Alberta PCs: Some Party that I used to know

My friend Amanda Achtman in Alberta brought some friends together to assemble this creative video that describes the frustration of many Albertans have with the Natural Governing Party of Alberta, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

The song riffs on Gotye’s hit from last summer, Somebody That I Used To Know and the video was produced by Olivier Ballou through donations from young Alberta conservatives.

Lyrics:

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could try
Told myself that you were right for me
Felt progressive in your company
But that was then and after 40 years I still remember

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need you now
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your perks and then start to slumber
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just some party that I used to know

Now you’re just some party that I used to know
Now you’re just some party that I used to know

Mark Zuckerberg’s Zuck PAC launches to reform US immigration law

Today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg launched his political action committee called FWD.us to rally tech business leaders to reform American immigration law.

Zuckerberg is joined by executives at Dropbox, Paypal, Airbnb, Netflix, LinkedIn and Yahoo. These tech leaders believe the United States is failing to address its innovation gap by allowing the immigration system to languish. Indeed, the United States is a magnet for the type of highly skilled workers needed by Silicon Valley. FWD.us is lobbying the US government to both secure the country’s borders and to streamline the process for admitting skilled workers for the tech sector.

On traditional immigration challenges, FWD.us is also looking to the government to provide a pathway to citizenship initiative for giving status to illegal immigrants.

The FWD.us website is built on the NationBuilder platform and integrates Facebook API tools for tracking and communitizing its supporters.

What do you think of the initiative? Is this a logical move for the US tech sector? Should Zuckerberg be getting more or less involved in politics?

Tim Hudak shirks ideology for expediency

From today’s Toronto Star,

Opposition parties are backing a push from Ontario’s chief electoral officer for limits on advertising by interest groups such as the anti-Tory Working Families coalition of unions.
 
Noting that such “third-party” advertising tripled to $6.7 million between the 2007 and 2011 provincial elections, Greg Essensa said in his annual report that the legislature needs to set up an independent body to study a cap on spending and contributions, among other things.
 
“We would like to see stronger parameters around third party advertising,” Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod said Monday, echoing calls from party leader Tim Hudak last year.

The Ontario PCs should not be looking at reining in free speech just because they are losing the free speech fight. To be sure, unions need better disclosure of how they are spending worker dues especially if those dues are going to political causes. Unions should also be made to allow a mechanism to allow members to opt out of their dues should this money be going towards causes any particular member does not support.

The National Citizens Coalition raises money given voluntarily by thousands of Ontarians to advocate on their issues. If political parties are the only ones given the right of free and unfettered speech during elections, this makes our society less democratic.

Do not abandon your principles, Mr. Hudak. We need more ideas during elections, not fewer.

Elizabeth May on Margaret Thatcher and Hugo Chavez

Margaret Thatcher passed away today at the age of 87. Here is Elizabeth May’s statement acknowledging the death of the Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister,

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada,

“Margaret Thatcher took strong positions. Among them people forget her science-based concern about the climate crisis. One of the few political leaders with a science background, she founded the Hadley Centre and supported the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While her anti-regulation, pro-privatization agenda did long-term damage to the environment, her climate awareness is tragically not shared by her ideological successors.”

What did Elizabeth May say when Hugo Chavez die? Not much, but here is tweet and news story she retweeted,

Here is the rabble news infographic that she links.

Elizabeth May’s schtick besides climate change has been about her views on democracy in Canada — specifically what she characterizes as the erosion of it. Now, retweets are not necessarily endorsements, but May recently wrote the Queen about the robocalls scandal and the Rabble infographic includes a quote from Jimmy Carter praising Chavez for his democratic ideals while includes quotes from Elections Canada on those robocalls.

Stephen Harper has not been evidenciarily linked to the robocalls scandal in Guelph and to date the only evidence that exists is that which has resulted in a charge against one young campaign worker, Michael Sona.

Elizabeth May takes the opportunity on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s passing to speciously link Thatcher to her issues while condemning Thatcher for privatization.

Meanwhile, May holds up Chavez as a paragon of democracy in order to attack Stephen Harper as a “real dictator”.

Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013

The greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill died this morning after suffering a stroke. Margaret Thatcher’s influence on the UK and the world is still well pronounced and conservatives are mourning her passing.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain,

“It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton.
 

