Conservatives paid Warren Kinsella’s firm to discredit Maxime Bernier’s PPC
The Conservative Party of Canada allegedly contracted Warren Kinsella’s consulting firm Daisy Group to discredit and smear the People’s Party of Canada, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.
Documents and insider sources aware of the plan show that the firm plotted to highlight racism and xenophobia in the PPC for an unnamed client. Furthermore, it is alleged that they also tried to prevent Maxime Bernier from participating in the leaders’ debates.
Insiders claim that the client was the Conservative Party of Canada.
The project employed four people full-time to “seek and destroy” the fledgling party in an operation called “Project Cactus”.
Documents show that the project was run in three phases including a research and branding phase, a launch phase, and a “full steam ahead phase”.
The intention of the final phase was to “push Maxime Bernier and the PCC off their messages — forcing them, instead, to defend instances of hate speech and sympathy for racism.”
PPC leader Maxime Bernier has since filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections Canada.
“This secret campaign is an attack on the integrity of our democratic process. I can assure you we will take every means at our disposal to get to the bottom of this story,” said Bernier during a news conference earlier today.
Internal chatroom logs show that the twitter account STAMP Out Hate was used to publish tweets attacking the PPC.
“Daisy will create an arm’s-length organization that cannot be linked to the client or any participating organization. This organization will run a proxy war room public relations campaign that allows real Canadians to shine a light on the prejudice and hate that is associated with the PPC,” claimed a Daisy Group consultant.
When asked about the accusations, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer refused to comment on whether the CPC employed Kinsella’s firm.
The account carried on this behavior until June 29, just before third party advertising restrictions kicked in.
“It hardly comes as a surprise that the Conservative Party of Canada would be behind such disgraceful and cowardly tactics. As our Leader Maxime Bernier stated when he left the CPC and repeated on numerous occasions since then, they are ‘morally and intellectually corrupt.’ And today, this story proves it without a doubt,” said PPC executive director Johanne Mennie.
Earlier this year it was announced that Kinsella also worked on the Green Party’s campaign for a brief period of time.
Kinsella has since deleted his social media accounts and has stood by his firm’s actions. In his statement, Kinsella claimed that the source was a former employee who was fired for making anti-semitic comments and stealing from his company.
During a meeting in Ottawa, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister gave some “friendly advice” to Justin Trudeau. Pallister told Trudeau that there was growing frustration in western Canada has towards Ottawa, according to the CBC.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues that came up during the election campaign. This included climate change and indigenous issues, as well as western alienation. Speaking to the CBC, Pallister stated that “there’s some great frustration with the lack of progress, not just on pipelines, but on other things.”
After the election, a deep frustration with Ottawa turned quickly into a separatist movement. This was blamed on the Liberal party, who due to a series of policy decisions, did not pick up a single seat in Alberta. Parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have also been vocal in their frustration with Trudeau’s government.
Pallister was critical of Trudeau’s carbon tax and other policies designed to hinder the Canadian oil and gas sector. This has been a deeply contentious topic in the prairies, especially due to the recession that was triggered as a result of Trudeau’s pipeline bungle.
Unlike the Saskatchewan and Alberta premiers, Pallister has not threatened to rip up the equalization agreement.
EXTRA, EXTRA: Reporter evokes Old Testament, asks Scheer if homosexuality a sin, belabouring non-issue
Politics in Canada and media’s coverage of it bear little resemblance to the real-world street these days, and Parliament Hill is a great example of this troubling and widening divide.
On Wednesday, rookie and returning Conservative MPs who voters sent to Ottawa gathered with senators for a caucus at West Block to discuss the federal party’s future and its leadership in the aftermath of a losing, Liberal minority government finish on Oct. 21.
Under the shadow of petroleum icon EnCana’s HQ exodus last week to Denver, Colorado, a nationalized $4.5 billion “leaky pipeline” that cannot get twinned, soured relations with China and uncertain USMCA trade deal ratification stateside, some reporters remained fixated by embattled party leader Andrew Scheer’s position on gay sex.
