Liberals use CBSA for translation services

Ottawa has been scandal-prone of late in its inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Here we have a story about the inappropriate use of government resources for partisan activity. Such abuse has come to light after documents were released under Access to Information. They describe a request from an official with the Vanier Liberal Electoral District Association for translation to Hélène-Louise Gauthier, the Director of HQ Accommodations for the Infrastructure and Environmental Operations Directorate for the Canadian Border Services Agency.

This request from the Liberal Party was fulfilled using a Government of Canada email address. It is unknown if this was done on government time despite government resources being used to respond to the request. The translated document was the agenda for the 2013 Liberal Ottawa-Vanier AGM.

Of course, it is inappropriate for government officials to be using government resources to do partisan work. I reached out to the Minister of Public Safety for comment. The Minister’s Office verified the documents and Julie Carmichael, the Vic Toews’s director of communications replied,

“We were shocked to learn that senior Liberal MP Mauril Belanger utilized a backroom Liberal operative to do partisan work at taxpayers expense. The CBSA is looking into this blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars. We call on Justin Trudeau to immediately discipline Mauril Belanger for this inappropriate behaviour and come clean to Canadians about any other backroom operatives using taxpayer dollars.”

A media firestorm broke out after it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office used taxpayers resources to make a political attack against the leader of Canada’s third party in Parliament, Justin Trudeau. Revealed via the Barrie Examiner, the attack was political but wasn’t done on behalf of a political organization outside of government. However in this CBSA example, taxpayer dollars were used directly to benefit the administrative goals of a partisan organization.

Prime Minister’s Office condemns rap video that glorifies Taliban terrorists

Your tax dollars are going to fund anti-Canadian propaganda that sympathizes with the Taliban and glorifies violence against Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister’s Office sent out an email late this evening condemning rapper Manu Militari for producing a music video that disrespects our men and women in uniform,

Despite strong words from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Canadian taxpayer helped foot the bill for the production of the Manu Militari rap video and they also help fund the rapper’s music career and national marketing.

MusicAction is a non-profit organization funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and private broadcasters to produce and market the music of francophone artists. Since 1985, more than $90 million has been granted to this organization.

For 2012-2013, Manu Militari is slated to receive:
$7,705 (Album Production)
$25,000 (National Marketing)

In 2011-2012, Manu Militari received:
$20,000 (Album Production)

In 2009-2010, Manu Militari received:
$7,100 (Songwriting and contribution grants)

According to an annual report from MusicAction from 2008-2009, Manu Militari received the following funding from the organization:
$5,000 (Artist Management)
$20,000 (Album Production)
$25,000 (National Marketing)

Here is the video that is referenced by the Prime Minister’s Office (it was taken off of YouTube and now has been rehosted by Sun News),

And here are the roughly translated lyrics,

1431, Pashtunistan.


Before the first prayer of the day.


I leave my lair, a scarf tied around my neck.


My eyes scan the sky in search of a drone – as if I’d have time to run before the missile hits.


As I walk, I question myself about a thousand things at once but if I continue my journey it’s because [?] strengthens my faith.


I cross the rivers and the ravines of my tribal country. After many hours I finally make it to the side of the main road.


I get out my shovel, I hurry up to dig a hole in the ground to put an explosive charge of agricultural fertilizers.


Inside there isn’t any metal, the trap is undetectable. I just have to erase my tracks before going to the mountain.


I position myself strategically, I just hope that nobody spotted me by satellite.


I just try to calm my fear, ready for the ambush, finger on the detonator, I’m in no hurry, so I wait.


I’m waiting for the one, who should have stayed home.
I’m waiting, and as goes the old Afghan proverb: they may have the watches, but we have time.
I’m waiting for the one, who should have stayed home.
I’m waiting, and as goes the old Afghan proverb: they may kill the swallows, but they won’t stop the spring from coming.


