Green TV

Apparently, the Conservatives are not the only ones with money for TV ads:

Green Party releases its first ever television commercials in Quebec

MONTREAL – The Green Party of Canada has released the first television election commercials in Quebec during the by-elections in Westmount – Ville-Marie. Deputy leader Claude William Genest, Green Party candidate in the riding, is featured in the commercials.

The commercials highlight Mr. Genest discussing issues that matter to voters, such as the need for action on climate change and for a fresh Green voice in Parliament. He also focuses on the continued leaching of PCBs into the St. Lawrence river.

“I am proud to be the ambassador bringing the Green vision to every household in Quebec”, said Mr Genest. “This upcoming election is a historic opportunity for the voters of Westmount – Ville-Marie by electing me as the first Green Member of Parliament in North America.”

“The Green Party is the only federal party to have grown since the last election. Our new television presence reflects our continued growth and our commitment to spread the Green message.”

The three advertisements will air regularly until the day of the election and will be available on the campaign website as well as YouTube. [Ed note: Couldn't find them there at time of the party's release or this posting …]

Biden Train Travel

It's odd what trivia will stick in your mind — but watching the DNC tonight, I wondered how a guy can commute two hours each day to work for years and years. Well, Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden does it but he does it on a train in a travel corridor where, I assume, high-speed wireless network is available and he can get some work done.

Still it ain't cheap to commute back and forth between Wilmington, DE and Washington DC.

Amtrak will charge you $1,062 a month for unlimited travel between Wilmington and Washington or Biden could buy a 10-trip ticket — a workweek's worth of back-and-forth rides costs $472 (monthly cost of $1,888 that way).

I suspect Biden buys one of those bulk options but if he just paid one way, he could pay between $236 or $88 for a round-trip.

The higher price is for the express although it's an express with one stop in Baltimore. That express leaves Wilmington at 7:34 am and pulls into Washington's Union Station at 08:55. I assume Biden would be on the 7 pm train outbound from Washington, which gets him back to Delaware by 8:12 pm.

If he's delayed, he can take a train leaving Washington as late as 10 pm, which gets him to Delaware at 11:36 pm.

Golfing before the storm: A Ralph and Sam moment


I grew up watching Merry Melodies cartoons and my favourite bits included the battle between Sam, the sheepdog and Ralph, the coyote (a coyote that looked a lot like Wile E. Coyote). You remember the opening scene? Sheepdog with lunchpail shows up to punch the clock; sees Coyote with lunchpail. Sheepdog: “Morning, Ralph.” Coyote: “Morning, Sam”. It was a friendly exchange common among a couple of co-workers. They would then proceed to the day's work of Coyote trying to steal the sheep and being caught each time by the sheepdog who would then proceed to beat the heck out of Coyote. At the end of the day, whistle would blow, and the pair would punch out for the day. “Night, Sam”. “Night Ralph”.

These were professional opponents, sworn enemies that literally tried to kill each other during the workday but could exhibit some congeniality outside the work day.

Something like that happens everyday here in Ottawa between the “dirty tricks gang” of both the Conservatives and the Liberals. These folks, officially known as the Conservative Research Group (CRG) and the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau (LRB), are sworn enemies of each other and yet, every day, they show up for work in the same building — a brand new office tower just a block off the Parliament Hill — use the same coffee stand, share the same elevator and then, after polite small talk, head into their offices two floors apart to start figuring out what ways to metaphorically bash the other guy's political leaders.

200808271123 Today, a CRG staffer came to work and instead of saying “Hi Sam” to his LRB counterpart, ran to grab his digital camera (standard outfit issue for the dirty tricks gang) to take some pictures of the LRB folks. The Liberals were sitting in the lobby with golf gear and golf bags at the ready, about to head off for a day on the links. Apparently, it was a pre-planned tournament type-of-thing involving most members of the LRB and they were determined to proceed even though, just hours earlier, the PMO had ordered the Governor General to cancel a planned trip to China which most inside the bubble here in Ottawa took as virtual confirmation that the Prime Minister will call a general election next Thursday or Friday. “We think its prudent the GG stay at home,” PMO spokesperson Dimitri Soudas said with a straight face when asked about it.

