Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chris Alexander, Minister of IMPs and ICTs

When Jason Kenney grandly announced his new temporary foreign worker program reforms last week - Putting Canadians First! - he slyly handed off the greater part of his troubles to Chris Alexander - Minister of Gollumization, Citizenship, and Immigration - and now also Minister of IMPs and ICTs.  

We don't hear much about IMPs (outside of childrens' books) - the International Mobility Program under which the majority of workers enter Canada. They do not have to pass a labour market test (LMIA) to determine whether they will be putting Canadians out of work because, as our new MinIMP explained, the program is intended to benefit not individual businesses by filling specific jobs, but rather "Canada as a whole".

Of the 221,273 foreign nationals who entered Canada in 2013, 38% came in under the TFWP, but 62% came in under the IMP - 83,740 vs 137,533

Then there's the ICTs - Intra-Company Transfers - also not reliant on LMIAs to safeguard Canadian jobs because they were created to allow multinational corps to move their skilled workers easily from country to country.

You may recall this whole TFW fiasco first blew up in the public eye because the Royal Bank farmed out part of its IT work to iGATE, a company that straddles US, Canada and India, who then cycled its workers in and out of Canada for training by RBC staffers they would later replace under an intra-company transfer
As RBC CEO Gord Nixon explained at the time, only one of them came into Canada as a TFW, and besides, RBC "does not get involved in the hiring practices of the companies it hires."

In BC, eight US construction workers were granted entry to BC by the CBSA under an ICT after a US company got the contract to build a wood-waste storage building near Prince George. These "specialized workers" included a former rancher and an apprentice roofer and produce clerk. Yea NAFTA! and all that, but don't we have enough ranchers, apprentice roofers, and produce clerks looking for any kind of work in Canada already?

Asked about the union-backed court case protesting import of the eight US workers, Kenney referred reporters to Chris Alexander, but a year ago he stated : "The obligations we have have for intra-company transfers are often hard-wired into trade agreements."

G&M, May 17, 2014 :
"The final text of the much-vaunted Canada-European Union free trade agreement (CETA) is expected to include a list of occupations that can be fast-tracked into Canada and would allow European firms to bring European workers into Canada through inter-company transfers ...  
The Conservative government has described the deal’s provisions for temporary entry of labour as “the most ambitious ever in a free trade agreement.”
Still you can't please everyone.
B.C.’s deputy premier and natural gas development minister Rich Coleman is worried Canada is going to "fail" if companies cannot hire temporary foreign workers for the 100,000 jobs needed to develop LNG export projects on the coast.

The Kitimat LNG project is co-owned by Canadian branches of U.S. energy giants Chevron Corp. and Apache Corp. Will they be bringing in their own workers?
TransCanada, once billed in the US as "an American company with operations in Canada", is slated to build a $1.9-billion pipeline link for Kitimat LNG project. 

In February Mr. Coleman announced there was "no question the industry will be looking to foreign workers to get up and running", and in March he touted the importance of being on 
"a continent with a lot more people south to us ... so we have access to other skilled labour on the continent and there are people who are very good at doing certain jobs - specialized welders." 
One presumes he isn't referring to the TransCanada welders on the southern leg of the Keystone XL Canada to Texas project
"Over 72 per cent of welds required repairs during one week. In another week, TransCanada stopped welding work after 205 of 425 welds required repair.
Inspections by the safety agency found TransCanada wasn’t using approved welding procedures to connect pipes, the letter said. The company had hired welders who weren’t qualified to work on the project because TransCanada used improper procedures to test them."

So. PM-hopeful Jason Kenney's TFW Program "will now refer to only those streams under which foreign workers enter Canada at the request of employers following approval through a new Labour Market Impact Assessment." 
For everything else - the difficult politically damaging bits - there's the guy wearing the IMP ears.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Harper's Perps with Perks #11

Welcome, Con MP Mark Adler, to the wonderful world of Harper's Perps with Perks. 

