And They Just Keep Coming: #CPC’s Tim Laidler’s Campaign in Port Moody-Coquitlam

A couple of items recently came to my attention following the recent all-candidates meetings in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam this past week.  While I could have added this items to the A Campaign to Forget Post, I thought that they warranted a post on their own.

First, Conservative candidate Tim Laidler’s comments from the recent Chamber of Commerce Debate concerning his observations of marijuana usage in University made Robert Jago’s video “Conservative Candidates Share Weird Views About Marijuana”.

Robert Jago you may remember is the blogger who runs Meet the Harper Gang Website, a valuable resource for those interested in researching the quality of the Conservative candidates these days.  Mr. Jago also you may remember posted materials that lead to the dropping of two Conservative candidates.

Recently an article was published by the National Observer alleging connections between Mr. Laidler’s nomination campaign and a consultant for Kinder Morgan.  The article can be found here.  This article subsequently inspired a petition and action campaign by the group SumOfUs that can be found here.  SumofUs also initiated a radio campaign which has been the subject of objections from Mr. Laidler’s campaign.  Below is a screen shot of the top of Sum of Us page.

Sum of Us Page

In addition, Mr. Laidler’s comments from the Burquitlam debate were fact-checked resulting in this Letter to the Vancouver Sun on Oct. 14, 2015:

Letter to editor

Subsequent to the publishing of the letter to the editor in the Vancouver Sun, this table (which contained numerous factually incorrect and inflammatory comments/statements) was sent to Conservative supporters in the riding.  Where exactly does it say on the NDP platform that they are against all resource developments?  What page is that on?  Which specific vote in Parliament was regarding Evergreen line funding you may ask? etc., etc.

Table from CPC

I could go on but it is somewhat pointless at this point.  Apparently exaggerations and inaccuracies are just a routine part of the Conservative campaign strategy locally.

A Campaign to Forget

It has been in many ways a campaign to forget for Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate in the newly-established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.

First, there was the notice of the Annual General Meeting for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam in which the name of the riding was repeatedly misspelled).

Redacted Notice

Then there was the page on the Turf Mark Holland website (TMH2.org) that posted a webpage encouraging support for Mr. Laidler (likely without his knowledge) that by implication associated him with some of the more extreme elements of the anti-gun control lobby (reproduced below and since deleted) since those with moderate views do not tend to garner endorsements and support from these kinds of websites.

Tim Laidler Page

Then there was the use of this very awkward and cringeworthy picture that appeared as part of a sponsored ad on Facebook showing Mr. Laidler with Steven Harper and a young Asian girl with the ad talking about families yet there is no family in the shot. Awkward.

Helping Families

Then there was the line of questioning in parliament where mentor James Moore had to defend Mr. Laidler after being identified repeatedly photo bombing numerous taxpayer funded events including the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Modi at the airport in Vancouver, an official government funding announcement in Vancouver with Minister Candice Bergen, the official PMO Chinese Lunar New Year event in Richmond, etc., leading him to be the subject of media scrutiny and forcing James Moore, the former Minister of Obfuscation, to deliver this ridiculous non-responce in Parliament:

Then there was the revelation that prior to retiring from the military, that Mr. Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservatives was possibly in violation of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics.

Then there was this campaign sign that was put up on Aug. 1, 2015, the day before the writ was actually dropped, advertising a candidate for an election that hadn’t been called yet in a riding that didn’t exist yet.

IMG_20150801_113439-7

Then after the campaign signs went up, Tim Laidler’s campaign signs were apparently intentionally targeted and the subject of repeated vandalism.

Then there was the campaign office location selection gaffe where the choice of the campaign office location lent itself to some embarrassing sign placements by rivals.

Campaign Sign Placement

Then there was the badly photoshopped sign that appeared in internal riding party propaganda which leaked out and became the subject of subject of local and national media posts (see here and here) as detailed in the post here.

sign-compare-900x365

Then there was the Terry Fox funding announcement/photo-op gaffe with James Moore and Laureen Harper which I’m sure all sounded good originally but then went horribly wrong where Mr. Laidler’s mentor James Moore was caught incorrectly stating that the Fox Family was fully supportive of the funding announcement stated in reference to the Fox Family, that “They’re enthusiastic and they think it’s great.”  Mr. Moore then doubled down on his apparently incorrect statement a full 17 hours later on his personal Facebook account after Mr. Moore had more than ample time to reconsider his words after initially being questioned about the nature of the Fox family’s support for the announcement (see below).

Moore Lie

The claim that they were “enthusiastic” and that they thought it was “great” was quickly denied by the Fox family with a Fox family friend suggesting that:

“There is no place in the fight against cancer for politics. This (the announcement) is poor taste, bad timing and so wrong on so many levels. Also to say the family was enthusiastic is incorrect, to say the least. I would be remiss if I did not say something.”

Subsequently, the Terry Fox funding announcement was of course widely criticized by the Fox family and others as well as  local media and editorial boards, with many lamenting on the brazen Conservative politicization of the Terry Fox Foundation’s campaign.

Happy

Then there was the rather odd photo-op in Port Moody at which no member of the public was allowed to attend and to which only a few select media were invited.  A missed opportunity it seems.  However, given that it was only a few days after the Terry Fox Foundation announcement gaffe, I suppose that is understandable.

prime-minister-harper

Then there were the gaffes at the recent Chamber of Commerce all-candidates debates including when Mr. Laidler suggested that he had had friends in University that had tried marijuana and ended up in the Psych Ward (as seen at 12:10 in Part II).

In the same debate, Mr. Laidler inexplicitly felt the need to try to refight the last Port Moody civic election (of all things) by bringing up (repeatedly at 3:14 and 6:00 in Part II) the accusation that Fin Donnelly had run a slates of candidates in the civic elections in Coquitlam and Port Moody and had meddled in civic politics locally (something repeatedly denied by Mr. Donnelly and described by two local pundits in the Tri-City News as a “Red Herring”).  I had no idea that the Conservative Party of Canada was so concerned about civic elections.  Do they take such an interest in all civic elections?  The meddling comment from Mr. Laidler is especially rich coming from Mr. Laidler considering that Mr. Laidler himself as the declared Conservative candidate at the time for the riding had meddled in civic politics by repeatedly posting tweets to local media concerning the local election thereby clearly meddling in local politics.

meddling

Tweet

The comment is also a bit rich considering that one of the members of the Executive of the local Conservative riding association appears to have been heavily involved in the “NoSlateTriCities” print and social media campaign during the last civic elections in Port Moody and Coquitlam as detailed here which incidentally appears to have been largely funded by local developers including Wesbild, Polygon Homes, etc.

No Slates tweet

Then there was the revelation that Mr. Laidler hired as his campaign manager for his nomination campaign a consultant who works for Kinder Morgan.

Most recently, it appears that an official letter was recently sent out from Tim Laidler’s campaign (dated Oct 2. 2015) (see below) asking for support for Mr. Laidler but which also contained misleading information regarding the other candidates in the riding and which also talks about “income spitting” (rather than income splitting presumably) (see second to last paragraph).

Laidler letter

While I know that “income spitting” is obviously a typo and I’m sure that there are many, many on this blog (believe me I know as I keep finding them all the time), this letter represents an official communication from an official Federal party during an election.  Surely someone could have proofread and fact-checked the letter before it left the office?  Then again, I suppose if the Conservative party HQ can do it as seen below (see below) and the PMO can do it (see below), why would we or should we expect any different from the party at the local level?

Prime Minster

CCAxBUZWEAICt8O

With less than a week left in the campaign, I’m going to have to keep this blog post open and update it as we go in order to accommodate additional gaffes.  Don’t get me wrong though as there have been many positive highlights for Mr. Laidler in the campaign including repeated endorsements from high level Conservative party members including the Prime Minister himself and being able to work with one of the largest war chests in the country (search here if you are interested).  It remains to be seen though whether Mr. Laidler and his campaign can pull the current campaign out of its current tailspin and secure a victory despite all the numerous gaffes detailed above.  Some of the obvious pandering announcements targeted at least in part to the sizable local Korean population in the riding and various other efforts at vote pandering to the Korean community (such as that below) may help.

Pandering moore

Stranger things have happened and you can never, ever underestimate the Conservative war machine especially in an area that has traditionally voted Conservative.  You do so at your own peril as we have seen repeatedly over the past few elections.  Will a campaign with a decided focus on doorknocking be able to overcome a mean-spirited, fear-based campaign on the part of the Conservative Party and their leader Stephen Harper?  That remains to be seen.  Up to you Tri-City voters.  The seal training has already begun if that is what you are looking for.

