Posts from our progressive community

Stephen Harper and the Scandal at 24 Sussex Drive

Montreal Simon - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:32


Well compared to all the other scandals he is facing this may not be the biggest. 

Paramedics were called to the Prime Minister’s official residence in Ottawa over the weekend after an 18-year-old woman suffered from severe intoxication. 

The Ottawa Paramedic Service confirmed that it responded to a call involving an 18-year-old who suffered from “possible alcohol intoxication” at an event at 24 Sussex Drive.


But it is scandalous to see how lightly the incident is being treated, and the way the RCMP seem to be trying to protect Stephen Harper.
Read more »

No, its not art. Its garbage

Cathie from Canada - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:57
Critics trash environmental artwork

Critics trash environmental artwork

This definitely falls into the "don't piss on me and tell me its raining" category.

What an insult from our Visual Arts Placement Jury to a poorer neighbourhood, to put a couple of bales of plastic garbage on one of their streetcorners and then tell them its "art" and is meant to start "a discussion about waste".

Inner city Saskatoon neighbourhoods have had plenty of opportunity over the years to talk about waste -- the needle cleanup every spring, to start with.  They don't need any more.

I cannot imagine the "discussion" that the residents would have had with their councillors if this had been placed on a corner in the University district, or in Stonebridge -- neighbourhoods which produces volumes more plastic waste annually than Mayfair ever did.

In fact, that's what I support -- let's move this to the corner of University Drive and Clarence Avenue for the next six months, right on the riverbank.

What a beautiful sight!

Shorter

Cathie from Canada - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:38
Shorter statement from the Weyburn restaurant at the centre of the Temporary Foreign Worker program controversy:

"It's all the employees' fault!"Darn it, that "restructuring" will just trip you up sometimes.

help me buy a tablet, part 2

we move to canada - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 13:00
Three months have passed since I asked you to help me buy a tablet. Money is tight - thanks to past and upcoming travel! - and I squeezed a few more months out of my dying netbook. But now I am serious about replacing it.

After that last post, I was sure I wanted the ASUS Transformer, the tablet that docks into a keyboard, so it's both a tablet and a netbook. I love the idea of that, but the price with the keyboard is quite a bit more than I should spend for something that's a want, not a need. I also realized that I want something smaller. Looking at other people's tablets, I want something more along the 7" size as opposed to 10".

After reading reviews, I decided on the Google's Nexus 7. Most people agree it's the best Android substitute for an iPad Mini, at a much lower price. I even identified what sounds like a great keyboard-stand-case combo made by MiniSuit.

I was all set to buy the Nexus 7... when I realized it is WiFi only, and does not have data capability. Part of what I want in a tablet is being able to get online without WiFi. I'd like to keep my BlackBerry Curve for voice, text, and organizer functions, and use a tablet that can handle both WiFi and data. The lack of data seemed to be the only thing missing from the Nexus 7...

...until the Nexus 7 With Mobile Data came along. (That's really the name.) So far this is only sold online through Google Play. Google sells it unlocked, so it can be used with any compatible carrier.

I had a hell of a time finding out if a Nexus tablet would be compatible with Wind. Everyone, including Wind, wanted me either to (a) use a mobile hotspot (not exactly the same as having a tablet with data!), or (b) tether the tablet to my cell phone. Come on, folks, is it so unthinkable to get a data plan for a tablet?

But Wind doesn't have a data-only plan for a tablet. What to do...

Do you have a data plan for your tablet? Through which carrier and what does it cost?

I've been Rogers-free for years now, and I've never used Bell for anything. I'd be loathe to start now, but are there options from smaller carriers?

Do you think it's worth it to get a voice/text/data plan through Wind when I only need data?

Is there some big chunk of information I'm missing here? Please don't suggest a mobile hotspot!



