Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Prime Minister Should Read His Job Description

Two weeks into the bombings in Lebanon and the Internet’s blogsphere erupted angrily over the weekend when the Conservative Party’s Internet media wing called Steve Harper a hero. The PM called Israel’s bombings in Lebanon a “measured response” to Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two soldiers and Mr. Harper used his government plane to pick up 100 evacuees.

In contrast to calling the PM a hero, the evacuees on the plane asked him, to his face, to tell Israel to stop bombing civilians. A measured military response in any war zone does not include bombing civilians.

Most seriously, if your title is Canadian Prime Minister, your duty to Canadians supersedes loyalties to other countries. To the eight Canadian civilians who died in the conflict, the job description includes speaking for them.

This is the second time in six months that Steve Harper has failed to grasp that his first duty as Prime Minister of Canada is to defend Canadians under fire. Previously, he would not speak up for our diplomats in Bagdad when US troops opened fire on our embassy’s convoy.

The Lebanese government does not want either of the current combatants in their country – neither the Hezbollah nor Israel. And, the Lebanese government understands that innocent civilians are not a legitimate part of Israel and Hezbollah’s conflict.

Steve Harper should understand that his loyalties must include the innocent – regardless of whose country they come from. Why has our PM Steve Harper failed to grasp this?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Steve Harper’s endorsement of bombings

How does Prime Minister Steve Harper’s endorsement of Israel’s bombings in Lebanon serve Canadian interest?

There are those that believe Canada should support US backed countries engaged in military action. With the US supporting Israel’s flank from Iraq, there is little military risk of a serious counterstrike against Israel, which creates an opportunity for Israel to eliminate terrorist threats. Israel can expand its safety zone; combined with the US-established permanent military bases in the Middle East, the region is secure.

On the other hand many ask, what is there in all this killing for Canada? We see lives lost – even our own as in Lebanon this past week. And, the conservative government is adding an extra $15 billion for military expansion. So, whose military interest does the new equipment support? Further, what serious military threat to Canada are we actually deterring? Canada needs a real Coast Guard. We need a significant civil defense force that can rush people to safety during say: an ice storm, flooding, forest fire, earthquake… and very seriously, Canada should be able to rapidly evacuate citizens from war zones - such as between Lebanon and Israel. Is our military expansion actually going to help Canada?

Canada could allocate that $15 billion in spending toward border security and a civil defense force that would be capable of helping Canadians in emergencies. We could buy vehicles, cargo aircraft, reserve food and water, and shelters that can be used to help Canadians. And, rather than sending aircraft and frigates to bomb people in other parts of the world, Canada could use those civilian resources to be the first on-the-scene to rapidity move tens of thousand of civilians away from erupting combat zones. What is wrong with at least one country in the world being the “honest broker” that backs up the title with something meaningful? Besides, the US is Canada’s only serious military threat and we are not about to go to war against them; and, there isn’t any real need to add to their military efforts. However, we are sadly lacking in basic assets to manage our borders and to help ourselves (and others) in emergencies.

There are two paths ahead for Canada. Either we join Prime Minister Steve Harper and the US dream of military expansion or we embrace the path of peace and service to the betterment of ourselves and our world. Nine generations of my family ancestors seized the dream of the New World that was North America. They became original homesteaders, members of parliament, and fought in such wars as the US-British War of 1812 to protect a dream. And again today, we must still protect the dream as a competing dream exists that is not born out of loyalty, community, or respect for what belongs to others. As Canadians we have a birth-right that is the grandest on the planet. Let’s use it wisely.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fraser Valley Fishing - Mark Milke Wrong Again

On Monday July 17, 2006 in the Times Colonist Mark Milke falsely claims in, “Integration of Fraser Fishery Isn't Assimilation” regarding aboriginal commercial fishing that, “…there is no treaty or constitutional right to a separate commercial fishery.” Further. Mr. Milke totally misunderstood the situation and writes that court rulings say, “… the federal government could run a native-only commercial fisheries program. But could is not the same as must.”