Seals

Tim Laidler’s Political Past and Political Connections (That He’d Really Rather Not Talk About)

Laidler WelcomeFollowing closely the campaign of the Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, I have been puzzled as to why Mr. Laidler has seemingly insisted on downplaying his extensive past political experience as it seems to me that when you are running for political office, that one’s past political experience is highly relevant.  Instead, Mr. Laidler doesn’t appear to acknowledge any of his past political activities or connections in any of his bios, on his campaign website, or in any of the campaign materials.  I think that I finally may now know why.

As a backgrounder, according to Tim Laidler’s Linkedin profile, from September 2011 to March 2014, Mr. Laidler was a Board Member of the NPA (Non-Partisan Association) in Vancouver.  Below is a photo taken from a November 15, 2013 Georgia Straight Article showing Mr. Laidler at the announcement of the NPA candidates for the last civic election.  Mr. Laidler is quoted in the article.

Laidler Photo

Provincially, Mr. Laidler also worked extensively for the B.C. Liberals under Christy Clark during the last Provincial election, working as the campaign manager for Fatima Siddiqui, the wife of fellow NPA Board of Director and fellow former Alpha Delta Phi alumni Tanveer Siddiqui, in the riding of Vancouver-Hastings where Ms. Siddiqui managed to finish a distant second in the riding, garnering approximately 28% of the popular vote in comparison to Shane Simpson of the NDP who took the riding with almost 59% of the vote.  Below are a few photos of taken of Mr. Laidler out campaigning for Ms. Siddiqui in the riding of Vancouver-Hastings during the last Provincial election.  Mr. Laidler also worked as an event coordinator for the B.C. Liberal party for a year in 2009.

Mr. Laidler campaiging for BC Liberal Candidate Fatima Siddiqui in the riding of Vancouver Hastings.
Mr. Laidler campaiging for BC Liberal Candidate Fatima Siddiqui in the riding of Vancouver Hastings.

Mr. Laidler interestingly also seems to be quite connected politically to former Mayor, former NPA member, and current B.C. Liberal MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, Sam Sullivan.  Below is a photo of Mr. Laidler at a BBQ in honour of Candidate Siddiqui which was attended by Mr. Sullivan. Mr. Laidler also spoke Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon in September of 2012 and was one of the organizers of the “City Social” event put on by the NPA in 2013 at which Mr. Sullivan spoke.

BBQ

A review of the recently disclosed candidate financial statements associated with his campaign for the Conservative nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam I believe finally provide clues as to the reasoning behind Mr. Laidler apparent desire to downplay his past political connections.  The original raw documentation can be found here.  Rather than reproduce the documents verbatim, I have chosen to highlight some selected information.

In regards to Mr. Laidler’s declared expenses arising from the nomination campaign, notable expenses include payments totalling $8,135.40 (representing 86% of the total expenditure of $9,413.68 incurred during the campaign) to ADDO Consulting with the remaining expenses being split between by what appears to be a photographer, Newclear (for a website template I’m sure, seen below confirming the earlier speculation here), his EDA, and two banks.

Welcome Pages
Go Newclear template shared apparently exclusively with selected Conservative candidates

Funds

Who or what is ADDO Consulting you might ask?  A quick Google search confirms that the Principal of ADDO Consulting is in fact Mr. Gavin Dew (see below).  From the expenses noted, it appears that Mr. Dew was presumably working as Mr. Laidler’s campaign manager during his nomination campaign and took care of almost everything for Mr. Laidler.

Gavin Dew

Mr. Dew, for those who are not familiar with him, is according to his Linkedin profile, a communications specialist who’s “sweetspot is at the intersection of business, politics, and communications”.  He specializes in “business and communications strategy, public relations, corporate communications, political campaigns, analysis, business development, community building, next-generation leadership.” Mr. Dew is “currently consulting on issues management, social license to operate for land development and resource companies, and business planning for startups and fledgling organizations”.  As such, Mr. Dew is currently working as a consultant working on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project for Kinder Morgan working on stakeholder engagement and communications for the project.  Mr. Laidler and Mr. Dew in fact go way, way back (back to even his UBC days I suspect) with them both being former directors of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) at the same time (see photo below).

NPA Social
NPA Under 40 Chair, Eli Zbar, with Board Member, Tim Laidler and Gavin Dew in an image from 2012.

Mr. Dew was in fact described as the NPA’s former Social Media expert, and was part of former Premier Gordon Campbell’s constituency campaign, and along with Tim Laidler, was a founding member of the group known as the Build 2030 Public Engagement Society, a group loosely associated with the B.C. Liberals which was described as “a not-for-profit group which caters to what it calls the next generation of movers and shakers”.  Mr. Dew, like Tim Laidler, was also a campaign manager for the B.C. Liberals running a successful re-election campaign for Ralph Sultan in the riding of West Vancouver-Capilano.  Clearly, there are many parallels between Mr. Dew and Mr. Laidler’s political careers.  Additional details concerning Mr. Dew and his and Tim Laidler’s apparent ties to the Tar Sands Industry can be found here.

Pipeline Guys 2
Tweet from the Manager of the Campaigns [Christina Pilarski] for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) showing Donny Mr. van Dyk [Northern Gateway project] and Mr. Gavin Dew [Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project] [“the pipeline guys!!”] at the 2015 Manning Networking Conference.
Tim Laidler (left) and Gavin Dew (right) waiting in the receiving line to meet Christie Clark after her speech at the 2015 Manning Networking Conference in March.

Those long time followers of the blog may remember that in an earlier post here that there was speculation that Gavin Dew was in fact Tim Laidler’s campaign manager for his nomination race.  The former appears to be confirmed.  Not sure if he is the current campaign manager for the election though however.

dew
Gavin Dew at the All Candidates Forum at Inlet Theatre at Port Moody City Hall, July 31, 2014

That actually remains to be established but given the recent gaff regarding the photoshopped campaign sign (see below), I sure for his sake hope not as I can’t imagine that someone as experienced as Mr. Dew would have let anything with Mr. Laidler’s name on it get out of the office without first reviewing it.

sign-compare-900x365

Also notable on the candidate’s financial filings is that the Mr. Laidler’s financial agent is identified as being Katerina Anastasiadis (see below), a former director and Under 40 Chair for the NPA, who was also a director and on the NPA executive at the same time that Tim Laidler.  Again another NPA connection.

Financial Agent

U40 post

Reviewing the actual campaign contributions themselves, there were a total of 41 contributors to Mr. Laidler’s nomination campaign.  Of those 41 contributors, 29 individuals contributed less than the $200 reportable amount and 12 individuals contributed more than the reportable $200 amount.  Below is a table summarizing the individual reportable contributions over $200.

There

Other than his Mum and a relative, notable contributors to Tim Laidler’s nomination campaign include:

Mark Angus: the former Vice President of the NPA and a current board appointee to the NPA.  Interestingly, Mr. Angus appears to be a prolific supporter of the Federal Liberal Party having contributed to the Federal Liberal Party, the campaigns of Justin Trudeau and Hedy Fry, as well as to various Liberal Party constituencies numerous times over many years.  The only donation to the Conservative Party appears to be that towards Tim Laidler’s Conservative nomination campaign.

Peter Armstrong: the past NPA President who served as the party president for three years

David Bassett: A former Conservative riding association president.

Greg D’Avignon: An apparent friend of MP James Moore, who is currently the President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, and who is a strong proponent of resource extraction projects and pipeline developments with a focus on expanding Far Eastern economic trade relationships.  Interestingly, Mr. D’Avignon is, like Tim Laidler, also a fellow Diamond Jubilee Award winner. He received his medal at the same ceremony as Tim Laidler (presented by James Moore). He also notably spoke at a North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce event sponsored by Kinder Morgan/Trans Mountain Pipeline project with a number of representatives present including Gavin Dew.

Foster Eastman: Who appears to be a friend of Mr. Laidler’s, a multimedia artist who created the tribute pole project that Tim Laidler and other veterans participated in as documented here.

George Hungerford: a prominent Vancouver lawyer.

Michael Korenberg: the Deputy Chairman and Managing Director for the Jim Pattison Group.

Tanveer Siddiqui: A current director of the NPA and a fellow past NPA Board of Director and fellow former Alpha Delta Phi alumni who was on the NPA board with Tim Laidler during his time as a director with the NPA.  As noted previously, Tim Laidler worked as the campaign manager for Fatima Siddiqui his wife during the last Provincial election.

And lastly, Sam Sullivan, the Former NPA Vancouver Mayor, who’s only other recorded Federal campaign contribution other than to Tim Laidler’s Conservative nomination campaign has been to the Federal Liberal Party and Michael Ignatieff.