More On The Temporary Foreign Workers Program

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 08:55


As noted yesterday, the Temporary Foreign Workers Program continues to cause both grief and outrage among Canadians. The latest publicly-identified victims, two former employees at a Weyburn Sask. eatery called Brothers Classic Grill and Pizza [previously called El Rancho], are receiving a groundswell of support both locally and across the country.

In an update on their website, CBC Saskatchewan, we learn that Sandy Nelson, a 28-year veteran waitress at the restaurant who lost her job to foreign workers, had tried to bring attention to her plight earlier:

"We tried going [the] government route. Never got a response," Nelson said. "Finally got a response today." That is, after the injustice became public.

Among those who are considered part of the Harper base, this comment was typical:

"I don't think that's fair," Weyburn resident Kyla Broomfield said. "We go there all the time and they treat customers well. I don't know why they would fire them."

"Why should they give foreigners more opportunities?" Jeremiah Broomfield said. "There's willing Canadians here to work. It's just not fair."


One can only assume that had this situation not been made public, Jason Kenney would not now be investigating it.

In today's Star, Tim Harper offers his assessment of the TFWP. Laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Harper regime, under whose auspices these abuses have proliferated, he says:

The Conservatives have now done what seems to be the impossible — cutting hours for Canadian workers, setting the stage for the ill-treatment of temporary workers, further alienating the labour movement in this country and fielding complaints from small businesses who play by the rules who say those rules are too onerous.

Harper suggests strong action is needed: the program either needs a complete overhaul, with caps put on the number of temporary workers in this country, or it should be scrapped and replaced with new immigration rules.

He adds that Jason Kenney has to start imposing real penalties, not suspensions. Without that, the abuses will continue and the program’s credibility will continue to crumble.

Ultimately, I guess it requires a careful cost benefit analysis by a government that has consistently shown itself to be so contemptuous of average Canadians and so subservient to the demands of business. Indeed, whose vote is most likely to be lost here?

Recommend this Post

The danger of Asteroids

LeDaro - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 08:17
If a big asteroid hits a city like New York it can cause great damage. Earth is exposed to these asteroids. We have been lucky so far.Watch the video below:

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 07:11
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frances Russell writes about the corrosive effects of inequality. And Robert Reich points out one creative option California is considering to address inequality at the firm level: tying corporate tax levels to wage parity, under the theory that shareholders will then have an incentive to push for a fair distribution of wages.

- Peter Richardson reviews Matt Taibbi's The Divide:
 Taibbi explores why Wall Street bankers are seemingly exempt from criminal prosecution, even as New York City targets petty crime — much of it manufactured by police in minority neighborhoods — more aggressively than ever. He cites statistics to make his argument, but mostly he reports on specific cases. One involves a working-class black man who finally decided to fight a misdemeanor charge for blocking pedestrian traffic — that is, standing on the sidewalk in front of his home. Taibbi also considers the zeal with which government agencies investigate and humiliate welfare recipients and undocumented residents for trying to provide for their families during hard times — times made all the harder because of unprosecuted crimes at the top of the economic food chain.

Everyone knows the rich receive special treatment in this country, especially in court. But Taibbi concludes that the government now offers a sliding scale of civil and criminal protection to U.S. residents. At one end of the spectrum, the very rich are virtually beyond accountability, no matter how massive and destructive their crimes may be. At the other end, the nation’s most vulnerable residents face unremitting investigation and prosecution by bureaucracies determined to find them guilty of something.