[6 months earlier]


It’s been hours, the light has chased away the darkness, I realize just how close the road is.


Squinting, I may look stressed, but I’m reflecting – just like the sun on my RPG.


I’m aware that if I’m ever caught they’ll torture me or photograph me naked on all fours.


As if I was just a [?] I get wrongly accused [?]


As if [?] was like a cancerous virus, as if I had no children or no tenderness, as if I swept my cave with my wife’s hair, and I warmed myself at night with napalm.


As if I was a mentally ill, an extremist, but there are signs for thinking people.


I’ve been disfigured, I had acid thrown in my face, scratched out my image to better raze my village to the ground.


I’m not the kind that panics under fire, I have already kicked the butt of the British Empire.


I’m ready to do the same thing, I’m fighting for the same cause, I always refused the peace imposed by the occupier.


I’m far from being a beginner, I’m not afraid of wasting time, I’m ready, I have weapons and powerful arguments.


I want to free my land, is not about religion, turn off your TVs: I’ve never hijacked a plane.


I’ve fought against poppy cultivation, now if I’m growing it, it is to live, it’s you who’ve pushed me to do it.


I am not perfect. My way of life has created victims, but the attacks on my country have made me legit.


I’m waiting for the one, who should have stayed home.
I’m waiting, and as goes the old Afghan proverb: they may have the watches, but we have time.
I’m waiting for the one, who should have stayed home.
I’m waiting, and as goes the old Afghan proverb: they may kill the swallows, but they won’t stop the spring from coming.


I was about to fall asleep, when I detect the sound of an engine, which paralyzes my legs makes my heart race.


I lean hard against a rock, I am afraid of being poorly hidden. I look one last time to see if my weapon is ready to fire.


Death is so close, I’m already reciting the [?] The enemy approaches, I recognize Canada’s colors.


Like a hundred countries, adrenaline flows through me, in a few seconds they will understand how much I hate them.


The wait is almost endless, but I ready to make sure no one slip by me. Eventually the invader reaches my position, I feel so much stress I am feeling sick to my heart.


I let a first humvee pass, even a second disappears, but the third: say hello to the devil for me.

Early details about the Liberal leadership race

Remember the Liberal Party of Canada? The House of Commons third-place party has had the luxury of waiting in order to replace Michael Ignatieff with a permanent leader. Former Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae has stepped in to fill the void in the interim, however, his critics suggest that his plan is to use the office of the Liberal leader to promote and entrench himself to give himself advantage in an eventual leadership contest.

Details are starting to emerge from various Liberal camps upset with this very real scenario. The newly elected Liberal President Michael Crawley was backed by a younger generation of Liberals who have influence behind the scenes of the party in Ottawa. The nightmare scenario for many of these Liberals would have been to present a “renewed” party with Sheila Copps as their President and Bob Rae as their leader. These Liberals have been moving Crawley to define the upcoming leadership race.

I’ve learned that Crawley and Rae will likely agree that the latter must hand over his “interim” title at the end of this spring sitting of Parliament as the House rises for summer.

Also, the projected date of the Liberal leadership race, according to my sources, will put the leadership election date in March or May of 2013. Rae will likely want a shorter race and I’ve heard that March 2013 would be his preferred date. This may indeed be the concession reached, despite the protestation of the other candidates.

As for these other candidates for Liberal leadership, I’ve heard the names David Bertschi, Martha Hall-Findley, Marc Garneau and David Merner.

About that National Post op-ed…

A few days ago, the esteemed Kelly McParland of the National Post published a piece on the Post’s online group blog Full Comment on the Quebec student protests and education boycott.

He included this paragraph,

[The York Federation of Students’ (and various leftwing groups’)] petition, posted on the website of Stephen Taylor, director of the National Citizens Coalition, heaps praise on the efforts of the small minority of Quebec post-secondary students who managed to disrupt the final weeks of the school year through a program of street violence and intimidation.

