a cost to every other industry in the country. With few studies or consultations required anymore, the public wouldn’t be privy to projects that conflict with each other either.
It was a Nostradamus moment that wouldn’t take a thousand years to come true. It’s just that our first example arises in Ontario, further east than they predicted when pitted against bitumen, LNG or coastal pipelines as the likely candidates. When people think about oil, they don’t naturally imagine the Great Lakes region as an epicenter for this development.
No one can blame residents for being remiss, when information became inaccessible to the public and for that matter to Americans who are impacted by Canadian activity. Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty claimed there would be no fracking until the province studied evidence to determine if the practice was safe. The new premier has never commented and no elected officials have alluded to anything different.
With all this government subterfuge from provincial and federal levels, the only way to learn about energy projects is through private company investor reports and knowing which ones to research now.
Bruce Power, meet Dundee Energy Limited. The former is an Ontario nuclear giant and the latter has the largest stake in Ontario oil. The two may operate side by side, but you’d never know from asking any level of government including municipal managers. These companies also favour the same rock formation, but for very different reasons.
Nuclear proponents believe the shale is strong enough to store radioactive waste, while oil competitors have chosen the area due to rich deposits and the porous nature of the same rock, making it a perfect specimen for fracking. It’s hard to see how both could be correct, but everyone drinking water along the Great Lakes is in the crosshairs of this corporate aggression.
From Neil Young to Yoko Ono, concerned stars have raised alarm bells regarding each of these topics, but no one thought to consider the impact of running these operations together. Fracking beside nuclear waste is a new concept for sure. The consequence of either practice is still a new frontier and combining them won’t be studied in Canada, nor will anyone be informed to care.
This situation is complicated by a few key players. Nuclear behemoth Bruce Power is technically owned by TransCanada Corp, that is better known for the KeystoneXL oil pipeline and tribulations visiting the White House. It’s also owned by Cameco, recently accused of tax evasion related to uranium sales. This partnership is completed by the retirement funds of municipal employees and the Power Workers Union, otherwise known as an affiliate of the left-wing labour movement and CUPE. As these strange bedfellows negotiate long term destruction of the environment for short term gain, the public is none the wiser because every brand of elected official appears to have taken a vow of silence.
In the case of Dundee Energy, it’s a subsidiary of the Dundee Corporation and federal Labour Minister Kellie Leitch was implicated in an alleged conflict of interest with this very consortium. While sitting on a board of directors for Dundee (REIT), Leitch was also debating legislation that impacted her environmentally averse tenants. In addition to meeting the needs of numerous oil clients under the Dundee real estate umbrella, this MP’s company position included an asset-based relationship with the National Energy Board (pgs 20-26).
The National Energy Board is Canada’s environmental regulator and the body that oversees public consultation in a situation like the Bruce Power nuclear waste dump. It no longer needs to conduct environmental hearings related to Dundee’s oil pursuits, as a result of the Labour Minister and Conservative government’s plight to de-monitor water and “streamline” approvals.
It’s now come to light that Leitch’s business associate was buying considerable land for oil extraction, with an eye for the riding she continues to represent. Dundee Energy also purchased junior speculators with rights to harvest oil in Ontario, around the same time she was named a trustee to the sister company with shared executives.
For context, the Labour Minister’s family established the Fort McMurray oil sands town in Alberta, before her career was transferred to Ontario where the process may be repeating. This time brings us to Collingwood, Ontario and begins with thousands of acres around Blue Mountain that the oil industry took an interest in.
This location boasts a farming heartland and world class ski resort, with waterside tourism in the summer. It’s unlikely Intrawest realizes the surrounding property is on the fracking horizon. It doesn’t bode well for stable snow formations if earthquakes are indeed caused by fracking. Yacht owners may pull their boats from oil-slicked waters and tourism around the protected Niagara Escarpment Biosphere may soon resemble the tar sands on this deregulated trajectory. The groundwaters sustaining agriculture in the bins at your local grocery store may also become poisonous if the experience of early adopters is any indication.
To manage a complex and conflicting set of developments, here’s a recap to give clarity that illuminates who might have known what.
1857 – 1863: Canada’s first shale gas operation was founded in Collingwood, Ontario. It originally supplied the market in Toronto. This enterprise eventually failed due to competition from Lambton County and this local history would be forgotten, until the present day when it’s repeated.
April 2008: Bruce Power begins drilling boreholes to test Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay and Manitoulin shales, in preparation for the nuclear waste deep geologic repository. A layout of the project is included, depicting the proximity to Lake Huron and a railway passing directly above the proposed radioactive location.
September 2008: Mooncor begins aggressive acquisition of Ontario shale oil assets. They have access to 23,000 acres with the ability to develop Collingwood and Blue Mountain formations.
November 2008: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Talisman and Torque Energy, as well as Enbridge, Haliburton and the US Energy Development Corp. Exhibitors include the Government of Newfoundland and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The latter presents “Shale Gas Opportunities in Ontario” during the session dedicated to fracking. The Ontario Power Generation also speaks about the Bruce Power waste site. That seminar is sandwiched between the effect of petrochemicals and how to fight back against eco protesters.
February 2009: A Calgary based oil and gas consultant is hired to conduct seismic testing for the Ontario Bruce Power nuclear site. Data is borrowed from a nearby Texaco well and Shell oil pipeline. Many gas wells are noted in the area and previous studies failed to indicate a seismic fault line. With newer technology however, faults were discovered around the nuclear site and this information will be submitted to the National Energy Board.
May 2009: The federal government finalizes a process of environmental review for the proposed Bruce Power nuclear waste site.
November 2009: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Torque Energy, Talisman Energy and Enbridge. Shale gas opportunities are promoted in Ontario and the Minister of Natural Resources is a keynote speaker this year. Numerous reps from the Ontario government provide seminars as well as a report for oil companies, enticing hundreds of new explorations. The Collingwood and Blue Mountain deposits are given special attention, closest to the nuclear waste site. Health Canada is also an exhibitor.
March 2010: Central Ontario oil was predominantly owned by Mooncor and Talisman Energy. The Dundee Corporation purchases “the largest accumulation of oil and natural gas assets in Ontario” for $131 million from Talisman, to overtake their interest in the area.