A Conservative who will remain unidentified sent along this picture of the LRB folks ready for golf this morning. “The Liberal grassroots is out there fighting byelections or getting ready for a fall election, and these guys, who are responsible for election readiness, are going golfing?”

I am also informed by another source that there were at least two, and may have been more, last-minute cancellations by Liberal staffers who stayed in the office.

So there you go. Make of this what you will. Will grassroots Liberals be outraged? Will any Conservatives be allowed to golf before Stephen Harper is returned to Parliament with a majority? Stay tuned. In the meantime, Sam and Ralph will soon take their bash-each-other show on the road for a national audience.

The LOP's Editorial comment?

A few minutes of mid-day browsing through the “new books” shelf in the Library of Parliament (LOP) in the Centre Block, I note the following titles on the “Fiction” shelf:
Austin Clarke's “The Polished Hoe”
J.M. Coetzee's “Elizabeth Costello”
Douglas Coupland's “The Gum Thief”
And …
Jean Chretien's “My Years as Prime Minister”

The Democrats on their first night: Refraining from McCain attacks was a good idea


It was fascinating to watch the first night of the Democratic National Convention. I watched the proceedings on CNN. One of CNN's more thoughtful analysts is Jeffrey Toobin. At the conclusion of both Ted Kennedy's (left) and Michelle Obama's speeches, Toobin complained that the Democrats had not spent enough time attacking their Republican opponent, John McCain. Democrat (and Clinton) pit bull was more vocal in criticizing campaign organizer for not enough “red meat” in their opening evening.

I disagree — and my disagreement is based on my experience watching the 2006 Canadian election unfold.

In late 2005, my Canadian readers will recall, the Liberal government was on its last legs and its chief opponent, the Conservatives had, in the Gomery Commission's conclusions, one of the biggest bats a challenger to a government has ever had and most pundits on Parliament Hill expected the Conservatives to be merciless in beating the Liberals with that bat during the campaign that ran from December, 2005 and January, 2006.

But, lo and behold, when Stephen Harper began campaigning, he hardly mentioned the Liberals. Instead, he laid out his party's platform and gave voters a reason to vote for him and his party. I remember speaking to some Conservative strategists at the time and they felt that most Canadian voters already knew about all the perceived defects of the Liberals. Their job was to sell their guy, to make sure that Canadians not only felt good about throwing out the Liberals but also good about voting in the Conservative pretender.

The Democrats who organized tonight's program in Denver seemed to understand the same point that Conservatives in Canada understood about their opponents, the Liberals, in late 2005. Democratic Party organizers must, at this point in the election cycle, know that many of their potential voters in America already understand that George Bush's presidency has been a disaster and that John McCain is Bush's heir. Just as Stephen Harper felt he didn't need to tell Canadians about the sins of his opponent, the Democrats don't always need to be bashing McCain. Instead, Democrats, like the Conservatives three years ago, need to build a positive narrative, telling voters, 'Ok: We know why you want to vote against our opponent. Now let us tell you why  you should vote for our guy.” Democrats, particularly those who backed Hilary Clinton and have yet to endorse Obama, needed to hear that narrative. (Indeed, George Stephanopoulos, on ABC's Sunday morning talkie This Week with George S. yesterday, said Obama's upside is all within the Democratic Party. George S. noted that just 79 per cent of registered Democrats support Obama. Those registered Democrats, not Independents or dissatisfied Republicans, are Obama's low-hanging electoral fruit. “If he does one thing in this convention, if he unifies the Democratic Party, he'll have a twelve-point lead!). My point is that Democrats and Independents already have lots of reasons not to vote Republican. Now they need to get comfortable voting for the Democratic nomineee and his family. CNN reporter John King (the best political report on television, for my money) was the lone CNN voice to get that idea. As he said, Democrats “came into tonight with one simple goal: For Americans to wake up tomorrow morning and say, 'You know what? They're a lot more like us than I thought they were.'” That was what tonight's Democratic evening was all about. There will be plenty of time and plenty of opportunities to take shots at John McCain. This was the only night to get to know the Obamas.