In truth, aboriginals have a constitutional right to freely conduct commercial business within their jurisdictions. For example, have you ever bought say, gas and fast food on a reserve? Maybe you picked up fish too? In BC for example, the Douglas Treaties 1852 document a trading relationship between BC's Vancouver Island aboriginals and white people. Aboriginal reserved-based commercial-resource rights are long established.

Regarding Frazer Valley Fishing, the river is within existing aboriginal territories and part of many aboriginal communities' economic base, which in not in dispute. What is in dispute is what portion of the resource is their share. Also under consideration is how to more carefully environmentally manage the fishery.

Regarding environmental management, Mr. Milke misses this second point entirely. Canadian resources ministries understand aboriginals freely run resource-based business from their jurisdictions – including fishing, forestry, oil and gas etc. However, fisheries are a shared resource. Accordingly, Fisheries Canada must strike a balance between aboriginals, others, and what the environment can support.

Lastly, why Mr. Milke quotes the venerable civil rights leader Mr. King to support his false claims is dubious. The issue is not about race but about sharing a commercial resource - in environmental distress – among legitimate claimants.
[Aside: Beyond and outside of reserve rights, aboriginals also have treaty rights, the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship, and assumed rights of blanket royal proclamations. Most Supreme Court Rulings deal with these other rights beyond reserve rights, however this posts on Fraser Valley Fishing does not genuinely deal with extended rights so I do not write about them here.]

Edited 6:10pm July 17,2006 to note Douglas treaties are meant as an example, were primarily trade related, and Vancouver Island specific - again, meant as an example of commerce.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

CPoC Convention Gate - The Linda Toews Cover-up Attempt

Vancouver Sun reporter Peter O'Neil reported Tuesday July 11th that CPoC official spokesperson Mike Donison stated that Linda Toews, who reported in 2004 that all Alberta CPoC EDAs were cheque-swapping, was not an employee of the CPoC but he would not say what her status with the party was.

As a matter of fact, in Dec 2004 Linda Toews was her riding association president and also on the CPoC constitutional development committee. She ran for the CPoC national council at the 2005 conservative convention in Montreal and had been a party organizer for years.

In her own words in 2004, " I attend Presidents meetings in both northern and southern Alberta on a regular basis. I recently organised and chaired an all Alberta Presidents’ meeting providing the opportunity for Presidents and board members to meet with Councillors and guests to become informed on party matters and to exchange information and ideas. I am also the Chair of the Alberta Joint Regional Policy Conference and Chair of the Conference Organising Committee.

As a constituency President Linda Toews was the official spokesperson for her riding and a spokesperson for the CPoC. She was in a position to know what she was saying and had the authority to say what had been approved. She wrote, "I can tell you that all EDAs in Alberta are doing the cheque-swap," the practice is "allowable."

If true, Linda Toews' statement provides evidence of the allegation of forethought and intent to circumvent election act and Canadian tax laws.

More on CPoC Con-gate cover-up attempts.

---------------------- references ----------------------

From Southern Alberta Constituency Council
Dec 21, 2004

Following is a summary of what action the Constituency Councils are taking in Alberta in regards to obtaining a better Party constitution for this Party.

The draft Conservative Party constitution has been approved by Interim Council and released to ridings for review and submission of proposed amendments, members and riding constitution/policy committees can finally participate in the process and help define and shape their Party. The constitution of a political party is the ultimate property of its members. So, this is one of the few opportunities individual members will have a say in how the Conservative Party governs itself following the March 2005 Founding Convention in Montreal.

Since the time and notice constraints placed on the constitutional amendment process are exceedingly limited, most ridings will only be able to deal with the constitution at the Committee and/or Board level. As trustees for the members in your ridings, please be inclusive of the membership in your deliberations and, where feasible, actively solicit their input and ideas.

Careful reading of the rules governing submission of constitutional amendments reveals that EDAs are required to provide at least 14 days notice of any EDA general meeting at which constitutional amendments are to be discussed (5 days notice for Board meetings). Moreover, the proposed wording of any amendment must be provided with such notice of meeting and there cannot be any substantive change to the wording of such proposed amendment when it is approved by EDA members/Board and submitted to the Executive Director of the Conservative Party.

