Some depressing Green Party Canada News…

John Fryer SGI Campaign Manager

Oh no! John Fryer just quit as Elizabeth May`s campaign manager in SGI. I won`t bother going into the endless list of people who have been briefly associated on a professional basis with Elizabeth May and the current leadership of the Party who have quit, been fired, or just shunted aside. So why do I start tapping at my keyboard over this latest head to roll? Because it makes a mockery of everything that the Leadership and Federal council have done since the writ dropped in the last election.

After the last election, the Party didn`t move as quickly as possible to repay election loans. The election plan had envisioned re-paying election loans with the election expenses rebate, as sound management would dictate. The leadership ignored sound management, and started spending like crazy. Never mind that there were known payments to be planned for, the money would somehow come from somewhere. Well, the money didn`t come from anywhere. Only when the situation became critical did anything happen. The response to the realisation that the money was not there was that the majority of the organisers were laid off. So there we were, and here we are. A National Party with full slate of directors, leader, deputy-leader, and communications staffers on the payroll, but NO FIELD ORGANISERS!

So why have we got no organisers left? The Federal council decided that electing Elizabeth May to the house of commons was, and is the overaching priority of the Party. This required an immediate infusion into SGI coffers of $60,000, and a re-direction of staff towards meeting this goal. The Salaries of the leaders political allies are sacrosanct, so Elizabeth May, Adriane Carr, and Sharon Labchuk need to continue to be paid. Communications needs to continue, so Elizabeths assistant contuinues to be paid. Ralph Benmurgei is in a communications consulting role as Party spokesperson, so his salary is continued. There are legal compliance issues, like financial reporting to Elections Canada which requires staff. The website cannot be permitted to collapse, so ther are another one or two staff slots retained.  With large bank loans scheduled for repayment over the next 3 months or so, those salaries, plus the SGI campaign are the only thing that the Party can afford.

It will not be all over and happily dealt with after the bank loans are repaid though. Oh no, not by a long shot. There are still the outstanding private loans raised to fight the last election. Repayment is not currently scheduled, and in fact Adriane Carr is spearheading a campaign to raise large amounts of fresh loans to add to the debt pile. She has already gone back to the EDA executives, and asked that they forego their revenue sharing payments. The terms of these loans are that they will be repaid in full when the writ drops for the next election. This was largely successful, and the Party has taken on a bunch of new obligations that we will have a lot of trouble with at the launch of the next election. I do not know whether or not we are fortunate that Adriane attempts to raise large fresh loans from private lenders have been unsuccesful. It means that we will likely suffer yet another budgetary crisis when planned spending cannot happen due to lack of fresh loans, but at least the Party is not being burdened with yet another tranche of debt.

Adriane Carr: Fundraiser Extraordinaire?

Adraine Carr is apparently the leaderships answer to losing, (or willfully chasing away) the services of Jim Harris. Not only is she to step into his shoes and raise loans, but she is also to spearhead a big fundraising initiative. The Party is going to plug a half million dollar shortfall by setting Adriane loose to raise the funds from fresh sources. I wish her the very best with this. Her fertile imagination has sprouted a plan for innumerable dutch auctions, so the current spending levels can be maintained ongoing. Well I am a long standing proponent of creative fundraising approaches, so I will not disagree with it. I will caution you though, that literally banking on stellar results from untried initiatives is a pretty risky proposition. Cross your fingers that she does not fall on her face.

So to summarise, the current leadership has been exposed as hopelessly incompetent with our finances and Party management. They ramped up hiring and spending, then were forced to 180 and fire everybody. The response to the unfolding woes has been to re-focus the Party from encouraging and supporting local organising at the grassroots level, to making electing Elizabeth May the sole priority of the Party. The means to enable this strategic shift have entailed some very risky shell games with our money and Party. Now here we are, in the midst of this dubious and dangerous situation, and John Fryer, the man entrusted with the task of electing Elizabeth May in SGI up and quits in anger.