Free the data!

When you have good information, you can make good decisions. The Government of Canada, though, thinks good information — information bought and paid for already by taxpayer funds — should be packaged up and sold back to Canadians at exhorbitant fees. By contrast, the United States government, recognizing that the information it collects in projects like its national census can help create wealth, boost productivity, and stimulate research, makes the same kind of data available dirt cheap.

In 2002, I wrote an op-ed in The Globe and Mail about this issue

… taking a look the some of the data sets published by the country’s biggest data collector and publisher,Statistics Canada. I argued that while lots of Statscan data are made available for free,a great deal of important data,particularly the finely detailed sets of numbers that describe Canadian life at the neighbourhood level,are made available only to those willing to pay a great deal.

Companies in Canada that collect, sell and market this kind of information say that if you want to get detailed figures on household income,dwelling types, education and other variables on a street-bystreet, across-the-country basis,you could pay Statscan more than $10,000 for the privilege.

By contrast, the same kind of data,with similar amounts of detail, for the United States can be purchased from the U.S.Census Bureau for as little as $100.

There is also a great disparity between Canada and the U.S. for the cost of digital versions of street maps.A Canadian set can cost as much as $25,000 while a U.S. set costs $2,000 (U.S.).

For several years now,the U.S.set of digital maps included every urban and rural road.With the current census, Canada is finally catching up in this regard. Until this year,the digital maps of Canada contained only the road networks in built-up urban areas. Digitized versions of maps can be combined with the raw neighbourhood data to help reporters get some powerful insights into their communities.

When you combine geographic location information with list of things like houses and people, you get what is called geospatial data. There is a growing hunger for good geospatial data by all sorts of businesses,non-profits and journalists. Geospatial data users are trying to push Canadian policymakers toward the idea that raw data about our country ought to be made available for as close as possible to free, and that such a policy would have immense benefits to the Canadian economy, as well as to journalists.

In the U.S., data collected by the public’s representatives — the government — about the public are viewed as the public’s good.The job of government, in the U.S. at least, is to get this information into the hands of the public with as little fuss as possible. Some studies say that, for every dollar invested in distributing geospatial,census-based data,users of that data generate $4 in growth,mostly by improved resource allocation.

I'd be please if anyone wants to update me on some of the figures I quoted back in 2002 (and I just make a few calls myself in between all this election speculation!). In the meantime, I urge all those interested in making data available for free that we already pay our government to collect and collate to visit a relatively new project:, “a group blog… which believes all levels of Canadian governments should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens. The data is collected using Canadian tax-payer funds, and we believe use of the data should not be restricted to those who can afford the exorbitant fees.”

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The Electoral Timetable

Advisors to Prime Minister are convinced — and, as a result, are trying to convince us — that Canada will head to the polls in October. Here's some of the key dates affecting this potential timetable to an election: [Updated: Aug 26 @ 2140 Ottawa time]