Effectively, EDAs must issue the notice of meeting (together with any proposed amendments) no later than Jan 24th, 2005 for any meeting held on Feb 7th, 2005 – the last possible date (on this date, such approval would need to be sent to Party HQ no later than 7:59 pm MST). Since most EDAs will require an additional week or two to deal with the constitution, they will need to send out their meeting notices sometime in the first half of January.

It is noted that many ridings have already sent out notice to their membership regarding their January DSMs. The timing surrounding the release of the “Rules and Procedures for Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada” is perhaps best characterised as “unfortunate”.

In Alberta, Presidents have agreed to hold a provincial constitutional conference & meeting in Red Deer in February (similar to their November policy conference) for the purpose of collaborating on proposed constitutional amendments and strategy for the March Founding Convention. Early February was chosen since most ridings are holding AGMs and DSMs each weekend throughout January. Since the final date for receipt of proposed constitutional amendments from EDAs is 11:59 pm (EST) Feb 7th, this effectively limits the meeting to one in which only final proposals from EDAs will be coordinated and approved by participating EDAs.

The constitutional amendment process necessitates a concentrated and coordinated effort over the next 3 weeks to examine the draft constitution in detail, identify & prioritize critical amendments and to communicate these to EDA Presidents. Already, concerns and comments are being received from EDA members and Presidents across Canada. Their input needs to be integrated with the common issues and concerns expressed by Alberta EDA Presidents over the past 7-8 months so that a balanced, realistic and attainable set of amendment proposals are approved and supported by as many Alberta ridings as possible. In addition, we will need to coordinate with ridings in BC and other provinces to meet the threshold required to pass the amendment vetting process.

This is where it may be worthwhile for each province (or regional council) to follow BC’s lead and designate a constitutional committee (2-3 Presidents) to coordinate these activities between now and the Convention. In Southern Alberta, Linda Toews, Walter Wakula and Jim Stevenson have already been tasked to this role. (Unfortunately – or is it fortunately? – Jim Stevenson will be vacationing “Down Under” from Christmas Eve until the 3rd week of January – so we can’t avail ourselves of Jim’s wisdom during much of this period). I am, however, quite certain there are at least one or two other individuals whose input would be welcome – time permitting – (are you listening Glenn Solomon?) and there will be efforts made to coordinate communications for this group.

The Southern Alberta Constituency Council is getting ready to embark on this constitutional process immediately by convening a “constitutional sub-committee” next week at a mutually convenient time and location (Wed or Thurs afternoon/evening?). By sharing this email with many other Presidents outside Alberta, we will also begin the necessary liaison required to maximize the odds of getting amendments accepted and onto the convention floor in March.


From: Linda Toews

For some weeks now, people have been talking to me about running for National Council in Alberta. They have quoted my record on communication, inclusiveness, organisation, accessibility and responsiveness. Please consider this my official announcement that I will be seeking election at the March Convention in Montreal as one of Alberta’s two National Councillors.

It is my belief that the Conservative Party needs to continue the democratic traditions of both legacy parties, namely that the members' views are critical, there must be communication - in both directions, there must be accountability at all levels, and we must work together toward our common goal. Councillors need to hear and heed the wishes of the members. Councillors need to listen to those who have elected them, and to put forward those views, and to communicate with members what is happening in the Party, and why. In order to best do this, a Councillor must attend provincial, regional and local EDA meetings, and must be available to the general membership for questions or comments. Councillors must also be accountable to the members for the actions they take on their behalf. We need to be transparent and open with our members in order to be a truly democratic Party.

It is also my belief that we need to work together to become a stronger Party. Under our Leader, Stephen Harper, our caucus has become a strong working team. We need to provide opportunities for our members to work together, to share information and exchange ideas, and to communicate more with each other in order that we may also become a strong working team. Working together allows us to use each other’s knowledge and expertise to strengthen our ridings and the Party as a whole. We need to take full advantage of our shared expertise so that our combined strength will enable the Conservative Party to reach its full potential and convince Canadians that we should form the next government.