A few things about this list that should be pointed out.  First, for a supposedly local candidate with deep local roots and ties to the community, other than his Mum, only 1 of his other 12 major contributors (those who contributed more than $200 to his campaign and therefor reportable under the Elections Act) actually resides in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.  Moreover, all of the remaining 10 identified contributors reside well outside of the riding, primarily in Vancouver.  This one could argue would be exactly the pattern that one would expect if one was a parachuted candidate who only recently moved back into the riding (by his own admission) rather than a candidate with deep local ties and extensive local support.  Moreover, being considered an outsider might also explain why despite outspending his rivals by approximately 2:1 (Bernie Hiller) and 9:1 (Janine Davies) margins respectively, that Mr. Laidler still did not win the nomination until the third ballot.  Perhaps being away from the riding so long made it difficult for local residents to remember Mr. Laidler?  I’m not sure.

Also notable of course, as you may have noticed, is that four of 12 contributors identified to his nomination campaign (specifically Mr. Angus, Mr., Armstrong, Mr. Siddiqui, and Mr. Sullivan) all have direct demonstrable ties to the NPA party, this being over and above the demonstrated ties to the NPA of both his presumed campaign manager (Gavin Dew) and his campaign financier Katerina Anastasiadis.

So why downplay the NPA associations and your past political ties you may ask?  He was a Director of a major political party for goodness sake!  Well for one thing, being associated with the NPA may not be considered much of a positive politically these days.  After all, this is the same NPA that was the subject of a defamation suit that was recently dropped after the NPA apologized, that was accused of spreading false personal rumours regarding Mayor Robertson during last mayoral campaign, and has been on a losing streak, losing the last two civic elections in Vancouver in a row.  Could it possibly be that being associated with the NPA and/or the BC Liberal Party could possibly be seen as a possibly detrimental to Mr. Laidler’s candidacy and being elected in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam given the recent influx of former Vancouver residents moving to the riding especially in the denser parts of Port Moody?  Maybe so.

NPA board
Composition of the NPA Board in 2014. Note the number of familiar names associated with Mr. Laidler’s nomination campaign.

Could it also be that acknowledging your past political experience could bring attention to that fact and might lead someone to research those connections?  Possibly.  Researching those connections could lead one to the inevitable conclusion that there is in fact quite an extensive association between Mr., Laidler’s current campaign and the NPA in Vancouver, something as an allegedly local candidate that he would understandably want to downplay.

Lastly, could it also be that acknowledging these past political accomplishments and connections does not fit the narrative that Mr. Laidler and his campaign are trying to portray: that of the selfless soldier wanting to pay back the community and support the Conservative government after the treatment that he had received from them while in the Reserves and the support that he had received from them as a Director of the Veterans Transition Network (VTN).  Instead, as mentioned previously elsewhere, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Laidler is in fact a highly connected right wing politico who just happens to be a Veteran and as such, he fits perfectly within the Conservatives plans to counter criticism regarding their treatment of Veterans under Harper’s regime while at the same time representing the new young face of the Conservative party, a party that is gradually greying and has largely tapped out their immigrant and minority support as suggested here previously.

It could very well be argued that Mr. Laidler would have been a far more appropriate candidate for the riding of Vancouver Quadra given his long-term residence in the City of Vancouver, his extensive experience at UBC, and his familiarity for the politics in the City of Vancouver at both the Civic and Provincial level.   One wonders why Mr. Laidler didn’t choose to run in that riding or some other riding in the City of Vancouver rather than in Port Moody-Coquitlam as he clearly has (as one can see from the preceding) more ties politically to Vancouver?  Was it that he thought (or others thought for him) that he would have an easier time getting elected in Port Moody-Coquitlam rather than in Vancouver Quadra or some other Vancouver riding?  Did he perceive (or others perceive for him) that it was going to be too difficult for Mr. Laidler to defeat Federal Liberal incumbent Joyce Murray or some of the other incumbents so instead it would be better for him to go “back to his roots”, a place that he hasn’t resided in for many, many years? Difficult to say.

What is clear though is that by not acknowledging his past political connections and his past political experience that Mr. Laidler is not being forthright with the constituents of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.  It come down to a question of trust.  One has to wonder, if Mr. Laidler is guarded with this type of information, why would we suspect that he would do any better if he were elected to Ottawa?  Should we as voters trust him? As pointed out here and many, many other places elsewhere on this blog including here and here, Mr. Laidler’s lack of transparency is a constant theme associated with his campaign.  I can only hope that voters in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam will be able to see through the opportunistic candidacy of Mr. Laidler and vote for someone else (whomever that might be).   The constituents of Port Moody-Coquitlam deserve a representative in Ottawa working for us not a Harper representative in our riding working for him.

Laidler Welcome

A New Conservative Reality: The Conservatives and the Use of Photoshop (Badly)

PP Image
Press Progress just posted (on September 23rd) a comical post highlighting what appears to be a farcical attempt by Tim Laidler’s campaign to Photoshop Tim Laidler’s name over another Conservative candidate’s sign for promotional purposes.  Have a look here.  Below is the original context of the photo in question.   Vancitybuzz.com also subsequently posted on the same topic.  It’s all very funny until you consider this: If Mr. Laidler is willing to be part of something like this during an election campaign, what would he be capable of should he ever make it to Ottawa?  Some food for thought.

laidler-email

laidler-beforeafter
Press Progress comparison graphic.
sign-compare-900x365
Vancitybuzz.com comparison graphic

Some more photos from the event showing the Thind sign present.

To add

Too add 2

Too ad 3

What this incident shows is that if reality doesn’t fit and it suits you as a Conservative, just Photoshop it (badly) and make it part of the new Conservative reality.  Maybe no one will notice?  Again, if people like this are willing to do these kinds of actions as part of an election campaign (and against a candidate from their own party no less), what would they do once in Ottawa?  Why would we ever let them back into Ottawa?  We have already seen that ethics are not the Conservatives’ strong point.  Fool me thrice?

Edit: Subsequent to the publishing of the Press Progress and Vancity Buzz posts, the following statement appeared on the Vancity Buzz post:

UPDATE: A representative from Tim Laidler’s election campaign has confirmed to Vancity Buzz that a communications volunteer did in fact photoshop Laidler’s name over top of another candidate’s sign, but that “no harm or misrepresentation was intended”.

“…no misrepresentation was intended”? Really? Looks exactly like intended misrepresentation to me.

I must say that I do feel for the communications volunteer in question as that probably was not a good day for them (when the graphic came to light and the posts began to appear).  However, that said, the fact is that there is no way that that graphic like that should have left the office.  It is a failing of the campaign manager and the candidate in question to not attend to and/or review everything that leaves the office with the candidate’s name on it.  It is not a failing of the communications volunteer as I’m sure they were only trying to help.  The incident instead speaks to poor internal communications and a lack of attention to details, something that you would hope someone seeking office at the highest level would be good at. Identifying the source of the graphic as a communications volunteer also speaks to a lack of taking responsibility for the campaign by those in charge. The campaign essentially just hung the volunteer out to dry.  For the communication volunteer, that must not have felt very good.  Not cool.

 

 

 

The #CPC’s Tim Laidler and the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics (2012)

10301286_783622124984156_1944587284363614305_n
Conservative Candidate (and Reservist at the time) Tim Laidler with the then Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino, May 21, 2014.

Subsequent to the publishing of the post Parliamentary Testimonies and Unintended Consequences, in order to follow up and confirm various details concerning the timeline of Mr. Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservative Party in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam and how it relates to his time in the Reserves, I decided to submit a second FOI request to DND.  My primary goal in submitting the second FOI request was to obtain third party confirmation of Mr. Laidler’s retirement date from the Reserves as an interested party had informed me that they had been told by official sources that Mr. Laidler had indeed retired from the military but that his effective date of retirement remained unknown.  Confirming when (and ultimately if) Mr. Laidler had retired from the Reserves would help to identify exactly how long his candidacy for the Conservative Party was potentially in breach of 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics.

As a backgrounder, as a Reserve Force member, according to section 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics “…members of the Reserve Force must submit a confidential report to the Chief Review Services (CRS), declaring their intent to be a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal, band council, school board, or other local government election body election.”  Section 15.3.4.3 also states that, “The CRS will determine whether there is a conflict of interest or potential or appearance of conflict of interest that can be resolved through constraints imposed upon the Reserve Force member so that engaging in the political activity does not undermine the impartiality or the objectivity of the Government of Canada, DND, or the CF.”  I’ve clipped the section in the Code of Values and Ethics concerning reserve force members and political activities and have provided it below.