  • Aug. 26 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper holds morning press conference in Ottawa. Election talk expected to top the charts. Harper then jets north to the Arctic.
  • Aug. 26 – Commons Heritage Committee scheduled to meet about funding cuts to the arts in Canada.
  • Aug. 27 – Harper in the Arctic; Layton in Denver with the Dems
  • Aug. 27 – Commons subcommittee on Oil and Gas and other energy prices scheduled to meet.
  • Aug. 28 – Harper in the Arctic; Layton in Denver with the Dems
  • Aug. 29 – Harper and Layton return to Ottawa.
  • Sept. 1 – Labour Day
  • Sept. 2 – Liberal national caucus meets in Winnipeg
  • Sept. 3 – Liberal national caucus meeting in Winnipeg
  • Sept. 3 – NDP national caucus meets in Hamilton.
  • Sept. 4 – Earliest date Governor General Michaelle Jean heads to Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 4 – Ont. Lieutenant Governor David Onley heads to Beijing for Paralympics
  • Sept. 4 – Liberal national caucus ends meetings in Winnipeg.
  • Sept. 4 – NDP national caucus continues meetings in Hamilton.
  • Sept. 5 – Earliest date BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe is available to meet with Harper.
  • Sept. 5 – Earliest date floated by PMO for a general election campaign to being.
  • Sept. 5 – Latest date Governor General Michaelle Jean heads to Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 5 – NDP national caucus ends meetings in Hamilton.
  • Sept. 6 – Governor General Michaelle Jean in Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 7 – Latest date Duceppe is available for a meeting with Harper.
  • Sept. 7 – Governor General Michaelle Jean in Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 8 – Byelections to be held in Guelph, Westmount, and St. Lambert.
  • Sept. 8 – Governor General Michaelle Jean in Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 9 – Governor General Michaelle Jean in Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 9 – First date proposed by Dion for meeting with Harper.
  • Sept. 10 – Governor General Michaelle Jean in Beijing for Paralympics.
  • Sept. 11 – Governor General Michaelle Jean back in Ottawa (and ready to dissolve Parliament, if need be.)
  • Sept. 15 – House of Commons resumes sitting.
  • Oct. 13 – Thanksgiving
  • Oct. 14 – Tentative release date for Julie Couillard's autobiography, a potential danger zone for Conservatives depending on what new things she has to say about Maxime Bernier and others.
  • Oct. 14 – Possible general election date.
  • Oct. 20 – Possible general election date.

The KLR VU poll in Guelph: Dirty tricks or business development?


A poll came out yesterday purporting to show the voting intentions of people in Guelph, Ont., a medium-sized city where a by-election is underway.

The pollster said that, based on his survey, it appeared that the incumbent Liberals held a commanding lead. Liberal Brenda Chamberlain retired in the spring and now, Frank Valeriote wants to take her place. With the vote set for Sept. 8, this poll would suggest he has nothing to worry about.

The poll also showed that the Green Party is doing surprisingly well and is in third place in the riding, just ahead of the NDP. (The Greens, you won't be surprised to learn, are thrilled.) The Conservatives, who are running city councillor Gloria Kovach, are a distant second, the poll says.

So if you're a Liberal here, what's not to like, right?

Apparently plenty.

The poll was done by a firm whose principal happens to be the brother of a Conservative MP. The firm, KlrVu-Research of Winnipeg, is headed by Allan Bruinooge, the older brother of Rod Bruinooge, a first-term Conservative MP who scored one of the biggest upsets of the 2006 election, taking out Liberal cabinet minister Reg Alcock.

Some Liberals as well as some non-aligned political consultants I spoke to yesterday said they believe federal Conservative party, with too much money on its hands and staffed by a group of creative Evil Geniuses, has its hands all over the poll. The political “dirty trick” here is available only to an underdog and only available to an underdog in a byelection. Here's the thinking:

1. The Liberals have held the riding for 15 years. They are expected to win the riding.

2. The biggest problem for every party in a byelection is getting out the vote. Voter turnout for byelections is always low and that means a few hundred extra votes here or there can make a big difference.

3. A poll in mid-campaign comes out showing that the Liberals, as expected, should win it in a romp. Result: The Liberal vote goes to sleep.

4. A highly-motivated group of voters, like Conservatives in many parts of the country including Guelph, take advantage of the sleepy Liberal vote, go nuts on polling day, and, in doing so, overtake the Liberals.

OK, so that's the conspiracy theory explained to me by those who asked to remain anonymous in exchange for advancing the theory.