Mr. Adler is seen here on the other side of Steve from his old friend, convicted money launderer Nathan Jacobson, who fronted Adler $114,000 for a business venture but then wanted it repaid. Nuh uh uh, countered Adler when Jacobson sued him for it in 2011 - it had been a gift, "a friendly gesture" and he wasn't giving it back. Given the awful optics of Jacobson having just been arrested for being on the lam from US authorities while hanging out with his new Con buddies Jason Kenney and John Baird, Nigel Wright stepped in and pressured Adler into settling up.  

But all's well that ends well, right? Nigel Wright went on to buy off Mike Duffy for $90K, Jacobson went back to the states to try to rescind his 2008 guilty plea for internet racketeering, and Mark Adler went off to Israel with Steve where he made a public fool of himself pleading for a re-election "million dollar shot" with Steve at the sacred Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Ok, there was also that bit of bother last week about Adler having to return money he'd solicited from lobbyists registered to lobby the Dept of Finance who he'd held meetings with in connection to his official work on the finance committee, but let's not ruin the symmetry.

Harper's Parade of Perps with Perks!  Collect 'em all! - Amaze Your Friends! Special Canada Day Boxed Set! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yo! BC welders and pipe fitters!

A video follow-up to my Sunday post, Prepping TFWs for the Northern Gateway Pipeline 
Two Philippine press agencies reported on the Canadian Welding Bureau pre-accrediting welders in three schools in the Philippines and quoted a now-retired Canadian Welding Bureau Certification Services Representative as touting welding and pipe fitting jobs for temporary workers from the Philippines 
"when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to BC begins."

In light of the Canadian Welding Bureau's disclaimer in April 2014 denying their involvement :
"For the record, the CWB is not in the business of recruiting welders, either from the Philippines or elsewhere, or involved in any job placement schemes, contracts or agreements to enter Canada." 
... I'm posting the above video - presumed origin of the Philippine news reports. 
Transcript :
"Thousands of jobs for welders are expected to open up in the country within the next two years" 
"Thousands of jobs in the skilled trades were created in BC when the federal government gave the Vancouver Shipyards the $3.3billion contract to build ten new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard last year. This includes jobs in welding and pipe-fitting. Anticipating a possible shortage of qualified tradesmen, the Canadian Welding Bureau accredited test centres in the Philippines to screen well-trained welders. 
Bob Montes, Certification Services Representative, Canadian Welding Bureau, from Vancouver :
"The welders that we are training in Canada right now are not sufficient to fill that vacuum. That's why the Canadian government is looking, looking at hiring temporary workers from outside, and right now, the Philippines is very favorable place to hire welders. "
Montes adds that welders will also be in big demand when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to BC begins.  
He says Filipinos have a natural skill for welding and they have a huge plus over others.
"The advantage of the Filipinos is because they can understand and they can read and comprehend the standards. And when they come here, it's easy for the Canadians to give them instructions because instructions is a safety issue. If they cannot follow instructions, it will become a safety issue here. "
Montes says a skilled welder can earn from $50 plus per hour. 
Currently there are only three centres that are accredited by the Canadian Welding Bureau : Brilliant Metal Works, ZOIE Training Centre, and Primary Structures Educational Foundation - all in Cebu. 
Those who pass the test here can get a welding card that is valid anywhere in Canada. 
With this development, the Philippine Labour Office is confident that Canada will continue to hire more temporary foreign workers despite charges that the program is stealing jobs away from Canadians."
And voilĂ , Jason Kenney's new 10-day fast track stream for skilled temporary foreign workers is there to receive them.
Update : Financial Post, June 25 : "B.C. is counting on temporary foreign workers to help fill as many as 100,000 jobs if LNG projects materialize as planned."
Rich Coleman, Minister of LNG, in February 2014 :
"It's only foreign workers who possess the skills for some specialized work, he argued. "For instance, we don't have the skill sets in certain types of welding in Canada for these projects," Coleman said. "The best welders for these are actually from the Philippines."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Prepping TFWs for the Northern Gateway Pipeline

This week Employment Minister Jason Kenney replaced the old LMOA, Labour Market Opinion Assessment, with the brand new LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment - henceforth to be known as the LabourMinister Missing in Action program for its accelerated 10- working- day approval process to put TFWs in skilled trades.

