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/
Note from the author: Originally this report was set to explore the federal government’s hand in the anti abortion lobby. Surprisingly it grew to include an anti gay lobby, anti aboriginal lobby, anti prostitution lobby, anti human rights lobby, anti green energy lobby, anti tax lobby, among other issues.
These developments are so widespread, they had to be expressed in a timeline to alleviate confusion and allow the reader to reach their own conclusions. Numerous hyperlinks lead to the documents cited and supporting multimedia appears throughout.
While each of these topics deserves a dedicated headline, it is the collaborative nature and coordinated efforts of a particular network that is gaining the support of government. The issue that needs to be addressed is the sum of these parts that would normally be lost in a 24 hour news cycle if examined individually. With that said, the report patiently continues.
The 2014 March for Life began Thursday on Parliament Hill, marked by a handful of FEMEN activists being carted away by police. A topless convoy crashed the rally in support of women’s rights, but apparently their message was too avant-garde for the masses. It’s a story of disparity when anti-abortionists are permitted to flood the streets with photos of mutilated foetuses and the female body it comes from is censored by law enforcement, but this situation depicts the polarized views that dominate Canadian discourse.
Justin Trudeau came out the day before, to warn anti-abortionists they needn’t apply for candidacy in the federal Liberal party. Aside of political platforms and moral persuasion, this decision was in keeping with a Supreme Court precedent that determined a woman’s right to choose under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On the surface these sentiments appear to be shared by Prime Minister Harper, as he worked to quell anti-choice motions from Conservative backbenchers in his own party. The government claims to respect the legal status quo, but an investigation has led to serious revelations that challenge that outward appearance.
Several documents retrieved from Conservative MP’s and supporting sources will illuminate a contentious matter on the Hill. For years the media has been chasing rumours about the existence of a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC) and historically it’s been denied as an unofficial gathering of MP’s with similar preferences.
Everyone appreciates there is a heated difference of opinions as they relate to these human rights, but there is greater concern if this caucus is operating as an official branch of the Harper government, in defiance of the Charter and Supreme Court position. Consistent denials from members of parliament who engage with the anti-abortion group have helped to keep the issue at bay, but their words are incongruent with caucus literature and the many real actions they’ve taken.
In addition to the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus having an office on Parliament Hill, it became apparent they’re working with a private lobby that has used this access to infiltrate ministries and the PMO. The lobby itself describes the operation as “infiltrating the government” and success has been so great that they’ve replicated the process for provincial legislatures in parallel campaigns.
Some of their goals include abolishing social welfare programs for every walk of life. They include Native assimilation, censoring television and media, widespread privatization, controlling women, facilitating hate speech and rescinding human rights. A common response is disbelief that it could be anything more than ideas, but the following challenges that inclination toward apathy by outlining this government-supported lobby’s significant progress.
1989, October – The Campaign Life Coalition mentions sub organizations such as Tories for Life and Liberals for Life, referring to Canadian political parties. The movement is planning to infiltrate the Liberal leadership convention, to facilitate anti-abortion legislation by selecting representatives who are friendly to it.
1998, September – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus is re-established, according to the movement’s newspaper. The first co-chairs are MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister), MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, departed government in 2008 to become legal counsel for Campaign Life Coalition) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired in 2004 but continued to chair the Conservative election campaign in Atlantic Canada).
In the announcement, Campaign Life Coalition is described as the “political arm” of the movement and they vow to complete their work in the background “from now on”. Their services will include assisting MP’s draft private member bills to achieve anti-abortion legislation. Under Prime Minister Chrétien (Liberal majority government), they plan to lobby for less stringent treatment of private member bills and the first March for Life rally attracts “almost 50 MP’s and senators” to planning meetings on the Hill.
It should be noted that Jason Kenney made history by trying to suppress pro-choice activists in the university setting, pre-dating this caucus by more than a decade. The Walrus attributes his religiously motivated government aspirations to that defining experience with the American movement.
1999, May – The first anti-abortion March for Life is a two day rally on Parliament Hill. It’s hosted by the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC) and a press conference is held by co-chairs MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister), MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008, Campaign Life Coalition counsel) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004).
At this time Kenney made accusations against the Calgary Foothills hospital, that nurses claimed mothers were being induced prematurely and the babies were left to die. The hospital sought a court injunction to stop these reports and Kenney responded by compelling a police investigation.
When the hospital wasn’t found to commit infanticide as Kenney alleged, the technical arguments about abortion were re-asserted. This time the future minister of employment suggested the police failed to properly investigate and he may compel the Attorney General to engage in a province-wide probe. At issue is whether the foetus is technically alive in the surgery removal process.
After this press conference the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus held a luncheon for anti-abortion MP’s and activists to network. In attendance were the co-chairs as well as MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, CPC), MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, LPC, retired 2011), MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC, retired 2008), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Norman Doyle (St. John’s East, CPC, became senator in 2012), MP Mark Muise (West Nova, CPC, retired 2000), MP Reed Elley (Nanaimo-Cowichan, CPC, retired 2004), MP Janko Peric (Cambridge, LPC, retired 2004), MP Eric Lowther (Calgary Centre, CPC, retired 2000), MP John Nunziata (York South-Weston, LCP turned Independent, retired 2000), MP Pat O’Brien (London-Fanshawe, LPC turned Independent, retired 2005), MP John O’Reilly (Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes-Brock, LPC, retired 2004), two unnamed senators and additional members of parliament.
2001 – Social and Cultural Archives prepares the fonds for Campaign Life Coalition, itemizing all lobbying correspondence with schools, hospitals, community organizations and members of government. It covers the years 1967 to 1993 and notes communication with MP Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, CPC) since 1986, before he became the Justice Minister and current Defence Minister of Canada.
2001, May – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus holds a press conference in conjunction with the March for Life rally. They share their praise of co-organizer and lobbyist, Campaign Life Coalition. The group spoke briefly about the PPLC’s work and noted MP Garry Breitkreuz‘s (Yorkton-Melville, CPC) motion to redefine the meaning of a human being to include unborn children. The rest of the PPLC’s projects had to be kept private.
In attendance were MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004), MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008), MP Reed Elley (Nanaimo-Cowichan, CPC, retired 2004) and MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, LPC, retired 2011).
2001, May – The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus elects new co-chairs. MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004) remains the same; while MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) replaces MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008) and MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) replaces MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister).
Vellacott introduces a “conscience bill” that would allow health care workers to opt out of job duties related to abortions. Wayne is working on a bill to de-fund abortion and MP Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon-Humboldt, retired 2004) is re-introducing a similar de-funding bill from years ago.
Pankiw was also embroiled in controversy due to a public letter condemning the University of Saskatchewan for policies related to First Nations enrollment. He compared supporters of affirmative action to a modern day (reverse) Klu Klux Klan and he would later be convicted of drunk driving in 2014.
2001, December – In the Canadian Alliance leadership race between Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper (pre CPC), the future prime minister lodges a complaint against his challenger for the unethical procurement of memberships. Day was reprimanded for allowing the Campaign Life Coalition to sign up party members directly through their website and feed them into the political campaign without oversight from officials. This lent to distrust and Harper emerged the victor.
2003, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) commemorates the sixth annual March for Life in parliament. Anti-abortion activists complained about a media blackout hindering their event, but together they celebrated an increase of 1,000 participants, for a total of 3,500.
2003, December – Prime Minister Paul Martin succeeds Jean Chrétien as he steps down and the Liberals appoint a new leader from within. It remains a majority government.
2003, October – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) and MP Elsie Wayne (Saint John, CPC, retired 2004) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The letter denounces Bill C-13 and claims a majority of Canadians do not support embryonic stem cell research. They state that human babies must be killed for this scientific experiment and follow with similar accusations in the parliamentary press gallery, but it doesn’t appear the media covered this appearance. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)
2004, October – Prime Minister Paul Martin wins election, to a Liberal minority government.
2004, October – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. They advocate for the anti-abortion conference occurring in Winnipeg and the Silent No More campaign that focuses on women who later regretted having an abortion. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)
2004, December – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, that compels federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler (LPC) to intervene in the Saskatchewan NDP government. He cites a Supreme Court decision that allows marriage commissioners to deny gay unions, based on religious conscience. He goes on to say the highest court determined that gay marriage is not a human right and asks the federal government to ensure the provincial counterpart can’t force anyone to perform the ceremony. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery. A backup file can be found here.)