What do those who will go on the record say?

Well, first of all, we asked Conservative party director of communications Ryan Sparrow if his party, flush with cash it can't spend quickly enough, paid for this poll. “Absolutely not,” said Sparrow. And, after explaining the conspiracy theory to him on the phone, there was a short burst of laughter. So, on the record, the federal Conservative party says they have nothing to do with this thing and, in any event, they certainly aren't in the habit of releasing polls they pay for.

What about Allan Bruinooge, the brother of the Conservative MP who did the poll?

Bruinooge, reached by phone yesterday in Winnipeg, also said that the Conservatives did not pay for the poll. Who did, I asked? He says he did. He did it to raise the profile of his young firm. He's looking to compete with likes of Ipsos-Reid, The Strategic Counsel, and Decima and thought a poll about Guelph would help with his firm's profile. I checked our databases and, so far as I can tell, only The Guelph Mercury, the daily in that city, picked up the poll and reported it. Mercury reporters indicate on the paper's blog that some campaigns complained about the headline, at least, with the story, and the paper responded by changing it.

What about the conspiracy theory? Bruinooge was not as definitely dismissive as Sparrow but did not agree with the assumptions behind the argument.

I asked Allan why pick Guelph? Why not one of the other two byelections underway? He hinted that he may very well poll those ridings, too, before the Sept. 8 vote.

Allan, incidentally, had let someone know much earlier this summer that we was going to poll in Guelph. In fact, in a comment posted to a blog on July 24, the day before the writ was dropped, commenter “Eric” makes note of this fact.

One of the things the campaigns complained about was the methodology used by Klr-Vu.

The big guys — Ipsos-Reid, Decima and so on — use real people and telephones to call you up and ask a few 'screening' questions to make sure you're a qualified voter. The phone numbers are drawn randomly from a geographic area but pollsters do some additional weeding to balance for gender, income levels, and other qualifiers to make they get a random sample. Typically, the big-name pollsters will make thousands of phone calls to be able to report the opinions of about 1,000 Canadians, which they claim will be a representative sample. The big firms will qualify their results by saying that the results are accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Klr-Vu, on the other hand, does not use human beings to do its polling: It uses software. Here is Klr-Vu's own words:

This KLRVU poll was conducted by touchtone technology which polled households across Guelph. Using this technology with the voice of a professional announcer all respondents heard the questions asked identically, which queried a response on the candidate's name and their associated party. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely participant). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.

So, essentially, a digital voice — software — posed the questions and respondents registered their preferences by pressing a button a telephone. Critics say this technique does not appropriately screen for non-voters and is prone to errors.

Bruinooge said his sample is large enough – nearly 3,400 in the Guelph poll — that “outliers” or weird statistical anomalies are readily apparent and easy to adjust for non-voters. Klr-Vu's dialers, it should be noted, polled on two different dates, two weeks apart. The mainstream pollsters typically poll over three or four nights in a row in order to present a “snapshot” of opinion.

Does it work? I'm not a pollster or a statistician so all I can rely on is past behaviour. We all marvelled, for example, at Nik Nanos and how he and his army of “human beings” polling just before the general election seemed to get it just about right. (And his business took off as a result.) I asked Allan if his firms had a track record he could point us to. He did not. His firm, he said, is a young one just trying to establish its name.

There was a poll his firm did which made the news. It showed that 56 per cent of Canadians opposed Henry Morgentaler's ascension to the Order of Canada, a poll which, conveniently, made his brother, Rod, looked like he was on the leading edge of Canadian opinion. For that poll, KlrVu used the same methodology that it used in Guelph: robot diallers contacted a lot of Canadians and a computer read out the question and took the punched-in responses.