I am very discouraged by this latest news. Is it symptomatic of a looming failure in SGI? I can only see the two reasons for John to quit so abruptly. Either John quit because he sees a disaster in the offing, or he cannot stand working with the Leaders coterie. Either way, the large and risky investment our Federal council has made in SGI is in great peril at this moment. Were all the risks that council, and the Leadership took with our Party wasted on a Quioxitic strategy? Are we in the situation of dismembering our Party infrastructure, so that we can gamble on a losing pony? And what will we be left with if SGI is a bust? No Party infrastructure, no Leader, a whack of private loans to retire, and no strategic direction or resources. Without field organisers, there will not be a full slate of candidates, so the votes of GPC supporters from the missing ridings will not be counted. There goes a whack of funding. The attendant bad publicity of a drop in support, and the public humiliation of Elizabeth May might just be something we cannot get over safely. Oh my, what are we to do?

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73 Responses

  1. Sadly, I think that the best thing for the party would be if it crashed and burnt. I think that underlying all of these problems is the basic, greedy idea that is held by most rank-and-file members that if they just got a “famous person” (i.e. Elizabeth May), they wouldn’t have to get off their butts and work to build the party riding by riding into a truly national organization.

    No matter if Elizabeth May had been perfection incarnate, this “great leap forward” idea would have fallen flat on its face. It turns out that shes a human being just like the rest of us. She has her abilities, she has her failings. But no individual can pick up an entire national political party and drag it into prominence from obscurity.

    Shame on all the GPC members who thought that she could—.

  2. Sorry to disagree by John is no loss

    Much more importantly when my court verdict has betty may and the maygreen party on the ropes with my award it will add to the silent enabling councils worries
    They ignored a glaring truth all along
    I will never forget adriane carr running out of the court room when after denying they changed the press release on me it was discovered the real one still existed on their facebook site…. amateurs !!!….LOL

    As a lawyer she lied on sworn court documents and I proved it.

    Sorry kids but the party is soon over

    I can guarantee you though that with proper leadership it can go on to real greatness and success

    We can still win….I have little doubt
    Whats the alternative? layton iggy or harpo ???

    You must be kidding

    My 2 cents

  3. shavluk is but one of the many whom May wages war against – I wonder if her goal is not to simply destroy the GPC but frankly it does appear to be a cult of matriarchy forming where men are suspect from birth.

  4. The Green Party is the best asset Stephen Harper has. If that 10% of the vote were directed toward a mainstream party, Canada would be much less likely to be stuck in this deadlock of minority governments.
    I have written newspaper columns on two Green Party candidates and liked them and agreed with their policies, but I don’t see a future in a fourth party in Canadian politics. Get Lizzie May a Liberal nomination somewhere and put the considerable intelligence and energy of the Greens into an alliance with the Liberals. God knows they can use the ideas and the fresh blood. Combined, you may do some good.

  5. It seems the Party is mess no matter how runs it. Years ago, there were many who argued that the Party needed to evolve on its own, rather than drop everything and run piles of paper candidates in order to get enough votes to qualify for the per-vote subsidy. The result? The Party has a subsidy spent on employees, not members, while lacking the institutional knowledge of how to fundraise and organize. Sure, Jim Harris could do the job but what kind of Party is it when losing one person torpedoes an entire party’s fundraising efforts?

    The GPC is wide, but not deep. It is still haunted by decisions made back in 2003-2005.

    Yes, the current council should have gotten itself out of this funk long before now.

    Of course having back-to-back elections, and living with the constant threat of election due to having a minority government has not been easy. I used to mitigate blame because of that, but no longer.

  6. “Sadly, I think that the best thing for the party would be if it crashed and burnt”

    Yes but would you have to buy carbon credits to keep Dr. Fruit Fly happy and make the Goreacle richer?

  7. @rodcross,

    It’s time to get over the ned of guaranteed back to back majorities for the Liberals. those days are gone gone gone, never to return. I predict that the current CPC minority will go down in flames shortly, and Parliament will come to recognise that we live in a 5 party state. The time will return when the art of the compromise will be practiced once again.
    I, and many like me joined the Greens because the ‘mainstream’ party’s you champion don’t give a damn about policy, good or bad, except where it will impact the next election. I happen to care about public policy, and therefore will never again be sucked in by the two big Party’s.