From Code of Conduct-2

In my initial FOI request I was specifically interested in determining if Mr. Laidler had indeed declared his intent to the CRS to be a candidate in the Federal Election prior to and/or after his acceptance of the nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam on August 12, 2014 and if so, if the CRS had determined whether or not there is/was a conflict of interest or potential or appearance of conflict of interest in Mr. Laidler seeking Federal office and if any constraints were imposed on Mr. Laidler as described in Section 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics (2012) so as to avoid a conflict of interest or the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.

The result of the FOI request is provided below.

FOI Redacted-3

As is apparent from the results of the original FOI request, it appears that there is no record of the confidential report ever being submitted by Mr. Laidler to CRS.  This therefor suggests that from the date that he submitted his application to be a Conservative candidate in the upcoming Federal Election up to his date of retirement from the Reserves, that he was potentially was in breach of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics (2012) and, while still in the military, he would have been possibly subject to Queen’s Regulations and Orders Volume II Disciplinary (or in laymen’s terms), meaning that he could have been potentially be subject to discipline for his actions had his candidacy for the Conservative Party had been brought to the attention of the appropriate DND and CF authorities during the time that he was still a Reserve Force member.

As such, in an effort to identify the exact date of Mr. Laidler’s retirement from the Reserves and therefor when he candidacy stopped potentially being in breach of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics 2012, I submitted the following FOI request to DND:

Any records held by DND that show that Mr. Tim Laidler has released, has submitted a request for release, and/or is in the process of releasing from the CF. The documents will show the effective release date and the date the subject member submitted the request for release.

The wording of the FOI request was suggested to me by the DND FOI folks themselves after a few back and forth email exchanges.  Originally I was informed on the phone that there was “no problem” in requesting Mr. Laidler’s service records as they do that all the time.  The results of my FOI request can be found here.  For those not willing to download the physical document itself, I can easily describe it for you.  The FOI request generated a 37 page document of which 36 pages were withheld according to Section 19(1) of the Access to Information Act.

The only page that was actually provided to me and which also had clearly been heavily redacted (see below) consists of the record of an email exchange that took place on January 21 and 22, 2015 which suggests that on the latter date (January 22, 2015) that Mr. Laidler was (at least as of that date) a Class A Reservist (note the present tense “is” in the email).  This suggests that at least up to January 22, 2015, Mr. Laidler was still in the Reserves meaning that up to that date it does not appear that he followed the rules regarding his candidacy as outlined in Section 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Military Code and Ethics (2012).

A-2015-00653-2 5

The results of the FOI would suggest (given that it occurred less than two months later), that it is indeed very likely that Mr. Laidler didn’t “misspeak” when he testified before the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on March 12, 2015 and that he indeed was very likely in the Reserves at that time as he stated in his testimony (see below).

March 12, testimony

Unfortunately I have also not yet to be able to determine if he was indeed still in the Reserves at the time that he was having his picture taken likely by the Minister of National Defense Jason Kenney greeting Prime Minister Modi at the airport in Vancouver and as documented in the blog post Greeting Prime Minister Modi and which can be seen here:

Possibly, but I can’t say for sure.  Unfortunately given the time delays inherent in submitting FOI requests, there is probably not enough time to get an appeal submitted, processed, and returned before the upcoming election takes place.

So what is the takeaway here?

It appears very likely that during his time simultaneously as an active Reserve Force member and as a declared candidate for the Conservative Party (from at least as far back as May 27, 2014 as suggested in the post Who is Tim Laidler, the Politician? and the tweet below)

that Mr. Laidler without identifying himself both as a candidate for the Conservative Party and an active reservist, (1) participated in his candidacy for the Conservative Party, (2) testified to a parliamentary committee on Veterans Affairs, and (3) conducted newspaper interviews supporting the Conservative government and their treatment of veterans (such as the one here on Nov. 23, 2014 where he suggested that the Conservative government is the best ally of veterans or this Oct. 1, 2014 Toronto Sun Article in which he lauded the Conservatives and their treatment of veterans while apparently failing to mention that he was both a Conservative candidate and an active reservist at the time of the interview).  During the time that he was participating in these activities, it appears that he was in breach of Section 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics.

There is an obvious conflict of interest apparent in participating in these activities without full disclosure of both his candidacy for the Conservative Party and his status as an active Reserve Force member.  One wonders if Mr. Laidler had actually submitted the requisite report under Section 15.3.4.3 of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics whether or not restrictions would have been placed on his candidacy due to the potential of a conflict of interest or a potential perceived conflict of interest as that indeed is exactly what the rules associated with the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics are there to protect against.  Would he have been allowed by DND to testify before the standing committee on Veterans Affairs and/or conduct interviews while still simultaneously being a Reservist and a declared candidate for the Conservative Party?  Would one of his conditions of candidacy have been that he would have had to identify himself both as an active reservist and a Conservative candidate at all times?  Unfortunately, we will never know as it appears that the CRS was never provided the opportunity to comment on his candidacy for the Conservative Party as required.

Fantino Shaking Hands

 

Polling Results in the Riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam (Updated)

Today (August 20, 2015) I became aware of what appears to be first poll results from the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.  The poll, which was apparently commissioned privately by the group Leadnow and conducted by Environics, took place between August 15-18.  The summary results of the poll are posted on their website here (and reproduced below).

Polling Data?

Details concerning the poll can be found here.  The results suggest that the NDP’s Fin Donnelly is currently leading in the riding with 54% of the decided vote, followed by the Conservatives’ Tim Laidler in second place with 27%, the Liberal’s Jessie Adcock with 14%, and the Green Party’s Marcus Madsen with 5%.  These values are interesting as they largely mimic the projections provided by ThreeHundredEight.com (reproduced below) which suggest that the NDP’s Fin Donnelly is currently leading in the race with a median estimate of 45% of the vote (range 43.2% – 48.7%) followed by the Conservatives’ Tim Laidler with a median estimate of 32% (range 30.4% – 35.2%), the Liberals’ Jessie Adcock with a median estimate of 16.5% (range 14.9% – 17.7%), and the Green Party’s Marcus Madsen with a median estimate of 5.4% (range 4.9% – 5.8%), and “other” with an estimate of 1.1% (range 0.4% – 1.3%).  The ThreeHundredEight.com website currently estimates that there is a 78% chance of a NDP win in the riding.  A NDP win for the riding is also the predicted result according to the ElectionPrediction.org website.

308 Estimate

Now, a few caveats must be expressed about the Leadnow poll results and the projection provided by ThreeHundredEight.com.  First of all, it must be remembered that we are still very, very early in the campaign with almost none of the candidates having quite yet hit their stride campaignwise.  Moreover, as a local pundit will I’m sure be quick to point out, we have the experience in our recent memory locally where the polls were decidedly incorrect (cast your mind back to the Province headline that said Adrian Dix could kick a dog and still get elected below).

dixcover

Past experience has shown us that campaigners on all sides should not be complacent in regards to the polling result provided by Leadnow and/or the projection put forth by ThreeHundredEight.com as we still have a long, long way to go in this race.  That said, the Leadnow poll results and the ThreeHundredEight.com are useful in themselves as they at the very least, provide a baseline from which subsequent polling results may be compared and evaluated.

Edit: A second Environics poll conducted Sep. 18-21 was recently published for the riding and can be found here.   The second poll shows the NDP dropping by 13 points but still maintaining a 7 point lead over their nearest rival the Conservatives, who gained 7 points and are now sitting at 34% according to the poll.   The Liberals increased their support by 5 points and are now sitting at 19% while the Greens have increased their support by 2 points and now sit at 7%.  Overall the results indicate the same relative placement in terms of the standings in the race and an overall tightening of the race.   At the same time, the poll also suggests that a substantial undecided vote still remains.  One must remember that this second batch of polling data would have taken into account the NDP Syrian refugee controversy with the effects of that now being factored in.  Conversely, the poll took place before the Conservatives’ politicization of the Terry Fox announcement, which will likely affect the local Conservative vote, especially amongst right-leaning swing voters.

Second poll

Most Recent Data
Most recent polling data projected against 2011 results.

The above graphic displays the most recent results plotted against the results from 2011 showing a slight increase in NDP and Green support from 2011, a drop in Conservative support since 2011, and an increase in Liberal support since 2011.

