#CDNpoli Polarization

A CBC headline trumpeted, “Political advocacy group North99 uses misleading petitions to gather voter data

But one of the two founders of north99 wrote an angry Facebook post denying misleading anyone, insisting CBC had made a mistake

This morning CBC published a misleading and factually incorrect piece about North99. We have already filed an official complaint with the CBC and asked for a correction to be issued.
If you’ve read the piece and are wondering what’s true and what’s not, here’s the facts: people sign up to our email list through issue campaigns, surveys, petitions, and our newsletter. We always make it clear up front what issue or campaign people are joining when they sign up. 

The CBC claimed we were not being clear with people about this, and that we were signing them up for campaigns they didn’t want to be a part of. Let me be clear: this is 100% untrue. It’s as untrue as saying the sky is green.  Their so-called “analysis” of the forms on our website was wrong, and this led them to report a falsehood. That’s unfortunate, and we hope they will correct this embrassing error. Canadians deserve the unvarnished truth from our public broadcaster.

But you know who doesn’t give a damn about the truth? The Conservatives.  And they have already seized on the mistakes made by the CBC to attack us and the North99 community. 
This morning Lisa Raitt — a former Harper Cabinet Minister and the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party — took to Twitter to attack North99.  She made wild allegations about us — the sort of stuff you’d expect from The Rebel, not someone trying to lead the country. 

Look, none of this is surprising. Our community is disrupting politics in this country, and we have to expect the forces of the right and the status-quo to come after us with everyone they’ve got. Now that we are growing in size and our community is having an impact, people are going to try to tear us down.  Lisa Raitt won’t be the last politician to smear and slander us. They hate what we stand for. But you know what: we aren’t going to back down from a fight.

Here’s my commitment to you: 
1) We take your trust seriously, and we take accuracy seriously. We won’t always be perfect, and sometimes — like the CBC! — we’ll make mistakes. But we’ll always correct them and be honest with you. 
2) We will never stop fighting for a Canada that works for the many, not just the richest few — even when we’re attacked by powerful politicians like Lisa Raitt. As long as you’re with us, we’ll keep on working. 

If you ever want to get in touch with questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to send an email to priority@north99.org. 
Thanks for your support,
Taylor 
Co-Founder, North99
https://www.facebook.com/OntarioVotesToStopDougFord/posts/514137532666333

Perhaps most interesting is how deftly Mr Scollon this message of righteous indignation was transformed into a Conservative attack piece.

While I don’t know the truth of the misleading petition allegation, it is nonetheless clear that the two gentlemen who are behind North99 are indeed Liberals.

A quick internet search revealed that Taylor Scollon had been the U of T Liberals’ communications director
https://www.facebook.com/uoftliberal/posts/taylor-scollon-uoft-liberals-communications-director-reminds-us-its-the-economy-/396372270425866/

and cofounder Geoff Sharpe had been the President of the BC Young Liberals
https://web.archive.org/web/20170728231036/http://abacusinsider.com/canadian-millennials/interview-geoff-sharpe-consultant-navigator-canadian-millennial-watch/

But are they operating with the blessing of theLiberal Party of Canada or are they acting alone in support of it.  Presumably North 99 is a third party advertiser in this, the new “Pre-Election Period” devised by the latter, else they’ll fall afoul of the LPC’s own new law which lays down rules about third party advertisers and possible collusion with political parties.

The WRONG KIND OF GREEN writes:

“While it shouldn’t be surprising that online partisan front groups stir the pot, what is remarkable is how effective they have been with so little accountability. All of these groups are scooping up massive amounts of data, often directly collecting information through their own cynical petitions on hot issues. These groups show how empty much of the political landscape has become. Digital media strategists are running a shell game that treats ordinary working people as something to be manipulated and toyed with. Forget about all that nonsense about Russians on distorting democracy through social media. We need to look no further than the communication specialists and political parties in this country to see who the true manipulators are.”

The WRONG KIND OF GREEN article  NAVIGATING ONTARIO’S ONLINE POLITICAL FRONT GROUPS looks at North99 and Ontario Proud, and who is behind them.  Yet the closest WRONG KIND OF GREEN gets to revealing who is behind *it* is characterizing itsellf as “a 100% volunteer, critical-thinking collective.

Whoever WRONG KIND OF GREEN is, I share their concern about who is driving our politics.  Both North99 and Ontario Proud are working to build an us against them political culture that polarizes Canadians, and certainly seems to impose undue influence on our electoral process by demonizing the other side’s politicians.

This is, of course, why we still have the atrocious First Past The Post voting system.  Attacking the enemy is a time honoured strategy that often leads to winning elections and becoming the winner who takes all in our majoritan political system.

The Liberals and Conservatives take turns getting elected by convincing their base and any swing voters they can woo that only they will save us from the other.

But what is it doing to our country?

drawing of gladiators fighting

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