NCC article

Gerry Nichols, who heads up the National Citizens Coalition invited me to write an article about freedom/liberty issues and I agreed. What else to write about than blogging and its role in spreading liberty in Canada. The article will appear in next month’s newsletter and I’ve been given the go-ahead to give my readers a sneak peak here.

Beware The Blog!

The Internet is changing the way the world communicates and that’s good news for those of us who value freedom.

On an international level this new technology is breaking down barriers of communication and linking citizens in emergent democracies to ideologies and philosophies of freedom that were otherwise denied to them by their governments.

And here in Canada, blogging, podcasting and online communities are radically changing how information is handled, reported and interpreted.

The advent of blogging, in particular, has enabled every person to easily make their opinions available to a global audience. It has also provided Canadians with an alternative to the often biased mainstream news media.

Indeed it was to counter this bias that we started BloggingTories.ca, an online community of approximately 200 conservative-minded bloggers including several Conservative party MPs and candidates, journalists and authors.

These BloggingTories interpret Canadian news and events as they unfold free from the biased filter of the media.

And BloggingTories just don’t interpret the news. They also investigate and publicize facts and information the mainstream media either ignores or fails to uncover.

For instance, Blogging Tories have uncovered a variety of government-related concerns from the limited mandate of Justice John Gomery to the preponderance of Liberal donors on the boards of Crown corporations.

In fact, print and broadcast media have actually taken to publishing and broadcasting the opinions and findings of Blogging Tories.

All this has made our group a real thorn in the side of the ruling Liberal party.

But the value of blogging and the Internet goes beyond just making life difficult for Liberal politicians.

These new technologies, I believe, will also make it possible to sidestep the Liberal government’s notorious election gag laws.

Of course, supporters of the National Citizens Coalition know all about the gag law and how it stifles freedom of expression.

You know how it makes it a crime for citizens to freely and effectively communicate political opinions during elections and how the NCC bravely battled against them in the courts for more than 20 years.

You also know how last year the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed this horrible law as constitutional.

What you might not know, however, is that the gag law is designed to zero in on election expenditures.

Once you spend more than $500 on election advertising you must register with Elections Canada; you are not permitted to spend more than $150,000 on a national campaign; you can’t spend more than $3000 on a local campaign.

But blogging is virtually free. So the costs of getting your message out on the Internet falls far below the gag law imposed limits.

This opens the possibility of running an election ad campaign on the Internet. Why not? Certainly the value and widespread ease of dissemination of a blogger’s message can match or surpass any of the Liberal government’s paid propaganda.

My point is that citizens with a message for change are enabled by blogging; they can use it to weaken the grip of incumbents who craft anti-speech laws to protect their positions.

Of course, the government may yet move to control the Internet. The Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) is perhaps one of the most significant spoilers of free expression in this country and it likely has its eyes set on regulating cyberspace.

The CRTC may argue for instance that to be granted the right to broadcast information, one must apply for a license and must fall within the ideological mission of the government body.

At the present time however, the CRTC has not put up a significant challenge to the free expression of otherwise legal political opinion on the Internet. Time will reveal whether or not they will try.

In the meantime, the BloggingTories will continue to provide a grassroots voice for change.

And in the process these conservative-minded bloggers will reshape how we receive political news and commentary.

They are changing the concept of democracy.

Crown Corporation Board of Directors Proportion of Political Contributions Sorted by Party

About a week ago, I wrote of the hypocritical bias that exists at the CBC, our Canadian State Broadcasting Corporation. While they whined and complained at the mere notion of the arrival of any semblance of parity in debate in this country, I crunched some numbers and found how ‘fair and balanced’ they really are.

Today, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien testified at the Gomery Inquiry and provided little insight into the political direction which may have directed the program. Tomorrow, Paul Martin takes the stand and will mark the first time in Canadian history, since Sir John. A MacDonald, that a sitting Prime Minister has provided testimony in a judicial inquiry.