2005, February – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, accusing the Martin Liberal government of “discriminating” against Canadian parents for trying to establish a national daycare program. He states that 75 percent of families would rather have stay-at-home parents or relative babysitters, instead of government intervention that allows them to work. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery. A backup file can be found here.)
2005, February – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, in cross-party support of MP Paul Szabo‘s (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) Bill C-206. Szabo is a fellow member of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and this legislation is intended to regulate alcohol labelling with health and maternal warnings, similar to cigarettes today.
Vellacott explains that alcoholic beverages are consumed by 30-40 percent of pregnant women and this is the “leading cause of mental retardation in Canada”. According to this government presser, he says that 50 percent of inmates suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and alcohol related birth defects. Then, he attributes 50 percent of hospital emergencies, 65 percent of child abuse and 60 percent of homicides to alcohol abuse. These claims are not supported by cited studies and it’s unknown where these statistics originated. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives that has since disappeared and a backup file can be found here.)
2005, April – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, arguing against Bill C-38, The Civil Marriage Act, to recognize same sex unions. He warned this will result in ruinous lawsuits against his constituents and cause them to lose employment due to religious conscience. This legislation passed two months later by a vote of 158 to 133. (A copy was obtained from Vellacott’s archives that has since disappeared and a backup file can be found here.)
2005, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address for the PPLC. The topic is titled Violence No More and it calls on physicians to justify the reason for each patient’s abortion, to ensure the medical community isn’t supporting domestic violence by keeping it secret from the government.
A study coinciding with this year’s March for Life determined that repeated sexual abuse was responsible for many of these decisions and the caucus felt government should be alerted to support victims of molestation to deliver their babies instead of aborting.
Another conference was scheduled in the parliamentary press gallery, but again no record of media coverage could be located. (A copy of this letter was obtained from Vellacott’s archives and has disappeared from the original source since the date of discovery.)
The annual March for Life is a product of the Campaign Life Coalition. This non-profit is also a registered lobbyist (see here and here and here) and lobbying constitutes a vast majority of the group’s work and purpose.
2006, January – The Harper Conservatives are first elected to a minority government.
2006, March – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, accusing the Canadian Cancer Society of lying to the public on CBC. He cites a scientific report that proves birth control causes cancer and so do abortions. That report arises from an American agency that is staffed by known anti-abortion activists and was discredited as biased by the global cancer community, as well as the World Health Organization.
He goes on to educate about female breasts in pregnancy, but this MP is not a doctor and rather holds a Master of Divinity (to church minister). This government press release closes with another suggestion against the Canadian Cancer Society, that it may be failing to adopt this (discredited) study due to a monetary relationship with Big Pharma, that would rather see cancer prevail for profit and mutual benefit. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2006, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The information claims that breast cancer is caused by abortion. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)
2006, May – Sun Media National Bureau Chief, David Akin, reports members of parliament who attended this year’s March for Life on his personal blog. Supporting evidence cited in this piece has been removed from internet, but he describes “many Conservative MP’s” including Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister). Kenney was joined on stage by fellow Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus speakers, MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008), MP Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) and MP Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, LPC, retired 2008).
2007, May – A secret Conservative party handbook is leaked to reporter Don Martin at the National Post. It’s a 200 page document that includes instructions on how to bring government business to a halt, as well as how to select Conservative friendly witnesses to give committee input.
2007, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. In recognition of International Women’s Day, the caucus condemns sex-selective abortions and alleges a Canadian epidemic in six pages of footnotes, that compare this country to China.
The literature also confirms the PPLC will hold a conference in the parliamentary press gallery (Centre Block), to kick off the annual March for Life. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)
2007, May – The annual March for Life occurs in Ottawa, to Parliament Hill. The group’s anti-abortion banners are endorsed by the Government of Canada logo. This cannot be done without permission and it’s unknown if the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus approved this request or provided funding. It’s not possible to track their business or disbursements because the caucus operates in secret.
2007, May – Due to complaint from the public and a former MP, the Treasury Board Secretariat investigates the Campaign Life Coalition lobby, for use of the Canadian government logo (aka word mark) on anti-abortion signs. The original story by Macleans magazine has since been removed from internet.
Kady O’Malley’s story from the following year remains hosted and it confirms the 2007 debacle. She reports the government sent a cease and desist order, but March for Life organizers say they used the logo for five years without ruffling any feathers. Ultimately they agree to remove the symbol and blame the incident on volunteers.
2007, May – At the same March for Life event in Ottawa, a number of officials attend as the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. They include MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, CPC, Independent since 2013 due to Elections Canada charges), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Bev Shipley (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, CPC), MP Jeff Watson(Essex, CPC), MP Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, CPC), MP Dave Anderson (Cypress Hills-Grasslands, CPC), MP Mark Warawa (Langley, CPC), MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC), MP Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC), MP Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC, retired 2008), MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga, CPC), MP Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, LPC, retired 2011) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008).
While some of these legislators decline to speak, Steckle addresses his private member Bill C-338, to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks gestation. The footage pans to Dr. Morgentaler’s medical office, where he and staff faced firebombs and attempted murder for their willingness to provide abortions in the past.
2007, May – MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, CPC, now Independent) was Prime Minister Harper’s parliamentary secretary when he gave this speech at the March for Life, on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2007, August – The Abortion Rights Coalition produces a list of anti-choice members of parliament.
2007, October – MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC) introduces private member Bill C-484. It’s titled the Unborn Victims of Crime Act and would eventually be defeated.
2008, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008) issue a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release, on letterhead that identifies the Justice Building and House of Commons as the official mailing address. The information explains the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a priest and anti-abortion activist (representative of Silent No More).
This year she will attend the March for Life in Ottawa with caucus MP’s and address the parliamentary press gallery to kick off events. Again there is no record of media coverage, despite the government hosting such a high profile figure who is also a Republican employed by a Conservative think-tank. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)
2008, May – Although the Treasury Board Secretariat claimed to issue a cease and desist order, the Canadian government logo re-appeared on anti-abortion signs. This time they explained it was due to the printer’s oversight and the government was considering if it would take action in response to complaints.
2008, May – Ezra Levant posts a blog that unabashedly slams the Human Rights Commission. The piece accuses investigators of obtaining “illegal warrants” and downright “hacking” the targets of complaint instead of following proper legal procedure.
It reveals an email from then Justice Minister Rob Nicholson (Niagara Falls, CPC, became Defence Minister in 2013) in support of a motion from MP Rick Dyskstra (St. Catharines, CPC), to have the commission reviewed. MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Minister of Employment) is also feted for “stickhandling” the matter and resolving that it be heard by the government’s justice committee.
2008, October – The Harper Conservatives are re-elected to a second minority government, with a slight increase improving upon the first.
2008, December – MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) is newly elected to co-chair the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, replacing MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, LPC, retired 2008). Both chairs are now Conservative MP’s.
2009, March – An event is organized on Parliament Hill for MP’s and senators by ARPA Canada (Association for Reformed Political Action). The organization is a registered lobbyist and the evening was co-sponsored by MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC).
Legislators were greeted by an expert in the Old Testament (Old Testament aka “eye for an eye”, New Testament aka “turn the other cheek”), Dr. Cornelis Van Dam. His speech was titled God and Government: A Biblical Perspective on the Role of the State (full audio available here and text available here).
The ARPA lobby reports that fifteen MP’s from Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties attended, as well as one senator and staff for MP’s that weren’t available. Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre (TWU) was also present and according to another priest, the event was held in an NDP committee room in the West Block.
After a lecture defining God’s ultimate sovereignty over government, the church and lobby representatives say they were encouraged by MP’s to have ‘their people’ search for jobs within legislative offices.
2009, May – MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) issues a press release on letterhead that identifies the West Block in the House of Commons as the new Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus mailing address. This media advisory argues for freedom of speech on behalf of anti-abortionists and informs the PPLC will appear in the government’s press gallery the following day to elaborate.
A common complaint from these activists is they cannot protest within the “bubble zone” surrounding medical clinics to harass abortion patients as they come and go. Some have faced repeated criminal charges for purposely breaking this rule. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives.)
2009, May – Corresponding with the item above, MP’s in the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus were joined by students in the parliamentary press gallery. This time they were filmed as an act of government led by PPLC Chair, MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC), but all major media outlets failed to cover the event.