June 2010: Simcoe and Bruce Counties experience an uncharacteristic earthquake. The area surrounding a proposed nuclear waste dump and fracking locale, shakes enough to startle half the province awake.
October 2010: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsor information was withheld this year, but exhibitors include the Canadian Consulate General and various members of the Ontario government. Keynote speakers include disgraced Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY) and seminars are provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources, in addition to the Ministry of Northern Development. Dundee Energy updated their progress in purchasing Ontario shale assets, as the government updated its list of shale assets for promotion. Additional seminars were offered regarding hydraulic fracturing and the difficulty moving enough sand, water and chemicals to supply the fracking industry.
April 2011: The Bruce Power nuclear site tests for the presence of gas. It’s found in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay formations, among others. Upon detailed analysis, the highest concentration of oil is noted in the Collingwood shale samples (closest to the nuclear repository), while the highest gas concentrations can be found in the Blue Mountain companion. This study and many more were submitted to the National Energy Board.
April 2011: Mooncor creates spinoff company DRGN Resources to handle its Ontario shale oil and gas assets. The long term strategy includes overtaking smaller companies to become a major player in the province.
May 2011: Kellie Leitch is elected Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, after accusations of being parachuted from out of town. This riding consists of Collingwood, Blue Mountain and much of Georgian Bay. She still works with Dundee REIT and will not resign the executive position until the end of the next quarter, representing both the public and a corporation at the same time.
June 2011: Dundee Energy Limited establishes 100 percent ownership of its Ontario oil assets, further retained by the Dundee conglomerate as the parent company. New horizontal wells are planned for extraction.
June 2011: Several fish begin dying in Lake Simcoe. It’s part of the same glacial movement that created the Great Lakes system and it’s a 30 minute drive from the shores of Lake Huron. A magnificent amount of oil and gas tests are occurring at the same time (from government, the fracking and nuclear industries), but this is not considered a possible culprit because the public is unaware.
August 2011: Dundee Energy purchases Torque Energy – a former sponsor of the Ontario Petroleum Institute and a remaining holdout competitor. Torque Energy includes oil assets in Ontario and the acquisition helps to pad Dundee’s dominant market share.
September 2011: Mooncor retains a small amount of stock in Torque Energy, now owned by the Dundee corporation (pg. 12). At the end of this month, Member of Parliament Kellie Leitch resigns from her position with Dundee’s real estate branch as well.
October 2011: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Dundee Energy, Torque Energy (under Dundee ownership) and Mooncor (with stock interest in Dundee). Keynote speakers include the Mayor of London and First Nations elders. Seminars are provided by the federal government’s Indian Oil and Gas Canada agency, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Energy Board. Topics covered Aboriginal affairs and fracking, with a hydrofracturing demonstration to close the event.
October 2011: Six thousand dead birds and fish scatter the shores of Wasaga Beach. It’s the longest freshwater beach in the entire world and lines much of Georgian Bay, connecting to Collingwood at Lake Huron. Both shale formations were being tested for oil and gas reserves, but botulism is the suspected culprit with little explanation regarding changes to the lake’s chemistry. The area never saw a die-off like this before and experts were left to guess a reason.
November 2011: Mooncor engages the Dundee conglomerate for help to raise $5 million toward expansion.
November 2011: An executive lawyer for Bruce Power and the nuclear waste site is appointed to the Ontario Centre of Excellence, to guide the provincial economy. This centre is funded by the Ontario government and Bruce Power continues to be owned by the same curious partners.
May 2012: Thousands of dead fish appear on the shores of Lake Simcoe. The second time is worse than the first. The Ministry of Natural Resources waited a number of months before informing the public of a widespread infection and no detailed cause was ever given.
September 2012: The Ontario government promotes shale fuel extraction at a conference in the United States. Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay formations are the focus, with 31 percent oil saturation and 77 percent gas saturation to encourage deeper investment. One of the wells cited is adjacent to the Bruce Power nuclear waste site. (A similar situation between oil wells and nuclear generators occurs in the Pickering location on Lake Ontario.)
September 2012: Dundee Energy invests $13.7 million in Ontario assets. Another $3.4 million is spent to acquire maps with seismic data, needed to plan the next harvesting sites. Inland extraction has become a priority to increase production, that offsets lower gas prices affected by greater American penetration and the Canadian petro dollar. A rig is purchased to assist with new drilling, allowing expansion in the Toronto gas market. In the process, they reserve $3.3 million for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, in anticipation of future environmental costs.
October 2012: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. The sponsor list is excluded again, but the Ministry of Natural Resources, Conservative MPP Bob Bailey and a National Post editor were mentioned as speakers. Embattled Liberal Energy Minister Chris Bentley was invited to give the keynote address and topics narrowly focused on pipelines, fracking and promoting Ontario’s shale assets for exploration.
November 2012: The Ontario government releases a comprehensive report (490 pages) meant to attract investment, reform applicable laws and assist corporations in negotiating with First Nations. Shale gas and oil in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay, Nottawasaga and Manitoulin areas is given special attention (pgs. 222-240), with specific mention of fuels (pgs. 275-286). Each is promoted as having the best potential for fracking related extraction. At least 360 samples were tested from wells and new boreholes in the years preceding, as part of the larger “shale gas assessment project” the public was never informed about. Groundwater mapping for Simcoe County is thoroughly noted (pgs. 295-306) and includes data from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, the Nottawasaga River, Newmarket Till and Oak Ridges Moraine. It is further identified as one of the most significant glacial aquifers, responsible for drinking water obtained from the Great Lakes and every connecting path from Canada to Chicago, Illinois.
November 2012: At the same time Ontario promoted shale extraction, Premier Dalton McGuinty informed the media there was no reason to worry about fracking in the province. He offered this reassurance despite public objection to Dundee Energy and Mooncor buying land for the same purpose. This message was supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources when they confirmed one new shale well was drilled, but denied any knowledge of plans to continue. All political parties responded as if the premise of fracking was hypothetical, but each shared a connection to this series of concrete developments. The Liberal government spent millions to encourage fracking extraction and accepted millions from interested companies. Elected Conservatives spoke at fracking events and/or occupied an executive table with the most aggressive corporation. The NDP also enjoys considerable input from the labour movement, as business partners with an oil giant involved in testing the area.