I have extensive experience in federal political parties and am a strong supporter of our Conservative Party. Communications and organisation are two of my strengths. I chaired many founding meetings in Alberta and currently serve as the President of Red Deer Electoral District Association. I acted as Chief Returning Officer for most of the more contentious nomination meetings in Alberta in the last election and for the current provincial election, and provided assistance or information for a number of other nomination meetings. I attend Presidents meetings in both northern and southern Alberta on a regular basis. I recently organised and chaired an all Alberta Presidents’ meeting providing the opportunity for Presidents and board members to meet with Councillors and guests to become informed on party matters and to exchange information and ideas. I am also the Chair of the Alberta Joint Regional Policy Conference and Chair of the Conference Organising Committee. My e-mail list, Conservative E-Info, is widely distributed to members keeping recipients informed as to Party news and other items of interest.

In the former Canadian Alliance and Reform parties I served as the southern Alberta Organiser for seven years, assisting constituencies with all election readiness needs including constituency development, nomination process and meetings, and regularly attending local, regional and provincial meetings. I organised and chaired regional and local election readiness seminars. I also organised and participated in election readiness sessions at Regional Conferences in conjunction with the national election readiness team. I was part of the organising committee of all the Reform and Canadian Alliance Alberta Regional Conferences. I organised All-Alberta Presidents' meetings, always including Councillors, Presidents, and appropriate guests and board members. I also acted as Chief Returning Officer for many nomination meetings for Reform / Canadian Alliance in the 2000 and Spring 2003 nomination meetings.

We need to encourage all opportunities for our members to communicate with each other to exchange knowledge and ideas, and work together for a stronger, more effective Conservative Party. Unity comes through working together.

I am excited about the opportunity of our Conservative Party to take us forward to form the next - majority - government of Canada. To assist our Party in doing so, we need strong Councillors who will communicate with and be accountable to the members, and actively move our Party forward by using the best of our experience from both legacy parties and our collective enthusiasm to put forward a strong, united party. We need to demonstrate to Canadians that we are capable of governing ourselves as an accountable, democratic Party before they will trust in us to run the government of Canada. Please join with me in helping to ensure our Party’s success.

I would be pleased to discuss my views and yours, to attend any EDA meetings you would like me to attend and to meet with your convention delegates when they are selected. I live near Red Deer, usually considered to be the mid-point in the province so can easily travel in either direction.

Please feel free to contact me at any time, and to share this email with anyone you feel may be interested.

I look forward to talking with you.

Linda Toews
Innisfail, AB XXXXX
Phone: (xXx) xx-xxxx

Fax: (xxx) xxx-xxxx

E-mail : xxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx

(personal contact information redacted)


Linda running for National Council - from Free Dominion Website thread:

(click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Time for an RCMP investigation into CPoC Convention Gate Allegations

There are several allegations regarding accounting irregularities of the Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPoC’s) 2005 national convention:

1. There were corporate sponsorships *at* the CPoC’s convention. Corporate sponsorship at the national level is not allowed according to Elections Canada.

2. There was also corporate sponsorship to the convention via local electorial district association (EDA) sponsorship, which is arguably an attempt to circumvent the rules alluded to in point one above.

3. There is no national accounting of donation fees paid to the CPoC's national level via the convention. The funds are just consumed once they hit the national level (See previous story on the vanishing polling expenses as well as the vanishing convention gate fees.)

4. There is evidence of forethought and intent to cheque-swap to gain tax credits and also recoup personal expenses both - at the EDA level. (See previous story on cheque-swapping)

5. There is evidence that election expenses were not fully declared. (see pre and writ expenses such as web-blogging and again polling)

The above allegations, if true, have both tax and elections act implications. Individuals may have received tax credits that they were not entitled to for expenses that they also were reimbursed for. Further, the CPoC may have accepted money that they did not declare that they then used to run political events - including the 2005 convention and the January 23 2006 election.

All opposition parties should be calling upon both Canada Revenue and Elections Canada to ask the RCMP to pick up all CPoC records and to begin a formal investigation. There is arguably enough information (at, the public statement by CPoC cabinet minister Baird, original correspondence by CPoC party execs, and documentation from the convention) to justify a formal investigation under a warrant to obtain all the raw financial records of CPoC’s EDAs and national body.

At this point with this amount of evidence against a governing party, the only issue that generally slows down a formal investigation is that the RCMP reports to the Attorney General who sits with the government that would be under investigation.