Remember those 270 unionized welders and pipefitters laid off a Husky Sunrise tarsands project last October and replaced by temporary foreign workers? 
As one of the former workers explained
"We had to conduct a handover to Saipem, detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us ..."
And that happened because under the old LMOA, the federal government had an agreement with Alberta to exempt welders, heavy-duty mechanics and iron workers from the rules about having to ensure Canadian applicants got first crack at those jobs.

So how is Jason Kenney's new LabourMin Missing in Action program going to work?

Ok, bear with me here.
In April this year, the Canadian Welding Bureau or CWB, the Canadian welding certification and registration org, put out an unusual presser/disclaimer :
CWB defines position on temporary foreign workers
"There have recently been publicized reports that the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) is recruiting Filipino welders to fill welding jobs here in Canada, and in particular, to fill vacancies in the BC shipbuilding industry. These statements are incorrect. For the record, the CWB is not in the business of recruiting welders, either from the Philippines or elsewhere, or involved in any job placement schemes, contracts or agreements to enter Canada."
The presser goes on to explain that while the CWB has operations in the Philippines and 35 other countries, its mandate is to ensure the safety of Canadians and yada yada yada.

The CWB was responding to news stories in the Philippine press that the CWB was indeed doing exactly what its disclaimer denies :

More jobs for Pinoy welders in Canada  and Canada wants more Pinoy skilled workers
"British Columbia is on the hunt for Filipino welders and pipe-fitters as it anticipates a shortage of such skilled workers to build 10 new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard.Anticipating a possible shortage of qualified tradesmen, the Canadian Welding Bureau has accredited test centers in the Philippines to screen well-trained welders, reports ABS-CBN news. 
“The welders that we are training in Canada right now are not sufficient to fill that vacuum that’s why the Canadian government is looking of hiring temporary workers from outside, and right now, the Philippines is a very favorable place to hire the welders,” said Bob Montes, certification services representative of the Canadian Welding Bureau. 
Montes added that welders will also be in big demand when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia begins."  
And Bingo! - TFW welders for the Northern Gateway pipeline -- you know, to fill all those jobs Steve keeps promising us the pipeline will provide for Canadians - hence the new 10-working-day accelerated approval process for skilled workers.. 
"Currently, there are only three centers that are accredited by the Canadian Welding Bureau : Brilliant Metal Works, Zoie Training Center and Primary Structures Educational Foundation, all based in Cebu, Phillipines.Those who pass the test here will get a welding card that is valid anywhere in Canada.With these developments, the Philippine Labor Office is confident that Canada will continue to hire more temporary foreign workers despite charges that the program is stealing jobs away from Canadians."
Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) takes Cebu City by storm - August 2012
"A total of 120 students made it to the cut-off for the first batch of the Canadian Welding Bureau welding class ... with no less than the Canadian Consul to the Philippines Consul Robert Lee gracing the opening ceremony. 
"I want to make it my legacy sending world class Filipino welders to Canada before my retirement few years from now. We are proud to be part of this program being the first CWB welding school outside of Canada and the first in the whole world. With this CWB partnership with SKILLS, our people here in the Philippines will experience a world class training inside a welding facility designed using Canadian welding standards.”
The CWB training runs for eight (8) months holding classes five (5) hours daily from Monday to Friday. It is handled by Prof. Stuart Ring, a former teacher and a retired Canadian Pipe Fitter, duly certified by the Canadian Welding Bureau."

The Canadian Consul to the Philippines' words kinda reminds me of the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, planting a tree at the campus of outsourcing giant Infosys in India in February.

And finally, a CWB presser from Dec 2012
Canadian Welding Bureau Applauds New Federal Skilled Trades Program to Assist With Shortage of Welders
Craig Martin, vice president of the Office of Public Safety for the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) :
"CWB Group has been working diligently for some time in many countries, pre-qualifying welders so they meet Canadian standards and are job-ready before immigrating to Canada," said Mr. Martin. 
"We've developed relationships with training institutions in the Philippines and Suriname so their programs adhere to Canadian standards for training and certification. We have also certified companies and qualified welders from countries extending beyond our borders for several years. A program like this is a proactive step forward because it will further allow more CWB qualified welders to enter the country, provide exceptional craftsmanship and fill the ongoing shortage."