This clip is telling from both perspectives, in that the caucus succeeded in making the anti-abortion plight become government business and the press continues a near-blackout, so their actions aren’t seen by the public. To schedule time in the government press gallery it must be booked with the bureau chiefs who cover it, so every major outlet was aware but simply declined to attend. Of the reporters who did show, no hard questions were asked; but the caucus did reveal there may be members from the NDP and other parties on the Hill.
A 2007 article about the PPLC was written by Kady O’Malley and published by Macleans magazine. It was titled Lust for Life, but has since disappeared from the internet. (A backup copy can be found here.) This is the only known video of the caucus’ government pressers and it does a good job of speaking for itself in lieu.
2009, May – Signs at this year’s March for Life don’t bear the Canadian government logo. The word “National” replaced “Canada”, but the lobby continued to use the identical font with flag placement, mimicking the trademark instead of replicating.
2009, December – The Hill Times publishes a story about the Tory Anti-Abortion Caucus Committee. MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) writes a letter to correct (page 8). He informs it’s the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and it’s a “multi-party caucus of parliamentarians”, “open to MP’s of the House and the Senate”. He identifies MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) as the new caucus chair and mentions a former Liberal, but will not divulge the roster of names because it’s a member’s choice to go public or continue in secret.
2010, March – Campaign Life Coalition is accused of associating with groups that employ violence to achieve the anti-abortion agenda, by the Canadian Bishop’s Conference. In a 10 page report, the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace alleges the lobby is a “militant anti-abortion group” that has targeted some of their priests with “slanderous attack campaigns”, for the appearance of supporting a woman’s right to choose. These bishops say the lobby “continuously misrepresents facts and distorts reality to serve their purpose,” but the lobby proudly defends these actions. It has not admitted the use of violence however.
2010, April – MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) proposes Bill C-510. It’s An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, former CPC, now Independent) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Kelly Block (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Royal Galipeau (Ottawa-Orleans, CPC, former Deputy Speaker) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Gurbax Singh Malhi (Bramalea-Gore-Malton, LPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Mark Warawa (Langley, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
2010, May – At the annual March for Life rally, MP Brad Trost(Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) addresses the crowd with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. He celebrates their success in convincing government to cancel foreign aid to the poorest countries that provide abortions. Even the ones with an epidemic of molested child brides, just as the lobbies requested.
EasyMail is created so lobby supporters can assist the group with email campaigns to MP’s and senators. They publish policy reports to advise the government and have fellow activists forward copies to elected officials “in a matter of seconds”, without needing to add personal comments.
In total, ARPA provides 78 different form letters with their own policy attachments to affect federal laws and provincial matters in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Some of these topics include kindergarten, sex education, gender identity, human rights, green energy, anti-bullying, WSIB, abortion funding, prostitution, euthanasia, Aboriginal rights, income splitting, pensions, public service and physical discipline. (This is only a sample and some topics will be discussed in detail as the investigation progresses.)
2010, September – MP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC) films a video campaign on behalf of lobbyist ARPA Canada. Together they push a second motion for a parliamentary committee to assess the Human Rights Commission for alleged abuse of Section 13. One infamous Conservative dubbed this tribunal the “thought crime” police when it comes to hate speech. Others in the anti-abortion movement feel the interpretation of human rights stifles their ability to express displeasure at women entering medical clinics and against gay sexuality.
Of interest, the executive director and head lobbyist at ARPA is Mark Penninga. He interned with MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) as the latter was chairing the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. In a book by Marci McDonald, the author notes that Penninga graduated from Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre. This is the same TWU that participated in private parliament events hosted by the lobbyist. They’re also at the centre of a current controversy, for trying to create a religious law school that can deny admission to gay students.
Another student, Jared Kuehl, went straight to work in Prime Minister Harper‘s office in the issues management division (leaving in 2013 to become head of government relations for Shell). Thirty more Trinity Western graduates would staff the Harper government, whether working for other MP’s or through permanent positions in policy departments.
2010, November – ARPA Canada takes their anti human rights project across the country. Mimicking the true government tribunal, they promote a website titled HumanRightsCommissions.ca, with the goal of abolishing them altogether.
The website publishes quotes from MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC), MP Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC), MP Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC), MP James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, CPC) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) that appear to support the endeavour.
The ARPA advertisement provided by MP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC) is featured on the site’s multimedia page, in addition to clips from Ezra Levant and Rex Murphy. The launch of this project is also covered by the Campaign Life Coalition news site, Sun Media and AM980 (audio). All promote the material as a “grassroots” movement called Stand Up For Freedom Canada without mentioning the ARPA lobby whatsoever.
The public relations campaign to abolish human rights tribunals is touted in defence of Macleans magazine, Ezra Levant and those accused of hate speech against gays. Going by this grassroots pseudonym, ARPA explains the commission has been overtaken and manipulated by “leftist” activists to “target Conservative citizens” and organizations. They encourage the public to pressure politicians for swifter action through the EasyMail service, as an investigation was initiated by parliament and they needed to convince the government there was strong public will behind this ARPA concern.
2010, December – ARPA Canada produces a video to incite political pressure for the second reading of Bill C-510 in parliament. The organization is clearly a registered lobbyist,
with a Christian anti-abortion mandate, but the director asserts they’re a non-profit entity when it presents a problem for Tories in the Ontario election (federal and provincial campaigns intertwining). At least one funeral home accepts memorial donations in the name of ARPA as a charity as well.
This ARPA campaign is then hosted by the national president of Campaign Life Coalition – a sister registered lobby. Both supported MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) as Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, but the legislation they promoted was defeated by a vote of 178 to 97.
2011, March – Escalating from last year, a Quebec Catholic priest sues the Campaign Life Coalition news service. Media describes the battle as pitting “two extremes of Canadian Catholicism against each other”. Father Raymond Gravel was also an MP for the Bloc Quebecois in the riding of Repentigny and he was open about his younger years as a sex trade worker in Montreal’s Gay Village. It’s believed this history and open-mindedness attracted numerous articles against him.
One campaign by the anti-abortion lobby resulted from Gravel’s lack of support for a PPLC member’s bill. MP Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park, CPC) proposed C-484 to make it a separate crime when a baby is harmed in the womb, in addition to the mother who is already protected by law. When the modern priest stood opposed, the Campaign Life Coalition began publishing his contact details, as well as associates and superiors within the Church.
As a result of this relentless publicity, Gravel reports he was warned by the Vatican that he would be de-frocked if he bothered to seek re-election. At the same time the anti-abortion lobby proudly took credit and praised supporters for ousting a member of parliament. (All claims remain alleged as the case is unsettled and Gravel retired from politics.)
2011, April – Prime Minister Harper announces he will create a religious freedom office if re-elected.
2011, May – The Harper Conservatives are re-elected, this time to a majority government.
2011, May – Campaign Life Coalition distributes a wire announcement. They advise media of their presentation in the government press gallery to kick off the March for Life (Centre Block), but the lobby is speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and MP’s who are eligible to schedule the government’s press events.
2011, May – At least four MP’s speak on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, at the annual March for Life rally that occurs under their sponsorship.
2011, July – Lobbyist ARPA Canada partners with the Holland Shopping Centre in British Columbia, to offer $500 in prizes for letters to the editor in mainstream media. They note their success with a similar drive in Alberta regarding the repeal of human rights and hope to inspire additional editorials in response to the new campaign. In this way they won’t appear to come from the lobby and are made to look independent.
2011, August – Lobbyist ARPA Canada consults on the federal budget. The report is accepted by the House of Commons standing committee and recommendations include de-fuding and disbanding the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal.
ARPA calls for a 90 percent reduction to arts funding for a few noteworthy reasons. The lobbyist sees no point in the National Film Board and they take special offense to Telefilm for objectionable content. In this government report they complain of “lewd and crude” material, like a “poo testament” with an image of Jesus ascending to Heaven as a piece of feces. The album was titled “Holy Sh*t” but they failed to see the humour in it. In fact, they say every Canadian is mortified and therefore art should not be encouraged by the government.
They also complain of a movie titled “Year of the Carnivore” and suggest the main character engaged in sexual activity in a room full of children. ARPA points out that child pornography is a criminal offense imply the actor should be charged, but a review from the Globe and Mail didn’t get anyone’s libidos or fists pumping.
The last concern noted is producing a balanced budget by reducing the role of government. ARPA believes citizens relinquish their personal responsibilities when they look for handouts like childcare and forms of social support. They believe business and charities can handle these needs more efficiently and ask the government to defer. They also promote income splitting as a fairer way to treat families that want to keep one parent at home.