 
“As our first woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country. I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime Prime Minister.
 
“Today most of all we should think of her family. We’ve lost somebody great in our public life but they’ve lost a much loved mother and grandmother and we should think of them today.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada,

“The world has lost a giant among leaders. While many in positions of power are defined by the times in which they govern, Margaret Thatcher had that rarest of abilities to herself personify and define the age in which she served. Indeed, with the success of her economic policies, she defined contemporary conservatism itself. In 2006 I met with her in London, where she provided me wise and gracious counsel, the memory of which I will forever cherish. Laureen and I join all Canadians in saluting the proud life and legacy of Lady Thatcher.”

Barack Obama, President of the United States,

With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
 
Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.

Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet President,

Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and a bright individual. She will do down in our memory and in history.
 
Thatcher was a politician whose words carried great weight.
 
“Our first meeting in 1984 gave the start to relations that were at times difficult, not always smooth, but which were serious and responsible for us both.

Lech Walesa, former President of Poland,

She was a great person. She did a great deal for the world, along with Ronald Reagan, pope John Paul II and Solidarity, she contributed to the demise of communism in Poland and Central Europe.

George W Bush, former President of the United States,

“She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity, Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
 
“Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.

Buckingham Palace,

The Queen is sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher and Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,

Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no-one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served.
 
“She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics.
 
“My thoughts are with her family and friends.

John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,

“In government, the UK was turned around under – and in large measure because of – her leadership. Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader. Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London,

Margaret Thatcher freed millions of people to buy their own homes and buy shares in British companies.
 
“She ended the defeatism and pessimism of the post-war period and unleashed a spirit of enterprise.
 
“She fought against the clubby, cosy, male-dominated consensus of both main parties – and she won.
 
“Her beliefs – in thrift, hard work, and proper reward for merit – were not always popular. But her legacy is colossal.
 
“She was right about the unions, she was right about Soviet communism and recent events have shown that she was completely right about the euro.
 
“This country is deeply in her debt. Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today’s politics.

Bob Rae, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada I extend my condolences on the passing of a remarkable political leader, Margaret Thatcher.
 
Mrs. Thatcher served as British Prime Minister for more than a decade and in many ways defined conservative politics of her time. Her sheer determination and tenacity were legendary, and even political opponents had to admire her ability to stick to the path she set out for her party and her country.
 
‘This lady’s not for turning’ was her own description of this powerful will, and she will long be remembered as one of the most powerful voices of her time.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada,

On behalf of all New Democrats, I express my sincere condolences to Mrs. Thatcher’s loved ones and the people of Great Britain.
 
Lady Thatcher was one of the most influential British politicians and world leaders of the 20th century.
 
Not only was she Britain’s first and only woman Prime Minister, but she is also the country’s only leader to win three consecutive terms.

Stephen Harper’s remarks about Ralph Klein

“Thank you very much.“

Lieutenant Governor Ethell, Premier Redford, Mayor Nenshi, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, so many guests who are with us today, former premiers from all across the country, friends and colleagues of Ralph Klein, ladies and gentlemen.

“And, especially, Colleen and all members of the family.“You are in the thoughts and prayers of Laureen, myself and our family, and I am sure you know, in the thoughts and prayers of so many other families not just represented here today, but right across this great province of Alberta that Premier Klein served so well.

“I think we all have a little bit of understanding of what a difficult time this has truly been for you and for the family.“May God give you peace and comfort.“It is of Ralph Klein’s public service, his political career, that I wish to speak.

“You know, his story, his accomplishments, speak obviously of the great opportunities that are offered to us as citizens of this country and of this province and of this city.

“But past all of the stories, some humorous some outrageous, what we should not forget and never look past is the truly remarkable gifts and accomplishments of Ralph Klein as a person and as a leader.

“We all know how an outspoken television reporter ran for mayor and, to everyone’s astonishment, won handsomely.“In fact, he was mayor of Calgary, when I first came here.

“He became mayor just shortly before I arrived, and I have to tell you that after living in Toronto and living in Edmonton, having Ralph at City Hall was a bit of a culture shock.“I mean that in a good way.