My prediction?  Looking forward and barring any major gaffes, I am expecting a strong surge in Liberal support in the riding given the recent performance of the Liberals nationally and as such, in my opinion we are very likely to see a split on the right in the riding with a fairly substantial core NDP vote in Coquitlam augmented by a core NDP support in Port Moody/Anmore likely carrying the day.  On the right, the two Port Moody/Anmore-based Liberal and Conservative candidates will likely split the vote in what has traditionally been a Conservative area.  That said, irrespective of what happens in Port Moody/Anmore, it should be remembered that Coquitlam numerically dominates the Port Moody/Anmore area so ultimately whoever carries Coquitlam will likely, as I say, carry the day and at least for the moment, for various reasons, it appears that that likely will be the NDP.  Only time will tell of course. Just ask Adrian Dix.

 

Despite Extensive Evidence to the Contrary

Kenney Laidler

As Tim Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservatives in the new riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam is largely focused on him being formerly in the military (see his campaign website here http://www.timlaidler.ca) and him being a supporter of the Conservatives’ record on the military, veterans, and veterans affairs, I thought it was only fitting and appropriate to bring attention to what exactly Mr. Laidler was, and is, supporting.

A group of veterans recently launched the Canadian Veterans ABC Campaign 2015a campaign designed to ensure that the Conservatives do not retain their majority in the next election and to ensure that Canadians voters are aware of the treatment that veterans have received from the Conservatives under Harper.  As part of their campaign, the group compiled a list detailing the poor treatment of Canada’s veterans called Harper’s Record: The Terrible Treatment of Canada’s Veterans by the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper.  Some of these items were also presented in the earliest post Embattled Fantino dumped from Veterans Affairs.  I would encourage you to read the full document produced by the group as it is both eye opening and shocking.  I would also encourage readers to read the recently published article in the Tyee entitled ‘You Have Forgotten’: Seven Conservative Attacks on Canadian Veterans.

Anybody but

Despite the extensive list of complaints compiled by this group and others, Mr. Laidler has suggested in the past that complaints about Veterans’ treatment were “coming from a vocal minority and, in some cases, from partisan groups“.  Mr. Laidler was also quoted in a Oct. 1, 2014 Toronto Sun article lauding the Conservatives and their treatment of veterans again failing to mention that he was a Conservative candidate at the time of the interview (again a constant theme of Mr. Laidler’s candidacy).  The latter article particularly annoyed a number of people in the veteran community and was in fact sent to me by a fellow veteran who was at the time of the publishing of the article, dismayed that Mr. Laidler was expressing support for Mr. Fantino and the Conservative government.  See the article “Afghanistan veteran remains loyal to Conservatives amid protests for support” for additional details concerning Mr. Laidler’s support for the Conservatives.

In contrary to Mr. Laidler’s assertions regarding veterans generally being supportive of the Harper Government’s treatment of veterans, the Anyone But Conservatives ABC – Canadian Campaign Facebook Page has over 12,000 likes, the ABC Veterans Canada Facebook Club has over 1,000 members (describing itself as the Internet’s “largest veterans virtual social club”), and the Veterans with PTSD Facebook page has over 800 likes, all of these sites have a decidedly anti-Conservative tone.  It could be suggested that this is hardly what one would describe as a vocal minority.  If the vast majority of veterans of this country were so supportive of the government and the treatment that they received from it, where are the “Veterans supporting Harper” or “Veterans supporting the Conservatives” Facebook group and webpages?  Try a Google search with “Veterans supporting Harper” or “Veterans supporting Conservatives” and see how many positive hits you get.  Instead, what you get are results such as Harper government spent $700,000 fighting veterans in court, Veterans Affairs’ unused funds total $1.13B since 2006, links to a press conference in which veterans expressed their concerns with the Veterans Affairs Ministry run by Mr. Fantino, stories about veteran amputees who have to prove their disability annuallyetc.  Moreover, why is it so hard to find veterans willing to do commercials supporting Harper’s treatment of veterans if in fact they actually did treat them so well?  

Given the list of grievances provided by Veterans, Mr. Laidler’s support for former Minister Fantino and the Conservatives’ handling of Veterans Affairs as detailed in the post Embattled Fantino Dumped from Veterans Affairs,
laidler-vac2

his cozy relationship and ongoing support by and for the current Minister of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Erin O’Toole as suggested by All On The Public’s Dime and suggested by Mr. O’Toole taking the time to comment on this blog (see the comments on All on the Public’s Dime) and repeatedly taking to Twitter to promote and support Mr. Laidler and his candidacy,

Akin o%22Toole

his positive testimony of the treatment of veterans twice before parliamentary committees (again refusing to identify himself as a Conservative candidate during the testimony as detailed in the post Parliamentary Testimonies and Unintended Consequences), and his statement that the Conservatives are the best ally of veterans, Mr. Laidler’s support for the Conservatives treatment of Veterans could be interpreted as a case of political partisanship clouding his judgment despite extensive evidence to the contrary.  Is this what we want from our representative in Port Moody-Coquitlam?   If elected, would Mr. Laidler allow his political partisanship cloud his judgment in other areas too if he does so in an area that he knows in intimate detail?  Could we expect Mr. Laidler to stand up to Mr. Harper in defense of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam and the people of B.C. in any matter for that matter or would he just be another “clapping seal” that we in B.C. send to parliament as Harper’s representative in our riding rather than our representative in Ottawa.  Ultimately it will be up to the constituents of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam to decide.

Seals

Edit: It appears that a Veterans for the Conservatives Facebook Page has now been established.  Interestingly, the first activity for the Facebook page was on August 18, 2015, the day that this blog post was first posted.  Coincidence?

“His EDA has a Strong Gun Owner Contingent”: the CPC’s Tim Laidler and the Pro-Gun Lobby

crpltimlaidler
It was recently brought to my attention that an anti-gun control lobby group had set up a webpage, the Turf Mark Holland (2015) webpage (TMH2.org) looking to elicit support (financial and otherwise) for those Conservative candidates in the upcoming election that “…who have shown an affinity for our cause”.  One of those candidates that the group is seeking to support is Tim Laidler, our local Conservative candidate in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.  The link to the “Elect Tim Laidler” page can be found here (a screen shot is posted below).   As one can see, the page is largely a repost of the materials found on Mr. Laidler’s campaign webpage.  The presence of the page is somewhat interesting in itself as it’s mere existence has a number of implications in regards to the nature of Mr. Laidler’s views on firearms and gun control issues.

Tim Laidler Page

The origins of the original “Turf Mark Holland” movement can be found here (see page 14).  The group was originally set up as a crowd sourcing effort on the part of gun owners and their supporters to oust Mark Holland, a vocal Liberal “anti-gun crusader” who was running for the federal Liberals in Ajax, Ontario.  The movement was ultimately successful in their goal.  The current new TMH2.org webpage was set up to build on the success of the original movement by seeking to help elect Conservative candidates who support their cause and to support those candidates running against candidates who largely do not support their views.  The fact that the TMH2.org website has chosen to support Mr. Laidler would likely suggest that Mr. Laidler’s views on gun control align more closely with the stronger elements of the anti-gun control lobby as these types of lobby groups do not generally tend to support those candidates that have predominantly moderate views.

Researching Mr. Laidler’s potential association with anti-gun control lobby groups, I came across a number of references (here and here) to Mr. Laidler’s EDA (Electoral District Association) (in this case the Port Moody-Coquitlam EDA) having a “strong gun owner contingent”.  Reviewing some of the past posts from Mr. Laidler’s (and others) appears to suggest that Mr. Laidler is, and has been, associated with a number of pro-gun individuals, groups, and events.

B.C. Rod and Gun Show – Rod & Gun Swap, April 17-19, 2015, Coverdale Fairgrounds

For those not following Mr. Laidler’s campaign closely, a number of Conservative candidates including Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate for Port Moody-Coquitlam), Mike Little (Conservative Candidate for Burnaby-North Seymour), and Dean Drysdale (Conservative Candidate in Coverdale-Langley), and Chloe Ellis (Conservative candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby) as well as several volunteers manned a booth at the recent B.C. Rod and Gun show in Coverdale which ran from April 17-19, 2015.  As photos from the event show, extensive campaign materials for the Conservative Party were readily available at the booth.

None here
Conservative candidates Tim Laidler (Port Moody-Coquitlam), Mike Little (Burnaby Seymour) and Dean Drysdale (Cloverdale-Langley City) and volunteers pictured at the B.C. Rod and Gun show booth.
BC Rod and Gun Show 3
Volunteers working at the B.C. Gun and Rod show booth.
BC Rod and Gun Show 5
Some of the campaign materials available at the B.C. Rod and Gun Show booth.