2011, September – MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) proposes private member Bill C-304, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act; to repeal Section 13 entirely and any mandate over hate speech. As noted by Slaw legal magazine, there was little if any debate from opposition parties. The assessment goes on to describe the consequence of allowing racism and bullying to flourish online. Although the bill was promoted as a vehicle for freedom of speech, there are countless examples of white supremacists, anti-abortionists and anti-gay activists celebrating the move. MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) was also green-lighted by the Campaign Life Coalition as being onside with the lobby’s agenda.
2011, September – Lobbyist ARPA Canada publishes a policy report on prostitution, calling for the federal government to enact legislation that criminalizes johns, “rather than risk the Supreme Court creating another legal vacuum” due to the case that’s being argued from Ontario.
Ultimately they wish to see prostitution eradicated, but they’re willing to classify the female service provider as a victim of violence if the male is still incarcerated for a crime. ARPA bases this position on the writings of Dr. Melissa Farley, who was arrested 13 times in 9 different states as a prolific, American, anti-prostitution activist. She also led a “Rampage” campaign to destroy copies of Penthouse and Hustler in book stores.
ARPA asks followers for help to lobby the government in another EasyMail campaign, but this time they’ve created three different form letters so MP’s don’t receive “ten that look identical”. Another branch of ARPA operates in Tasmania and they lobbied that justice department for similar intervention, accusing the government of becoming a pimp if they sought to decriminalize.
2011, October – Campaign Life Coalition distributes a press release through the wire service. It announces a protest at the Ontario legislature to de-fund abortions; the first of its kind in the province. In this literature the lobby claims that 60 percent of Ontarians “oppose the status quo of paying for all abortions” and this is based on an Abacus poll of 1,015 people, from an online panel in which Roman Catholics and Conservative voters account for the majority of respondents (Ontario has a Liberal government). Abacus is also the house pollster for Sun News and Sun Media.
After examining the data it might be said that claims were misleading, in that 60 percent didn’t wish to de-fund all abortions and the responses supported health coverage in emergency procedures, even when a panelist appeared to be opposed. Only 10 percent opposed abortion completely. Furthermore, Bloomberg Businessweek has written about the accuracy of online polling and there is still an issue of reliability due to sampling pools of biased “enthusiasts”.
2011, October – Registered lobbyist ARPA Canada is invited by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (Ottawa West-Nepean, CPC) to consult on the establishment of a religious freedom office. In their response, ARPA describes itself as a representative of the Reformed Church community. The Reformed Church is commonly referred to as Calvinism, that believes all humans are depraved but some are elected as righteous, regardless of their actions and good deeds. It also believes in theocracy (a God based government) and the faith accomplished this feat in Geneva, Switzerland, circa 1500’s.
- Ignore “political correctness” when it comes to monitoring and assistance. They state that Christians constitute 75 percent of the world’s persecuted and therefore 75 percent of resources should be dedicated that faith.
- Assist “emerging democracies” with implementation of religious freedom.
- Continuous monitoring of countries where Canada has contributed military support “of any magnitude or length”. This includes Libya and Afghanistan.
- Escalate sanctions, withhold foreign aid and pursue military intervention “should the circumstances warrant”. (It’s unknown how adhering to this philosophy would impact the situation between Israel and Palestine.)
2012, January – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, berating CTV for an investigative report on pregnancy crisis centres. He makes allegations against the broadcaster that cite ethical impropriety, because they didn’t report similarly undercover from medical clinics that provide legal abortions to find wrongdoing.
He continues to intimidate the interviewed sources with comments about their charity designation, officially as a member of parliament. He states it is his duty, but one might question if Vellacott penned the complaint independently, in light of three pages of footnotes that suggest additional legal intimidation and the lobby’s prior statements that indicate they would assist. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2012, February – ARPA Canada publishes a report that determines environmentalism is a religion and proceeds to explain the doctrine. The lobby labels David Suzuki its “High Priest” and lambasts the CBC for stories about climate change “as if it is an objective science beyond repute” and not a religious doctrine that’s really used to program children in the school system.
ARPA contrasts this environmental religion with true Christianity and determines that God made man the stewards of His earth, therefore we must trust man’s judgement because to question human actions would be equivalent to questioning God. This assertion is supported by an EasyMail campaign that promotes a Fraser Institute report against green energy and calls for a moratorium against wind and solar production in Ontario.
2012, February – MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) introduces Motion 312, to determine the definition of a human being and when life begins in the womb. It causes much controversy and is criticized as a backdoor to re-open the abortion debate.
2012, February – MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) appears in a multimedia ad for lobbyist ARPA Canada and together they produce material to advance Motion 312. This is the second ARPA video that is hosted by the national president of the Campaign Life Coalition lobby, Jim Hughes.
2012, March – Campaign Life Coalition shares a press release with the wire service. They create a website to assist MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) with advancing Motion 312.
2012, May – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, pressuring the federal government to include abortions under the popular anti-bullying campaign. He cites an Oregon doctor who claims the foetus is able to feel the pain of being attacked. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2012, May – The annual March for Life rally occurs on Parliament Hill. At least five MP’s spoke on this video, as well as students from Catholic schools who were covered for the trip by their boards of education. A pro-life mass coincides with the march and the Church says, “they need to challenge the false idea that abortion is a private, personal decision.”
The director of Campaign Life Coalition who worked with the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus to advance Bill C-510 and Motion 312 also appears on the clip. He explains his group is there to see that MP’s who stand in the way of the anti-abortion movement are “removed from office in the next election”.
A second video arising from this event captures at least twelve MP’s addressing the crowd on behalf of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. A new addition to the public face of this group is MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC).
2012, June – Campaign Life Coalition begins community presentations against Ontario Bill 13, the Toronto District School Board and Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, for adopting gay-straight alliances and “homosexualizing school curriculum”. Bill 13 was anti-bullying legislation and it passed despite the lobby’s objections.
A second video from the same event berates a handful of gay, Liberal and NDP members of provincial parliament.
2012, August – The ARPA lobby congratulates supporters for creating a stir in parliament. A petition campaign to support Motion 312 was devised (regarding the definition of a human being) and the group bombarded MP’s with numerous, separate petitions to be read in the House. Many only contained 25 signatures, but MP’s from every party stood to read them into Hansard.
Participating doesn’t indicate support, but the majority of MP’s didn’t present them. Others rose multiple times to address every paper individually and this includes shadow cabinet members from opposition parties. In all, these MP’s might have represented petitions more times than signatures appeared on each document.
2012, September – MP Stephen Woodworth’s (Kitchener Centre, CPC) Motion 312 is defeated. However, there is much ado in the media resulting from Conservative cabinet ministers who voted in favour. They include MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast), MP Peter Van Loan (York-Simcoe), MP Julian Fantino (Vaughan), MP Gerry Ritz (Battlefords-Lloydminster), MP Gail Shea (Egmont), MP Ed Fast (Abbotsford), MP Peter Penashue (Labrador, defeated 2013), MP Diane Ablonczy (Calgary-Nose Hill), MP Alice Wong (Richmond) and MP Rona Ambrose (Edmonton-Spruce Grove).
Ambrose took the most heat for siding with anti-abortionists as Minister for the Status of Women. But these Conservatives were joined by a few Liberals who include MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood), MP Lawrence McAulay (Cardigan), MP Kevin Lamoureaux (Winnipeg North) and MP Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt). Visit here to see the 91 MP’s who supported the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus position.
2012, October – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) nominates two anti-abortion activists for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. One of them was in jail for violating laws that are supposed to protect women who are entering abortion/medical clinics. Regardless, both are selected by the Harper government to receive the award for this “civil disobedience” that was deemed criminal.
Joseph Overton was an American Tea Party Libertarian from Michigan. He established the Mackinaw think-tank that pushes for charter schools, right-to-work legislation, low tax – no government, extreme right-wing policies. This is accomplished by use of the Overton Window, that in practical summary may resemble this:
Begin by asking for the unfathomable. It gains attention and infects the public dialogue. With a long term vision, gradually pull back from the extreme by increments and make the proposals a little more bearable. With each proposal, it keeps the dialogue going and entrenches the language in popular society. It then becomes an issue for politicians as the consistent language in media and their communities. Now the unthinkable gains some amount of consideration. By repeating this process it can shift public perception and bring them to the negotiating table.