Anyways, we all remember how Paul Martin promised that he’d “get to the bottom” of the Sponsorship Scandal “come hell or high water” before the “most important election of our lives”? Or something like that…

Well, I just did Paul Martin’s job. I believe that I got to the bottom of the Sponsorship Scandal. I present the political contributions of the boards of directors of the very Crown corporations which are at the centre of the Liberal mess.

First Canada Post,

and now Via Rail,

I’ll let the data speak for itself. You might not have to be a Liberal to be a Canadian, but to get the posh government jobs you’d better be, and you’d better bring your chequebook.

Yes, I got to the bottom of the Sponsorship Scandal (well… at least further than Paul Martin has pretended). There is but one obvious truth to be learned from not only this data, but from this Liberal scandal in general:

Cronyism begets corruption.

Update: Ok, we’re corporate whores too (albeit less so), but check out the NDP!

Looks like I jumped the gun a little on displaying Mike Brock’s infographic as the truth, but in his defence, it was a result more of poor methodology than deceit. Mike took the numbers from 2003 and 2004 and put them together. The Conservative Party didn’t largely exist until 2004 and thus Mike should have added up the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative numbers. I’ve done that below. Further, bill C-24 limited individual and corporate contributions for 2004. So, I’ve done the numbers for 2003 and I’ve presented them below.

After my own research, these are the numbers that I came up with:

Liberal Party of Canada top donors.

  1. $2,974,341.20 55555 Inc. (Paul Martin Leadership Fund)
  2. $172,781.14 Canadian National Rail Company (Corporation)
  3. $148,257.17 Bombardier (Corporation)
  4. $135,889.00 Grant Forest Products (Corporation)
  5. $111,750.50 Bell Canada (Corporation) (Including BCE and Bell Globemedia)
  6. $106,055.65 Kruger Inc. (Corporation)
  7. $105,892.00 EnCana Corporation (Corporation)
  8. $104,726.70 SNC-Lavalin (Corporation)
  9. $100,000.00 Donald Meehan (Individual)
  10. $95,000.00 Power Corporation (Corporation)

Conservative Party of Canada top donors:

  1. $91,703.9 Scotiabank (Corporation)
  2. $70,976.64 Magna International (Corporation)
  3. $45,000 Power Corporation (Corporation)
  4. $41,015.34 Bank of Montreal (Corporation)
  5. $59,655.79 Bell Canada (including BCE and Bell Globemedia) (Corporation)
  6. $35,404.10 Telus Corporation (Corporation)
  7. $28,359.02 McCarthy Tétrault (Corporation)
  8. $25,000 CanWest Global Communications Corporation (Corporation)
  9. $22,820.00 Canadian Alliance Lethbridge Constituency Association (Non-profit organization)
  10. $20,000.00 George Weston (Individual)

and… holy crap, check out the NDP…

New Democratic Party top donors:

  1. $909,775.00 CEP (Trade Union)
  2. $775,919.60 UFCW Canada (Trade Union)
  3. $823,289.60 CAW (Trade Union)
  4. $374,789.68 CUPE (Trade Union)
  5. $791,064.34 USWA (Trade Union)
  6. $252,619.60 OPSEU (Trade Union)
  7. $219,440.00 Canadian Labour Congress (Trade Union)
  8. $205,900.00 IAM & AW (Trade Union)
  9. $159,850.00 SEIU (Trade Union)
  10. $105,246.40 Ontario Eng Catholic Teacher’s Association (Trade Union)

So, whenever somebody tells you that the Conservatives are influenced too much by “Big Business”, show them that the Liberals receive significantly more in cold cash contributions from corporations. Also, look at the NDP numbers. “Big Unions” have a significantly greater political influence on the NDP than “Big Business” ever had on the Liberals or Conservatives. A substantial problem is that as a union member, one doesn’t have much control over which political party to which their union dues are donated. As a corporate shareholder, however, one can always sell their shares.