Ottawa vs. Baird: The Shadowy Foreign Organization strikes back!

Hey, remember that weird press release John Baird’s campaign put out earlier today in response? The one that claimed a “Wall Street Billionaire” was bankrolling an anti-Harper campaign, possibly in violation of the Canada Elections Act?

Berryposted from the road (so excuse any formatting glitches):

Avaaz Denounces John Baird’s Deception and Intimidation Tactics to Silence Canada’s Environmental Voice

At a press conference in Ottawa today,, the 300,000 strong online activist community, launched its campaign stop a Harper majority government and the devastating consequences it would have for climate change. The campaign encourages Canadians in close races to work across party lines to save the planet and vote smart for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate.

After the conference, staff members of Minister of the Environment John Baird distributed a press release accusing the Avaaz effort of being a shadowy foreign initiative, funded by foreign billionaire George Soros, which is violating Canadian election law.  All of these allegations are false.

In fact, the Avaaz campaign is exclusively run and funded by Canadians, and has been fully reviewed and registered as a legitimate third party by Elections Canada and is listed on its website. Avaaz proactively initiated full consultations with Elections Canada lawyers, who approved the application.  

“Our campaign is of, by, and for Canadians, and strictly Canadian money is being used, that’s verified by an auditor registered with Elections Canada”, said Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel.   

“We have been very careful about this, to even go beyond normal procedure to discuss our campaign with Elections Canada lawyers, and we are 100% in compliance with Canadian law.”

“We have over 300,000 subscribers across Canada — almost 1% of the Canadian population — people who  have mobilized for this campaign to donate over $100,000 in small online donations, tell friends, and get active like never before. I don’t think they’ll be happy to hear Mr. Baird call them “shadowy foreigners””.

“I approached the staff in Minister Baird’s office directly and encouraged them to check with Elections Canada before distributing these falsehoods, but they weren’t interested in checking their facts” added Patel.

“This is exactly the kind of deceptive and intimidating tactics that the Harper government in general and John Baird in particular have tried to use to silence environmental advocates who tell the Canadian public the truth about the Harper record. They’re also hoping to distract people from our urgent message to Canadians to stop a Harper government from devastating the climate.”

“Baird’s press release cleverly used the words ‘apparently’ and ‘supposedly’ when leveling accusations against us, which might be chosen to avoid the possibility of libel suit on this” added Patel. is the largest online activist community in the world, with 3.4 million members from every nation of the world. is the Canadian arm of the organization, with a Canadian team and office in Ottawa. Avaaz founder and Executive Director Ricken Patel is a Canadian citizen, born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.

So – your move, John Baird?

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