An example from your children might also resemble this:
Mom says no snacks before dinner and Joe says, “But I want a whole cake!” Mom responds with a scowl so Joe compromises, “Well how about just one piece?” Mom still denies, but she tilts her head to the side and Joe can see he gained at least one iota of sympathy. Eventually the child asks for a “tiny cookie” and swears he’ll starve to death without something to put in his belly. Mom raises her eyebrow and agrees in frustration, because at least it’s only a small treat. But Joe has learned how to shift his mother’s window of what’s considered reasonable and now he can push for a treat before dinner every night. Once he gets the cookie, he can also push for larger snacks in the future.
This ARPA paper describes the strategic purpose of tabling consecutive private member bills, in an effort to shift perception about abortion and what the public considers normal (within the “window” of being acceptable). This piece also documents the group’s achievements, in shifting government attitudes and controlling the mainstream media.
2012, October – Lobbyist ARPA Canada is heard by the BC Finance Committee, in advance of the 2013 budget. They encourage the government to withdraw from early learning education programs. They request mandatory repayment of debt and phasing out the BC Human Rights Tribunal. They also implore legislators to de-fund abortion, so patients who can afford private surgical costs are the only ones who would have access to this medical care.
2012, October – Three Ontario Progressive Conservatives sponsor a Campaign Life Coalition press conference, to de-fund abortions through the public health care system. MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington), MPP John O’Toole (Durham) and MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Essex) didn’t attend the event despite hosting it. Liberal Education Minister Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, OLP, retired 2013) was described by Sun Media as “self righteous” for accusing the Tories of trying to re-open the abortion debate.
2012, October – The president of Campaign Life Coalition writes an editorial about the need to stack parliament and senate with anti-abortion supporters, if they’re to pass legislation the lobby group is seeking. He mentions the Harper government’s opportunity to appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court of Canada, in an effort to help the process along judicially. He closes by noting an interesting tidbit about the group’s history.
Campaign Life Coalition takes credit for establishing the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus back in 1986, when it was often chaired by Senator Stanley Haidasz (Liberal, deceased 2009).
2012, October – ARPA congratulates supporters for helping to ensure the Alberta Education Act would not be subject to compliance with the Alberta Human Rights Act. The lobbyist claims parental freedom is at stake and encourages additional support for the overall human rights campaign, to abolish these laws and tribunals completely.
2012, November – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, promoting an email from a communications rep with the Toronto Right to Life Association. His office is used as a media centre on behalf of the anti-abortion movement and together they condemn MP Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, LPC, retired 2013, former leader of the Liberal party) for defending the Supreme Court and his concern that awarding criminals with the Diamond Jubilee Medal may incite more unlawfulness. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2012 November – Macleans publishes an article about the death of an infant that was heard by the Supreme Court. This frames a discussion about renewed action from members of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and adapting the lobby’s language to be more acceptable to the public.
MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) follows by vowing there will be repeated attempts at anti-abortion legislation that “might be every six months”, until they accomplish the caucus mandate. ARPA is also interviewed to make the human rights argument, but a hardline on Muslim immigration is also noted. Finally, MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC) contributes his sympathy and opines the anti-abortion issue is “a vote mover” that gets people to the polls.
2012, December – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, praising an anti-abortion blogger for releasing heath statistics the lobby interpreted to support a homicide allegation in relation to abortions. These conclusions are cited as a reason to compel the RCMP and the matter is re-ignited under the title of “infanticide”, nearly identical to the move by MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC, now Employment Minister) in 1999. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2012, December – Campaign Life Coalition attempts to interfere in the federal Liberal leadership race. The lobbyist pressures a Catholic high school in Sudbury, Ontario to cancel an appearance and communication with MP Justin Trudeau (Papineau, LPC), because he doesn’t represent anti-gay and anti-abortion ideals. The say, “The Board may be inviting spiritual harm to children,” by allowing Trudeau near youngsters in a widespread press release. If the Board doesn’t back down, the school will face embarrassing demonstrations.
2012, December – ARPA Canada publishes a report on their 2012 lobbying successes. It’s described as manipulation of the Overton Window to shift the public psychology and some of these advancements include favourable attention from Macleans magazine. After their consultation regarding Native affairs (explained in detail at 2013 Sidebar), ARPA found the government listened and began to legislate private property on reserves. They convinced the CBC to cancel racy content after a campaign of complaints. They obtained private group meetings with multiple MP’s and the Ontario Human Rights Commission asked for ARPA to present a legal opinion.
In the same communiqué, ARPA receives thanks from MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC), for helping to pass Bill C-304. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was officially repealed and would no longer apply to hate speech.
In a second entry ARPA explains how MP Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC) approached them to co-sponsor events between these politicians and the lobby. Storseth also contributed to an ARPA video that is ultimately used to solicit donations.
2013, January – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC), MP Leon Benoit (Vegreville, CPC) and MP Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga East-Streetsville, CPC) write the RCMP commissioner on House of Commons letterhead, requesting a homicide investigation for each abortion where the foetus might have exited a female’s body (after 19 weeks) without being technically dead first. (A copy can still be found in Benoit’s archives, in addition to here.)
2013, February – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, chastising the Canadian Press and CBC for reporting the story above. He clarifies his position and re-asserts the call for homicide investigations, if the foetus is more than 19 weeks and not yet technically dead in the removal process. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2013, February – Campaign Life Coalition publishes a press release celebrating the “demotion” of Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, OLP, retired 2013). They claim it was a response to her sex-ed classes being forced on Catholic school boards, but in reality the minister was switched to a different portfolio under the new premier. The lobby goes on to warn the next Minister of EducationLiz Sandals (Guelph, OLP), not to meddle with religious curriculum and a similar rebuke of outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South, OLP, retired 2013) was expressed in a scathing press release.
2013, February – The Office of Religious Freedom is established by the Harper government. It will promote religion as a “Canadian foreign policy priority”.
2013, February – The Whatcott decision is rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada and it upholds key parts of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, as it applies to hate speech. Whatcott is a religious anti-gay activist who distributed disturbing flyers with strong language that resulted in complaint.
Although ARPA applied for intervener status, it wasn’t granted. Instead legal counsel for the lobby contributed video analysis of the decision. In it they suggest the presiding Supreme Court Justices should be criminally charged for case exhibits they included in the reasons. ARPA goes on to justify hate speech as a fundamental need for Christians to critique others’ sexual lifestyles and warns they will need to lobby provincial governments for new laws to protect these rights.
2013, March – Campaign Life Coalition begins a crusade against Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity). This legislation to prevent discrimination and violence against those with alternative gender identities is still before the senate, awaiting Royal Assent.
As such, the lobby is focusing on senators in an effort to have the bill denied and they’re targeting Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) with a letter writing campaign, encouraging him to use his authority over the Tory caucus.
2013, March – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, regarding his Motion 408 to condemn sex-selective abortions. He bases the reason on a CBC investigation, after attempting to discredit the broadcaster a month before. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2013, March – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) issues a press release on House of Commons letterhead, on behalf of a private research group from Chile that determined abortion is violence against women. While the report cites Chile as having a low maternal death rate they attribute to the government’s anti-abortion stance, it fails to mention that Canada has less than half the deaths per 100,000 women. Regardless, it’s promoted to media as a member of parliament. (A copy can still be found in Vellacott’s archives, in addition to here.)
2013, March – ARPA Canada attends the Manning Institute Networking Conference as an exhibitor, promoting itself with right-wing political celebrities such as Preston Manning, Tea Party founder, Ron Paul, and Conservative party legal counsel, Guy Giorno (PM Harper’s former chief of staff).
2013, March – Campaign Life Coalition releases a newsletter that details a new endeavour to host De-fund Abortion rallies at the Ontario legislature. In March they attended with words of support from MPP Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering, OLP), as he accepted their petitions to cancel this health care funding. Similar encouragement was sent by a federal counterpart, MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, CPC) from Saskatchewan.
2013, April – Mark Penninga (former Vellacott intern, TWU grad, turned exec director of ARPA) publishes an update on the lobby’s use of the Overton Window. He cites MP Mark Warawa‘s (Langley, CPC) motions M-312 and M-408 and how they garnered massive media attention with public sympathy when the MP was muzzled.
From the NDP to Margaret Wente, this lobby claims to have won their support, if not in a backhanded way. As a result of this fiasco the Liberals filed a motion that would allow backbenchers to speak freely and Penninga describes this as playing into their hands. MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC) then thanks the PMO in Question Period, for drawing greater attention to their cause. Global News reports that he’s speaking from an informal pro-life caucus.
