Sunday, December 26, 2010

Does Stephen Harper Have the Legal Right to Govern?

The 2006 federal election was one of the most bizarre on record. Going in the Liberals had a ten point lead. And in a little Deja Vu, this was the news in July of 2005:
Stephen Harper moved yesterday to revive his political fortunes in the electoral heartland of Ontario even as a new poll shows that 59 per cent of Canadians want him replaced, including more than one-third of his own supporters.

The poll also found that the difficulties of the just-completed sitting of the House of Commons have left Canadians with an increasingly negative image of Mr. Harper, with 41 per cent saying their opinion of the Conservative Leader has worsened .... "The poll, which found that the Liberals continue to maintain a nine-point lead on the Tories in voting intention, came yesterday as Mr. Harper glad-handed in cottage country north of Toronto. The Conservative Leader is touring Canada this summer to build party support in preparation for an election next winter.
After losing the 2004 election, and his thwarted attempt to form a coalition with the Bloc and NDP to bring down Paul Martin at the throne speech, we had all but written Harper off. He couldn't be trusted.

But what we couldn't have known was that the Harper team was engaged in political guerrilla warfare. Monopolizing on the Sponsorship Scandal, they were able to paint Paul Martin as a crook, despite the fact that he wasn't involved and it was he who ordered the Gomerey investigation.

And that summer, when Stephen Harper was glad-handing, what he was really doing was mobilizing the Religious Right. Helped along with radio spots, purchased in over a hundred Canadian stations by James Dobson, the American behind the group, Focus on the Family.

Many of Harper's stump speeches regaled against same-sex marriage, while these radio spots did the same.

A foreign country interfering in a Canadian election.

But that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Friends of Science

The Conservative policy on the environment was weak at best, offering only an abstract 'Made in Canada' solution. As a result, a group calling themselves Friends of Science, also began buying up radio spots to sell the Conservative message that Global Warming was a hoax.

An investigation into FOS revealed that the group was actually tied directly to Stephen Harper and the oil and gas industry.

From the Globe and Mail:
Friends of Science has taken undisclosed sums from Alberta oil and gas interests. The money was funneled through the Calgary Foundation, to the University of Calgary and on to the FOS though something called the “Science Education Fund.” All this appears to be orchestrated by Stephen Harper’s long-time political confidante and fishing buddy, U. Calgary Prof Dr. Barry Cooper. It seems the FOS has taken a page right out of the US climate change attack group’s playbook: funnel money through foundations and third party groups to “wipe the oil” off the dollars they receive. (1)
And from the University of Calgary's Gauntlet:
The University of Calgary has discontinued its relationship with the controversial Friends of Science organization and, after the results of an internal audit released Mon., Apr. 14, the U of C will revise policies related to research funding. But the audit did not determine whether funding from two trust funds at the university for an anti-Kyoto ad campaign was in violation of the Canada Elections Act. (2)
It was in fact in violation, but by the time this was made public, Harper had been in office two years, and this possible criminal act was buried in the larger scandal of another election financing scheme.

The RCMP Complicity

At a point when the Liberals were assured victory, former RCMP boss, Giuliano Zaccardelli, appeared to have engineered a smear campaign against Ralph Goodale, suggesting that he and the Liberal Party by association, were involved in a bit of insider trading.

That too got swept under the rug.
Following the election, there was no immediate call for an inquiry. For the defeated Liberals to have demanded one would have appeared self-serving. The NDP had played the role of willing enabler for the RCMP plan, so it was not keen to demand accountability. And Prime Minister Stephen Harper, unlike Paul Martin and his zeal to appoint Judge Gomery to uncover his own party's scandal, had no interest in investigating a scandal that had helped the Conservatives win. (3)
The "In and Out"

In April of 2008, at about the same time as the Friends of Science scandal broke, the RCMP raided the Conservative Party headquarters, as part of an investigation into an election financing scheme.
During the campaign, the Conservative party conducted a series of financial transactions in which it wire-transferred money to Tory candidates, who then returned cash to the party in the form of advertising purchases. One campaign official interviewed by Elections Canada staff referred to these transactions as “in-and-outs.”Many of the ads in question were for the national party and the only reference to the local candidates who paid for them were small tag lines at the end.
This enabled them to spend over a million dollars more than the other parties on advertising, in the final days of the campaign. A direct violation of the election act.