I use the term “gay sex”, because one reporter’s combative entrée and followup question during Scheer’s scrum, after he survived his first leadership test at caucus, was phrased in rather Biblical terms: “Do you believe that being gay is a sin?”
And the reporter did not stop:
This line of questioning is inspired by a facile notion that if Scheer won’t march in a Pride parade, which he hasn’t, then the public is left with no other option than to believe the Conservative leader would roll back LGBT rights to the Age of Antiquity.
As Scheer attempted to reiterate his party’s inclusiveness–something he’s repeated ad nauseam since longtime Liberal minister Ralph Goodale (defeated this election) tweeted a 15-year-old speech against gay marriage Scheer made as a backbencher –the reporter interjected:
“But you’re not giving your personal opinion,” demanding that he come clean.
Scheer: “My personal opinion is that I respect the rights of every single Canadian… and to always fight for the rights of every single Canadian, including the LGBT community.”
Goodale’s August 22nd Tweet, boosted a day later by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Svengali of divisiveness, Gerald Butts (no longer available on Twitter), triggered media who in the moment, conveniently forgot that like Scheer, and on two occasions himself Goodale also voted against the notion of same sex unions in the Commons.
Goodale’s bit of craven hypocrisy was ably noted by National Post‘s Chris Selley in the same 24-hour news cycle, but the media remained hellbent on the subject, pestering Scheer about it prior to the official election period and throughout, tossing in abortion too because why not – all Christians hate that, too, right?
Even the U.S. Democratic Party took a similar anti-gay marriage position up until the end of President Barack Obama’s second term in 2012.
But besides the mainstream media’s selective application of its religiosity matrix that lit the firestorm over Scheer and Pride, America’s first black POTUS’ endorsement of Trudeau in the 11th-hour of a campaign blighted by #TrudeauBlackface was ironic in itself, on top of a gleeful reception of it by Butts and Co.
On the matter of Old Testament crime and punishment, affixing it Scheer’s Christianity and employing conjecture that he would impose “God’s law” on Canadians were he ever PM, it’s worth taking some time to unpack this to understand the level of cockamamie logic it took to arrive at such an idea.
So come on a journey back through time to a relatively lawless period about 1,000 years after the invention of soap, and some 3,100 years before the discovery of penicillin, when Genesis was written.
Interpretations differ on what actually happened between Noah and his son Ham in the Old Testament’s first chapter, when God populates the Earth, gives humans free will, then gets very angry when they misbehave.
Some believe Ham sodomized his father, others insist Noah walked in on Ham railing one of Noah’s wives.
Regardless, Ham’s fate for his transgression leaves his son Canaan “cursed”; his descendants known as Canaanites are enslaved by the Israelites, who later murder them all after God commanded the children of Ham be annihilated.
Harsh punishment indeed, and similar incidents pepper the Bible for all types of sexual sinning including God’s destruction of the twin dens of iniquity, Sodom and Gomorrah. Leviticus edicts set down around the 6th century BCE–Babylonian times–have been interpreted as injunctions on incest and homosexuality; citations later weaponized by the Church to persecute gays well into the 20th century.
Though the issue of gay marriage rights in Canada is settled in law, and has been since 2005 when we became the first country outside of Europe to legalize such unions, a largely esoteric debate about Old Testament scripture and “God’s word” on homosexuality continues in theological circles and online forums.
But by and large, anti-gay interpretations profited by those clamouring for the gay marriage law to be reversed, have largely been reduced to fringe views in wider Canadian society.
Unfortunately, outside the castle walls of places like Canada in which hate crimes are pursued and prosecuted, the body count continues to rise for scores of unwitting LGBT victims of Islamic State, Iran, Putin’s Russia and myriad global backwaters where life is cheap and human rights codes, non-existent.
The 20th century is littered with state sanctioned and monitored behaviour regimes, ideological impositions–religious or irreligious–that ended with the murder of millions in places like China, where this very moment the regime rounds up Uiyger Muslim men for re-education camps, Uiyger women left to be raped by the local Chinese.