June 12, 2015 Bob Sopuck’s Speaking Engagement Hosted by Chloe Ellis and Tim Laidler

Those following Mr. Laidler’s campaign closely will also be aware that Mr. Laidler (the Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam), and Chloe Ellis (the Conservative candidate in the riding of New Westminster-Burnaby), along with their EDAs recently co-hosted MP Robert Sopuck, the Conservative MP for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette and Chair of the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus for a speaking engagement at the River’s Reach Pub in New Westminster on June 12, 2015. According to the invite posted by the Conservative Party, Mr. Sopuck was to “offer remarks in regards to hunting, angling, sports shooting, the Common Sense Firearms Act (Bill C-42) and Canadian heritage activities in Canada and meet with guests”.  Nowhere in the original event invite does it suggest that the event is a fundraiser although that might be implicit.

Bob Sopuck Meeting
Photo montage put out by the New Westminster-Burnaby EDA documenting Bob Sopuck’s Speaking Engagement.

This meeting was characterized quite differently on the Gun Owners of Canada Forum where it was described as the following:

“We are having Conservative ‘gun talk’ fundraiser in New Westminster on Friday, June 12 – I would encourage all politically active Metro Vancouver shooters to come out to the event.”

Another page on the Gun Owners of Canada Forum suggests that the National Firearm Association Field Officer and one of the owners of CTCSupplies were running the event.  Interestingly, not the Conservative Party.  In fact, there are numerous references out there to other individuals claiming to run the event other than the Conservative Party itself.

http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/showthread.php/1237631-Talk-to-MP-Bob-Sopuck-about-Guns-CPC-Fundraiser-June-12-New-Westminster-BC

Notable about both the B.C. Rod and Gun Show and the Bob Sopuck event is the involvement (in helping organize) and (at least in the case of the B.C. Rod and Gun Show), the physical presence of Mr. Philip Chau.  Interestingly. Mr. Philip Chau (aka Keung Chau) is, according to one of the posters on the Gunownwersofcanada.ca message board, a director of Tim Laidler’s Conservative riding association, and is, along with a business partner from Burnaby, one of the principals in the online firearm and firearm accessories website Canadian Tactical Cowboy Supplies Ltd. or CTCSupplies.ca (below is a screen shot from the site).

CTCSupplies Screenshot

Mr. Chau is also a principal in Washington Tactical Supplies, LLC which operates in Washington State.

Followers of local civic politics in the Tri-Cities area will recognize Mr. Chau’s name from the recently released third party sponsor disclosure statements from the last Civic Election (note the contributors to Mr. Chau’s advertising campaign on the last page BTW), from his letters to the Tri-Cities Now Newspaper complaining about slate politics in the Tri-Cities, from the “NoSlatesTriCities” print ads that appeared in the Now Newspaper such as this one (see below) which appeared in the Tri-Cities Now Newspaper on November 14, 2014.

Slate ad
Full NoSlatesTriCities print ad in the Now Newspaper (Nov. 14, 2014)
Slate add close up
Close-up of the bottom of the print ad.

and his apparent association with the “NoSlatesTriCities.ca” website that appeared and promptly disappeared after the civic election was over.  Below is a screenshot of the NationBuilder webpage showing Mr. Chau as the registered sponsor under LECFA of the website.

Chau agent

This may be the source of the comments about the strong gun owner contingent as part of the EDA as Mr. Chau appears to be very active within the gun lobby community.

Interestingly, it appears that it is not only Port Moody-Coquitlam that appears to have a strong gun owner’s contingent within its EDA.  It also appears that Donald Sohm, director of the Port Coquitlam Hunting and Fishing Club (Poco Fish and Game), the B.C. Field Officer for Canada’s National Firearms Association, and an avid firearms enthusiast, similar to Mr. Chau, is also board member of a Conservative EDA, this time the New Westminster Burnaby Conservative EDA (see below).

NW EDA Board

In reality it is very likely that Mr. Sopuck’s speaking engagement was actually set up (as they both claim) by Mr. Sohm (acting on behalf of [or at least in association with] the New Westminster-Burnaby Conservative EDA) and Mr. Chau (acting on behalf of [or at least in association with] for the Port Moody-Coquitlam Conservative EDA).  It should be remembered that Chloe Ellis also took part in the Rod and Gun Show and co-hosted the speaking engagement for Bob Sopuck with Tim Laidler suggesting that she and her EDA (through Mr. Sohm) may also have close ties to the firearm enthusiast community.

An element to consider, in hindsight and given the information above, is did Mr. Laidler have a potential leg up in the nomination race over Janine Davies, as well as the other candidates in the nomination process given his military background and given the makeup of the EDA which has been described as having “a strong gun owners contingent”?  Could this possibly be another reason to help explain why Mr. Laidler, a candidate with apparently strong views on gun issues, chose to run in Port Moody-Coquitlam when he clearly had much stronger ties politically to the NPA and the BC Liberals in the City of Vancouver?  Would a strong pro-gun candidate have had a less of a chance to be elected in the largely “big L” Liberal Vancouver?

Interestingly, according to one of the posters on the Gunownersofcanada website (likely Mr. Chau):

“Tim believes in: the right for law abiding citizens to own and possess firearms. He understands the serious flaws of the Firearms Act and supports correcting the problems.”

I was unable to find this quote anywhere on Mr. Laidler’s webpage or in any of the campaign materials that had been so far distributed. Perhaps it was available at the gun show?  I’m not sure.

I should note that I personally have what I would consider largely moderate views when it comes to guns and gun control having worked professionally around food hunters for many years and in very dangerous situations in the woods in which an armed assistant and the presence of firearms was very welcome.  However, I do understand that a candidate’s support for or opposition to gun control laws can be a deal breaker for many voters no matter which side of the gun control debate that you fall on and I present the information above to let the interested voter decide if Mr. Laidler and/or Ms. Ellis are candidates worth supporting (in regards to this issue).

Astutely recognizing the potential pitfalls politically of taking a stand one way or the other on gun control issues during an election year, one of the posters on the Gunownersofcanada.ca forum asked a fellow forum member “Has anyone contacted Tim Laidler about whether he wants the open support of gun owners?”  I would suggest that this question as it relates to Mr. Laidler and by extension, to Ms. Ellis appears to have been answered.  Given the ties identified above, one wonders if it is only a matter of time before an “Elect Chloe Ellis” page might also eventually appear on the TMH2.org website as well.

crpltimlaidler

Edit: It appears that since the initial publishing of this post that the “Elect Tim Laidler” page on the TMH2.org webpage has been deleted (or at least has gone into hibernation).

Parliamentary Testimonies and Unintended Consequences

Conservative Minister Jason Kenney and Conservative Candidate Tim Laidler
Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Tim Laidler, Conservative Candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.

I recently had the opportunity to review the two testimonies of Tim Laidler, the Conservative candidate for the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, that he provided before the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on March 12, 2015 and on Feb. 25, 2014 respectively.  I did so at the suggestion of a veteran activist whom I had contacted in an effort to obtain some comments regarding Mr. Laidler’s candidacy and his activities during his candidacy.  Now I am not an expert in the workings of standing committees and/or the treatment of PTSD so I will refrain from commenting on any of those aspects of the testimony and I will leave that up to those more qualified to do so (see how that works James Moore?).  What I will comment on though however, are a number of issues that arise from something that Mr. Laidler said in his testimony on March 12, 2015, as it has a number of very interesting implications.  As part of his testimony on March 12, 2015, Mr. Laidler made the following statement.

March 12, testimony

Acknowledging the possibility that Mr. Laidler either misspoke (?) during the testimony or that the record is inaccurate (both of which seem unlikely), the fact that Mr. Laidler made the statement that “I’m still in the military. I’m still in the reserves” has a number of interesting implications as if he was/is in the reserves, a number of rules apply as to what you must do and what you can and can not do politically as a reserve force member.

Firstly, as a reserve force member, according to the Code of Values and Ethics 2012, section 15.3.4.3 states that “…members of the Reserve Force must submit a confidential report to the Chief Review Services (CRS), declaring their intent to be a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal, band council, school board, or other local government election body election.”  Section 15.3.4.3 also states that “The CRS will determine whether there is a conflict of interest or potential or appearance of conflict of interest that can be resolved through constraints imposed upon the Reserve Force member so that engaging in the political activity does not undermine the impartiality or the objectivity of the Government of Canada, DND, or the CF.”  I’ve clipped the section in the Code of Valued and Ethics concerning reserve force members and political activities and have provided it below.

From Code of Conduct-2

In an attempt to determine if indeed that Mr. Laidler, as a reserve force member had submitted a report to the CRS, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request was submitted to the Department of National Defence (DND) in an attempt to determine if Mr. Laidler had indeed followed the procedures outlined in the Code of Values and Ethics regarding reserve force members and political activities.   I was specifically interested in determining if Mr. Laidler had indeed declared his intent to the CRS to be a candidate in the Federal Election prior to and/or after his acceptance of the nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam on August 12, 2014 and if so, if the CRS had determined whether or not there is/was a conflict of interest or potential or appearance of conflict of interest in Mr. Laidler seeking Federal office and if any constraints were imposed on Mr. Laidler as described in Section 15.3.4.3. so as to avoid a conflict of interest or potential or appearance of conflict of interest.