So is there any actual "ongoing shortage" of welders?
Let's go to Service Canada, bearing in mind the Alberta Federation of Labour says the feds rely on self-reporting industry surveys for their labour shortage stats ...

"The labour pool may vary considerably depending on the requirements for the position. That explains why this occupation has high unemployment but also a labour shortage.
In the positions that require a lower level of skill, such as unskilled positions as welders or related machine operators, the labour pool consists of experienced metallurgical workers who have received in-house training. This group includes welder/fitter helpers (see 9612, labourers in metal fabrication) and the many experienced unemployed welders and welder helpers. 
Incidentally, this is the labour pool with the highest unemployment."
Ok then.

Video Update

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The BC Northern Gateway Pipeline 21

21 Con MPs from BC who apparently side with Enbridge rather than BC.

Kerry-Lynne Findlay : "NEB JRP conducted a rigorous/independent science-based review, heard from 1450+ parties & reviewed over 175K pages of evidence"

Mark Warawa : "Panel heard +1450 participants, reviewed +175,000 pages of evidence & 9,000 letters Concluded pipeline n public interest, can build safely"

Bob Zimmer : "The National Energy Board (NEB) Joint Review Panel conducted a rigorous, independent, science-based review, hearing from over 1450 participants in 21 communities and reviewing over 175 000 pages of evidence and 9000 letters."

Ok, enough of the wurlitzer ... but just for fun -- James Lunney : "Science settled? Think again! The Global Warming Hiatus..NP

So how's everyone doing with having elected MPs to represent Enbridge to them? From Nanos :

and yesterday's CBC Power and Politics Poll :

BTW, Evan Solomon, when frequent CBC  "power panellist" Alise MIlls tells you that the government's pipeline approval is "fair and balanced" and 
"internal polling that I've seen from the company that I work with" shows "a much more moveable vote", 
that's your cue to mention that the company she works with is the oil industry front group British Columbians for Prosperity.  
The group's founder, ex-oilman Bruce Lounds, has said their funding comes from "a combination of private citizens and corporate donations", but according to Mills, "he is no longer one of the key decision makers in the group"  :
Mills downplayed the executive director's statements regarding funding, saying he is no longer one of the key decision makers in the group.  She added that she is, along with a Board of Directors.  She said she would eventually disclose the board's names and full budget.

The best Northern Gateway Pipeline approval quote comes not from any of the above MPS but from the father of one of them, Enbridge lobbyist Chuck Strahl :
 “The federal government is loathe to go against expert opinion on science-based reports.”
*cough*  5 times Canadians were utterly misled about the Northern Gateway pipeline  *cough*

Write to the Enbridge 21 here :

Subject : You let BC down by siding with Enbridge
Your government just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and supertankers project. But the people of BC have already said no, and this pipeline will never be built. 

Over 130 First Nations have created a united wall of opposition and have launched numerous legal challenges. Eight out of eleven communities in the path of the pipeline and tankers have rejected it, including Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Ft St James, Terrace, and Charlotte City. Even the entire Union of BC Municipalities voted to oppose the project, twice.  

Only two responses out of 1,161 to the Joint Review Panel were in support of the project, and public opinion polls have consistently shown 2/3 of the province is opposed.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway project threatens our coastal economy, our land, water, First Nations, and our independence as a province to make our own decisions about our future. 
As an MP from BC, you let us down. You could have helped defend beautiful British Columbia from the Enbridge project, but instead you chose to gamble BC’s future.
You and your party will pay a steep political price in BC.
Northern gateway will be an election issue in 2015, and I pledge to vote for a candidate who will stand up for BC and stop this pipeline from being built. 
[Your name here]

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I don't think you're supposed to say that out loud

On April 29, 2014, General Petraeus, former director of the CIA and commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, gave a talk on "leadership skills" in the "global war on terror" to members of the National Guard, some of whom had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
He was introduced by the Treasurer of North Dakota [bold : mine]
"Good evening. My name is Kelly Schmidt and I'm the Treasurer for the state of North Dakota.  It is my pleasure to have spent the day today with retired General David Petraeus. David and I have been out in the western portion of North Dakota where we have shared with him the challenges that we've been facing to help make our nation and our world an energy independent country so that you and your fellow officers and enlisted folks never have to go over there again in order to fight for the oil that we all need."
Ten days later on Parliament Hill, Commander Dress Up and Gov. Gen. David Johnston paid tribute to the 40,000 Canadian soldiers who took part in the 12-year Afghanistan conflict in a National Day of Honour.
Harper hailed the end of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan as a “significant milestone in the fight against global terror.”