I read the piece on Full Comment at the time and it didn’t strike me as odd or out of place. But then again, I know my position on the student protests and McParland does too as he published my own op-ed in Full Comment on the Quebec student protests and how Charest would do well to polarize against them. In fact, McParland has been nothing but fair to me and, as you can see, has been good enough to me to encourage my own contributions.

Yet, the piece ran in print today and boy, did we get letters at the National Citizens Coalition! Are we in favour of the student demonstrations in Quebec? Have we donned red squares and joined the riots? Have we lost our good conservative minds?

No, no, and no.

It is the petition that I uncovered that heaps praise on the protesters. It of course heaps praise upon them because it was written by Ontario Marxists. I was only bringing it to everyone’s attention. The sentence structure in McParland’s op-ed takes two ideas (my website and the petition) and breaks the flow between mutually exclusive actions (posting and praise). I posted the petition. The petition praises the protesters.

In short, I think the petition is mad. And those spoiled students don’t know how good they’ll still have it in seven years time.

I hope that clears things up!

Quebec-style student strike to come to Ontario?

The entitled madness may be building in Canada.

Members of the Canadian Federation of Students are petitioning the organization to call an Ontario-wide strike vote this fall in order to show solidarity with the students in Quebec. Here is their letter,

Redford’s new ad

Take a look at the PC Party of Alberta’s new ad featuring their leader Alison Redford. In the ad, there’s a featured shot of an oil production facility with the words “Leading the Nation”.

Here’s a still from the video:

Video producers take stock video from stock video websites in order to make ads. This video is from Canada-based iStockphoto. You can see the video on the website here.

The title of the video? “oil drill platform sailing under sky”

Uh oh! How many sea-faring oil platforms does the coastal province of Alberta have?

(h/t @Johnnyjesus)

UPDATE: iStockphoto search tags for this video include the term “Yellow Sea” which is a body of water just off the coast of China. If you view the Redford ad in HD, you can even see the Chinese flag on the oil rig:

“Leading The Nation”?

Redford’s stock video of “Alberta” comes from just off the coast of China. In an ad that seeks to illustrate the Alberta economy, this is an odd clip to use.

UPDATE: The Redford video has been made “private” by PC Alberta meaning it is unviewable on their account for now. Luckily I had the relevant part of the video stored in my browser cache. I have re-uploaded the first part of the video to YouTube. Here is the controversial part of the ad that the PC Party presumably doesn’t want you to see:

New Poll: Wildrose up by 17 points

Another poll shocker from Campaign Research today as their latest tracking poll shows the Wildrose Party in Alberta up by 17 points over the PC Party.

You’ll remember a week ago that Campaign Research first released their poll via this website and had Wildrose up by 9 points while other pollsters had the PCs tied with Wildrose. In the following days, other pollsters caught up to confirm the 9 point lead.

Now, this poll show’s Danielle Smith’s Wildrose up by 17 points.

Here are the other highlights:
– Wildrose would take 45.5% of the popular vote if an election were held today
– PCs at 28.4%
– gap closing in Edmonton, expanding in Calgary and rural areas
– Wildrose 50.0% in Calgary, 28.1% in Edmonton, and 51.9% in the rest of Alberta
– Best Premier poll: Smith has 30.5%, Redford has 28.9%

UPDATE: Here is the Campaign Research press release,

It’s getting nasty in Alberta

Well, that didn’t take long. After Alberta Premier Alison Redford promised a few days ago to run a positive campaign, this tweet from one of her staffers regarding Redford’s chief political opponent Danielle Smith from the Wildrose Party,

Amanda Wilkie is listed as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Office of the Premier (Southern Alberta Office).

Redford cited former Premier Ed Stelmach’s concern about the current election,

Redford says recently, on what she says “must have been a particularly heavy day,” she thought about the speech Premier Ed delivered when he threw in the towel. At the time, Stelmach warned of a “profound danger” that this very election would focus “on personality and U.S-style negative attack politics.”

