Elections Canada to Investigate Friends of Science

DeSmogBlog Laid Complaint; CanWest sets out the Case

Responding to a complaint that DeSmogBlog manager Kevin Grandia submitted late last year, Elections Canada is reported to be on the trail of the energy industry front group Friends of Science (FOS).

The DeSmog complaint pointed to FOS's own materials in stating the case. It is the law in Canada that anyone who spends more than $500 on advocacy advertising during an election must register with elections Canada. FOS siphoned $200,000 through a University of Calgary trust fund (courtesy of Barry Cooper, inset), didn't register, and boasted afterwards that they had helped swing key Ontario ridings to allow for the minority victory of Conservative party leader and current Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The first mainstream media coverage of this story appeared today in this very thorough Edmonton Journal story.


Heh. Just wait until Elections Canada starts following the money trail from the David Suzuki Foundation, John Lefebrve, Desmogblog, and James Hoggan and Associates PR Firm Inc., and various other left-wing and Liberal Party of Canada front organisations.

This oughta be good.

The Friends of Science guys don’t have a lot of luck going after people who speak out against them with lawyers and writs. Ask Tim Ball how his libel suit against the Calgary Herald & Dr. Dan Johnson turned out.

Fern Mackenzie

The article also mentioned:

“If anything, at the time, it could have been construed that we were aiming our ads at the Liberal party, (but) if we were doing a series of radio ads now, we would be saying the same thing, and that would be construed as being against the Conservatives,” said Charles Simpson, a former president of Friends of Science who remains on its board. “We just want the science to be known out there, and we want people to stop and think about the fact that our government has wasted $5 billion on things like the One-Tonne Challenge and crap like that.”

I haven’t seen the ads but if it is true what I just quoted above then we are dealing here with a storm in a tea cup.

Well, I don’t know. Does writing a blog count as “political advertising” in the legal sense?

Or maybe this is just another “the other side did it too, Clinton did it, Clinton did it” right-wing schtick…

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

That’s an interesting question. But you have to go looking actively for blogs, it isn’t presented to you without warning repeatedly between segments of your favourite tv shows. edit – sorry, these were radios ads, weren’t they?

Fern Mackenzie

Unfortunately, the FOS could call Paul G/S as an ‘expert’ witness to demonstrate that $500 or even $200,000 (the latter value is less than a cent per Canadian citizen) is not enough to have an effect.

Most Canadians have never heard of FOS, so whether it’s $500 or $200,000, FOS has had little effect on the AGW issue. Can’t do propaganda with pennies.

In addition, ‘most Canadians’ is irrelevant – you just need to influence some portion of a sub-set of Canadians.

All FOS is trying to do is point out the lack of any scientific evidence that AGW (Alarmist Global Warmers)is real. The temperature of the Earth is not increasing anymore. It is the Sun and it’s secondary effects that control climate. The message has been consistent from the beginning and there have been a number of converts as a result. Of course, those such as Maurice Strong who have an agenda look at this whole thing as political and a means to become wealthy. There is so much graft and corruption in carbon trading that the IPCC couldn’t even find a bonafide broker to offset its Bali conference. Read the ISPM from the Fraser Institute. They took the same data as the IPCC did but without government interference and the conclusions were vastly different. And many were IPCC official reviewers. The time is running out for AGW and the AGW‘ers. Climate change is not political, It is natural.

Kirt, you are making a big oopsie here. How dare you mention the Fraser Institute on desmogblog. The bloggers will slaughter you for that. It is like referring to the Cato Institute, the Heartland Institute, the American Enterprise Institute. I’ll bet, they will find that Exxon Mobile may have even donated a penny to the Fraser Institute. If so, everything they will say is badly tainted purely on the basis of that connection. Scientists working for these organizations have by definition ulterior motives and are not to be trusted. They are the evil defenders of free enterprise and they have no scruples to squander our precious environment. They also sponsor all sorts of bad, bad people. People who may question the AGW mantra, Brrrr. Wait till the likes of Ian Forrester get hold of you. Hope you have a thick skin. I wish you all the luck!

Yeah, all those great scientists working for think tanks … er, what science have they done? At least Kirt was right – AGW isn’t political, it’s natural, just like humans are a part of nature and the properties of greenhouse gases are natural. You show that your vision is blurred by politics.

As others have said, this is NOT a scientific source. As it happens, the Fraser Institute DOES take money from Exxon and their coverage of the AGW issue has been irrationally skewed to defend energy interests above science. And for more on the sleazy misdirection of the above-noted ISPM, look here , to our coverage of that document when we leaked it five days before the Fraser Institute.

If you put a link in your post, Richard, it doesn’t work.
ETA: I mean in your comment here, not in the original post.