2013, April – ARPA submits a policy paper to the federal government in support of corporal punishment for children. It’s in response to Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette‘s (Liberal) Bill S-204, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (protection of children).
This time the lobby claims that hitting kids is beneficial, akin to the benefits of martial arts. They claim all science proving a negative effect is wrong and they assert contrary reports to debunk. However, new “science” cited by the lobby arises from anti-abortion activists and their letters to the editor. As in previous examples, when letters submitted by fellow lobbyists are published by a newspaper, they become cited as fact in subsequent policy papers and ARPA declines to mention this conflict.
The report also accuses the government of playing God by assuming any rules over children. They state that parents are accountable to God directly and this does not require “Orwellian” oversight from bureaucrats. The lobby then encourages followers to use their EasyMail system, to overwhelm MP’s and senators with a copy of the same report.
2013, April – The Canadian Catholic News applauds Speaker of the House, Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, CPC), for his ruling on MP Mark Warawa‘s (Langley, CPC) complaint that parliamentary privilege was abused when the whip quashed his statement about an anti-abortion motion. It opened the door to getting anti-choice opinions debated on the floor and Scheer was previously noted as being supportive of the PPLC cause.
2013, May – At the annual March for Life rally on Parliament Hill, MP Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC) tells the crowd they must get involved in politics and stack nomination meetings to select anti-abortion candidates. Although the Canadian Press produced this story, very few outlets carried it. There was little coverage this year except for the lobbyist news service that estimates there were 25,000 in attendance and a CBC piece explaining how they’ve re-framed the movement as a human rights issue that discriminates against the foetus by giving women a choice.
At a prayer meeting before the march, a Baptist church compared abortion to the Holocaust and quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in support of their plight (but the quote is blatantly taken out of context). They also note the movement had been struggling for a decade, but it gathered momentum in the past six years (coinciding with repeat bills from PPLC members in the Harper government). The main commentary in this Campaign Life article is also provided by legal counsel for the sister lobby, ARPA.
In related news, the PMO refused to comment or commemorate the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler. That space was filled by MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) who asserted that victims of sexual assault are abused when their tormentors drag them to abortion clinics. He says many of these victims are children and their “immeasurable” suffering is attributed to Dr. Morgentaler (not the sexual abuser).
Only MP Bob Rae (Toronto Centre) rose for the Liberals and MP Niki Ashton (Churchill) for the NDP, to honour the doctor’s courageous work in women’s and patient rights.
2013, May – MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) receives a lifetime achievement award from the Campaign Life Coalition lobbyist. It’s titled the Joseph P. Borowski Award, in recognition of that cabinet minister leaving the Manitoba NDP to stay true to anti-abortion causes. Only eight Conservative and Liberal MP’s have received this honour.
2013, June – MP Brian Storseth’s (Westlock-St. Paul, CPC) private member Bill C-304, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, receives Royal Assent and becomes law. Sections that prevented hate speech have now been repealed. ARPA and Campaign Life Coalition also noted contact with MP’s and senators during this period, in the government lobby record.
2013, June – MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) celebrates the first National Aboriginal Prayer Breakfast in the House of Commons (as unspoken Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus).
Deeper investigation of this event produced unsettling material that requires explanation as a group, as opposed to chronologically.
Indigenous cultures have traditional, spiritual beliefs that do not resemble the trinity of Christianity or narrative of the Bible. This isn’t meant to disparage Native peoples who subscribe to organized religion, as many of them do and it’s an individual’s right to choose without judgement from any person.
It’s when one group speaks for the other that issues may arise and this very scenario clouds the parliamentary prayer breakfast. Thousands of Aboriginal children were taken from their homes by government and the Church and the history of residential school abuse didn’t stop until the early 1990’s. Therefore a great number of Canada’s First Peoples still have distrust for both the government and religion.
With that said, in June 2012, ARPA Canada submitted a report to parliament that lobbied for changes to the Indian Act. It was titled “Respectfully Submitted – Aboriginal Affairs”, similar to all the lobbying reports before it. Because they’re all generically titled “Respectfully Submitted”, it makes it extremely difficult to locate these documents through a general search on the internet.
ARPA supporters would have received an alert at the time, urging them to visit this page and EasyMail extra copies of the report to their members of parliament. This is how the lobby group gets coordinated action from anti-abortion activists and why they thank supporters for defeating bills or helping them oust elected officials. But this time a Christian appeal would be applied to Indigenous interests.
This particular report can only be summarized as a comprehensive call for Native assimilation. Based on Bible scripture from Romans 13, the group believes that First Nations can’t heal until they accept God and pay taxes.
In the same Aboriginal file containing government submissions, ARPA publishes a ditty from their “resident poet”. It’s titled “Call to Discriminate – A Moral Responsibility!” and it explains how Psalm 1 instructs Bible followers to discriminate against those who mock the Christian God. It says those on the “right” will be helped by God to “thwart the wicked’s might” and the enemy that refuses to believe will be “blown away” like “useless chaff”. This lobby rep also believes that no one has the right to retire from working, according to the book of Genesis.
ARPA goes on to argue that Natives must become indebted through mortgage and sell their lands to enjoy prosperity like everyone else. They approve of the infamous 1969 white paper but due to the contentious Charter, the lobbyist realizes they can’t nix land claims and therefore the best option is converting them into municipalities.
The report says Native peoples must forget about the past and forgive their oppressors to move forward. It chastises the Supreme Court for conveying the idea that Aboriginal ancestry entitles anyone to victimhood. They claim “every Canadian can point to their past to get the same label”.
ARPA blames the First Nations struggle on collective “spiritual brokenness” and believes “the ultimate goal of poverty alleviation is not to see our standards of wealth and prosperity applied to others, but to see people restored to what God created them to be”. The document closes with reference to an Aboriginal organization named Gathering Nations, who they applaud as getting that message.
The lobbyist was pleased to update that MP Rob Clarke (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, CPC and First Nations RCMP) responded to ARPA’s recommendations with Bill C-428, Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act.
Gathering Nations International led to a number of surprising pages in support of ARPA. It begins with Kenny Blacksmith who was a Deputy Chief to the Cree Nation of Mistissini, near James Bay in Quebec. A missionary went to live on the reserve in the 1960’s and Kenny with his wife were converted to Christianity by 1991.
In 1997 the family left the reserve for Ottawa inspired by a prophetic vision and they converted the Bible into Cree, so they could teach the un-ministered to find salvation and adopt the settlers’ way. Ever since relocating to Ottawa, Mr. Blacksmith became politically involved and these activities are related to both lobbyists and the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.
In June 2006 Blacksmith created The Covenant of the First Peoples of Canada and a conference was held in the capital with other religious leaders. The Cree pastor is consistently addressed as an ordained minster, but at no point is a school named and there is no record of training or seminary college. No denomination is ever stated to inquire with a regulating body.
Twenty-four signatories and twelve witnesses endorsed the document on National Aboriginal Day in Ottawa. It’s unknown who they are and there is no record beyond a photo of the signatures. Despite being a First Nations contract, the content was solely about God and supporting the people of Israel.
When this document was signed, Blacksmith claims the group was free from carrying an Aboriginal grudge and they rejoiced in the church plus the government, enough to sing the national anthem twice (something most Indigenous peoples will not do). This was also done without approval from the Assembly of First Nations or any Chiefs who can be found on record.
In 2009 Blacksmith returned to the reserve to run for the Grand Chief position. In an interview with the Cree Nation news he boasts, “I know Jean Charest and many of the ministers and the government leaders on a personal level – not just in Quebec but also in Canada, in the federal government”. He didn’t win the honour and Chief of the Mistissini Cree is Richard Shecapio, but Blacksmith is called the chief by himself and everyone in parliament.
By June 2010, Blacksmith organized a National Forgiven Summit at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Religious leaders and Christian Aboriginals met with MP’s and senators, to engage in an elaborate ceremony that ran parallel to the first Truth and Reconciliation event.
MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC) was pleased with the gesture, as was Senator Nick Sibbeston (Liberal, former premier of NWT). The latter reported to senate that Aboriginals forgave the prime minister and showered him with gifts, as a Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was presented to the government on behalf of Native peoples.
AFN Chief Shawn Atleo took a more hesitant approach, asking the group to be “very careful” while reminding a Grand Chief had already complained they weren’t ready for this. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission hadn’t finished its work and Atleo countered the prime minister’s apology with examples of program closures.