These parallel applications of guilt-by-association or non-association, in the extreme–and that’s what we’re talking about here, the extreme application of ideology whatever that happens to be–are reduced to trifling footnotes whenever next year’s pride roll call is taken by some of the more militant Pride committees.
While Scheer’s attendance at such an event is demanded to prove his “solidarity” with LGBT, conversely some Pride organizers prevent community police officers from marching in solidarity, or put caveats on their attire; either anathema to the original Pride mantra of inclusiveness and love, regrettably lost as well in this fog of cognitive dissonance.
It’s so predictable in a way, and even used as comedic device in a 1990s Seinfeld episode, where Kramer’s attendance at an NYC March for AIDS is insufficient and he’s beset upon to “wear the ribbon”.
But these contradictions never seem to bother reporters too much, except when the aim is to smear, as Vice magazine did when it “outed” then-Conservative Foreign Affairs Minister John “Rusty” Baird in 2013.
In this abject bit of gibberish–Is Canada Run by a Gay Mafia?–the author remains seemingly oblivious to the fact that if Baird is gay, he likely wanted it kept a secret whilst travelling to commit statecraft in backwaters that still handed out cruel and unusual punishment for homosexuality.
If you can stomach the snark, it is insightful reading for a taste of the mainstream’s paragon of virtue mindset, considering that outside of Western and westernized nations, it’s a hard time whatsoever finding a Pride event, let alone getting any sort of LGBT rights, particularly in the Old Testament’s cradle.
Unless of course, you happen to reside in modern day Jerusalem for example.
In the Holy Land and not far from Jerusalem Pride, LGBT rights are pretty much non-existent. The political strife in Egypt has seen LGBT there harassed and arrested, Syria is in ruin following civil war and Islamic State infestation, and in nearby Ramallah or Gaza Strip, forget about it.
Asylum seeker John Calvin–a Christian convert and grandson of Palestinian terror group Hamas’ co-founder–told CNN in 2015 as much, before his asylum claim was denied by Canadian authorities and Calvin sought refuge in New York City.
Yet Scheer’s Pride avoidance–perhaps a national record of some kind, like his claim he won the “strongest majority government in Canada’s history” in #elxn43–remains a constant source of aggravation for members of the press gallery, despite plenty of issues arguably more worthy of asking Opposition members’ to opine upon.
Our country is on the brink of total Balkanization. There is no doubt about that. It’s spurred by separatist sentiments in the West, a resurgence of separatists Bloc Québecois and Indigenous leaders, like Treaty 8 chiefs caught in the middle who are speaking out. The situation only becomes more contentious with Bloc MPs holding a go-to power balance in the Commons.
When this East-West divide couldn’t get any worse, we remain a doormat for illegal migrants making bogus asylum claims that further burden an already overloaded immigration system.
Given this totally unnecessary, quasi-domestic/foreign affairs baggage and presented with former Immigration critic for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel, media still required a few minutes from her to opine on Scheer’s Pride no-shows.
Here is a two-minute exchange on the issue that occurred during Conservatives’ Wednesday confab, when MPs slip out to fill news slots and talk politics without divulging any specifics about ongoing caucus deliberations. In this context, without anything else to talk about, reporters were primed and so was Rempel.
But how many will pay any mind or attention to other aspects of Rempel’s response–a laundry list of real discrimination LGBT folks in Canada still face and how her party is committed to addressing them.
For G.T. Lem–who bills himself on Twitter as “1 Source For Videos That Cut Through The Right-Wing Noise & Counters The Anti-Liberal Bias Narrative With FACTS”–his takeaway is that Rempel “DEFENDS” Scheer’s choice, while downplaying her (rather accurate) description of what’s become a “symbolic” political litmus test.
Forget that there are LGBT people who do not go to Pride, for whatever reason and non-LGBT folks, who love it. Having freedom of choice and rights also means the right not to participate or being kowtowed to do so, but if you’re Scheer or anyone who takes a position contrary to supposed mainstream progressivism, then look out.