Accordingly, something very public has to prompt either the RCMP or the Attorney General to act against the government. What would prompt them to act would be something like an all party (sans CPoC) joint complaint forwarded to:

1. the Attorney General, and
2. Elections Canada, and
3. Revenue Canada, and
4. the RCMP

Such a joint complaint could be constructed in a few weeks and would be somewhat unique. I believe a joint document should be constructed because of the alleged potential scope of:

1. the number of people involved (potentially thousands of delegates)
2. the number of organizations involved (numerous EDAs and corporations), and
3. the large number of transactions involved (many banks and in many jurisdictions).

The allegations cover vast geographical territory and some new legal territory as well. By making this a cross-party complaint hopefully some small level of partisanship is removed and some level of legal discourse can be maintained.

Politically speaking, the air needs to be cleared concerning these allegations and the Canadian people deserve to know the raw facts so they can make their own political evaluation of the CPoC's convention accounting irregularities.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Show me the money (where are the polling expenses)

On June 28th, 2006 I predicted that the conservatives would obsure their polling expenses (See comment 19 at under "Crooked Conservatives").

On July 7th, 2006 Somena Media reported that the financial statements for CPC's national body do not include a line item for polling expenses as they had in the previous year.

During the last election you may have received an election survey call - or even a call before the election. If you know your rights you may have asked, as I did, who commissioned the call. Presumably, I'm not the only one who was told the CPoC commissioned the survey.

So where are the records for conservative polling expenses?

The CPoC reports a line item for "research", which is usually for focus groups related to websites, print ads, radio spots, and TV adds. However, the conservative amount for research is half what the liberals recorded for polling and half what the conservatives spent in the previous election on polling.

So I'm asking, show me the money! Where is the accounting for polling expenses in 2005?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Conservatives Withholding Accounting Records

Recent allegations suggest that the Conservative Party of Canada (CPoC) was involved in cheque-swapping to fake donations to their national convention in 2005. Recently published financial transactions on Elections Canada’s website show that many CPoC riding associations may not have filed their 2005 returns or are under investigation.

CPoC returns are missing from Elections Canada's website. According to an Election's Canada spokesperson answering the phone, the absence of information on the website means the offending riding associations have either: not submitted their returns as required (90 day extensions are allowed and are usually granted), or the association is being investigated.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said his party has done no wrong and party officials have promised to turn over accounting records related to the Conservative Party’s 2005 convention. However, records are being withheld from public view and the reasons why have yet to be determined. Previously, a spokesperson in CPoC cabinet minister John Baird's office claimed that the records had already been turned over and approved by Elections Canada.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

CPoC Convention Gate Scandel - Phase Three Prediction


Phase One: The federal body of the CPoC did not account for and report ~$2 million from individuals paying the gate fee *at* their 2005 convention. This is required by law and they knew then: the smoking gun, elections canada says law is clear

Phase Two: Expenses to the convention were being claimed as political donations (tax credits) via cheque-swapping. Donor received benefits/expenses have a "fair market value" or "commercial value" and don't constitute a political donation. Barbara Yaffe breaks deeper scandel to country! Cheque-swapping constitutes both tax credit and elections act violations. Phase II of the Convention Gate scandel was broke first by Walks-with-coffee here in: they knew and wanted more

Phase Three: CPoC Electoral District Associations (EDAs) did not necessarily directly pay for seats... think deeply about the significance of this missing step…

The CPoC must confess to issuing a tax receipt via cheque-swapping (See Convention Gate Phase II), and the CPoC must also prove that the cheque-swap money was actually used to pay gate fees *at* the convention; Otherwiwe, the gate fee is an addictional donation to the CPoC and must be declared (again)... sending many CPoC members over the legal donation limit for double contributing - and adding to the rev cdn tax issues discussed in Phase II of Convention Gate. However, individuals within the CPoC will not want to take the rev cdn and election act responsibilty for this scandal and so will try to force the national body to accept responsibilty and an internal war within the CPoC will errupt and cripple the CPoC both politically and financially.

Blog Post Updated Monday July 3rd, 2005 with Vancouver Sun Front Page Image, note on corporate donations made at CPoC convention, and links.