But AFN did not intervene in Blacksmith’s event and the three day conference included special segments. There was the forgiveness summit itself, where The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was unveiled. This is another document concocted by Blacksmith to release the government for Native abuse. No text can be located on the internet and again there’s only a photo of signatures.
It was presented to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, CPC, retired), who attended. Of note, Strahl left this cabinet position to become the top watchdog over CSIS, but he had to step down when the press revealed he was performing double duty as a lobbyist for the Enbridge pipeline. The Northern Gateway project has been met with opposition from First Nations and CSIS was additionally convicted in the media for spying on Indigenous peoples and sharing the intelligence with major oil companies. Strahl is also a graduate of Trinity Western University (TWU) in the company of fellow parliamentarians and he was appointed to mentor at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation.
After the forgiveness summit, organizer Kenny Blacksmith had the opportunity to meet personally with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC). Another copy of The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom was presented to absolve the government and then it was off to the Pastors and Leaders Gathering.
The second event was held by Blacksmith and a co-host from the 700 Club – an evangelical ministry that prays and raises funds on Christian television. It’s unclear what transpired at this gathering, but leaders and teachers were invited in addition to “prophets and apostles”.
On the following day there was a National Aboriginal Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast that was co-hosted by “Members of Parliament and with the Senate of Canada”. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, CPC, retired) was a keynote speaker along with Blacksmith and the theme of this meeting was “Beyond Forgiveness”. First Nations peoples who wished to participate and forgive the government were charged $55 admission to accept their sorries.
This prayer breakfast in 2010 occurred at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, at 1 Rideau Street in Ottawa. This is the same address ARPA uses in suite #700, that otherwise rents as a virtual office. ARPA uses this virtual address on the lobby registry, as well their work with the Supreme Court of Canada. Technically speaking it has no legal, physical address, unless the alternate PO Box number is considered and a business registration that lists Alberta is no longer valid.
Adding to the confusion about ARPA’s address is a claim to have an office on Parliament Hill. According to web data company Zoom Info (relied upon by Google and Dow Jones), this lobby’s base can be found in Room 574, Confederation Building at the House of Commons. The phone number provided belongs to MP Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex, CPC) and the fax belongs to the PMO. The only way for Zoom Info to present this data is by crawling the internet for places it was listed, and/or if the company entered a business listing itself. This parliamentary location was further confirmed by seven different sources from 2011 to the end of 2013.
ARPA’s director, Mark Penninga, is listed with the same government address, in addition to a home base in West Virginia.
On the federal registry, ARPA lists Mark Penninga, Andre Schutten and Mike Schouten as paid lobbyists (see lobbyist details tab).
2013, June – Coming back to the chronological date, pastor Kenny Blacksmith obtained a position on the board of directors for Canadian Race Relations. Here he was listed as an Aboriginal management consultant; providing services in rights, education, negotiations and Christian leadership training.
That leadership brought Blacksmith to open the Canada Celebrates Israel conference, where parliamentarians met with the “Jewish, Christian, Zionist” community to discuss the country’s commitment to a Jewish state. He beat the Native drum, sang Indigenous chants and offered Christian prayer, as others in the group complained of apartheid allegations becoming the new anti-Semitism.
For context, Blacksmith devised the new Indigenous Charter and Covenant to honour Israel as the number one priority. He teaches that First Nations must respect the political state and Israeli people to find Indigenous salvation, even though traditional beliefs do not embrace the biblical trinity (and neither does Orthodox Judaism that relies solely on the Torah).
2013, June – The first National Aboriginal Prayer Breakfast is officially recognized. Despite earlier events that were similar, this one is a matter of public record and will continue to be promoted as a yearly event. It’s co-hosted by Kenny Blacksmith on behalf of First Nations (without their consent), along with MP James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC) and Senator Don Meredith (Conservative). The Ontario Minister for Seniors, MPP Mario Sergio (York West, OLP) represented the provincial government and speakers included the co-host of 700 Club.
Meredith is the same official who recently came under fire as one of the senate’s top spenders, also boasting degrees from non-accredited institutions. One of those degrees is an honourary Doctor of Divinity he received from the Christian television program, 100 Huntley Street. Huntley was established by the same creator of the American 700 Club mentioned prior. Since that exposé Meredith stopped calling himself a doctor, to shield Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC) from criticism regarding his appointment.
At the prayer breakfast, newly retired Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Chuck Strahl gives the keynote address. Both he and Kenny Blacksmith discuss the duty of First Nations to forgive the government under God. Blacksmith says the work of missionaries 500 years ago was not in vain and the black book (Bible) would yet teach his people. This was reinforced by Strahl’s belief that a Christian God would help with the power of forgiveness because he couldn’t write legislation that would force Native peoples to become the government’s friend. Both men spoke as if they forgot it was Christians who placed Aboriginal children in electric chairs and sexually abused them, en masse.
The Catholic Register ran a feature article but took their site offline as this investigation was being written. Luckily a backup copy was saved before this happened, because the piece displayed a poignant photo that is likely to inflame First Nations. During this event Strahl stood at the podium wearing a Native headdress while making his assertion that forgiveness was owed to the government, in order for Aboriginals to heal. Behind Strahl is an Israeli flag, a Canadian flag and an American flag, but nothing to represent Indigenous cultures.
2013, November – Kenny Blacksmith attends a religious event on Parliament Hill with Mennonites. He’s described as the Chief of Cree Nation in Mistissini, but he doesn’t hold this position and hasn’t lived on the reserve for sixteen years. He prays with the group encouraging “shalom”; a Hebrew word signifying peace and the underlying principle of the Torah and Judaism. It’s expressly important to the Jewish religion, but it’s not traditionally spoken or known by First Nations.
As a result of this prayer the Mennonites were overcome with guilt for past racism and indifference toward Aboriginals. The event organizer apologized to Blacksmith on behalf of this religion and Blacksmith accepted on behalf of all Natives.
2014, February – The Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association announces their official partnership with the ARPA Canada lobby. In the extensive newsletter, Bill Whatcott of the earlier Supreme Court case (to allow hate speech against gays) is noted as a regional representative. A number of paid ads appear from law firms, in addition to MP Ed Komarnicki (Souris-Moose Mountain, CPC), MP Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt, CPC), MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) and MLA Greg Ottenbreit (Yorkton, Saskatchewan Party).
2014, March – Campaign Life Coalition begins a project against doctor assisted suicide and bills addressing compassionate patient rights in parliament. MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, CPC) was paralyzed from the neck down, but he became a target of the pro-life movement when he proposed legalizing euthanasia (bills haven’t been tabled yet).
MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) came out against him and Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt (Halton, CPC) cited her Catholic faith as a barrier to supporting. Sister lobbyist ARPA Canada has also taken up the cause, while congratulating its supporters for quashing previous euthanasia bills. They warn their masses to remain vigilant, in case a call to action is needed to defeat the next attempt.
2014, March – MLA Shayne Saskiw (Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, Wildrose, Justice Critic) proposed motion M-502 in the Alberta legislature. It called on government to repeal sections of the Alberta Human Rights Act with respect to hate speech, similar to what was accomplished at the federal level. This initial attempt had support from the provincial Conservative justice minister, however it was defeated.
2014, March – Legal counsel for ARPA Canada, Andre Schutten, makes a submission to the Law Society of Upper Canada compelling certification of a Trinity Western University (TWU) Christian law school. At issue is the intention to deny gay students admission, that ARPA believes is a justified requirement.
A second piece is distributed to the ARPA community, filled with unrelenting criticism of respected lawyers Clayton Ruby, Gerald Chan “and others like them”, for speaking against proposed, discriminatory enrollment provisions.
2014, March – The Loyola case is accepted to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s about a private Jesuit boys’ high school in Quebec that was required to teach Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum, as mandated by the Ministry of Education. This course also requires a secular approach that conflicts with the private school’s Christian purpose.
Legal counsel for ARPA Canada, Andre Schutten, is also acting as legal counsel for the Association of Christian Educators and Schools Canada, that achieved intervener status. This case is being promoted on the ARPA website as one of their own, but ARPA isn’t named anywhere in the Supreme Court file. Mr. Schutten then supports this project with an article in the Ottawa Citizen, that states ARPA is an intervener. It’s unclear if this statement means the educators’ group is another entity within the lobbyist organization.