“He was very specific about that and he was very right,” says Redford, calling this “a pretty emotional time right now in Alberta.”

This latest campaign gaffe comes after the PCs were accused of push polling — Smith’s own father was even allegedly a target of the tactic.

Alberta politics is getting a bit nasty. And as for Wilkie’s tweet? She later apologized,

UPDATE: Danielle Smith has responded,

March 31, 2012 (Calgary, AB): Today Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith issued the following statement in response to comments made by a Staffer in Premier Redford’s Calgary office regarding the Wildrose Family Pack.

“In the last day the question has been raised about why I don’t have children of my own. When David and I married in 2006 we intended to have children together. After a few years we sought help from the Calgary Regional Fertility Clinic. I appreciated the support and assistance of the caring staff as we went through tests and treatments, but in the end we were not successful.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have a terrific stepson, Jonathan, David’s son from a previous marriage. I am also blessed to have grown up in a large family with four siblings who have given me the opportunity to be the auntie of 5 terrific nieces and nephews: Emily, Sam, Chloe, Seyenna and Logan.

“Family is very important to me and I consider this to be a very personal matter. I will not be commenting on it further.”

UPDATE: Alison Redford has responded,

Edmonton, AB – Premier Alison Redford released the following statement today:

“Alberta is made up of all types of families. Each one has a story. Each one is unique. There is no one type of family that is more authentic than the other.

Last night, a tweet was sent that was entirely inappropriate. It was hurtful and does not reflect my values nor those of my campaign in any way.

Once I became aware of the tweet, I called Danielle Smith immediately. I look forward to speaking with her privately.

The young woman who authored the tweet has resigned from her position. From that action I know she understands the gravity of her actions.”

Who is Pierre Poutine?

John Ivison published an interesting piece in the National Post last week that breezed by what would have been technobabble to some,

Mr. Meier set out to follow the digital trail himself. Pierre Jones had covered his tracks sufficiently that a “burner” phone, PayPal account and the Gmail address he’d been using offered no clues. Mr. Meier spent hours piecing together a “session log,” breaking down when Pierre Jones used the RackNine system and what he did while on it. “We put it together one Lego block at a time. It pierces the veil to indicate who is using the system,” he said.

Mr. Meier said he had his “Eureka” moment at 3 a.m. one morning, and by 5 a.m. had written a 22 page report for Elections Canada. “He [Pierre Jones] screwed up. Just for a fraction of a second but it was enough for me to find him,” he said.

Let’s get right to the point.

A “cookie” in web browsing terms is a string of characters that is stored in a file on your computer that your computer relays back to a website when you’re browsing. For example, when you login to a website, the reason why you can go from one page to another is because of this file stored on the user’s computer. A secure site (e.g. gmail) asks the computer if it has any of that site’s cookies on its hard-drive. If so, what does the cookie say? If the cookie has the same encoded string common to what the site is expecting, the user can proceed to the next page, and the next without having to login for each new page.

Session are a bit different but are similar in tracking utility. From,

Sessions are not reliant on the user allowing a cookie. They work instead like a token allowing access and passing information while the user has their browser open. The problem with sessions is that when you close your browser you also lose the session. So, if you had a site requiring a login, this couldn’t be saved as a session like it could as a cookie, and the user would be forced to re-login every time they visit.

So, Meier reconstructed the session log, and had a Eureka moment. This means that there was likely a common session linking two users. This likely means that one ‘client’ of Racknine’s logged out of Racknine’s web interface. Likely holding a session token on the same computer, another ‘client’ (Poutine) was logged in. Oops.

To see an example of this, logout of Facebook and look at the url. Logging in with new credentials can store the session key under the newly logged in user as well.

We can deduce that Pierre Poutine very possibly used the same computer as another legitimate user account on Racknine. Alternatively, a web url with a session key (e.g. could have been shared from one user on one computer to another computer.