If you had just arrived from another planet, or were transported by time machine from Ancient Babylon, you’d probably think the entirety of Planet Earth had gone mad; mankind’s inhabitants anyways, or as Trudeau calls us: Peoplekind.
Whatever the collective mental state of the nation, CBC’s Rosemary Barton is also under the spell of Scheer’s take on LGBT rights and took to Twitter to punctuate his response to the low-rent ‘is being gay a sin’ query.
And so the inordinate amount of time spent on Scheer’s Pride record, apparent harbinger for low information voters and media types who believe a Conservative Scheer government would quash all and sunder rights for our LGBT neighbours, friends and colleagues. Nobody credible seriously believes this garbage, yet media remain transfixed it’s a totally real possibility and one the day’s most pressing issue.
Unfortunately, or fortunately–depending on one’s political persuasion or adherence to social mores–the Q&A moment about alleged gay sinners competed against what was perhaps Scheer’s finest stump speech hour, given in fewer than seven minutes to reporters, and seven weeks too late.
With a nod to “a frank discussion (in caucus) about the last election campaign”, acknowledging his disappointment and desire “to get it right the next time”, Scheer launched into a rebuke of Trudeau that rings as true today, as it was when the campaign began on September 11.
“The sad truth is, Trudeau has left this country more divided than ever before,” said Scheer. “Picking fights with premiers, pitting region against region, Trudeau has set the stage for a national unity crisis… this is Trudeau’s mess but Conservatives are here to clear it up.
Though it’s never too late for Scheer to attend one of Canada’s smorgasbord of annual Pride events, even in a far flung place like Inuvik, Northwest Territories, for Conservatives’ governing fortunes, their leader’s newfound gumption isn’t going to re-order the planets or turn back the clock to August 22.
That’s when Scheer and his advisors should have hit this head on. But they didn’t and here we are in this parallel universe of litmus tests and virtue signalling, heading into the 44th federal government frame, a minority government no less, as serious national challenges boil in realpolitik, both domestic and foreign.
After his caucus voted down a change to the party’s constitution enabling it to toss their captain–a mandate that still remains within party’s membership purview–Scheer emerged swinging for the fences promising to restore “ethics and accountability” and getting “the energy sector back to work.”
As Trudeau spent the last few days at his favourite surfing spot in Tofino, B.C., home of Pacific Rim National Park, Scheer demanded the PM return to Ottawa and blasted our G7 surfer dude for “stok(ing) the revival of the separatist Bloc Quebecois and has sown the seeds of disunity in the West”.
“These are pressing issues of national importance that need to be addressed so I am calling on Justin Trudeau to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible, to do so.”
So will Canadian voters give Scheer a second chance and will media extract the same pound of flesh from Trudeau for his perceived shortcomings? That remains to be seen. Conservative Party members will have the first say anyways, at a mandatory leadership review set for their April convention next year.
As for Trudeau, his immediate future will depend on the confidence of the House, pretty much a sure-thing given he can tack right or left for support without having to compromise with Conservatives.
And as for Scheer and the LGBT issue, stay tuned for Pride Month June 2020, if he even lasts that long. In the interim, Scheer said that Baird has been tapped to conduct “a thorough and external review of the campaign”.
The Conservatives took only 10 seats in Quebec in the 2019 election, one less than in 2015. Some of these were safe seats. The Conservatives beat a second-place Bloc Quebecois by over 17,000 votes in one riding and by over 10,000 votes in 4 more ridings. In two others, they beat the second-place Bloc by 6,306 and 4,813. The only really close CPC win was in Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, by 614 votes. The CPC also beat Maxime Bernier, People’s Party of Canada leader, by over 6000 votes. The CPC’s average victory was over 10,000 votes in the 10 Quebec ridings they won.
Elsewhere in Quebec, the Conservatives did terribly. They rarely placed second and, even where they did, were still, in most cases, way behind the winner. Meanwhile, in Ontario, the Liberals swept all 25 of Toronto’s seats, and 24 out of 29 seats in the surrounding suburbs. That’s 49 Liberals to 5 Conservatives in the GTA. In 2011, by comparison, the Liberals and NDP each won only 7 Toronto seats and the Conservatives swept the GTA. How many Quebec seats in that 2011 Conservative majority? Five.