June 2013: Dundee Energy plans to invest $13.2 million in new Ontario wells and exploration to increase production. Another $2 million will be spent to map 314 kilometers of prospective shale opportunities. The corporation pays an extra $270,000 to the Ministry of Natural Resources in anticipation of future abandonment costs (pgs. 8, 28). This expansion is again reported to offset losses incurred by the American market and complication from the petro dollar (pgs. 10-13).
September 2013: Dundee’s rig is used in Lambton County, Ontario to fracture-stimulate a new well. Additional projects are planned for summer the next year.
October 2013: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. This time it’s at the Windsor casino and sponsors are dwindling as companies are bought up, but Dundee Energy has attained the gold level. Seminars are provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Dundee itself, regarding radial jet drilling and its benefits to the fracking industry. This talk was followed by a presentation regarding the Blue Mountain shale formation and the majority of that day was dedicated to hydraulic fracturing topics. The smaller event was then closed by the Ontario Minister of Rural Affairs. It should be noted that a few days earlier, First Nations made international news with a government standoff against fracking. A Chief close to Bruce Power was also protesting the nuclear waste dump.
In other curious developments, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources defers to the oil industry as its spokesperson. Visiting the government internet page to learn about provincial resources not only misinforms about Ontario’s history (forgetting Collingwood as the first producer), but it also directs readers to the “Discovery Education Centre” as the government’s source for facts.
It just so happens the Discovery Education Centre is owned by Discovery Drilling Funds. They were purchased by LongBow Energy Corp and this business is steeped in the Alberta oil sands. Head office is located in Calgary, Alberta and one of the key executives is a former Koch Petroleum manager (of Koch Industries fame). It’s unclear why a private group of five western oil companies is now speaking for the Government of Ontario.
Regarding competition between fracking and nuclear waste, the town of Walkerton, Ontario is located at the midpoint between them. Driving half an hour west, residents will arrive at Bruce Power and driving half an hour east, they’ll arrive at the heavily promoted Collingwood oil deposits. If they dare to drive south, they’ll arrive at Sarnia’s petrochemical industry and advanced plans for fracking in Lambton County as well.
This tiny hamlet was foisted to world news when the water supply was contaminated and more than 2,300 residents became severely ill. Several died. Criminal charges were laid. The Conservative government of the day was blamed for legislation that privatized the testing of water safety. Now the same families may serve as a test, to see what happens when government policy allows fracking beside nuclear waste, fourteen years later in a repeat performance.
Everyone who obtains drinking water associated with the Great Lakes will also be affected, if any part of this experiment goes wrong. And despite Ontario denying plans to frack, taxpayers footed the bill to produce widespread tests for shale oil, in addition to yearly seminars designed to entice extraction.
These water tables come from one of the most important Precambrian aquifers. It supplies the local area and stretches deep into the United States. This underground water highway also supports Toronto and all the towns branching out along the way. The only thing that doesn’t appear to support 40 million North Americans, is politics north of the border and its friends in the energy industry. If all bureaucracies have skin in the game, who’s left to speak for the water?
Will the Ethics Minister Investigate this MP’s Failure to Disclose Her Income?
Surprising developments continue to challenge the Harper government and it doesn’t appear the recent cabinet shuffle was enough to contain the party’s troubles. In July, the prime minister embarked on a public relations makeover to soften the blow from repeated allegations of criminal activity and impropriety against a growing number of Conservatives.
To quell chatter about Duffy and the senate spending scandal — followed by charges against Del Mastro, the Prime Minister appointed a fresh batch of faces to populate his inner circle. In this rejuvenation process, a faithful MP from Simcoe-Grey was promoted to Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. It seemed a safe bet, as the member was not only a minority female but also a paediatric surgeon who proved her loyalty by supporting the export of asbestos. Surely her silence in the face of criticism from the health care industry could merit responsibility for two portfolios in a beleaguered government.
Doubly minted Minister Kellie Leitch keeps a low profile with the local public, but she’s been a staple in the Conservative party since the days of her youth. The doctor wasn’t familiar to residents of Simcoe-Grey until the 2011 federal election, because she normally hailed from Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and the University of Western Ontario in London. Leitch’s life was centred many hours away and she survived this controversy with stellar endorsements from CPC stars like Jim Flaherty, Peter MacKay, Hugh Segal, Julian Fantino and Stephen Harper. The campaigning efforts of Pamela Wallin weren’t quite as glowing, since her visits have become a point of contention in the senate investigation (see April 26 and 29, expanded to include Jan. 17).
This prominent attention must have felt remarkable. In a rural region known for farming and rustic getaways, the area was transformed into a political Hollywood for the election. The only caveat is it required this much effort to help Leitch overcome the toxic atmosphere she was about to inherit. Her predecessor in Simcoe-Grey was also a Minister for the Status of Women, but Helena Guergis was in the process of being turfed as her replacement was parachuted by the Prime Minister. It was a timely campaign of false and tawdry allegations. Ms. Guergis saw her career destroyed to create a vacancy in the riding and much of the local executive quit to protest their loss of democracy.
Amid the many accusations against Kellie Leitch, it became apparent she would need to open up and endear herself to the locals. In a rare interview with the tiny Wasaga Beach newspaper, a limited number of constituents received a glimpse into the world of our prospective Labour Minister. This included a rare epiphany explaining just how far she traveled. In her own words, Kellie Leitch professes it wasn’t in her plans to become a doctor and she was keen to build on her father’s legacy as a founder of Fort McMurray.
The Alberta oil sands are more than a stone’s throw from the shores of central Ontario and according to Leitch, her family should be credited with bringing the oil rush to Canada because they’re the ones who built the infrastructure to make the harvest area inhabitable. This MP was proud of the environment she helped create, despite Neil Young’s comparison of Fort McMurray to Hiroshima. Of course the latter was banned from the former’s radio station, so perhaps Minister Leitch will never hear about the opposition.
This brings us to the ethical hurdles facing the Conservative party and whether Harper’s judgement would improve in time for the cabinet shuffle, meant to save the government’s reputation. These new ministers should be impervious to criticism, or rather investigation. Ideally they would lead the way by filing items properly and insulate the Canadian Parliament from any more questions of fraud or conflicts of interest. Or contempt. Or bribery. Or voter suppression. Or criminal charges. With such a turbulent track record, it only seems reasonable the Prime Minister would benefit from hindsight and wisdom in selecting his next executives.