Ipsos-Reid, the polling firm used by Canwest News Service whose methodology is similar to Nanos Research, also polled on the Morgentaler issue and got a completely different result. Ipsos-Reid asked 1,023 Canadians between July 4-7 about the suitability of Morgentaler to receive the Order of Canada and found that 65 per cent were OK with it. The Toronto Star asked its pollster, Angus Reid Strategies, to poll on the Morgentaler question. Angus Reid found that 60 per cent of Canadians were OK with the Morgentaler award.

Again: Klr-Vu found 56 per cent opposed.

Here's something else that's important for this issue:

The Canada Elections Act (you'll want to flip to page 117 for the section on Election Opinion Surveys) has some very specific instructions for 'transmission' of a poll during an election period. It says pollsters, their sponsors, and news organizations that publish them must do the following:

1. Name the sponsor of the poll. Neither KlrVu nor the Guelph Mercury did that. There was no mention in the KlrVu press release who paid for or sponsored the poll. The Mercury, as well, did not report who sponsored or paid for the poll. Bruinooge when I asked him, said that he did the poll on his own accord and is, therefore, the sponsor. He would not say how much it cost him.

2. You must name the organization conducting the survey. KlrVu did that.

3. You must name the date of the survey. KlrVu did that, too.

4. You must describe the population from which the sample was drawn, the number of people contacted for the survey, and margin of error, if applicable. It is an arguable point that KlrVu satisfied these conditions. It says it polled “households across Guelph”. You will note that many polls, particularly those in the U.S. right now, talk about “polling voters.” KlrVu reported voting intentions but does not say if it polled actual voters. KlrVu does not provide a margin of error (though the Act seems to suggest this is only an option in any event) but instead has this somewhat ambiguous language: “In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other.” But KlrVu never says in its release what the “stated margin of sampling error” is. THe mainstream firms use that phrase “accurate to within three percentage points” which I take to mean that if a poll shows the Conservatives at 34% and the Liberals at 32% they are, statistically speaking, tied because they are each within the pollster's margin of error of three percentage points.

Section 323, subsection 3, of the Canada Elections Act, goes on to say that the sponsor of the poll must also be prepared to provide, on demand, the exact wording of the question asked; the number of people asked to participate in the survey, the number that were declared to be ineligible or declined; “any weighting factors or normalization procedures used in deriving the results of the survey”; and some other details. Now normally none of that would be reported by a media outlet but the guys we use, Ipsos-Reid, or any of other mainstream firms, routinely post all of that information and more on their Web sites as soon as the poll is released. No such information has yet been published, so far as I can tell, at KlrVu's site.

So what are we left with at end of the day?

We have a poll which shows the Liberals in good shape in Guelph and yet, Liberals are unhappy that this poll is out there because they believe it to be a Conservative dirty trick intended to put the Liberal vote to sleep. The pollster, it appears, is indeed a Conservative but neither he nor the party he supports say the Conservatives paid for the poll. The pollster said he did the poll for free in order to raise the profile of his firm. If that was the goal, there's not much to show for it so far. Only the Guelph Mercury – near and dear to my heart as it is — reported the poll. It appears that some of the routine reporting checkpoints spelled out in the Canada Elections Act were missed. Now the big question: Will it make a difference on Sept. 8?

In St. John's, everyone was buying a new car; in Vancouver, no one was buying

Economists and reporters who read a lot of opinions written by economists tend to pay a lot of attention to home sales and to auto sales. I'm sure economists have their reasons for doing so but, as a reporter, here's mine: Activity in those sectors is a good proxy for overall economic activity, for one thing. Here's another reason why these things are imporatn: When consumers are buying homes and cars, they're telling you that they feel confident about their household finances and secure in their employment situation. When they're not buying, you might assume that many consumers don't feel confident enough in their own personal financial situation to take on the debt associated with a new house or new car.

That makes sense, right?

Well, it does until you look at last month's auto sales in Canada.