Taibbi also surfaces a new set of targets: Justice Department prosecutors who seek settlements for even the most outrageous white-collar scams. Many of them are recruited from law firms whose clients include the largest Wall Street banks. Lanny Breuer, who headed the department’s criminal division when the financial meltdown occurred, is Taibbi’s poster boy for this conflict of interest. Both he and Attorney General Eric Holder were partners at Covington & Burling, which represents JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. All too often, Taibbi argues, the prosecutors have continued to behave like defense attorneys. When Holder was a Clinton administration official, for example, he wrote a memo arguing that prosecutors should consider “collateral consequences” when determining whether to charge persons or corporations. If a criminal prosecution would unduly harm innocent shareholders and employees, the logic went, it made more sense to settle. But once bankers realized they were beyond criminal prosecution, the incentives to transgress increased dramatically.
...
“The Divide” marks a shift in Taibbi’s tone. More Lincoln Steffens than Hunter Thompson, Taibbi drops most of the histrionics to reveal the corruption and injustice at hand. He even goes out of his way to be reasonable. He acknowledges that prosecuting financial cases can be expensive and risky, especially when the alleged crimes are complex and the defendants have vast legal resources at their disposal. That fact motivates prosecutors to settle such cases rather than try them in criminal court. He also concedes that many disadvantaged neighborhoods may benefit from tough policing. But he maintains that when combined, the two law-enforcement strategies add up to a glaring injustice. He also notes that it’s far too easy to introduce jurisdictional complications in financial cases that would never be allowed in less consequential cases. To make that point, he recounts a horrific case in which high-profile Wall Street financiers escaped punishment after trying to destroy a company they bet against as well as harassing its executives and their family members.  - And David Dayen also discusses the consequences of a culture of impunity for the financial sector, with a particular focus on a home-seizure complex which has neither any incentive nor any apparent means to figure out whether a given claim to enforce a mortgage has any basis in fact:
(D)espite the fact that the nation’s courtrooms remain active crime scenes, with backdated, forged and fabricated documents still sloshing around them, state and federal regulators have not filed new charges of misconduct against Bank of New York, Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bank or any other mortgage industry participant, since the round of national settlements over foreclosure fraud effectively closed the issue.

Many focus on how the failure to prosecute financial crimes, by Attorney General Eric Holder and colleagues, create a lack of deterrent for the perpetrators, who will surely sin again. But there’s something else that happens when these crimes go unpunished; the root problem, the legacy of fraud, never gets fixed. In this instance, the underlying ownership on potentially millions of loans has been permanently confused, and the resulting disarray will cause chaos for decades into the future, harming homeowners, investors and the broader economy. Holder’s corrupt bargain, to let Wall Street walk, comes at the cost of permanent damage to the largest market in the world, the U.S. residential housing market.

By now we know the details: During the run-up to the housing bubble, banks bought up millions of mortgages, packaged them into securities and sold them around the world. Amid the frenzy, lenders failed to follow basic property laws, which ensure legitimate transfers of mortgages from one legal owner to another. When mass foreclosures resulted from the bubble’s collapse, banks who could not demonstrate they owned the loans got caught trying to cover up the irregularities with false documents. Federal authorities made the offenders pay fines, much of which banks paid with other people’s money. But the settlements put a Band-Aid over the misconduct. Nobody went in, loan by loan, to try to equitably confirm who owns what....
There was another solution available here, if Holder’s Justice Department didn’t throw up its hands and settle. Judges could have disassembled the broken mortgage system, and appointed a special master to handle all loans in question. It may have taken years, but the preservation of the public property system makes the time and expense worth it. Unless you would rather kneel to the wishes of the financial industry to keep everything rolling, and let the wound fester.

If you or I pick the lock on a house and try to steal everything in it, we’d probably go to jail. But if I were a bank, and I wrote down on a piece of paper that I simply owned that house, I’d get away with it. That’s the sad legacy of trying to cover up massive fraud instead of dealing with it.- Don Lenihan responds to Lawrence Martin's suggestion that key PMO staffers be elected by Parliament by pointing out that there's more to democratic accountability than intermittent elections.

- And one of the more important factors needed to hold governments to account is accurate information about what they're doing. Which means there's all the more reason for concern about the Cons' pattern of refusing to release public data and covering up their own actions. But on the bright side, the NDP's push to make government information public by default offers a much-needed contrast.

- Finally, Tim Harper suggests that the temporary foreign worker program is beyond fixing. And
the CP discusses the obvious alternative: rather than binding helpless temporary workers to a single employer for the sole purpose of suppressing their wages and working conditions, we should look to fill with immigrants who can hope to make a future in Canada.