It was previously reported that Minister Leitch was in good standing with the Ethics Commissioner and she did not declare any additional income in her report for the public registry. This is the information she provided to media in a congenial, receptive email. But that registry and the Canadian Securities Regulators at Sedar appear to have a different opinion.
The following is a public version of events, expressed in a timeline with commentary:
May 4, 2010 — Kellie Leitch causes a stir with Conservatives in Simcoe-Grey, when she attends private meetings as a star candidate who was parachuted from Toronto.
May 6, 2010 — Kellie Leitch becomes a paid trustee at Dundee REIT (see also May 10, 2010 – report of voting results). As part of a Declaration of Trust, she must agree to a non-competition clause with the company. She is not permitted to acquire an interest, even indirectly from commercial real estate, without first allowing Dundee the option of purchasing said investment (see page 37).
Dundee REIT is a subsidiary of Dundee Corporation and Ned Goodman is the owner, occupying a seat at the same table as MP Leitch. Mr. Goodman is better known as one of the richest people in Canada (see page 18). The REIT is better known for its main accounts, as landlord to the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Government of British Columbia, Government of Alberta, Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Quebec, Government of Northwest Territories, Enbridge Pipelines and SNC Lavalin. This is in addition to the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Cities of Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta Health Services, CAE and Ministry of the Attorney General (see page 20).
In media it’s not mentioned that Dundee REIT is behind the Toronto Pan Am village, but annual filings detail the company’s $15 million investment, with an expected profit of $50 million when the properties are finally sold (see page 12).
In the same report Mr. Goodman shares his executive insight with underlings like Minister Leitch. He says,
“Inflation is a certainty because without any other reasons, and there are many, it is a political and financial tool that allows for de-leveraging of debt and payment of deficits. In addition, politicians very seldom get elected by causing deflation. Almost everyone likes inflation. If you are a government and inflate prices, then you keep people struggling and working hard to keep pace with inflation. The poorer the people are, the more likely they can be kept under control. In addition, inflation for rich people is taxable and deflation is less so. No government ever has an incentive to deflate, but has incentive in fact to inflate. Voters prefer inflation to deflation.” (seepage 19)
He would have said this while also acting as the Chancellor of Brock University.
May 10, 2010 — The appointment of Dr. Leitch to Dundee REIT is confirmed by Sedar.com (see May 10, 2010, report of voting results).
May 2010 — Kellie Leitch is slated to receive 4,607 deferred REIT units for her services as a trustee in the first year (see April 18, 2011, management information circular – within report, view page 6). Her access to sensitive information about the company and advice from owners like Mr. Goodman is granted (view page 9). The compensation structure is outlined and as a trustee, Dr. Leitch will play a role in determining these amounts, including the amount of payment due to Mr. Goodman and approval of deferred units like she received (view pages 12-13). In addition to receiving property investments and a personal stake in government tenants, Leitch receives $21,000 in cash for meeting fees (see page 18). It’s important to understand this compensation was negotiated at the onset, but actual payment would be received into the next year. The deferred units go through a 5 year vesting period, with parts maturing at each anniversary. This would provide Dr. Leitch with steady income for a minimum of 5 years (view page 16).
May 2010 — Dundee REIT confirms it will invest $20 million to construct a building for the Government of Canada in Yellowknife, fully leased to the government for 10 years (see May 6, 2010, interim financial statements – within report, view page 21).
December 31, 2010 — Kellie Leitch is confirmed to receive $21,000 in cash, for her services at Dundee REIT (see page 18).
March 21, 2011 — Much of the Conservative riding executive quits in Simcoe-Grey, due to the ouster of Helena Guergis and the parachuting of Kellie Leitch.
March 31, 2011 — As Defence Minister, Peter MacKay visits the riding of Simcoe-Grey to campaign on behalf of Dr. Leitch. On the same day, Dundee REIT releases a business update to Sedar.com that includes important information about its trustees. Leitch is legally reported to live in the municipality of Toronto (see March 31, 2011 – annual information form – within report, view pages 30, 31). This supports the accusation that she was parachuted to another riding.
April 12, 2011 — Leitch’s business partner and Dundee Corporation owner, Ned Goodman,purchases considerable interest in resource extraction from the Ring of Fire – a point of deep contention for Northern Ontario Native communities.
April 19, 2011 — Peter Cosgrove donates $1,000 to the election campaign of Kellie Leitch (see entry 29). If this was a misspelling, a fellow trustee at Dundee REIT also goes by the name of Peter Cossgrove.
May 2, 2011 — Michael Knowlton donates $250 to the election campaign of Kellie Leitch (see entry 69). He was the president, COO, executive vice president and CFO at Dundee REIT. He made this contribution two weeks before retiring from the president’s position.
Most donations were recorded at the last minute. Forty per cent arrived on Election Day and this indicates Leitch was in contact with her business partners from Toronto, while the riding of Simcoe-Grey was busy voting. No trustees at Dundee REIT are residents of this riding, according to available financial records. In addition to these individuals, the majority of political donors hail from the Toronto area and their contributions were accepted on May 2, 2011.
The return submitted to Elections Canada includes donor names such as Lara Zink (136),Dori Segal (106), David R. Wingfield (133), Kevin Warn-Schindel (128), Linda Rorabeck(100), Lori Turik (122), Kim Shannon (107), Michael S. Ras (95), Partick Meneley (83),Frank Magliocco (77), Onorio Lucchese (75), Blair Levinsky (73), William E. Lardner (71),Landon French (49), Victor Dodig (40), Bradley Cutsey (34), William J. Corcoran (28) andRita Ciccolini. It is this calibre of GTA powerhouses that funded an election campaign in rural Ontario.
(To view a candidate’s return within the Elections Canada database, a fresh search must be performed. Once the information for Leitch, Kellie, in the riding of Simcoe–Grey is displayed, select Form 2A to browse donations. Screen captures of this information are also provided below. Please be advised there is nothing improper about the donations, but they did arise from out of town, predominantly on the day of election.)
May 2, 2011 — Kellie Leitch is elected Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, defeating Helena Guergis as a new face for the Conservatives.