Auto analyst Dennis Desrosiers crunched the numbers on sales of light trucks and cars (light vehicles for the rest of this post) for the month of July and finds that, compared to the same month last year, sales of light vehicles in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador skyrocketed by nearly 24 per cent to 3,356 units sold. Ok, fair enough, Canada's easternmost province has been on a bit of roll in terms of oil and gas resource and this year, for the first time in a long time, it may actually find that more people are moving to the province rather than moving out of the province — a sign of its newfound economic vigour.

But B.C. has enjoyed strong economic growth in the last year and sales of light vehicles in the most western of provinces is down 10.4 per cent compared to last year at 15,523 units. In Alberta, sales are off nearly 6 per cent last month compared to the same month last year. (Maybe times have been so good for so long out west that everyone who wants a new pickup already has one!)

The number of light vehicles sold in all provinces in July was up five per cent compared to last year.

Dennis is as confused as I am: “Ontario which is suppose to be in a recession with the high dollar is up, yes up, 4.2 percent. Go figure. The other provinces are all over the map.”

Here's the chart of sales of light vehicles, listed by the increase/decrease in percentage terms of units sold in July 2008 compared to July 2007:

Newfoundland: 23.5%

New Brunswick: 17.6%

Quebec: 15.6%

Manitoba: 14.3%

Saskatchewan: 12.3%

PEI: 6.6%

Nova Scotia: 6.4%

Total Canada: 5.0%

Ontario: 4.2%

Alberta: -5.9%

British Columbia -10.4%

Lobbyists meet the ministers

A new database which tracks meetings between federal Designated Public Office Holders (DPOHs) and registered lobbyists has been up and running since July 2 but it was only recently that the first big haul of entries to that database appeared. Lobbyists are required to disclose meetings with DPOHs once a month and do that within 15 days of the end of each month.

So, from that first's months filings, I've put together a list of which ministers met with which lobbyists.

You will note that Brock Carleton, the executive director for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities really made the rounds — registering a meeting with Prime Minister Harper and 10 other cabinet ministers. In fact, according to the FCM, what happened was this: Carleton and several mayors from his organization were invited to the some of the social events held while the Conservative caucus was meeting in Quebec City. Because Carleton is a registered lobbyist and because this was “a scheduled meeting”, for the purposes of the new lobbyist regulations, he felt obligated to note and disclose each public officer holder he ran into with a gaggle of mayors behind him. The meetings, the FCM says, were little more than meet-and-greets at a party barbeque but nonetheless, the FCM believed that it was required to disclose even that kind of meeting.

One important note about this list: For corporations, the CEO or top executive at the company is listed as the ‘responsible officer’ for the purposes of filing these things. But though that CEO is listed as the “responsible officer' it may not be the CEO who took the meeting. So, for example, Ron Brenneman, the CEO of Petro-Canada is listed as having ‘met with’ Jim Prentice. Now it could have been Brenneman who met with Prentice but it may also have been his designate, such as a vice-president responsible for government relations. Unless the company volunteers that information — and so far, in my experience calling around to some of these companies, they are not volunteering anything other than what they've already disclosed — it would be fair to say only that a representative of the organization met with the named minister. As for a lobbyist who works for an government relations firm and is representing a client, so far it's been my experience that it was the actual named lobbyist who met with the named minister. So, if you've got that straight, here's the list:

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister

· Jayson Myers, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Buzz Hargrove, CAW

David Emerson, Foreign Affairs Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Murray Elston, Canadian Nuclear Association

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Monte Solberg, Human Resources Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Constance McKnight, National Network for Mental Health

Chuck Strahl, Indian and Northern Affairs

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Harold Kvisle, TransCanada Pipelines

Gary Lunn, Natural Resources Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Pierre Alvarez, Canadian Assn of Petroleum Producers

· Gary Holden, Enmax Corporation

· Gary Leach, Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada

· Bruce March, Imperial Oil Ltd.

· Mark Nelson, Chevron Canada

Peter MacKay, Defence Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Robert Brown, CAE Inc.