Canada's political police?

Dawg's Blawg - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 05:55
Bob Paulson, the Commissioner of the RCMP, disgraces himself in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen today, going after journalist Stephen Maher for his very mild comments on the RCMP’s decision not to proceed with charges against Nigel Wright. Besides... Dr.Dawg http://drdawgsblawg.ca/

An Ugly Blast From The Past

Northern Reflections - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 05:47


It's not news to note that the Harper government is fixated on the past. From dropping the word "progressive" from the party's moniker to building a resource based economy -- with the focus on one resource -- the Harperites are detemined  to make the clock run backwards. And the "Fair" Elections Act is part of that agenda. Paul Adams writes that, when Canada was founded, the franchise was not available to everyone:

We tend to think of women’s suffrage as the last significant extension of the franchise, occurring around the time of the First World War. We also tend to think of the expansion of the franchise as a steady forward march. Bit by bit, more and more people got the vote, and steadily we become more democratic.

The process has been much more herky-jerky than that.

Two years after women got the vote, Parliament re-affirmed that aboriginal people, including Inuit, could not participate in elections. Nor could minorities such as Chinese, Japanese or Hindus vote federally in places such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan where they were barred from voting provincially.
Canada's first inhabitants have been overlooked since we -- the Europeans -- arrived.  Pierre Poilievre proposes to continue that policy:

Most Canadians don’t live on reserves. Most Canadians don’t have parents or grandparents who were forbidden from voting by law. And most Canadians would have trouble imagining the circumstances of those who do.

As First Nations leaders have pointed out, many people living on reserves don’t have driver’s licences or even bank accounts. Interestingly, ‘status cards’ — the core identification document on reserves — have a photograph but not the address required by the proposed bill. Moreover, these cards expire and may be difficult to renew.

We know that aboriginal people rely on the vouching provisions of the current law to a far greater degree than other Canadians for precisely those reasons.
Lurking not far beneath the suggestion that most Canadians think it is reasonable for voters to have ID in their pockets on election day is the sense that only the “deserving” — the upright, respectable citizens — should be participating in our democracy.
There is racism just below the surface of the "Fair" Elections Act. This is the government which tore up the Kelowna Accord and treated Chief Theresa Spence with contempt.

Without a doubt, the Harperites are an ugly blast from the past.


The Con Regime and the Whale Songs of Resistance

Montreal Simon - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 02:44


When I was a boy I sometimes used to dream about running away to sea. 

So the sight of that old sugar boat today, made me dream for a moment of sailing to some place far from Harperland.

Because this tortured country is getting crazier by the day.

And so is the monster who would destroy it.
Read more »

Whale of a tale

Cathie from Canada - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 22:51
Now, it could be that the Harper government's move to take humpback whales off the endangered species list  is just a routine change which echoes similar downgrades by environmental organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

And it could be that it is merely a happy coincidence such a downgrade means no protection of critical whale habitat will be required anymore if the Northern Gateway pipeline and Trans Mountain pipeline expansion just happen to be approved someday soon.

But this is a government that sends out press releases about the number of visitors Canada gets from the Philippines and how it has improved the internet in Ottawa Valley South, to name just two of the 21 press releases it sent out today.

And the whale news was just posted quietly on Easter Saturday in the Canada Gazette?  So who can possibly believe that they didn't intend to sneak this one past us all.

Luckily, the Harper Cons are about as sneaky as humpback whales themselves, so now everybody knows about it:

...if Ottawa approves the pipeline, it must still persuade Canadians that the highest environmental standards have been met. On that count, the Harper government’s recent decision to downgrade the protection of humpback whales off the B.C. coast ranks as an epic fail.


Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s recommendation to reclassify the humpbacks from “threatened” to a “species of special concern” removes a major hurdle for Gateway’s approval, just a couple of months before a decision is expected on the pipeline. Which is precisely why it should raise all sorts of red flags.