May 12, 2011 — Ten days after the election, MP Leitch accepts paid re-appointment to the Board of Trustees at Dundee REIT (see May 16, 2011 — report of voting results). This happened at a specially scheduled event, in the Toronto Board of Trade, East Ballroom. It would have been clear to everyone that Kellie Leitch was celebrating her election, when she accepted their overtures to oversee a business that relied heavily on the favour of federal government (see pages 1, 6).
May 16, 2011 — Kellie Leitch is recorded in the Canada Gazette as being elected to Parliament. According to the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, she has 60 days from this moment to file her private interests with the Ethics Commissioner for inspection. Since Dr. Leitch was immediately appointed to parliamentary secretary, her ability to engage in private employment would not have been appropriate (seeitem 7). She would not have been able to engage in contracts with the government for which she received benefit, without the Commissioner’s permission and only if the arrangement wouldn’t affect her parliamentary obligations (see items 16, 17, 18). MP Leitch was also required to disclose any income greater than $1,000, including its source, for the 12 months preceding election (see item 21).
May 25, 2011 — MP Leitch is appointed to parliamentary secretary by the Prime Minister.
July 16, 2011 — MP Leitch was due to submit her disclosure of private income and conflicts of interest to the Ethics Commissioner, in keeping with the 60 day mandate. She failed to do this within the required time and remained engaged with Dundee REIT as a parliamentary secretary.
August 15, 2011 — Dundee REIT acquires the Blackstone portfolio for $703 million (seepage 23). It was the largest portfolio ever purchased by a REIT in Canada and this transaction contained significant addresses in the heart of Toronto’s financial district (Bay Street).
2011 — Dundee REIT becomes landlord to the National Energy Board, numerous oil and resource companies, WSIB and Government Services for the Department of National Defence (see pages 20-26). Due to the nature of their tenants, Dundee’s liability for environmental protection and the cost of remediating contaminated sites is considered (seepage 27).
September 22, 2011 — Parliamentary Secretary Leitch resigns from her position at Dundee REIT. The company attributes this departure to her successful election nearly five months earlier. They note she attended four of five regularly scheduled meetings, meaning it’s probable that some of them occurred while she was a Member of Parliament — unless all the company’s business was conducted prior to May 2nd and the federal election. Leitch accepted remuneration for her service in 2011, in the form of $6,000 cash, 35,000 REIT units and 110,000 deferred REIT units, for a reported value of $151,600 (see April 11, 2012 –management information circular – within report, view page 20 – or see alternate source atpage 20, here).
September 26, 2011 — MP Leitch discloses her private interests to the Ethics Commissioner on the public registry. She reports a blind trust and income from the University of Toronto, University of Western and the Ministry of Health. She does not report the $21,000 plus $6,000 received in cash, for her previous twelve months at Dundee REIT, or the current term. She does not report her significant interest in the company’s contracts with government tenants or the oil and resource industries. In fact, there is no mention of Dundee REIT, even though this report is filed four days after resigning the private position and two months after the parliamentary due date.
September 29, 2011 — Three days later, MP Leitch makes a correction to her Ethics disclosure. This time she adds ownership of the Khristinn Kellie Leitch Medicine Professional Corporation, but still there is no mention of Dundee REIT.
2010 – 2011 — During the first year of Dr. Leitch’s tenure at Dundee REIT in 2010, the Government of Canada leased 333,187 square feet from the company (see page 21). Although she was elected to Parliament in May 2011, MP Leitch didn’t resign the position with Dundee until the end of September. During this period of dual representation, the Government of Canada became the company’s largest tenant, increasing their lease to 1,209,973 square feet in 2011 (see page 19). That’s an unprecedented increase in the company’s history of 263 percent, around the same time this parliamentary secretary was working for both entities. Since her departure from Dundee REIT, the federal government expanded their account to 1,658,129 square feet.
2012 — Dundee REIT releases an annual report that cites considerable political influence on their business ventures (see page 44).
As the current Minister of Labour, Kellie Leitch could impact the employment concerns of Dundee REIT. She will continue to receive income until her payment cycle completes in 2016, with incentive to meet their needs. There is no concern from government to abstain from voting in parliament, on matters that affect the company or any of the tenants. There is no mention of the environmental pressures to keep many of these clients profitable. The REIT units owned by the minister are more than security investments and there is nothing to indicate the Ethics Commissioner identifies these holdings as remuneration. Minister Leitch could choose between cash and securities, opting for the latter as a lion’s share of compensation. This relationship is further complicated by Dundee’s political interest in the outcome of government decisions from a number of different perspectives.
January 17, 2012 — Dundee completes their acquisition of the Whiterock portfolio, becoming a landlord to the Government of New Brunswick, Government of Nova Scotia, Quebec public health, Air Canada, provincial hydro organizations, the US Bank, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank, Molson, PEI Liquor Control Commission, Nova Scotia Liquor Corp and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (see last pages, B-1 to B-4).
February 14, 2013 — MP Leitch makes the last update to her ethics disclosure file. This time she adds publicly traded securities and an extra blind trust to the assets column. It’s likely these securities arise from her payment at Dundee REIT; but still there is no cash declared, no mention of remuneration and no mention of the company or its interests.
July 15, 2013 — MP Leitch is appointed to Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women.
Minister Leitch has been contacted for comment, but none has been forthcoming. The only question that remains is if the commissioner will evaluate these potential conflicts of interest, the primary address of MP Leitch on Election Day and the apparent failure to disclose earned income.
***February 13, 2014 UPDATE: It is now known that MP Leitch donated to the Rob Ford election campaign. In his financial documents, it lists her home address in the City of Toronto. FreeThePressCanada will not disclose the exact location, but the election documents are a matter of public record, stored online.
(This was previously published by CBC when I was an Occupy Toronto correspondent. All Occupy related articles have since been migrated to the archives section. A live link is no longer accessible and the original would need to be sought by request from the broadcaster.)
It’s a widespread, global phenomenon; the greatest revolution of our time – and yet no one can seem to put their finger on it. The participants haven’t summarized the problem in three weeks’ time and the media isn’t sure where to begin. So what’s this Occupy Movement all about?