I was being sarcastic but apparently not obvious enough and Richard took the bait and makes the obligatory evil Exxon link.Talking about suspicious connections Lindzen wrote this:

“For example, Tony Socci, who played a significant role in the Singer affair, is now the spokesman of the American Meteorological Society in Washington. John Firor, who was for many years the administrative director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, was also the chairman of the board of the Environmental Defense Fund. R. Napier, president of the World Wildlife Federation - UK, is also chairman of the board of the UK Meteorological Office (which includes the Hadley Center).

Jim Hansen is closely associated with Michael Oppenheimer who was long the Barbara Streisand Scientist at Environmental Defense, and, apparently Michael was on the EPA review panel that recommended the funding of Hansen to get into climate modeling (after NASA had cut funds for the New York lab). Oppenheimer, despite only being a minor author of 3-4 peer reviewed scientific papers on climate, is now a professor at Princeton University. It would be interesting to know who endowed his professorship.”

More ideological blindness from you, Chris. Dr. Oppenheimer is one of the most prestigious climate scientists in the US. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications in his history and is well-respected in the field.

And I’m still amused by the suggestion that an evil NASA-EPA-Gore-whoever conspiracy in the US alone is somehow able to get all the _world’s_ scientists – from China to India, from Canada to Brazil, from Hungary to Sweden – to agree that AGW is real!

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

Maybe I should spell it out more clearly.

Hoppenheimer was already an ideologist apart from a scientist (a bad combination).
I quote:
“In the late 1980’s, Dr. Oppenheimer and a handful of other scientists organized two workshops under the auspices of the United Nations that helped precipitate the negotiations that resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (signed at the 1992 Earth Summit) and the Kyoto Protocol. During that period, he co-founded the Climate Action Network.”

What Lindzen meant was that at the time when Oppenheimer was given the job, he only had 3 peer-reviewed articles on his name. If you can show me more articles then I will give up my high regard for Lindzen. Lindzen was only arguing that Oppenheimer didn’t deserve the job on the basis of his work AT THE TIME and that other consideration played a role.

The UNFCCC was a document signed by GEORGE H.W. BUSH! Bush Sr. wasn’t the epitome of liberalism by any means. He was a conservative and still he ratified the document!

Your criticism of Oppenheimer must say something about your ideological leanings, that you are way to the right of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Rachel Marsden.

Also, your commendations of Lindzen are inappropriate. Lindzen has little if anything published with respect to the science of climate change, while Oppenheimer has dozens of reports published.

Chris, time to remove those ideological blinders.

These same people no doubt believe that Mary Magdelene is buried under the Louvre pyramid, that Diana was murdered on orders from Prince Phillip and that the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage & backlot.

These people need to take Ockham’s Razor 101. Either that or study up on the “Keep it simple, Stupid” principle.

Denier joke:
Q - How many AGW alarmists does it take to change a (CF) lightbulb?
A - Thousands: it’s a conspiracy!

Sorry. That was awful, but I’m tired. I’m going to bed to read The da Vinci Code again …

Fern Mackenzie


“These same people no doubt believe that … the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage & backlot.”

Erm, actually there seems to be not much intersection between AGW denialists and moon landing denialists, even though both groups hate NASA:
http://crookedtimber.org/2006/11/06/parallel-universe-quiz/ :-B

( OK, there’s a counterexample, but I guess this is a different type of crank from the usual conlibertarian denialist:
http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/?p=1787 )

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

I’m just a bit fed up with conspiracy theories and wild fantasy explanations. I will check out that link tomorrow.
Fern Mackenzie

LOL, Fern.

Q. How many denialists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. The bulb is still giving light if you squint hard enough; anyway, darkness is perfectly natural; anyway, it would destroy the economy; anyway, those newfangled bulbs have mercury in them; anyway, you only want a new lightbulb as an excuse to impose socialistic government regulations; anyway…

Stephen, I’ll forgive you the ad hom “ideological blindness” (after all we are on desmog, so one has to get used to that). By the way, I was only quoting Lindzen. I have generally more faith in Lindzen’s opinion than in Stephen Berg’s.

Chris, you just smeared the character of Dr. Oppenheimer with something far worse. If you do not realize that you, yourself, committed an ad-hom with this, you need to take an etiquette class.

“It is the law in Canada that anyone who spends more than $500 on advocacy advertising during an election must register with elections Canada. FOS siphoned $200,000 through a University of Calgary trust fund …, didn’t register, …”

I find it amusing that none of the denialists on this thread even bother to address this point head-on. Which makes me think, the legal proceedings for this case will probably be a festival of smoke and mirrors. :)

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

I find the parallels in this thread amusing. On the one hand, apparently a mere $200,000 isn’t enough to change anyones mind. On the other hand, apparently there is no scientific evidence of a human fingerprint in the climate change signal.

I wonder, how many $200,000 ad campaigns were needed to convince people that the last hundred or so years has yielded no understanding on the issue. Maybe it’s an issue of an additive effect, rather than a single instance of blatent wonkery…

Perhaps it’s time to play the Mindless Link Propagation game (which the denialosphere seems to be extremely good at).

I’ll put a link on my site when I do get around to it. :)

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/