Currently - eleven years after the US invaded Iraq, a country with a secular leader and almost no "jihadis" - ISIS, a jihadi group so extreme it has been denounced by Al Qaeda, is marching on Baghdad as the Iraqi army flees before it.
Iran has sent units of its Revolutionary Guard to Iraq to help defend Baghdad.
The President of Iran : "The Islamic Republic of Iran will apply all its efforts on the international and regional levels to confront terrorism.”

And so it goes .

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Decline Your Vote Elect Some Cons!

                                                                Post updated below

The option to formally Decline Your Vote in the Ontario provincial election tomorrow has been getting  some  press, with the OttawaCitizen even giving detailed instructions on how to do it. 

It's a brilliant strategy when you think about it - getting people in a province with under 50% voter turnout in the last provincial election to think they will be making a difference this time by refusing to vote.  Activism! Stand up for your right not to vote!
And who benefits from lower voter turnout when the contest is between the Harper/Hudak/Ford TeaCon Trifecta entry vs the other guys that progressives are generally pissed at and feeling "none of the above" about?

The man behind the Decline Your Vote campaign is former Campaign Research employee Paul Synnott. 
Quick refresher on Campaign Research from principal Kouvalis :

Synnott left Campaign Research in April 2010 to launch his own company, Polisource, from May 2010 to Dec. 2011, and rolled out his first Decline Your Vote campaign in Sept 2011:
" is a New Media Solutions company focusing on conservative Canadian Politics at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels.

Political campaigns in Canada are subject to strict spending limits. will help you deliver your message through the Internet utilizing the latest tools in a efficient, cost-effective manner."
Getting people to suppress their own votes would definitely qualify as cost-effective.

And despite his particular dislike of Hudakery, Synnott's conservative creds are not in doubt. He has worked on conservative election campaigns in Ontario and here's his upload of Kory Teneycke's Oily the Splot attack ad attacking Dion's carbon tax back in 2008.

But here's something I don't get.
From Synnott's Decline Your Vote website :
Join us in spreading the word about the option of "Declining Your Vote"  [Us?]

We are looking for individuals in all ridings to spread the word locally. There will be simple flyers you can download and distribute in your neighbourhood or across your city or town. We will have lawn signs available to print as well as a utility to make phone calls to educate people.

Social media will be a large part of our initiative, so if you can help us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - sign up below!
The following ridings are our "Top 10" to target : [Wed night update : additional riding info in red and orange was added by me and is not in original Decline post]                                                    
Brant                                       LIB        by 1106 votes
Etobicoke Centre                  LIB        by 7960 votes
Kitchener-Waterloo               NDP     by 3748 votes
London-West                         NDP     by 3278 votes
Mississauga-Erindale           LIB        by 4258 votes
Oakridges-Markham             LIB        by 4928 votes
Ottawa South                          LIB        by 1279 votes
St. Catherines                        LIB        by 1705 votes
Windsor-West                        LIB        by 3583 votes
Thunder Bay-Atikokan           LIB        by  438 votes 
Why them? I don't know enough about local Ontario politics to know why those "Top 10" ridings in particular were chosen to elect Conservatives merit your considered and principled lack of voting. Perhaps someone out there in Ontarioland could fill me in on that.

h/t Reddit via Stephen Lautens
Wed night Update : An answer as to why those particular ridings were targeted was provided by Brian Busby and Beijing York in comments. Seems they're currently held by Lib or NDP candidates in the 2011 provincial election and 2013 by-elections, while 8 out of 10 of those ridings voted Con federally.  
I've now added this info to Paul Synnott's original Decline Your Vote list above, as per Elections Ontario
Thurs am update : More dumbass media promotion of Decline :
Windsor Star : Decline your vote ?
NaPo : Ontario Election 2014: How to vote for 'none of the above'
and a good one from Alheli Picazo : 'Decline your vote' makes no difference - with Brian Busby and Synnott in comments!