Happy Earth Day

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 11:12
I truly wish there was something to celebrate. Take a look at my previous post and the commentary from the Mound of Sound that accompanies it; then watch this short video.

Their commonality? A rapacious industry and an economic system that disdains impediments to their profits, and a federal government (a.k.a. the Harper regime) at their compete disposal.



Recommend this Post

Words Fail Me Here

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 08:21


Unequivocally evil is the only phrase I can think of to describe this ecological and environmental outrage. Read the story and draw your own conclusions:

Ottawa removing North Pacific humpback whales from list of ‘threatened’ speciesRecommend this Post

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 07:17
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Duncan Cameron writes that Canada needs a new political direction rather than just a new government - and offers some worthwhile suggestions as to what that might include:
The inter-generational bargain needs to be renewed. Today's workers pay for their past studies and future retirement. Investing in youth and providing for retirement has social benefits and requires collective support. Much can done through a serious progressive income tax, but notable additional sources of revenue for student grants and other social spending exist. A financial transaction tax for instance could raise an estimated $4 billion, and has wide support in public polling.

The biggest transfer of wealth in history is about to take place as the baby boomers pass on inherited wealth to their children. Inheritance needs to be taxed in Canada either as an ongoing wealth tax or through re-introducing succession duties.

Corporations are sitting on piles of wealth -- dead money, former Bank of Canada head Mark Carney called it. Erin Weir estimates that corporate cash on hand at the end of 2013 of $626 billion exceeds the federal debt of $611 billion. Tax idle capital and invest in public education, health, transport, culture and amateur sport.

Knowledgeable research shows that investing in early childhood education, reducing family poverty, improving social housing, ensuring gender equity, enhancing child-care facilities, adopting "living wage" policies, sane nutrition and agricultural practices, and promoting overall equality, reduces the cost of health care and improves the quality of life for everyone. Whether it be pioneering work by Dennis Raphael or the authoritative study by the World Health Organization, the benefits of enhanced equality for health are clear, and attainable when the social determinants of health are addressed successfully.- Meanwhile, Naomi Klein writes that the crisis of climate change is challenging humanity's ability to act collectively at a point when that capacity is in serious doubt:
Our problem is that the climate crisis hatched in our laps at a moment in history when political and social conditions were uniquely hostile to a problem of this nature and magnitude—that moment being the tail end of the go-go ’80s, the blastoff point for the crusade to spread deregulated capitalism around the world. Climate change is a collective problem demanding collective action the likes of which humanity has never actually accomplished. Yet it entered mainstream consciousness in the midst of an ideological war being waged on the very idea of the collective sphere.

This deeply unfortunate mistiming has created all sorts of barriers to our ability to respond effectively to this crisis. It has meant that corporate power was ascendant at the very moment when we needed to exert unprecedented controls over corporate behavior in order to protect life on earth. It has meant that regulation was a dirty word just when we needed those powers most. It has meant that we are ruled by a class of politicians who know only how to dismantle and starve public institutions, just when they most need to be fortified and reimagined. And it has meant that we are saddled with an apparatus of “free trade” deals that tie the hands of policy-makers just when they need maximum flexibility to achieve a massive energy transition.

...We also have to confront how the mismatch between climate change and market domination has created barriers within our very selves, making it harder to look at this most pressing of humanitarian crises with anything more than furtive, terrified glances. Because of the way our daily lives have been altered by both market and technological triumphalism, we lack many of the observational tools necessary to convince ourselves that climate change is real—let alone the confidence to believe that a different way of living is possible.

And little wonder: just when we needed to gather, our public sphere was disintegrating; just when we needed to consume less, consumerism took over virtually every aspect of our lives; just when we needed to slow down and notice, we sped up; and just when we needed longer time horizons, we were able to see only the immediate present.- Inga Ting discusses how Australia's two-tier health system has done nothing but make wait times longer for those who can't afford to jump a queue. And Andrew MacLeod reports on the attempt of Brian Day and other medical profiteers to force a similar system on the Canadian public - even as the Canadian Medical Association (having moved on from Day's profit-over-patient mentality) points out how poverty already serves as a serious barrier to health.

