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A series of documents posted on Wikileaks show that the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association, a Tory-connected student group, held workshops at which participants were taught how to take over various student organizations on Ontario campuses.
"Presenters and participants are caught on tape advocating for the creation of front groups for the Conservative Party to masquerade as non-partisan grassroots organizations, influencing the political discourse on campus, stacking student elections with Party members, and conspiring to defeat non-profit organizations because of political differences, all with the intention of hiding their affiliations to the Party in the process," reads a release put out by the anonymous source who posted the documents.
The OPCCA hosted events on campuses in Ottawa, Toronto, and Waterloo that targeted Public Interest Research Groups in particular (see photo above).
"Sometimes you can't attach the party's name to something. You just can't. If it's a really controversial issue on campus or something that might show up in the newspaper, you want to be careful. You just have your shell organization and have the Campus Coalition for Liberty and two other Tory front groups which are front organizations, all of those groups might actually qualify for funding too," said Ryan O'Connor, a workshop facilitator and former member of the OPCCA.
Nick Smith, a student activist from Toronto, has written about the attempts of Conservative student groups to hijack student politics in the past.
For those, not up to speed in politico-speak, a "message box" is a carefully crafted set of talking points which political parties and others use to get a specific message out in the media.
While the Canadian press found out in March "that the Conservatives Party was scripting call-in responses for supporters to read out on the air," the Globe and Mail has learned through a leaked e-mail that Conservatives are doing it again.
Could Conservative fortunes have run out?
The impending economic problems in the US have caused many Canadians to turn to other parties. While the Conservatives are still leading nationally, they are behind the 8-ball in Ontario for the first time in months. The Liberals are leading by nearly nine percent.
In Quebec, the Conservatives have slipped to third, just two percent ahead of the NDP. The Bloc are leading.
In BC, the Tories are in a dead heat with the NDP.
OCAP Action on September 26:
Raise the Rates! Mass Panhandle!
11:30 A.M. METRO PARK
(Queen and Church)
City-Wide Demonstration converging @ Queen's Park
On Wednesday, September 26, a broad coalition of community
organizations, trade unions, health providers and low income people will be challenging Queen's Park to increase social assistance by 40%, raise the minimum wage, build affordable and accessible housing, and implement a Don't Ask-Don't Tell policy .
There will be a rally at the Ontario Legislature under the name of ˜Toronto Anti Poverty". Many of the organizations participating in the event, will hold their own actions on that day before marching on the Legislature for the united event.
For more information about the Day of Action HERE.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.