Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On tangled webs

The Cons haven't made any secret of their intention to make use of the Conadscam scheme again in the next federal election unless a court tells them they can't (and regardless of whether Elections Canada or anybody else points out that it's against the law). But let's note that it isn't only the central party which is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that it's in legal jeopardy, as the Cons' Calgary foundation is also showing signs of rot:
Although the University of Calgary has severed all ties with the Friends of Science and shut down the accounts which were set up in 2004 by political science professor Barry Cooper, the anti-Kyoto group is still using the same charity, the Calgary Foundation, to collect money and issue tax deductible receipts for anonymous donors.

The money is now going through an independent think tank, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg, which has received at least $50,000 since last fall, according to a document released by the Calgary Foundation. The Frontier Centre has indicated that it wants to produce a climate change video for children in schools.
Of course, it's worth pointing out one glaring flaw in the article's discussion.

In case there was any doubt, the new, "independent" recipient of Barry Cooper's largesse would be the same Frontier Centre for Public Policy which was hand-picked by the Cons for a six-figure federal contract to consult about electoral reform - despite the group's acknowledged lack of expertise in the area, and a clear bias against electoral reform in what little material it had disseminated on the topic. Naturally, it didn't take long for the group to be embarrassed when one of its subcontractors decided to put together its focus groups based on word of mouth rather than any process which could possibly lead to a diverse set of viewpoints. And the Frontier Centre was also called on to speak for the Cons' position on the farcical Canadian Wheat Board barley plebiscite.

In other words, after being caught wrongly interfering with the 2006 election, the Friends of Science have simply pivoted from direct political intervention to taking on a role funding a different part of the Cons' right-wing noise machine. Which can only make it clear just how little claim any of the groups involved can have to anything approaching independence - and how little plausibility the Cons themselves having in trying to deny links to or among the groups involved.

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