The result of the FOI request is provided below.

FOI Redacted-3

As noted by the FOI response from DND, no record could be found of Mr. Laidler having submitted the report to the CRS prior to him seeking and/or accepting the CPC nomination for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.  If the report doesn’t exist (as suggested by the DND) then it is my understanding, after consulting with someone currently in the military, that Mr. Laidler’s candidacy as the Conservative nominee for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam would appear to be a violation of the Military’s Code of Values and Ethics and, if indeed he is still in the reserves, it would appear that he would be subject to Queen’s Regulations and Orders Volume II Disciplinary or meaning in laymen’s terms, that he could potentially be subject to discipline for these actions (again if he is still in the reserve force).  If however, he is no longer in the reserve force the rules, of course, would no longer apply but it could still mean that he may have potentially in the past violated the Code of Values and Ethics (2012) while he was in the reserve force.  This all is of course a bit disconcerting as so much of Mr. Laidler’s candidacy is focused on him being in the military (see his campaign website here http://www.timlaidler.ca) and him being a supporter of the Conservatives’ record with the military, veterans, and veterans affairs.

Another interesting aspect of Mr. Laidler being in the reserve force is that when Jason Kenney was taking partisan pictures of Mr. Laidler at the airport when greeting Prime Minister Modi as detailed in the blog post Greeting Prime Minister Modi and as seen below and in the excellent video produced by Press Progress (also see below),

Prime Minister Shot

(unless he had left the military after March 12, 2015 and that his departure was effective before April 16, 2015, the day of the photo op at the airport), he would have been at the time in the reserve forces having his picture taken for political purposes by the Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenney.  Mr. Kenney was in fact therefor at the time of the photo ultimately his commanding officer (as the Minister of National Defence).  As there was an unequal power relationship, perhaps Mr. Laidler didn’t have the option of not participating in the obviously partisan photo-op event at the airport.  Could he have refused the wishes of his ultimately commanding officer?  I’m not sure.  I’m not sure how that would play out ethically and/or according to military protocols and procedures. Again, I am not an expert in these matters.

Also notable, and seemingly a recurrent theme with Mr. Laidler’s candidacy, at no point during the testimony provided on March 12, 2015 did Mr. Laidler willingly disclose that he was the Conservative candidate for the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam (since August 12, 2014).  The non-disclosure of his candidacy also occurred during Mr. Laidler’s made statements and asked questions during the NEB hearings in Port Moody concerning Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain pipeline expansion project as detailed in the blog post Where One’s Sympathies Lie as well as elsewhere.  One could argue that his candidacy for the Conservatives is a significant detail that should have been subject to disclosure.  Likewise, Mr. Laidler was quoted in a Oct. 1, 2014 Toronto Sun article lauding the Conservatives and their treatment of veterans again failing to mention that he was a Conservative candidate. This particular article annoyed a number of people in the military.  One wonders if Mr. Laidler had indeed submitted the report to the CRS whether or not full disclosure at all times of his candidacy would have been one of the conditions that he CRS would have imposed on his candidacy?  I tried contacting via e-mail the various other non-Conservative members of the Standing Committee of Veterans Affairs to ask them if they were aware of Mr. Laidler’s Conservative candidacy at the time of his testimony on March 12, 2015 and if not, whether or not that would have made a difference in their line of questioning and/or their interpretation of the testimony of Mr. Laidler before the standing committee.  Unfortunately, as of the writing of this post, I had yet to get a response from any of those on the committee that I had tried to contact.

It should not escape everyone’s attention that Mr. Erin O’Toole, the current Minister of Veterans Affairs, is also a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.  Mr. O’Toole was (and is) well aware of Mr. Laidler’s candidacy going so far as to tweet out his congratulations when Mr. Laidler was nominated in August of 2014,

congrats from O'Toole

coming to his defence when Press Progress questioned Mr. Laidler’s tendency to photobomb official taxpayer-funded events,

Akin o%22Toole

and even going so far as to provide a comment on this blog itself on Feb 7, 2015 after I published All on the Public’s Dime questioning why Mr. Laidler was promoted in an obviously partisan news release put out by the Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, January 15, 2015 which did not identify Mr. Laidler as a Conservative candidate.  As such, Mr. O’Toole independently could have also chosen to acknowledge and disclose Mr. Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservative party but similar to Mr. Laidler, he seemingly choose not to voluntarily do so.

Now before anyone accuses me of attacking a veteran just for being a veteran [as James Moore suggested when Mr. Laidler’s repeated photobombs were questioned by the NDP in Parliament (see below)],

I would like to assure everyone that nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact I come from a military family myself.  My father, was a 26 year veteran with the British Military, primarily in the British Military Intelligence Corps but was also in the Canadian Militia in the 1970s.  My mother was a British Army nurse and my mother and father met and were married in Nairobi while my father was stationed in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion and my mother was stationed there as an army nurse in a MASH-style military hospital.  My uncle drove a tank in the 8th Army under Montgomery and was at El Alamein and my grandfather was a Captain in the British Merchant Navy of a Q-ship during WWI.  He met my grandmother while serving in the Navy (she was a Navy WREN) when they were based in the Scilly Islands.  Being anti-military is not in my DNA.  In fact, it is somewhat amazing in hindsight that I didn’t end up in the military myself.  Rather what I am doing is just acting locally.  As a voter not wanting to see the Conservatives retain power, this blog and the time that I have invested in it is my contribution to that goal.

Laidler, Harper, Moore

Three ConMigos

Six Pack None the Richer (+1): Lessons from James Moore

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Six Pack None the Richer (+1): Lessons from James Moore on How to Campaign for the Conservatives in B.C. on the Public’s Dime.

Watching my local candidate Tim Laidler (the Conservative candidate in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam) appear repeatedly in government sponsored, taxpayer-funded, partisan photo ops as detailed here, here, and here, I began to notice that it was not only Mr. Laidler that was turning up repeatedly to these various official government events.  In actuality, in many cases, it was pretty much the same six (a six pack of candidates?) or sometimes seven, that were being paraded around from activity to activity and from photo op to photo op and, in one case, awkwardly being paraded on stage in front of a large audience at an official government event.  It was to me clear after some doing some rudimentary online searching that all of these individuals (including Mr. Laidler) were unelected B.C. Conservative candidates from a variety of constituencies but I couldn’t quite put together what the link between them all was.

Selected BC Candidates

The link was finally provided to me by a post on JoJo Quimpo’s (the Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway) Facebook page which provided a virtual Rosetta Stone as to who was involved and what was going on (please see above).  The post in question was a Facebook post of a staged photograph produced by the PMO showing the Prime Minister, Minister James Moore, and Minister Alice Wong pictured with (from left to right) Kenny Chui (Conservative candidate in the riding of Steveston-Richmond East), Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton), Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam), Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Cloverdale-Langley City), and Mike Little (Conservative candidate in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour).  Mr. Quimpo very kindly labelled all the individuals in the photo for me which helped greatly (big shout out for that!).

A few comments about this particular picture before proceeding.  Again, one can see obvious evidence of the political partisan use of public taxpayer-funded resources (the office of the PMO) being used to promote Conservative candidates and the Conservative Party.  Sigh.  That goes almost without saying.  There really can’t be any clearer example of that.  Sad indeed.

Partisan

Back to contents of the picture itself though, of the seven unelected Conservative candidates in the picture, six of the candidates (the six pack) represent all six of the Conservative candidates in the six newly established ridings in B.C. that will be in place for the upcoming election, the result of the redistribution of ridings ostensibly to create ridings with the same number of voters.  These ridings include the ridings of:

  • Steveston-Richmond East
  • South Okanagan-West Kootenay
  • Surrey-Newton
  • Port Moody-Coquitlam
  • Cloverdale-Langley City
  • Burnaby North-Seymour

As suggested by the CBC however, the redistribution heavily favours the Conservatives and winning these six seats could be the difference between remaining in power or not.  Therefore, the stakes are high and the Conservatives in B.C. know it.

So what are the Conservatives to do?  A review of three additional separate events: (1) the Prime Minister’s visit to the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond late in the evening of Wednesday, February 18, 2015, (2) Prime Minister’s Modi’s arrival at the airport in Richmond on April 16, 2015, and (3) the 2015 Lunar New Year Parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown, February 22, 2015 (two of which were official events and one and obvious party event) reveals that these six and sometimes seven candidates are being paraded around (sometimes at the taxpayers expense) presumably in the hopes of raising their profiles in the hopes of winning these newly established ridings.  Below is a review of these three events.  Let’s first start though with the original candidates’ photo as it really constitutes the first in a series of four separate events.