“Because, as Mayor Nenshi said, as mayor, Ralph Klein did great things that really launched the modern era of this city: the Light Rail Transit System that so many people now take for granted, the Saddledome which was built on his watch, so many other major works, and, of course, the 1988 Olympics, where Ralph welcomed the world without any airs but with great comfort and great affability.

“We also know how, after coming out and forcefully backing the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement during the 1988 election, he then moved into provincial politics and, in rapid succession, and again, to everyone’s astonishment, became a cabinet minister of course, and then the premier of the province.

“And, in that office, he also established a legacy that history is going to treat very kindly.

“Does everyone remember Ralph’s so-called ‘radical’ ideas?

“That the best decisions are not made in government office towers.“That taxpayers make the best choices about how to spend their own money.

“That governments and citizens should face problems head on, and his well-founded belief that, as he put it: ‘the strength of this country lies in the strength of the provinces’.

“Remember too his so-called ‘radical’ idea that Alberta could be an energy superpower?

“And that Alberta’s energy would mean prosperity for all of Canada?“Twenty years ago, those ideas were often considered radical indeed.

“But today, the wisdom of Ralph’s ideas is now widely, almost universally, accepted.“And, never forget it, Ralph Klein was especially right about that.“Alberta’s energy industry does bring prosperity to all of this great country.

“Ladies and gentlemen, once Ralph Klein’s ideas were well-planted, their fruits became his ‘miracle on the prairies’.“It amused some to call him ‘King Ralph’.“Perhaps it amused him too.

“’Welcome to Ralph’s world,’ he famously declared, the election night that he won a massive 74 out of Alberta’s 83 seats.

“But, the love that Albertans had for Ralph Klein – and I don’t think love is too strong a word – was based on something other than the extraordinarily successful management of Alberta’s finances.

“Albertans understood that this was a man, that this was a leader, who never forgot where he came from.“Neither did he forget the people he served.

“A man equally at home in the Petroleum Club, or in the St. Louis Hotel, well maybe not quite equally, Ralph had, as many have noted, many opponents, but precious few enemies.“He was affable, straightforward, and had a gift for saying what ordinary people were thinking, often in a way that made us smile.

“Asked about reducing the deficit, saving money by cutting into some very popular services and programs, he said, ‘well, you’ve got to hunt where the ducks are’.

“He knew every part of Alberta.

“He knew us.

“And Albertans knew and respected Ralph Klein for his honesty and for his principles.

“Above all, Albertans responded to his vision of Alberta as a rock of Confederation, a vision he brought to life, the vision of a mature, forward-looking Alberta, yet one that never lost sight of the rugged values on which it had been born and raised.

“That was Ralph.

“Agree or disagree, you knew where he stood.

“And so, to Albertans, he was ‘King Ralph’ – I love that phrase, you know people outside Alberta don’t get that – he was ‘King Ralph’ only in the sense of being a king-size character, but in personality and demeanor he was really to us ‘Citizen Ralph’.

“He said what he would do, and then he did what he said.“I admire that.“We all admire that.

“And, when he was installed last November, by the Governor General as an Officer of the Order of Canada, it was welcomed with great affection by all of his fellow Albertans.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let me just finish with this.

“Ralph Klein was faithful and true, true to himself, faithful to the people of this province, and, always, a proud Canadian.

“So, to ‘Citizen Ralph,’ we say: hail and farewell!

“Your fellow Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians will always remember you.”

Michael Sona charged by Elections Canada in Robocall case

He has been charged under Section 491.3(d) of the Canada Elections Act,

491. (3) Every person is guilty of an offence who
(a) being a deputy returning officer, contravenes any of section 212, subsections 213(1) and (4) and 214(1), section 257 and subsection 258(3) (failure to perform duties with respect to receipt of vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
(b) being a special ballot officer, contravenes any of subsections 267(1) and (2), section 268 and subsections 269(1) and (2) (failure to perform duties re counting of the vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
(c) being a deputy returning officer or poll clerk, contravenes subsection 276(1), being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 277(1), being a poll clerk, contravenes subsection 277(2), being a deputy returning officer, contravenes subsection 277(3), being a deputy returning officer or poll clerk, contravenes subsection 278(1) or (3) or, being a deputy returning officer, contravenes section 279, (failure to perform duties re counting of the vote) with the intention of causing the reception of a vote that should not have been cast or the non-reception of a vote that should have been cast;
(d) contravenes paragraph 281(g) or (h) (prohibited acts re special voting rules); or
(e) contravenes paragraph 282(a) or (b) (intimidation or inducement re vote under special voting rules).
 