- Finally, Kathleen Geier takes her own look at the power of wealth in influencing public policy. Dave Gilson examines the preferential tax treatment for people who already have more than they need - a point which is equally applicable in Canada when one compares the CCCE's own numbers as to how small a percentage of income businesses pay in taxes to the rates applied to individuals. And Trish Hennessy warns against throwing taxes under the bus as an option to fund our social priorities.

How's He Doing?

Northern Reflections - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 05:39


This week marks the first anniversary of Justin Trudeau's ascension. Lawrence Martin writes that the Harperites are filling the air with polls. They have tried to make hay in the aftermath of Jim Flaherty's death, pushing the meme that he  -- and they --  have been superb economic managers. However,

Mr. Trudeau’s accomplishment has been to bring back the Liberal support base. That base is traditionally larger than the Conservative one. This has been evident in polls that have shown the Grits around 35 per cent and the Tories at around 30. That picture has held not only for the past year, but dating all the way back to September of 2012, when Mr. Trudeau announced his intention to seek the leadership. With his name on the ticket, hypothetical polls immediately showed the big change.

Tories hope that the corner is now being turned, that they’ll draw even with the Grits or close to it. If there is little or no movement, they might as well go back to the drawing board. It will be a clearer signal than ever that the economy cannot save them. It will be a signal that after many years in power, fatigue has set in and the public wants change, pure and simple.

This was the case in the latter years of the St. Laurent Liberals, the Pierre Trudeau Liberals, the Brian Mulroney Tories and others. If it wasn’t the policies that turned people off, it was the governing culture.
It seems increasingly clear that Mr. Harper and his acolytes have overstayed their welcome. Despite their economic hype, it's their style and their shift to the past which leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Canadians:

The culture of the Harper operation grates. A country is supposed to be governed by consent, not by coercion. With this man, there has been too much of the latter.

There’s that and there is the progressives’ argument that this is a country moving backward in time. Backward on criminal justice policies, backward on the environment, backward on labour rights, on democracy and backward, with the unremitting focus on resource exploitation, on economic vision.
By the end of the month Stephen Harper should have a good idea of how he's doing -- and whether or not it's time to head for the exit.



The Rise and Fall of the Porky Action Plan

Montreal Simon - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 03:18


Uh oh. Hold the bacon. It looks as if the Cons have finally realized that their Porky Action Plan ads are NOT as popular as they had hoped.

And although they have spent gazillions of OUR tax dollars to promote THEMSELVES.

Now they don't even dare ask Canadians what they think of them. 
Read more »

Jason Kenney and the Shameful Foreign Workers Scam

Montreal Simon - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 23:33


I've watched with growing anger how the Con regime has flooded this country with foreign workers, even though so many Canadians are unemployed.

I've watched them use the Temporary Foreign Worker's program to drive down wages and try to bust unions.

I've looked on helplessly as some of my own friends have been humiliated and turned into slaves, with no money, no hours, no job security, no benefits, no nothing.

But this is the limit, and enough is ENOUGH.
Read more »

ElectRight & Prime Contact Group - from a former candidate

Creekside - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 18:07
An election candidate who paid $22,000 to a voter contact/robocall firm in 2010 for a "Mayoral Victory Package" has a warning to similar aspirants for 2014 :  Ontario Candidate Watchdog. It's an interesting read.

