Friday, July 03, 2009

You keep using that word "democracy" ...

Oh, my ... while it's slightly old news, this has just come to my attention:

OPCCA workshop on how-to takeover student governments, 2009

Leaked Tape Exposes Tories Sponsoring Student Government Takeovers And Attacks On Non-Profit Organizations at campuses across Ontario

Audio files, photos and transcripts leaked to the website has exposed the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association (OPCCA) as hosting workshops dedicated to teaching Campus Conservatives how to take over student governments and defeat perceived enemies including the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)...

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 inthe process.

And if all that fails, you can always register a lookalike domain and redirect it to NAMBLA. I hear that that proves how someone else enables pedophilia. Or something like that.

: As others have noted, there's a familiar name behind this sleazebaggery:

Among those present at the workshop were Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, Peter Braid and his campaign manager, Aaron Lee-Wudrick. Lee-Wudrick is heard on the recordings providing advice on how to siphon money from students’ unions through “front organizations” that would work to further the goals of the Conservative Party.

Braid took the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo from Liberal incumbent Andrew Telegdi in the last federal election. Telegdi had held the riding since 1993. Braid won by 17 votes, a margin that Lee-Wudrick identifies as being the reason why getting students involved in federal politics is so important.

In the presentation caught on the recording, Lee-Wudrick and Ryan O’Connor, a former Vice-President of the Waterloo Federation of Students, spoke about how they were able to manipulate the student union board to run a referendum to refund the fees of the Waterloo OPIRG (WPIRG) chapter in the early 2000s. They disclose that when O’Connor was a Vice-President, he worked with Lee-Wudrick, then President of the campus Conservative club, to push forward their partisan agenda, often by using the resources of the students’ union.

In the presentation, Lee-Wudrick said, “If it’s possible if, in one fell swoop, to take over the Board of Directors [of OPIRG], I think that it would be pretty impressive, and you’d be a hero to the Conservative movement if you can pull that off.”

OPIRGs are campus organizations that are usually funded through a dedicated student levy to coordinate campus campaigns on human rights and social justice.

And then there's this beauty (and look who else is involved, ha ha!):

Students call on Harper and Tory to disclose how much party funding was used to undermine students' unions

08:30 EDT Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - Recordings leaked from a workshop hosted by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association and the Manning Centre for Building Democracy reveal a plan to undermine democratic decision-making on Canadian campuses.

At the February 7, 2009 Conservative training session for students in Waterloo, a workshop called "Campaign Strategies and Tactics for Keeping the CFS off Campus" was presented by Aaron Lee-Wudrick, Campaign Manager for Member of Parliament Peter Braid, and Ryan O'Connor, Ninth Vice-President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Braid and other Conservative politicians participated training workshops in Waterloo and elsewhere in the country...

The leaked materials, available at, include session agendas and audio recordings that feature instructions on how to run Conservative Party candidates in student elections to promote the partisan agenda of the Conservative Party. Presenters are heard advising Conservative students to set up "front organisations" to receive student clubs funding under false pretenses in order to funnel money to the Conservative Party.

So, given that this all hit the fan more than three months ago, did we here at CC HQ just totally miss this? Who picked up on this at the time?


Mike said...

Recognize one of those names there CC?

Our old friend and BT regular, Aaron Lee Wudrick, who is unapologetic.

But remember kids, if you make a deal with the opposition in the open to form a coalition government, THAT is a "coup" or "undemocratic". Or something.

Dr.Dawg said...

I was on it, but I'm a bit embarrassed about my take on it, which proved to be inaccurate:

sinned34 said...

I love reading stories like these and then thinking fondly of all the times that the Conservatives claim that they have no "secret agenda"!

Of course, they've been repeating this lie since the Reform Party days, back when I was contemplating joining the party as a Junior Reformer.

Looking back, I can honestly say that I'm glad I didn't!