Monday, January 30, 2006

Alleged Conservative Blogsphere Scheme

Based on documentation forwarded, the following work-in-progress timeline of events allegedly demonstrates the quasi third-party nature of Blogging Tories and its tight link to the CPC. The Blogging Tories failed to register its Third Party Status or alternatively declare its allegedly direct relationship with the CPC as required by the Canada Elections Act.

Timeline (More is to come and the timeline may be tightened as more documents are found.)
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Alleged Activities:

January 2004 - Stephen Harper uses third party e-mails and websites to raise money for his leadership campaign. The pattern of using third-party agencies to raise money and spread messages is established.

American Election 2004 - Bloggers for Bush at work

Fall 2004 - CPC decides to mimic Bloggers for Bush. Use of Internet discussed on conservative only chats.

December 2004 - Conservative Life and Blogging Tories collaborate to merge, to mimic Bloggers for Bush (team of a dozen or more)

December 27th 2004 – Conservative Life announces intention to merge / collaborate with Blogging Tories and be like “Bloggers for Bush”

January 2005 - Diane Ablonczy via aid contacts Eugene Parks about finding Internet storywriters and arranges meeting at Victoria CPC caucus retreat.

January 2005 - Face-to-face CPC discussion (Diane Ablonczy and Eugene Parks) to create internet storywriters to mimic Bloggers for Bush

February 2005 - Call to action to find writers for effort to mimic Bloggers for Bush and get around the media "filter".

March 2005 - Blogging Tories endorsed at CPC convention

April 28th 2005 - Blogging Tories calls on conservative supporters to blog to get around "the filter". "The Conservative Party of Canada needs the blogosphere to deliver its message". Mr. Taylor declares that the blogging tories is, "a grassroots organization of Conservative Party supporters ".

Summer 2005 - Direct CPC feed and redistribution network setup through Blogging Tories. Stephen Taylor also provides professional website advice to CPC. June 30th, Blogging Tories bolds and highlights CPC members and MPs that use Blogging Tories for direct distribution of stories.

September 11th 2005 - Stephen Taylor declares: "I support the Leader and doing what I can to help this good man become the next Prime Minister of Canada".

March - December 2005 - Stephen Taylor advertises (and payment is made to advertise) Blogging Tories and Taylor proclaims himself the "attack dog" of the CPC. Blogging Tories states its purpose is to elect Stephen Harper and conservatives. Stephen Taylor makes the conservative rounds to advertise Blogging Tories – including rounds at CPC meetings.

Election 2005/2006 - Blogging Tories is fed direct "news" stories from the CPC that are directly posted on Blogging Tories Network. Other “news leaks” are fed uniquely to Blogging Tories. Blogging Tories is advertised (and payment is made to advertise). Blogging Tories raises money for CPC.

January 2006 - Allegations made that the Blogging Tories is not an Individual’s work as defined by the Canada Elections Act nor is it a genuine third party, but rather an arm of the CPC.

Blogging Tory "Angry in the Great White North" responds: What was the first clue, the name “Tory” or that Monte Solberg is one of the group?

Taylor attempts to refute the allegations by claiming that the timeline does not match his actions. . Taylor claims that Blogging Tories was set up one year prior to the alleged Fall 2004 – February 2005 call for writers for Internet Stories. However, Internet records and Steven Taylor’s own archives show Blogging Tories (the site) went live January 4th, 2005 – right in the middle of the effort to find writers (a.k.a. “talkers”).

Stephen Taylor claims the CPC did not pay for the Blogging Tories and that he personally did not receive direct payment from the CPC for the Blogging Tories site. However, he refuses to identify what payments he as received from the CPC or other third-party groups.

Taylor admits a group of a dozen set up Blogging Tories. He names a few names.

January 26th, Craig Smith of Blogging Tories admits that Blogging Tories was advertised and payment was made. He also states that Stephen Taylor is the CPC member that approached him. Craig refused to state how e-mail blasts and link priorities and highlighting on others sites was paid for. Taylor confirms that CPC campaign propaganda was being directly posted on Blogging Tories and being further directly redistributed. Craig Smith then resigns as Webmaster of Conservative Life and Blogging Tories.


Allegations:

1. Blogging Tories was not an individual's political statement
2. Blogging Tories was not an editorial news agency
3. Blogging Tories was working directly with the CPC to circulate CPC stories to the Blogging Tories web ring and beyond
4. CPC stories appeared directly on the Blogging Tories site
5. Blogging Tories gave professional web and web broadcast support to the CPC
6. Blogging Tories raised money for the CPC
7. Money was paid to advertise Blogging Tories
8. Most members of Blogging Tories web ring are members of the CPC - several are MPs and party officials. Stephen Taylor is a member of the CPC and volunteer. Craig Smith is a volunteer for the CPC.

The record apparently shows that the Blogging Tories is either a Third Party as defined by the Canada Elections Act or in fact part of the CPC campaign. Blogging Tories did not register as a Third Party.

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