Monday, June 09, 2014

RoboCon Robocalls Bingo!

As lawyers in the RoboCon CREEP showtrial of Michael Sona wrapped up their final summations today - -with both sides agreeing more than one person was behind the Guelph robocall scam and that the testimony of the Crown's *star witness* Conservative Christian Andrew Prescott against his old friend Michael Sona should, according to the prosecutionlikely be approached with caution” - - Prescott posted a "Bingo Card" of the type used as a campaign prop. 

So here's mine in response ...

Your Bingo mileage may vary.

Sona didn’t work alone in Guelph robocalls scheme, Crown alleges

Thursday, June 05, 2014

RoboCon CREEPshow trial of Michael Sona

At left is the draft statement robocall trial star witness and Guelph Con campaign worker Andrew Prescott sent to the accused, Michael Sona, in July 2013.
Read it first.  Really.

Three freaking years later and three days into the CREEPshow trial charging Michael Sona with sending robocalls out to more than 6,000 Guelph voters in the May 2, 2011 federal election directing them to the wrong poll locations, a couple of new things stand out.

It was indeed Andrew Prescott who logged out of his own account at RackNine on election day only to log back in again a few minutes later on the Pierre Jones/Poutine account. He did so on the instructions of Guelph election campaign chair Ken Morgan who gave him a handwitten note with the Poutine credentials. 

So Prescott was Poutine for Morgan in this instance of its use at least. However Prescott has an immunity deal with the Crown to testify against Sona and says he didn't know the significance of the alternate log-in until Sona mentioned "Pierre" later in the day in a toast that Prescott didn't remember until April 2014! 

So why isn't Guelph campaign chair Ken Morgan on trial here? Other than that he decamped to Kuwait in 2012 of course and has never been questioned by Elections Canada afawk. I guess it's a case of love the one you're with here. 

From the robocalls trial twitterfeed of Glen McGregor, Stephen Maher, Globals' Laura Stone, and Laura Payton at CBC. Excerpted  : 
  • Prescott says he was in Burke campaign office until the early hours, until sun up, on May 2 (e-day)
  • Sona was in his cubicle on that early morning of election day, Prescott says.
  • Prescott says Sona asked him about how to log into RackNine after 4:00 am on election day. "I was suspicious," he said [but he complied].
  • In February interviews with Elections Canada, Prescott couldn't recall Sona asking about RackNine.
Wait.  If, as per Matt Meier's testimony, the Pierre Poutine account on RackNine was set up on April 30, and if as Prescott is implying - Sona is Poutine, why would Sona be asking Prescott the following morning how to log in to RackNine?
  • When sun came up, Prescott says he slept on the couch in the office for a few hours.
  • Sona came out of office: "was shaking, ecstatic, and said in a low voice, 'It's working,'" Prescott says. Sona was "quiet, almost euphoric"
  • Later, as they heard [from their own supporters telling of calls saying that polling stations were closing early], Ken Morgan came up to Prescott and said "We need to counter this. They're bombing our supporters."
  • Then Morgan approached Prescott later day and said "I need you to stop the dial"
  • Morgan approached Prescott's desk; Prescott went to RackNine website and found he was logged in.
  • "I went to pending calls page and noticed there was a pending dial to go out and I immediately cancelled it," Prescott says.
After the election day vote count, Prescott :
  • People were having drinks and cigars, toasting Harper, "MIchael [Sona] had a cigar in his hand and said something like thanks, Pierre, and laughed" 
Interesting because their Guelph campaign had just lost the election so the thanks to "Pierre" would have been about bogus calls made to voters in 200 other ridings that Elections Canada has since completely lost any further interest in.
Also, Prescott says he did not *remember* Sona toasting "Pierre" until April 2014!