On Saturday, October 15th, I will join with citizens from every nation in what is set to be a record breaking event, with the Toronto chapter. Representatives for 99% of the world’s population are intent to be heard, uniting their voices as one. This movement now spans every continent except Antarctica. But is this for teachers, pilots, unionists, the unemployed, middle class, impoverished… or is it a bunch of communists as some corners have suggested?
The first question that begs answering is who are the 99% and how did they get that way. They are you and me and everyone we’ve ever known. Unless you’re part of the 1%, you’re part of the 99 and it’s just that simple. The middle class has a tendency to view themselves separate from the woes of common man, but rest assured the consequences apply to them too – especially them, in fact.
Ultimately the occupation results from “trickle down economics”, to put a very complex set of circumstances in a single nutshell. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the gap has been growing between rich and poor for more than two decades. The disparity grew by the greatest proportion in Canada, where average incomes remain stagnant with levels of the 1970’s. After factoring inflation and debt, our value from wages has actually decreased 10%. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives paints a stark contrast for the top 1%, who happened to increase their value 219 times greater than any of us.
The score is -10 versus +219. This kind of disparity hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression and even then society’s wealthiest only controlled 8% of income growth, whereas they control an entire third today. In response to that historic calamity, governments were forced to respond with public policy that addressed fair taxation and wages. The goal was to redistribute prosperity even-handedly to prevent another collapse of the country. Presently however, they control as much as 42.5% of our wealth and government has insisted on lowering their taxes, again to levels not seen since the Depression. It’s apparent those lessons have been forgotten and astute historians are intent on getting the message out before lines under Salvation Army signs quadruple.
The theory to cut taxes for the 1% says this will result in trickle down benefits for the other 99. It’s supposed to create jobs and cause the market to remunerate us properly based on natural forces. It’s supported by both the IMF and OECD in the global view of financing. Except all data shows the benefactors continue to pocket the overwhelming profits and fail to invest in our workforce. They’reinvesting 40% less in their businesses than they were before the gift of major tax reductions. That means our so-called stimulus is filtered straight to their bank accounts and they’re taking even more from profit margins.
This is like asking us to ignore an elephant in the room. There have been 11,724 foreign takeovers of Canadian companies in the last 25 years and all our jobs are exported with them. It was thought through even distribution of global competition that we could replace these countless industries. But we’ve been forced to reckon with the inability to maintain a system of minimum wage, health or safety regulations and remain competitive with countries that don’t have them. We’ve already cut costs at a detriment to safety and felt the repercussions through Walkerton and Maple Leaf. The utilization of employment agencies and repeated attempts at union busting already serve to decrease our wages or any access we had to benefits. All in the name of shining us up, so we look our best for the 1%.
In another bid to win their favour, our governments are deregulating everything from banking to trade, takeovers, wheat, power, food and pharmaceuticals. Canada has been undergoing a personality makeover to morph into the US and it’s been a harsh battle to keep our social network balanced with the shift toward total capitalism.
The FIAT monetary system also bears mention. At the same time a gap defining rich from poor was allowed to establish, so too was this currency adopted. No longer was money gold-backed and instead it became traded on the stock market based on debt, wars, ability to repay, GDP, employment rates, investment and poverty. Since debt is now factored into dollar value, governments have found themselves printing money without the ability to repay it and as a result cause hyperinflation. The history of FIAT currency has ended in complete failure, without exception, since the beginning of money in 800 AD and bureaucracy only turns to this method of calculating wealth in times of trouble to artificially pad their value.
But the moment of truth has arrived and 99% can no longer afford to live within reason. We’re not making enough to afford inflation, depreciation of wages, or repayment of a deficit to cushion the elite. We can least afford the cuts to public services that are sacrificed to maintain this pretense of funny-money in our time of suffering.
Financial industry employment already outnumbers public sector jobs by 4% to 0.82% respectively. By the year 2023 they are predicted to control the majority of employment across Canada, should present trends continue. For every doctor, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, EI counselor, garbage collector and soldier – there are four stock brokers, insurance agents and bankers to steer our agendas and speak for our needs.
This is how pressure becomes placed on our governments to accommodate deregulation that increases prices, again in an effort to pad the 1% at our expense. They’re the folks who do the advising, they approve loans for governments in trouble and they fund a majority of major political parties. Talk about a conflict of interest! And yet the current Canadian federal government is making laws to end subsidy based on votes and force every party to embrace financing from the 1%. They also do what they can to prevent unions representing public interests from participating.
When that wasn’t enough, the deregulated markets took up the art of speculating. For those who don’t understand, speculation is the process of buying something (in large quantities) without the need or perhaps intention to sell it. This artificially manufactures shortages and drives up prices for the 99%. You’ve watched the result of this activity unfold at the gas pump increasingly throughout the years. We’re paying the same price per barrel of oil today, as we were when it cost 79 cents at the gas station. The price has only risen to $1.30/litre now, specifically because of speculation.
Since middle class incomes haven’t risen effectively for more than a quarter century and the cost of living has gone through the roof, we also lost our buying power – which is essential to keep a capitalist system functioning. We were thoroughly supported by manufacturing to meet our own demands, but can only need so many TVs, cars or new clothing patterns and our ability to purchase them on a whim has diminished.
So enters the business of speculation and commodities. We still must eat, drive and light up our homes. Again through deregulation and privatization, we’ve seen hydro, insurance and interest only climb and once those avenues were saturated they started tinkering with our food. The 1% is now gambling with our ability to eat, the same way they did with hedge funds and everything else that bubbled over.
Global markets are now speculating on corn, grains, sugar and water – the basis we need to make all else. Like clockwork it’s already doubled our prices at the grocery store, the same as they did with oil. The 1% has run out of things to increase their incomes beyond the 220% benchmark and they haven’t stopped at anything to maintain their status quo.
Further complicating matters is the logistical problem with 1% holding everyone’s wealth. We’re told they’re “too big to fail” and have to cover their tab for unbridled, vicious grabs at even more of the economy. They created the internet bubble, housing bubble, finance bubble, food bubble and oil bubble, but the system is set up so they continue to benefit no matter what they’ve done to the economy while you and I are forced to pay for it – WE, the 99%.