Scheer’s team obviously hoped to pick up seats in Quebec. They apparently didn’t ask “Is that realistic?” and “At what cost?”
Why it is so important to the CPC to pander to Quebec, to the point of being weak on the nation’s economic interest, religious freedom, and life issues, when Harper won his only majority with only 5 seats in Quebec? How many seats were they hoping for? Fifteen max? Here is their track record: 0 (2004), 10 (2006), 10 (2008), 5 (2011), 11 (2015) and now 10 seats in 2019. They have nothing to show for their pandering, but they lost of 90% of GTA seats.
Scheer needed Ontario. He seemed to believe that saying very little of substance and taking no bold or innovative position on anything would do the trick, and that the Prime Minister’s own antics and scandals would bring him down. Evidently, voters needed more.
By “more” I don’t just mean in terms of policy difference, although Scheer’s party could have offered far more of that. I think voters needed to see more in terms of character difference. They know Trudeau is entitled, hypocritical, and untrustworthy. But what about Andrew Scheer, the career politician? Is he much different? On the campaign trail, it didn’t seem like it.
He needed to do more than attack a politically wounded Trudeau. He needed to present himself as a leader. Responding to brownface/blackface, Singh at least seemed sincere and concerned for Canadians. Scheer’s initial outrage seemed feigned. And in the debate, he seemed to relish attacking Trudeau too much–like he was happy blackface happened. Glee at another person’s failings isn’t a good look. But on substantive policy issues, he had little to offer. He was unclear on how to get pipelines built or how to balance the budget.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything Scheer said that made him stand out, except maybe that Quebec should be allowed to collect federal tax and to have more control over immigration. Scheer obviously hoped to pick up seats in Quebec and did plenty of pandering to that end. He even refused to say that he would legally fight Quebec’s efforts to block needed national infrastructure projects like pipelines.
Scheer was also unclear in his responses to questions about abortion (will you control your caucus on the issue? do you support funding abortions in other countries?). I’ve heard commentators say the CPC blew this election because Scheer is (personally, anyway) pro-life and socially conservative, while Quebec is very socially liberal. They fail to see that their obsession with gaining seats in the most liberal province is hurting them beyond it.
There are plenty of socially conservative voters in the GTA, and the Greater Vancouver Area, for that matter. For example, the prominent, pro-choice Conservative Lisa Raitt lost her GTA seat badly (by over 9,000 votes), whereas the openly pro-life Conservative Tamara Jansen took a GVA riding that the Liberals had won in 2015 by almost 6,000 votes.
Certainly, many potential CPC voters are pro-choice, but that doesn’t mean they can’t respect and support pro-life politicians. The evidence from swing ridings is that they can. But it’s easier to respect a politician who makes their position clear. Scheer did not.
Scheer gave his socially conservative base no reason to vote for him. He reneged on the promise of a tax credit for private school, which many southern Ontarians choose for religious reasons (even if they are not rich). He was ambiguous (or worse) regarding the freedom of caucus members to introduce bills to protect pre-born children, saying he would fight efforts to reopen the debate, but also that his party allowed different opinions and free votes(?). Unlike Harper, he was unwilling to state that his government would not fund abortion overseas.
That was not the only chance for principled leadership that Scheer flubbed. Quebec’s Bill 21 may have offered Scheer the clearest opportunity to distinguish himself as a principled leader and to give swing voters in the GTA and GVA a reason to vote CPC.
Like Trudeau and Singh, Scheer offered no plan to push back against Quebec’s Bill 21. Unlike Trudeau and Singh, Scheer did not even criticize the bill, but merely affirmed his own commitment to religious freedom and diversity.
Fairly or unfairly, many people remain suspicious of the Conservatives’ commitment to religious freedom for minority faiths. The barbaric practices “tip line” gimmick in the 2015 election certainly didn’t help.