2014, March – Lobbyist ARPA Canada releases a new policy paper titled “The Supremacy of God”. It’s sent to every senator and member of parliament, followed by a campaign to have supporters discuss these concepts involving the EasyMail program.
The paper begins with explanation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms preamble. “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law,” they reason that a Christian God is the basis for all laws. ARPA asks legislators to consider the powers bestowed upon them were given through the Bible and forsaking that would bring an end to the rule of law. It would bring an end to slavery and racism protections, because these laws were proposed by religious leaders. It would end human rights and the Criminal Code of Canada. It would also disrespect Magna Carta and the basis of constitutional law.
ARPA finds that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin errs when she says the law is supreme, because laws can change and it’s the power of God that remains constant to reign supreme. They say Christianity is responsible for civilized society and attributing an MP’s power to religion is hardly as radical as it sounds. They also find the premise of law is built on the Ten Commandments and therefore secular courts and governments are hiding behind a veneer to conceal their true purpose.
Tucked in the middle is how this ideology applies to make anti-bullying legislation inappropriate. ARPA continues to explain how “feminist” MP Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP) is really no less religious than Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC). They use this opportunity to push support for their Loyola Supreme Court case as well.
2014, May – The focus of this year’s March for Life includes gendercide and criminalizing abortion, with “gendercide” taking root in the public vocabulary due to the PPLC and lobbyist efforts. Two new campaigns are launched to compliment that progress. The first is meant to ban “abortion drug RU-486” from becoming available in the Canadian market. The second is meant to establish Silent No Moreas a Canadian staple (imported from the US, the same as Campaign Life Coalition), to bring the anti-abortion plight mainstream and nudge the Overton Window a little further.
A list of MP’s and senators in attendance is published by the Campaign Life Coalition. In 2014 they doubled their numbers and the roster includes 23 names, but this wasn’t covered by mainstream media. These elected officials are presumably part of the growing Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, as the PPLC hosts this lobbying event, according to historical press releases.
2014, May – ARPA publishes God & Government 2014: A Huge Success. The write-up celebrates their “infiltration” of parliament and claims 70 ARPA lobbyists met with 50 MP’s and senators in the week leading up to the March for Life event. Three days of activity included a reception that ARPA hosted for members of parliament, a speech to ARPA from Employment Minister Jason Kenney (Calgary-Southeast, CPC) and a mutual prayer service.
ARPA had access to Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green officials, to discuss their lobbying concerns about prostitution, palliative care, abortion and sports betting. They were invited to attend government committee meetings beyond the standard Question Period and pictures weren’t taken to protect the identity of the MP’s hosting them.
In the same article ARPA mentions spearheading a political tour through Alberta on behalf of MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC) of Ontario. It’s unclear how a registered lobbyist can run a campaign for an active member of parliament and this appears to resemble Prime Minister Harper‘s complaint against Stockwell Day during that bitter leadership cycle.
They close by offering thanks to a “generous company, which does not wish to be singled out for its financial sponsorship of this venture”. Whether it’s related or not, the Knights of Columbus have long been known to foot the bill for ARPA’s sister lobby, Campaign Life Coalition. That doesn’t signify a correlation to these particular events, but they were part of the annual March for Life and Knights have traditionally subsidized the endeavour. The lobby has also enjoyed joint publication in Knights of Columbus newsletters. The jet-set MP from Ontario, Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC), is also a longtime member.
2014, May – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, publicly scolds Liberal leader MP Justin Trudeau (Papineau, LPC), for the party’s new policy that disallows anti-abortion candidates. Six days earlier the cardinal hosted an anti-abortion mass in conjunction with Campaign Life Coalition events. This left Trudeau to defend his pro-choice convictions as a matter of human rights against excessive pressure from the Catholic Church.
2014, May – MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, LPC) reacts to the Liberal leader’s news above, in the Catholic Register (site abruptly taken offline but with patience a cached copy may still load from archives – a backup can also be found here). During the interview McKay laments about the party position, but says they needed to react to an influx of anti-abortion activists who pursued nomination without any Liberal, political history. He believes the issue needs to be handled “ambiguously” in the political arena, without fundamentalism inflaming the dialogue on either side. McKay remains an anti-abortion proponent and closes by questioning the Liberals’ lack of position on “ethnic politics” as well.
2014, May – MP Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP) proposes a motion for the government to affirm a woman’s right to abortion as a fundamental question of equality and human rights. She also moves to reverse a policy that rescinded foreign aid to countries that perform abortions. The media sees this as a bid to gain political points against Trudeau that has the potential to backfire, especially as the NDP didn’t make this a priority for years since the policy was enacted.
ARPA rejoiced immediately as an opportunity to re-open the debate. Within a few days they put together an EasyMail campaign, supported by a new telephone campaign that comes with a script and computer auto dialing to reach every member of parliament. The lobby is using this break to show vocal support for the anti-abortion cause and their ranks were ready for this gift to mobilize, whereas pro-choice activists weren’t prepared with their own campaign to refute. Ashton may very well stand for women’s rights, but using them as a political weapon against the Liberals who are in the middle of addressing the issue may only weaken the plight of females.
Both ARPA and Campaign Life Coalition have an inventory of reliable soldiers (including MP’s) who are professionally ready (audio) to commandeer the discussion with little more than a moment’s notice. The NDP also fails to address its history of privately hosting these same lobbyists in parliament. The courts and a majority of Canadians support a woman’s right to choose, but these reactionary and self serving tactics make it look they don’t because females were never invited to speak for themselves. It’s either a lobby that stands against human rights or a party that’s trying to inflict partisan damage that’s doing all the talking.
After examining the evidence, the fable of a Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus is hardly built on fiction. There seems to be a concerted effort to keep the project private, but the result of this work has altered significant pieces of Canadian and provincial legislation. It extends well beyond the topic of abortion and has grown to become an unparalleled, right-wing operative. Shielded by a religious front, it has also escaped legal scrutiny.
Moreover documents that display PPLC information on House of Commons letterhead were obtained under unusual circumstances. An initial check of MP Maurice Vellacott‘s (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC) government press releases came up empty, until a cache was stumbled upon from 2003. It appears every one of these items was tucked into that file and removed from site menus at a later date, except for the memory indexed by Google that remained accessible through web archives. This did not involve leaks or any sort of malicious hacking and anyone could have found the same if researching hard enough.
Aside of confirming the existence of an official Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, this investigation reveals a multi-pronged effort for MP’s to reverse Canadian law as coordinated by lobbyists. Members of Parliament produce ads for lobbyists on the government’s dime, from their elected offices. The Justice Block has become a communications headquarters and when The Office of Religious Freedom was created, it came with help from ARPA to make religion the new priority of foreign policy. When 70 lobbyists were given special, extended and private access to MP’s and senators, at the very least it represented an unaccountable playing field. The incessant bragging about media manipulation is an indictment of the fourth estate as well.
ARPA Canada and Campaign Life Coalition are registered as non-profits and they’re directly linked in partner projects with MP’s from the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus. Both openly boast of their lobbying offices on Parliament Hill, but addresses are impossible to confirm due to secrecy. The vast majority of their work is however lobbying and this doesn’t mesh with regulations that govern the activities non-profits.
Campaign Life Coalition also encourages followers to stack political nomination meetings, to ensure a social conservative candidate emerges.
They take further credit for pioneering anti-abortion lobbying at the United Nations. Campaign Life Coalition became one of the first approved lobbies of this ilk and it remains one of few to achieve this status.
This is complimented by a UN contingent of youth delegates that is speaking for Canada and the world.
Sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act were repealed to allow for hate speech. Some Native reserves have become municipalities. The criminalization of abortion has appeared in Hansard in one way or another, every year of the Harper administration. A Supreme Court decision that found abortion was protected by a female’s Charter rights hasn’t done anything to quell these bills, or the media frenzy when Justin Trudeau unequivocally stands up for it. In this way the lobby may be right, that the Overton Window has been skillfully shifted.
The Harper government participated from another perspective by impugning the Supreme Court with malicious, unprecedented accusations, regarding developments throughout its term. Supporting every one of these baseless criticisms is the ARPA lobby, with lawyers to take each of these items to the Supreme Court for a decision. As Marc Nadon didn’t make the bench, it appears the campaign to discredit Canada’s Chief Justice has been fired up, right when the highest court needs the public confidence most and ARPA is standing before it.
These successes are being measured by the lobby’s proverbial yard stick and now that everyone is aware, they’ll have to decide if they want to keep abetting it.
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.