Last but not least this eats into our tax base, as they lobby governments for deeper cuts and fewer regulations still. The bulk of our services like health care, child care, education, pensions, EI and housing are on the chopping block because we can’t afford to provide public services while covering the debts of the rich. The 99%’s debts are forever owed to the 1% and the 1% shift their debts to the 99%. It might be brilliant if it wasn’t so blatant.
The result of these high stakes experiments is the disappearance of a middle class. It’s predicted for 2025 in Toronto and most cities around the world are similar. I don’t think there’s any coincidence between financial markets dominating the workforce by 2023 and the collapse of families on its heels 2 years later.
I hope this explains why we’re the 99% and everyone needs to support this movement, no matter which path they take to get there. Ultimately you’re not protesting the people who work on Bay Street, or the police for that matter (they’re the 99% too)! The financial district was chosen as a symbol of capitalism gone awry, without the courage of governments to control them in the best interests of their people. And make no mistake; while Canadian banking is more regulated than our counterparts, the entire act of trading, speculation, lending and borrowing is still done on the same global playing field, to the same rules and repercussions. The attitude of governments is how to become a bigger player in that game, as opposed to moderating the Billionaires Gone Wild before we’re manipulated to ruin.
The Occupy movement is not asking for “a” program. They’re not asking for “a” tax rebate. What they’re asking for is fundamental change within our system and readdressing priorities like our forefathers had to do in times of disparity past. This is no easy task on a global scale, but it’s precisely why we elect governments and it’s their job to enter an open discussion in favour of solutions. The gig is up and 99% of us are ready to take our balls home – or stare through windows in every financial district until they have the courage to notice.
This isn’t a fringe group of radicals or anyone holding a grudge from the G20. This is Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad; Suzy, Bobby and Rufus too. The most people ever documented in history will be joining together to begin a dialogue with their governments on Saturday. We can’t afford what amounts to trickle down economics to support the 1% anymore. Two thousand new entries were made on the critical housing list in Toronto just last month. 40% of our food bank users are now children. A full third of many communities are already dining there.
When situations were radically unfair and unmanageable in the 1960s, our families united and led the way for reluctant governments then too. Call them hippies, call them whatever you like. But I call them honest and courageous, agents of positive change. No one in history will argue they didn’t do something necessary that shaped our future for the better. The time has come for us to show the same care to our children.
***Added February 13, 2014 for educational value. Please see this fantastic animation that makes the economic situation crystal clear.
Was Rob Ford Talking About Drugs on the Danforth?
This weekend marks a staple celebration in Toronto, and the mayor of Canada’s largest city was there. Rob Ford attended Taste of the Danforth; not as a proper ambassador, but rather as a patron intent to enjoy the festivities intoxicated.
YouTube users have been flooding the site with video evidence of their concerns, prolonging the mayor’s woes with media inquiries into his suspected struggles with substance abuse. The Toronto Star as well as the Globe and Mail have addressed the recent spectacle, but what seems to be overlooked is a poignant entry that may indicate a reference to cocaine.
As Ford poses for pictures with festival goers on the street, he comes across a fellow who he repeatedly refers to as “brother”. Amid the intoxicated slurs, the mayor appears to ask if someone in the group is looking for “blow” and confirms that he has some (although what he claims to possess is unproven). See this clip at 0:17 (UPDATE: The Toronto Star enhanced this audio and found Rob Ford said “cologne” not “blow”)
(Video now removed from source, a copy can be found at the Toronto Star)
Blow is a nickname for cocaine, raising new suspicions about the infamous crack video first covered by Gawker. The fallout has claimed numerous members of the Ford political entourage, as they departed from City Hall and the world at large encouraged the mayor to seek help for drug addiction.
The newest “drug video” has been viewed nearly 18,000 times on some sites, as listeners attempt to discern a controversial quote attributed to Rob Ford,
“You want some blow? I’ll get you some blow. I have it, seriously!”
These words do appear to be uttered by Toronto’s mayor and whether Ford raised the issue of drugs with constituents or one of them inquired about his troubles, it should be noted that he didn’t condemn the conversation. Instead it was a jovial and carefree moment that substances can induce, when a user isn’t sober enough to realize the consequence of their words and actions.
Toronto is a world class city that deserves to be represented in kind and regardless of any smack talk about illicit drugs, there is still the issue of alcohol to contend with. Sarah Thomson previously accused the mayor of inappropriate behaviour while under the influence and despite his denials, the Danforth reinforces similar concerns.
Another resident posted video citing worries the mayor was drunk and had driven to the festival. In fairness to Ford he does say that he isn’t driving when pressed on the issue, but others reported him by the vehicle later in the evening.
Ford used his party time to seek the spotlight while posing for countless pictures. He knew all eyes were on him because he was smiling for the attention. He knows the cloud of suspicion that surrounds him is darkening the city’s reputation and causing dysfunction within city council. He didn’t use this opportunity to speak about responsible drinking or provide a good example, nor did he address the economic and cultural benefits that come from hosting events like Taste of the Danforth.
That was too much to ask from a man who is tasked with managing the concerns of millions and the only business Rob Ford wishes to discuss is where to find the next venue with mind-altering substances. In lieu of drumming up support for business and community, the mayor was concerned with partying. He promoted public intoxication over public safety and couldn’t see beyond enjoyment of self in what some would call a slurring stupor.
So the question begs to be asked, is this the face constituents want to represent their interests while attracting committed business to the metropolis? Is this how the mayor behaves when negotiating deals with corporate friends? Are these the actions of a leader or truly Conservatives ideals? Is Ford’s judgement sound or is it really shaded by addiction?
Let us not forget the mayor is a fishing buddy to our Prime Minister and a previous party to celebrate their pursuit of a Tory trifecta was attended by the most powerful CPC personalities.
They say we’re judged by the company we keep and to date the mayor is alleged to be friendly with convicted, stabbed and/or dead drug dealers. Stephen Harper considers Ford to be part of his inner circle and our country’s leader was surrounded by Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, Patrick Brazeau, and Mike Sona as well. All individuals are innocent until proven guilty, but can we name another Prime Minister who was dogged by so many illicit allegations in his entourage, or intoxicated partners who repeatedly star in questionable videos?
David Suzuki Empowers 8,000 Youth to Wake Up Canada!
The saying goes, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? According to 8,000 Ontario youths it surely does. You just wouldn’t know from media outside this Windsor community despite their resounding hollers and applause.
