Elections Canada drops Friends of Science investigation

Tue, 2008-09-23 11:04Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Elections Canada drops Friends of Science investigation

Canwest News Service reporter Mike De Souza, has a story out on the wire this morning that the Friends of Science, a group renowned for spreading misinformation (and taking money from oil companies to help out) about the science of global warming has been “… cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation by Elections Canada into radio ads which ran in key Ontario markets during the 2006 election campaign.”

Canwest News Service reporter Mike De Souza, has reported that the Friends of Science, a group renowned for using oil and gas money to spread misinformation about the science of global warming, has been “… cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation by Elections Canada into radio ads which ran in key Ontario markets during the 2006 election campaign.”

Jean-Claude Bernais, the chief investigator at Elections Canada, concluded that the Friends of Science was not required to register as a third party during the campaign since the radio ads did not fall under the definition of “election advertising.”

This despite the fact that a Friends of Science  newsletter prior to the elction pledged “to have a major impact on the next election,” (pdf) and said after the vote that its campaign to influence public policy on climate change was working.

The radio ads were targeted at key swing ridings in Ontario where the Conservative Party had the best chance of winning. 

DeSmogBlog was one of two groups that requested an investigation by Elections Canada. There was clear evidence of intent by the Friends of Science to convince voters to support the Conservatives in key swing ridings.

In fact, one of the key players in the Friends of Science, University of Calgary professor Barry Cooper admitted later that he would likely not have aired the ads during an election period:

“The Researcher indicated that the ads were intended to promote the Video and not to promote an issue during an election but happened to coincide with the election. He further indicated that he has served as an expert witness in third party advertising actions and would likely not have aired the ads during an election period had they been assessed from that perspective.”

By registering as a third-party, an organzation must disclose its sources of funds, and the Friends of Science, with Cooper’s help, have manipulated respected organizations including the Calgary Foundation and teh University of Calgary in an effort to hide its funding in the past.

The DeSmogBlog is contemplating the options for appealing this decision by Elections Canada