According to James Jones' account, following the election he lost to his municipal rival, he and his rival shared notes about their respective voter contact firms - Jones used Prime Contact Group and his rival used ElectRight -  and found they'd both been sold the exact same polling information and, Jones contends, both were serviced by the same rep.
"What surprised me at the time was that his numbers were almost exactly the same as the poll numbers I had received from Prime Contact in August 2010. I went back to review my files that night and realized they weren't just close, they were exactly the same, down to the tenth of a percentage point for all candidates.  The next day, I asked him if he had received a similar house by house report from his ITR as I had received and if he would mind sharing it with me. The response numbers were exactly the same, every single response was exactly the same. These two ITR polls that had supposedly been conducted two weeks apart got responses from the same exact phone numbers and the same exact responses for all the candidates and undecided voters. I realized right away that we had both been sold the same poll results. My only consolation was that my friend had paid significantly more for his than I had for mine. Over the next few weeks we also compared our live call results and realized they matched exactly, except for the signs that had been requested for each of us. I also found out that my old friend Derek [his Prime Contact Group contact] had also been the client rep for Electright and had communicated with the other campaign as he had done for me."
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of his account as he has no contact info on his blog which was just set up last Thursday. And he does admit all this is legal.

But if true, it raises some interesting questions. Do ElectRight and Prime Contact work together and share outreach staff and information? Do they both use the same in-house resources or those of some other third party? Is there a parent clone company for both somewhere?



The Windsor Square interviewed Josh Justice, President of Prime Contact, in January 2012:
"A licensed provider of Canadian Data Services, Prime Contact offers such services as virtual town halls, live voter ID calling, automated surveys, market research, data services and polling.The company, with an office in Hamilton and headquarters in Tampa, Florida, started up 10 years ago consulting focusing on municipal elections. It has since grown to become Canada’s largest firm of its type “specifically on the municipal side,” according to Justice.Among the company’s successful clients include Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi."From a York Region interview in 2010 regarding a telephone townhall in Vaughan in October 2010:
"PrimeContact president Josh Justice said the company has done hundreds of these sessions across North America, mainly in the United States."I wonder if these US and Florida references about Prime Contact Group can be correct, given there's a little "Made in Canada" flag up there on their website?"PCG Research owns and operates a series integrated in-house research call centres in Ontario, Canada in which 100% of our domestic research is conducted.Global 
"Our successful international market research brings elements together to deliver research programs which enable our clients to address critical issues both locally and globally. PCG Research International is network flexible and we are not compelled to work with local subsidiaries or franchisees. We select local partners based on quality, track record, and compatibility. For qualitative work we will always send a team member to brief the local partner and engage in the local fieldwork process from beginning to end. Wherever possible, we try to meet local stakeholders and gain firsthand experience of local markets. " Ok then.


There have been a few glitches, as when they mistakenly mis-identified the NDP candidate as a Green Party candidate in a PCG National Research robocall poll in the London West election in July 2013 and no one could find out who had contracted the poll.   


 I don't know much about ElectRight, aside from the fact that Jim Ross, formerly of Front Porch Strategies,  apparently got a job there and a whole boatload of Con candidates used them in the 2011 federal election.

And Steve's then Parliamentary Secretary Dean Del Mastro used parliamentary resources to have them do a poll in support of a former staffer who was a provincial Con candidate in his riding -  
which must be what the Cons mean in their Fair Elections Act when they say they want to see politicians push the vote instead of Elections Canada.

So ... questions about robocall/voter contact company collusion from an ex-candidate.

I do have some reservations about Ontario Candidate Watchdog's  conclusions though :
"With potentially dozens of resellers all using Prime Contact's call centres and databases, including Electright, is it possible that this is the solution to the robocall mystery? Is the Derek that called me back in 2010 the real Pierre Poutine behind the voter suppression that confused tens of thousands of voters across Canada? Was it just a mistake, did Prime Contact call Liberal supporters by mistake with a suppression message, or did they just give the data to Electright?"Mixed up the Lib and Con lists by mistake? No. Because of what possible benefit would a list of wrong polling place addresses and phone numbers to make offensive phone calls be to anyone but the Cons for misleading their opponents'  supporters - the ones who got those calls. Ditto for impersonating Elections Canada. So no - no mistake.

But some damn good campaign advice there about making sure you get a signed contract in an election campaign nonetheless.
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