On April 25, 2013, renowned scientist Dr. David Suzuki attended the WFCU Centre to empower the crowd with his Wake Up Canada call. It’s a campaign organized by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) to support a day of action, encouraging kids to advocate for their environmental future through the very media that overlooked them this time around.
The event was broadcast province-wide with the help of TVCogeco, but still there was little response from adults or acknowledgement of this priceless opportunity for students across Ontario. Guest speakers came all the way from British Columbia to help unite Canadians and foster our understanding that we’re all in this together — that the legacy we leave our children really does matter, especially to them.
This jam-packed hockey stadium hosted fellow speakers in the Wake Up Canada entourage. They included a First Nations activist with Greenpeace, Melina Laboucan Massimo. She explained the damage of Alberta bitumen harvesting practices and oppression that caused her to leave the reserve she always knew as home.
Pictures of tailings ponds shocked the crowd on the overhead screen. Although most of the kids were high school students, some of them were a bit younger. Explaining the threat of chemical leachates contaminating drinking water wasn’t lost on any of them though.
Next was Sam Harrison, from Kids for Climate Action. His message was politically focused and it packed a memorable punch. He’s only a young fellow and talking politics to children might have seemed out of place, until he riled his peers with tremendous enthusiasm for what he came this far to say.
Six-million children will turn 18 in time to vote in the next federal election. If they all participate, these newly minted adults could be the difference between a minority or majority government of their own doing. He proudly sported a button saying “Future Climate Voter” and the idea of kids having a say in their destiny penetrated deeper than society gives them credit.
Some may see our children as playing in parks without a care in the world; but the truth is we uprooted the trees, paved over the grass and polluted the air so badly that they can’t breathe during summer. We replaced their time at parks with a reliance on air conditioning and slathering their bodies in sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. It’s not so much that kids are maturing faster in modern times, as we’re responsible for forcing them to grow up and solve the issues they’ve inherited.
Mr. Harrison’s message dovetailed with Dr. Suzuki’s description of the environmental challenges we’ve bestowed upon our children. He candidly offered,
“You see, my generation and those that followed, we partied like there was no tomorrow and forgot that there were consequences. We now see the results of living so extravagantly in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s. My generation left a legacy that you will have to deal with.”
He also mentioned that he was speaking with students as a concerned grandfather, after political bullying forced him to abdicate his own board of directors at the David Suzuki Foundation. He wasn’t shy to explain his challenges and this example of muzzling Canada’s scientists brought a rare moment of silence to the arena. Suzuki was genuine and heartfelt in his delivery. The effect was disarming and somehow more real than hearing these issues discussed by concerned pundits on television.
But the guests of honour wouldn’t let this gathering end on a sore note. The sobering moments were perhaps so powerful because the rest of the time was filled with laughter, hope, a ton of cheering and a positive plan for the future. On May 30, 2013, kids will share their Wake Up Canada messages to let us know how much they care and that we can all do something about it! It’s a national event, there’s enough time for schools to get involved and the only thing they need from us is a moment to truly listen.
Following the grand production a smaller group broke away to meet with Dr. Suzuki and the cast of traveling speakers, barely five minutes away in Tecumseh, Ontario. At the local museum they were joined by Cameron Fenton from the CYCC and Kevin Millsip from Next Up, known for youth leadership training.
The purpose of this detour was meant to inaugurate a very special project that was co-founded by the CAW’s Ken Lewenza Jr. (Full disclosure: Lewenza Jr. organized the larger event in Windsor and both were planned together. I’m connected to the latter through social justice initiatives.)
The Canvas Campus is a “street tank” of sorts, akin to a think tank but for ordinary people. Young, old, experts and beginners are welcomed to sign on. Its purpose is to offer free education and the Dean of Canvas Campus is the respected Len Wallace, a professor from the University of Windsor.
With blessings from David Suzuki and a collective pledge of $50,000 from the labour community, things were off to a good start. The Ontario Federation of Labour‘s Antoni Shelton stopped by for the celebration as well.
The Canvas Campus is situated in an Aboriginal Tipi adjacent to the museum and it was launched through consultations with First Nations elders. They cautiously lent Indigenous support and friends of the project attended for the inspiring grand opening. Native art adorns the interior of this culturally respected structure and teaching is shared in the spirit of Tecumseh. (See pictures below)
The Tipi is cherished by locals in the Windsor-Essex area, but the initiative isn’t limited by its physical location. Equipped with audio, video, Internet and Skype; the Canvas Campus began its first class by reaching out long distance.
Fifty-five students were present with Dr. Suzuki and the many guests who came to share their knowledge. A classroom from Peel Region joined them on a screen set in the centre and this is where the real magic happened, as youths were able to interact and ask questions.
Here’s one of the more poignant answers regarding the corporate agenda, the politics of environment and the power of children in this equation:
In case anyone thought our kids didn’t care about corporate responsibility, here’s another glimpse of the business minds and curiosity that propelled their teach-in forward:
In the end these grand ideas and global challenges circled back to our own communities. As Dr. Suzuki explained in his experience, it’s been too overwhelming for individuals to contemplate climate change on an international scale. Trying to solve the problems of entire industries or continents can become daunting in a hurry, but it doesn’t need to be that way if we focus on issues in our neighbourhoods.
The overarching theme that tied everything together is we can each do our small part and combined it makes a difference. Training ourselves to pick up a piece of garbage each day can equate to 33-million plastic water bottles or cardboard sandwich containers being recycled, also in a single day (Canada alone).
The Canvas Campus will continue to provide free learning opportunities and it hopes to grow through membership. Upcoming guests include quantum physicist Bill Baylis and while this educational street-tank began with scientific issues, experts from social justice fields will be added to the roster shortly.
If you wish to share your expertise or request a class in the physical and/or Skype audience, you’re invited to contact the Canvas Campus. Topic proposals will be accepted and they’ll do their best to provide an appropriate instructor to meet your needs.
This project is dedicated to uniting knowledge from all across the country, as well as fostering a sense of unity and strength at the local community level. Eventually there may be satellites and those interested in expansion should direct their inquiries to Ken Lewenza Jr. Finally, here’s a photo album to demonstrate what all the hype is about.