Also new and newish :
In Nov. 2011, RackNine CEO Matt Meier gave Prescott a heads up that Elections Canada Al Mathews was looking at Prescott's calls re fake polling station info before Mathews contacted Prescott the same month.
In March 2012, Meier discovered the Poutine IP info and passed it on to EC Al Mathews; he also copied the same data to Con headquarters.  
Prescott's memory of events three years ago has improved a lot over the telling :"The more I thought about it the better my recollections," Prescott said.
Given the appalling quality of his self-absolving testimony, you have to wonder why Prescott was granted immunity. Possibly CPC did not much care for his statement about Nixon dirty tricks (see pic).

Con layer Arthur Hamilton's four pet Hill staffers/interns also testified that Sona bragged to them afterwards about being Poutine and masterminding the whole shebang. Aside from the odd dramatic account of sign-stealing car chases, their accounts contributed nothing that wasn't already public knowledge from the media over the last three years. All very *mostly* lone wolf tv bad boy.

And it's a wrap. Sona not testifying, nor key players Ken Morgan, out of the country; Arthur Hamilton, instumental in setting up the case against Sona; and the frequently mentioned Jenni Byrne, who restricted EC access to witnesses, etc etc.

Pic at top via Laura Stone at Global is "draft statement Prescott read in court when he thought he wouldn't be able to attend CPC convention" because his name was connected to Poutine robocalls .
Note reference to Nixon's CREEP* and "widespread, national, well-organized scheme" and "not the work of any lone staffer". Prescott clarified yesterday his statement refers to national scheme, not Guelph.

OK then.

*CREEP : Richard Nixon's Committee for the Re- Election of the President, of Watergate fame

Monday, June 02, 2014

Geoff Norquay - temporary foreign workers lobbyist

Dear CBC Power and Politics : The next time you invite Harper's former director of communications Geoff Norquay onto your Power Panel to reflect on the issues of the day, I think it's time you mentioned that from November 2012 until Sept 2013 he was a lobbyist for Tim Hortons to : 
"increase the number of foreign temporary workers allowed into Canada under the Foreign Temporary Worker's Program".  
Norquay lobbied both Citizenship and Immigration and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Tim Hortons isn't Norquay's only TFW lobbying gig [bold italics - mine]: 
Client name: Microsoft Canada 
Lobbyist name: Geoff Norquay, Consultant 
Initial registration start date: 2006-04-06 to present
Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
  • Discussions with federal officials in the Departments of Employment and Social Development, Citizenship and Immigration, Industry Canada and Privy Council Office regarding the establishment of the British Columbia Excellence Centre to facilitate entry into Canada of foreign nationals to work in software development on a rotational basis under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
And lo - last month Microsoft announced it would be launching a Canada Excellence Centre in Vancouver. The news about it up here was pretty much all jobs jobs jobs :

CBC : Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre to bring 400 jobs to Vancouver

Vancouver Sun : Microsoft to open new centre in Vancouver, 400 new jobs

HuffPo Microsoft Canada Announces Vancouver Centre, 400 Jobs

South of the border however the same story was about how Microsoft was moving here to access Canada's more open policy to bringing in temporary foreign workers, after the US limit was reached for the year :
Canada welcomes any highly skilled worker who has a job offer, and salaries for tech workers are about 10 percent to 15 percent lower than in the U.S.
Karen Jones, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, says her company applied for about twice the roughly 750 H-1B visas it received for 2015. “The U.S. laws clearly did not meet our needs,” she says. “We have to look to other places.” Microsoft will hire and train 400 software developers from around the world to work on mobile and cloud projects. Jones says Microsoft didn’t choose to expand in Vancouver “purely for immigration purposes, but immigration is a factor.”
OK, so a boost to the economy but not 400 Canadians jobs.
Yeah, I think we heard about this plan in 2007 :  Microsoft sings 'O Canada' amid immigration challenges
"Amid challenges getting enough foreign programmers admitted into the U.S., Microsoft plans this fall to open a development center in Canada.The new software development center will open somewhere in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday.
"The Vancouver area is ... close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond, Washington."
H/t Bill Curry at G&M for mention of Norquay/Microsoft connection : 
Businesses lobby to salvage foreign worker program
although the quote from the lobbyist registry appears to be cut off at the bottom of the story just before the words "under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program" 

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