But what this also meant was that local candidates, who would receive rebates of up to 60% of their expenses, were able to claim credits they weren't entitled to on money they themselves never spent. Almost $800,000.00 in tax payer dollars. And while Elections Canada froze rebates after discovering the scheme, many had already been issued.

A Parliamentary committee was organized to look into the affair, but Stephen Harper directed those called, to ignore the subpoenas, closed down the committee, then broke his own law by calling a snap election, putting Canadian taxpayers on the hoof for another 300 million dollars, simply because he didn't want to deal with what could eventually lead to criminal charges.

Undemocratic, given that his was the only party ready for election, since they were the only party aware that he would make such a daring move.

Stephen Harper has kept this tied up in the courts, while he continues to govern like nothing happened. As though he has a legal right to be where he is.

During those five years that he has held office, he has stolen our reputation, our democracy, our money and our sovereignty.

And his entire right to govern may have been the result of a fraud. Or several frauds as it turns out.

But we will take this information into the next election campaign. He can't escape justice forever.


1. Oil Companies Funding Friends of Science, Tim Ball takes the brunt, Jim Hoggan, DeSmog Blog, August 12, 2006

2. Friends of Science audit released: University looks into policies regarding research funding, By Jon Roe, Features Editor, The Gauntlet, April 17, 2008

3. Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and Crisis in Canadians Democracy, By Elizabeth May, McClelland & Stewart, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-7710-5760-1, Pg. 132-147


  1. Duffy was a tool for the Conservative party and he still is. As far as the law is concerned, they did many other things, including paying for campaign work from volunteer's who would supply receipts for services (which many believed they were doing as volunteer work and many did do much more work than they were compensated for, so either you are a worker or contractor or your a volunteer and get you don't get paid)But when a campaign manager or the candidate offer susceptible people a chance to make up to a 1000 on their tax returns for work they would have done for free, it seems too good to be true. Imagine all the campaign expenses related to baking goods from kind hearts or for sitting and answering the phone (office duties) all volunteer positions. And for a final analysis, imagine if they were paid workers, that they would have been underpaid dramatically in many cases for the hours expended on a campaign. Imagine, what Elections Canada would have to do to unravel the claims for every Conservative campaign, and you can see a problem. The Conservatives were so blatant and so bold in their frauds on government so devious and seemingly banal that no one is willing to investigate. It's like the Salami scam, mixed with the Ponzi scheme, they have managed to fill their coffers with small donations made through fraudulent usage of volunteer labor as services, the invoice goes in a honorarium or fee for service cheque is cut and the money goes in the bank than a like amount is donated back to the party from the volunteer, the volunteer gets a tax recpt. which than entitles him to 75% of his donation which was not his money in the first place, so he is happy, the campaign is up the donation, plus the costs of services which they will submit as an expense and get 60 % back, but of course they are not out the 40% because that was paid for services (of real worth) but they are also up the additional non-billed services (how ever many hours that equals) so they scam the government for 60% and get more than 40% out of a their cost of the services, they are up over a 100% depending upon the services in total rendered and the volunteer has gotten 75% of the cost of his labor (which he agreed to receive fee for service for, instead of voluntering, which would be deceptive, remember one should be either or but not both according the the election act) {this would qualify under contractors influencing an election, since they are contractors] so they are out the cost of the services they did not get paid for under their fee for service arrangement, maybe substantially less or maybe only a little, an election is min 6 weeks divide the 1000 max donation by this and you 165 or so a week about 30 a day for a 5 day week depending upon the services provided this seems a small sum for a day's work or if the volunteer only works say 5 hours in total a 1000 would be 200 hr very hard to accept as a reasonable expense. This method of volunteer roping and scamming, makes the volunteer complicit, most of the time unknowingly in fraud. So, to me, this is the real fraud happening, because it amounts to cheque swapping and in and out over thousands of individuals and hundreds of campaigns, it casts a large shadow on the whole Conservative campaign fund raising apparatus.

  2. I've hear rumours of large cash donations from the corporate sector who said "they didn't need receipts."