Loyola Hearn, Fisheries Minister

· Jim Hankinson, Ontario Power Generation

· Nora Sobolov, The Lung Association

Stockwell Day, Public Safety Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Vic Toews, Treasury Board Pres.

· Jayson Myers, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Rona Ambrose, Intergovernmental Affairs / WEDC

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Diane Finley, Citizenship and Immigration

· Linda Vandendriessche , Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board (2 meetings)

Gordon O’Connor, Revenue Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Jim Prentice, Industry Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Pierre Alvarez, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

· Leonard Asper, Canwest Global

· Ron Brennaman, Petro-Canada

· Robert Brown, CAE Inc.

· Tom D’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives

· Randall Eresman, Encana Corp.

· Charles Fischer, Nexen Inc.

· Gary Holden, Enmax Corp.

· Harold Kvisle, TransCanada (2 meetings)

· Bruce March, Imperial Oil (3 meetings)

· Real Tanguay, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada.

John Baird, Environment Minister

· David Collyer, Shell Canada

· John Chrichton, NAV Canada

· Mary Granskou, Canadian Boreal Initiative

· Will Stewart, Ensight Canada – acting for Canadian Boreal Initiative

Lawrence Cannon, Transport, Infrastructure

· Michael Roschlau, Canadian Urban Transit Association

· Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Québec

Tony Clement, Health Canada / FEDNOR

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Paul Lucas, GlaxoSmithKline

Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

· Alain Bellmare, Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.

· Ed Clark, TD Bank

· Sean Durfy, WestJet

· Fred Green, Canadian Pacific Railway

· Harold Kvisle, TransCanada Pipelines Corp.

· Jeff Lipton, NOVA Chemical Corp.

· Paul Lucas, GlaxoSmithCline

· Ron McLaughlin, McLaughlin-Moses Strategic Advisory Services – acting for Genworth Financial

· Richard Waugh, Scotiabank

· Mike Wilson, Agrium Inc.

Michael Fortier, Intl Trade

· Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

· Phil Boyd, Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency

· Darcy Davis, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance

· Richard Doyle, Dairy Farmers of Canada

· Tim Lambert, Canadian Egg Marketing Agency

· Dennis Laycraft, Canadian Cattleman’s Association

· Jay Myers, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

· Laurie Nicol, Ontario Independent Meat Processors

· Richard Phillips, Grain Growers of Canada (4 meetings)

· Ross Ravelli, Grain Growers of Canada (4 meetings)

· Rick White, Canadian Granola Growers Association

Peter Van Loan, Govt House Leader

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Gerry Ritz, Agriculture

· Phil Boyd, Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency

· Glenn Blakley, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Ron Bonnett,, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Darcy Davis, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (2 meetings)

· Richard Doyle, Dairy Farmers of Canada (2 meetings)

· Eddy Dykerman, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Garnett Etsell, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Geri Kamenz, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Tim Lambert, Canadian Egg Marketing Agency

· Dennis Laycraft, Canadian Cattleman’s Association

· Laurent Pellerin, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Richard Phillips, Grain Growers of Canada (4 meetings)

· Jurgen Preugschas, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

· Gordon Quaiattini, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

· Ross Ravelli, Grain Growers of Canada (4 meetings)

· Brigid Rivoire, Canadian Federation of Agriculture (2)

· Rick White, Canadian Canola Growers Association

· Ian White, Canadian Wheat Board

· Ian Wishart, Canadian Federation of Agriculture

Christian Paradis, Public Works

· Jay Myers, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Jay Hill, Secy of State / Whip

· Genevieve Young, Global Public Affairs, acting for International Commodities Export Corporation.

Jason Kenney, Secy of State for Multiculturalism

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Helena Guergis, Secy of State for Sport

· Jay Myers, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Diane Ablonczy, Secy of State Small Business and Tourism

· Mark Nelson, Chevron Canada

James Moore, Secy of State 2010 Olympics

· Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities