Last week, the Star published a half dozen articles based on secret memos and a 70-page slide show about the Cons’ 2015 election war room strategies, anonymously leaked to them, and as presented to the Conservative National Council (above) by Harper’s former dcomm and now executive director of the CPC, Dimitri Soudas:
“Everything we do is part of the strategy to ensure we win in 2015 with another majority government”
The campaign is slated to start this spring.
“Soudas, Industry Minister James Moore (or Heritage Minister Shelly Glover as backup), former PMO chief of staff Guy Giorno, and a “yet-to-be-determined” Conservative who will be blogging for Macleans [sic] magazine”;
leveraging Laureen into the public eye; and data-scraping comments under articles, Twitter, and Facebook for possible supporters to add to their CIMS/CVote database.
Blurring the lines between the public service and the Con Party, on our dime, has been a Con specialty.
Prior to the last election, one of Jason Kenney’s staffers was forced to resign after sending out a Con fundraising letter to target “very ethnic” ridings on Immigration Ministry letterhead. He was then rehired and given a promotion in the same ministry three months later.
In March of 2013, Michael Sona, Con volunteer in the 2011 election fraud riding of Guelph who afterwards became a staffer to Dimitri Soudas’ wife, MP Eve Adams, tweeted about Hill staffers building the CIMS:
That would be gov staffers in the public service working on the Hill adding info about Canadians to a partisan Con Party election campaign database.
And, as reported in The Tyee, in the same month Blogging Tory founder Stephen Taylor bragged to his Enbridge and TransCanada-sponsored “Big Data” audience at the Manning Centre for Building Democracy about the Conservative Caucus Research Bureau using taxpayer dollars to micro-target voters in 2008:
“[The party] sent out, I think, probably a hundred million pieces of mail. Paid for by the taxpayer, I should say. They were each barcoded, and they were each very issue-specific. Most people would sort of ignore it or say ‘this is garbage.’ But the few people who would actually send it back and say ‘Hell yeah, that’s what I’m all about’ — you would be able to put them in a database.”
The Tyee also reported that, “from now until the next election,” the School of Practical Politics at the Manning Centre would “be training thousands of volunteers online and at the school’s new campus in Calgary.”
The newly leaked docs from the Star indicate the sort of thing they might be up to. On data-mining Facebook:
“The slide show points to radio station CFRA’s Lowell Green, whom it identifies as an ‘Ottawa based conservative leaning talk show host.’ It says a ‘recent Facebook posting—non-issue’ received 55 Facebook ‘likes.’ The document says the party was able to ‘positively identify 38 constituents (70 per cent ID rate).’ Of those 38, it said five ‘are current members/donors.'”
A simple Facebook application can be used to ask “Have you voted yet?”:
If a voter clicks yes, “I voted,” the party would then place a badge in their friends’ news feeds saying “I Have Voted, Have You?”
Notably, the Fair Elections Act that the Cons are in such a rush to bash through Parliament paves the way for such online get-out-the-vote tactics. No mention is made in it of data scoping, while targeting and contacting “current members/donors” like those mentioned above will no longer count as an election campaign expense after the writ is dropped.
And with Elections Canada’s investigatory function now relocated to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under Peter MacKay, we’ll likely never get to hear about how our tax dollars and the Cons’ new legislation are working hand-in-hand to win them another majority.