Those whose resting assumption is that the Conservatives do not like diversity would have had a solid reason to question that assumption had Scheer been the only one defending Quebec’s minorities. Religious voters who often vote Liberal based on their perception that the Liberals are the party that defends minority faiths might have changed their vote. And religious people who typically vote CPC would have had more motivation to go vote.
Scheer should have combined opposition to Bill 21 with opposition to the Liberals’ Summer Jobs attestation requirement, linking the two together in voters’ minds. The message: of course Trudeau doesn’t support religious people in Quebec–he’s discriminating against them across Canada. Canada Summer Jobs was Trudeau’s secularism law. In Quebec, it’s no public sector jobs for people who visibly express their faith. In Trudeau’s Canada, it’s exclusion from public benefits if you don’t profess Trudeau’s ideology. Which is worse?
Scheer’s office was maddeningly slow and cautious in its response to Canada Summer Jobs. The CPC seems so irrationally terrified of being painted “anti-choice” that they fail to show leadership on such fundamental issues as freedom of religion and expression.
One defence of Scheer’s silence on Bill 21 is that Conservatives respect the division of powers between federal and provincial government. Frankly, this supposedly principled reason hardly seems like the real reason for the Scheer campaign’s pandering. But if it was, it was mistaken. First, Scheer could have criticized the bill and called on Quebec to repeal it without violating the legal division of powers–that would simply be showing leadership.
However, Scheer could also have made the case that Bill 21 is constitutionally unacceptable, not only as a violation of the Charter (for which Quebec can invoke the notwithstanding clause), but also as a violation of our 1867 Constitution. Before the Charter was enacted in 1982, Canada’s courts protected religious minorities (particularly in Quebec) by holding that religion and political speech were matters beyond provincial legislative competence, meaning a province could not make these the direct target of any law, though they could be regulated incidentally. This protects minorities against regional biases.
Scheer professes to take religious freedom seriously. He has criticized the Liberals for closing the Office of Ambassador for Religious Freedom–which had a mandate to promote religious freedom abroad through diplomacy–and said he would reopen it. This would be much more convincing if he were willing to vigorously defend religious freedom at home, first. In this campaign, perhaps caving to liberal pundits and political consultants, Scheer failed to do so.
Scheer has done his best to present himself and his party as officially pro-choice. He said next to nothing about the issue of medically assisted suicide, even as the Liberals promised to expand it. Avoiding “life issues” seems par for the course among CPC’s leadership. Will weakness on freedom of speech and religion follow?
Principled leadership won’t always be rewarded politically, of course. Voters are flawed, too. But the irony is that Scheer’s political pragmatism gained him nothing. Rather, it cost his party in terms of credibility, image, supporter turnout, religious swing voters, and seats in Parliament.
During the Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday, the CPC Members of Parliament have chosen not to remove incumbent leader Andrew Scheer from his leadership position. The meeting started at 1:00 PM and lasted for well over three hours as the CPC caucus struggled to solve structural problems from within the party. One of the four questions the caucus had to answer was whether the MPs should give themselves the power to launch this leadership review.
The CPC MPs voted in favour of electing a caucus chair. They have also voted in favour of forming a method to kick MPs out of caucus. Finally, they then decided to vote against having choosing an interim leader due to their rejection of the leadership review.
Despite Conseravtive MPs rejecting to trigger a leadership review today, Scheer will still have to face a mandatory leadership review in Toronto this April.
According to well-connected figures within the party, both Erin O’Toole and Peter Mackay were preparing to leadership bids, with O’Toole eyeing up a possible no confidence challenge during the caucus meeting. For the confidence vote to be triggered, at least 25 MPs would have been needed to sign the notice.
When The Post Millennial approached Mackay with these rumors, the former Harper minister vehemently denied them. MacKay, however, did aggressively criticize Scheer, telling reporters that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay added that Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau “was like having an open net and missing the net.”
In the Ottawa airport on Tuesday, Hamish Marshall, who is Scheer’s campaign manager, was confronted by CBC journalist Katie Simpson. When Simpson asked Marshall about the caucus meeting, Marshall responded that “it was none of her business.”