281. (g) wilfully prevent or endeavour to prevent an elector from voting at an election; or
(h) wilfully at the counting of the votes, attempt to obtain information or communicate information obtained at the counting as to the candidate for whom a vote is given in a particular ballot or special ballot.

Sona’s lawyer says that this will give his client the opportunity to address the charges in court rather than the media, according to HuffPo.

UPDATE: Here is a more detailed statement from Sona’s lawyer via CBC,

Neither Mr. Sona or I will be making any public statements beyond the following statement at this time.
 
Although the charge is disappointing, it represents an opportunity for Mr. Sona to finally address the allegations in a court as oppose to in the media and resolve it permanently. I cannot help but comment, that if the government was interested in the public being fully informed and the issue of robocalls being properly addressed, a Full Public Inquiry would be called, rather than a charge laid against a single individual who held a junior position on a single campaign and who clearly lacked the resources and access to the data required to make the robocalls. I am confident the public agrees.
 
Norm Boxall
Counsel for Michael Sona
Bayne Sellar Boxall
Ottawa

(The somewhat conflicting statements regarding not trying the case in the media and the lawyer’s confidence in the public’s ability to discern Sona’s innocence are interesting)

The charges from Elections Canada come as vindication for Brian Lilley of Sun News who was first to report that Sona fingered by the Conservative Party as who they suspected completed the fraudulent Robocalls in Guelph.

Sona had made news earlier this year when he announced his intentions to testify against Sun News at upcoming CRTC hearings regarding the news channel’s application for license 1 status on Canadian cable.

UPDATE: The Conservative Party has released a statement,

In 2011 we reached out to Elections Canada when we heard of wrongdoing in Guelph and did all we could to assist them.
 
We are pleased that Elections Canada’s work has progressed to this point.
 
The Conservative Party of Canada ran a clean and ethical campaign and does not tolerate such activity.
 
The Party was not involved with these calls and those that were will not play a role in any future campaign.
 
Voter suppression is extremely serious and those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
 
We spent the entire campaign identifying supporters and we worked hard to get them out to vote.
 
Our job is to get votes out, we do not engage in voter suppression.

UPDATE: Official statement from Elections Canada,

Commissioner of Canada Elections Announces
the Laying of a Canada Elections Act Charge Following
the Investigation of Deceptive Telephone Calls
During the May 2011 General Election

 
OTTAWA, April 2, 2013
 
The Commissioner of Canada Elections, Mr. Yves Côté, has announced that pursuant to a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions, his office has laid a charge under the Canada Elections Act, a federal statute.
The charge was filed on April 2, 2013 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph.
 
Michael Sona is charged with having wilfully prevented or endeavoured to prevent an elector from voting at an election, contrary to paragraph 281(g) of the Canada Elections Act and by doing so committed an offence contrary to paragraph 491(3)(d) of the Canada Elections Act.
 
The charge relates to the investigation of deceptive telephone calls made to electors in the riding of Guelph during the 41st general election of May 2, 2011.
 
On polling day for the May 2, 2011 general election, many electors in Guelph reported receiving misleading automated telephone calls falsely informing them of changes to their assigned polling station.
 
Any action taken to deliberately misdirect electors and interfere with their right to vote under the Constitution and the Canada Elections Act is a serious offence. As a result, the Commissioner of Canada Elections immediately began investigating and submitted his findings to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
 
The Commissioner of Canada Elections is responsible for ensuring that the Canada Elections Act and Referendum Act are complied with and enforced. The Chief Electoral Officer appoints the Commissioner under the Canada Elections Act.
 
“The strong public reaction to the fraudulent telephone calls made to electors in Guelph during the May 2011 general election shows how deeply disturbed Canadians were by what happened,” said Mr. Côté. “I hope that the charge we filed today will send a strong message that such abuses under the Canada Elections Act will not be tolerated.”
 
For information specific to this matter:
 
Public Prosecution Service of Canada Media Relations
613-954-7803
or at www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca
 
General information:
Elections Canada Media Relations
1-877-877-9515
or at www.elections.ca