Event 1: The Sitting for the “BC Conservatives Member of Parliament (MP) Candidates” Photograph (Prior to March 3, 2015) (Official Event)

As this photograph (please see above) was published by the Office of the Prime Minister, this by definition constitutes the partisan use of public, taxpayer-funded resources and an official event.  The location and date of the photograph is unknown, likely in B.C, and would have had to have been taken definitely prior to March 3, 2015 for it to be posted on Mr. Quimpo’s Facebook page by that date.  All of the Travelling Brotherhood of the Six Pack (+1) are present in the photo.

Event 2: Richmond Aberdeen Centre Feb. 18, 2015 (Official Event)

As part of the celebrations of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Prime Minister Harper visited the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, B.C. on Feb. 18, 2015.  As noted in the Province Newspaper Article describing the event, Prime Ministers don’t just turn up to events like this unannounced.  Accordingly, a security delegation visited the venue many days before the event in order to assess the venue for security concerns and a significant security presence was with Harper at the event.  Also at the event were official photographers from the PMO and presumably an entourage of others.

At the event, which took place close to midnight, the Prime Minister reportedly made a short speech and participated in the ceremony with him painting on the eyes, ears, tongue and back of two lions used in traditional dances.

Here’s how the PMO photographer recorded the event.

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Official PMO photograph from the event.

Contrast that view with a review of some of the photographs produced by the Richmond News of the event and from other sources that shows that this official event was clearly utilized for partisan political purposes as a way to promote the Conservative party.  It seems that they had a booth at the mall, stacked the crowd with young Conservatives in matching T-shirts waving flags, and then put the seven unelected Conservative candidates on stage for the most significant part of the event.

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Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Cloverdale-Langley City), Mike Little (Conservative candidate in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour), Kenny Chui (Conservative candidate in the riding of Steveston-Richmond East), Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton), and Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam) at the Conservative booth at the Aberdeen Centre.
Conservative booth at the event.
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Planted crowd at the event.
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Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam), Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton), and Kenny Chui (Conservative candidate in the riding of Steveston-Richmond East) on stage with the Prime Miniser at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond B.C. during the Prime Minister’s visit.

Video footage provided by an onlooker (see below) suggests that during the eye dotting and other significant ceremonies, that the Brotherhood of the Travelling Six Pack (+1) were all awkwardly paraded up on stage and remained on the stage during the most significant parts of the ceremony.

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This was seemingly missed (avoided?) by the PMO’s official photographer at the event as were the pictures of the partisan obviously planted crowd.

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The PMO actually published the speech that Prime Minister Harper gave that night.  A copy of PM Harper’s speech at the Aberdeen centre can be found here and is reproduced below.  I’m having trouble locating the part where Harper says, “these are the B.C. Conservative candidates that we are desperately trying to promote in an attempt to raise their profiles.  We’re using this official event to promote our candidates in an obvious partisan manner and you guys are paying for it.  Let’s give them a hand shall we?”. Must have been an oversight.

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Dean Drysdale (Conservative candidate in the riding of Coverdale-Langley City), Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam), Marshall Neufeld (Conservative candidate in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay), Jojo Quimpo (Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway), Harpreet Singh (Conservative candidate in the riding of Surrey-Newton), and Kenny Chui (Conservative candidate in the riding of Steveston-Richmond East) on stage with the Prime Miniser at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond B.C. during the Prime Minister’s visit.

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Six Pack (+1) at the Aberdeen Mall.
Casual
Waiting for the big moment backstage.

Event 3: Prime Minister Modi’s Arrival at the Airport in Vancouver, April 16, 2015 (Official Event)

Indian Prime Minister Modi’s arrival at the airport in Richmond and the partisan political use of his visit is detailed elsewhere here and here and I will only briefly refer to it here.  Of the Brotherhood of the Travelling Six Pack (+1), only Mike Little (the Conservative candidate in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour) appears not to have been present at the airport for the event.  It is unclear whether Mr. Little had a moral epiphany (not wanting to be part of an obvious partisan political event on the taxpayer’s dime) or that he just had a prior engagement.  I’m leaning towards the latter.  Here is the photographic evidence of those candidates present at the airport (in all their glory or lack thereof).  Brace yourself on a couple of them.

Harpreet Singh3

Event 4: 2015 Lunar New Year Parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown, February 22, 2015 (Public Event)

As part of the Lunar New Year parade, the Conservative Party like many other political parties participated in the Lunar New Year parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown.  Unlike the other events, this event and the Conservatives’ behaviour at the event appears to be entirely appropriate.  It does not appear that any taxpayer resources were utilized during the event.  I only bring up the event as it again shows the Brotherhood of the Travelling Six Pack (+1) being present and together and being paraded around at an event.

Mike Little

The +1?

You are probably noticing by now the (+1) that also appears at all these event.  The rather odd man out in all this (the +1) is Jojo Quimpo (the Conservative candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway).  Mr. Quimpo as you may remember was present with Mr. Laidler at one of the shameless taxpayer-funded photo op’s with Candace Bergen, the Minister of State for Social Development documented here, so he, like Mr. Laidler, is already a repeat offender when it

Official Ministry Tweet

comes to the shameless partisan use of public resources for political purposes.  I’m having a bit of tough time understanding why Jojo Quimpo was and is being included in with the Brotherhood of the Travelling Six Pack as his riding is not a new riding.  Mr. Quimpo is definitely in tough race against Don Davies, the two time NDP MP who won the last election with over 50% of the popular vote.  However, there are lots of other Conservative candidates in tough against strong NDP and Liberal candidates.  Take for example Chloe Ellis who will be in tough against Peter Julian who is seeking his fourth term in the riding of New Westminster – Burnaby.  Seeing that she was nominated in March, why was/is she not afforded the same opportunities as Mr. Quimpo to have their picture taken with dignitaries etc.  Or was it that she was offered the opportunity and she declined, as it would have been inappropriate to do so? Mr. Quimpo had Jason Kenney kick off his campaign so I’m wondering if this is just another example of Jason Kenney in his capacity as the Minister of Multiculturalism pandering (as he often does) to the sizable ex-pat Filipino and South Asian vote by promoting Mr. Quimpo at every opportunity? That is more likely the case I would think as it would be par for the course with Mr. Kenney and the party as a whole.

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Jason Kenney at Jojo Quimpo’s Campaign kick off. Who else gets that kind of treatment?

Finally, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the “brains” behind all these operations.  I ask you as the interested reader (who’s made it this far in the post), who is the one senior ministerial constant at all these events, that is also present in the obviously partisan photo?

Who Me?

Yes, I give you the puppetmaster of the Brotherhood of the Travelling Six Pack (+1), James Moore the senior regional Minister from B.C.  There is in my opinion no way that Mr. Moore is/was unaware of the significance of this group as he attended at least four different functions with this specific group of candidates, three of which constituted official government functions and that involved the use of public resources.  These public resources appears to have been utilized in an attempt to raise the profile of these seven candidates with the photos that are being produced at these events turning up on the candidates’ webpages and social media accounts as well as on the Prime Minister’s own website and social media accounts.  It is pretty clear that Mr. Moore has some distinct difficulty differentiating between what is public and party business and that he doesn’t mind crossing that line if it will get him and his party ahead.

I’m looking forward to Mr. Moore answering questions regarding all this and to see if he can top this particularly ridiculous statement in QP (even for him) when asked specifically about the promotion of Tim Laidler using public funds.

Can James Moore top that ridiculous performance? I have faith in him and his ridiculousness so yes.  Can’t wait to see what the sanctimonious obfuscation will look like this time.

And what about the candidates themselves?  Do any of these seven candidates have any integrity at all or in their minds, does the end ultimately justify the means?

Finally, I do wonder if the same pattern is being repeated elsewhere?  Are candidates in other Provinces with newly established ridings also being given the same preferential treatment or is this just the handiwork of James Moore and therefor only happening in B.C.?  I would be interested to know so would other taxpayers I would imagine.

It should be noted too that unlike the airport incident with Prime Minister Modi, there is no plausible deniability on the part of Stephen Harper that he didn’t know what was going on at the Aberdeen Centre or during the photo shoot with the unelected candidates.  There is no way that he would have been allowed to share the stage and/or have his picture taken with the unelected candidates without knowing exactly what was going on.  To suggest anything else would be disingenuous.

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