  8. It’s about time to throw May in the recycle bin. If the GPC wants to go anywhere, it needs a leader with ideas, with lyrism, with dreams. Someone who can inspire community leaders to get involved for a greener world. Instead of inspiring her own staff to quit. This would-be grassroots party is losing support both at the top and at its base. All we can do is praying we won’t get a general election any time soon.

  9. Does anyone rational actually believe that Canadians will vote for a clown-shoe organisation like the green party? If so you are delusional and Harper is happy that you are around.

    The next time you complain about the white-wing in power…ask yourself who is responsible…and take a loooooong look in the mirror…

  10. A lot of opinions here. Few facts. Lots of second guessing. Ho hum to it all.

  11. Append my comment above: I really don’t know what I am talking about and should hold off until I do. I can hope though, and I hope the GPC grows and thrives. I hope Gary Lunn is sent packing. I hope the GPC helps Canada.

  12. Excellent post, very insightful and informative. While too much may be made of a single person’s resignation, you put this incident into perspective with a thorough background.

  13. Lunn wont be going anywhere soon

    Maybe john fryer would now step up and be my SGI campaign manager?

    Sure why not?

    And its very likely an election can be called soon now that most of the reform members will reach the pension threshold
    They will do so as of june so its just days away from possible even with an election call
    And thats really why we haven’t had one before this…money talks

    betty may is a one speech record and only ever does parrot just one of our policies ….we need some one smart enough to remember to mention them all and the guts to do so

    I cant wait to say…. I told you so

    I hear she plans to work with Raheim Jaffer after her next defeat… yes two star lobbyists no one wants …..hahhahha


  14. If May doesn’t win in SGI–and the odds are that she cannot–maybe she could go into the lobbying business with Stephane Dion. Have a hunch these two could be a dynamite duo for the green cause.

  15. My broken record that has been skipping for three years: Elizabeth May is merely the personification of an organizationally inept and philosophically bankrupt political entity. The GPC is a cadaver and does not yet know it. The GPC membership is merely so much useless skin. It’s over; it’s finished.

  16. And speaking of that aggressive loan procurring by Carr….

    It struck me a few months ago when I first heard about Carr’s aggresive push for new private loans, is that the language around it was as if it was raising money.

    It’s not. Necessary as it is because of the state of finances, the real problem is revenue shortfall, and recycling who holds loans doesnt bring in a dime.

    That’s crisis management for you- where recycling the old private loans and getting new ones is so vital and immediate that it takes up the kind of work and inititiative that SHOULD be going into fundraising…. the lack of which is the problem [not enough even after all the spending cuts].

    While as Matt made reference to- actual fundraising is getting the “we’ll try this” treatment. Innovation in fundraising is good, but only a portion of that EVER delivers results, and virtually none of that in the near term.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch…. serious doom appears in the wings.

    Stephen Fletcher announced in the House yesterday that the government will be reintroducing legislation that completely bans loans from individuals. This has died with session ends once or twice before.

    Elections Canada wants it, the NDP supports it, the Liberals are probably less ill disposed than they were, and they cant block it in the Senate now anyway.

    I’ve been saying for quite a while that this will eventually come. If your ‘brain trust’ did not count on it, its just another case of denial.

    So now what?

  17. who cares… the sooner the greens fall out of Canadian politics… the sooner more reasonable and sensible centrist candidates can get elected who can make the changes needed…

  18. If the GPC can’t make a go of it, and at least appear to have some legitimacy or organization, when they are funded by the outrageous practice of political party welfare of almost $2 per vote; then how the hell are they going to survive when the party welfare system is scrapped? And it WILL be scrapped, because that is exactly what the majority of voters want. Also, E. May is the perfect personification of how most voters see the Green Party – scatterbrained, dysfunctional, disorganized, with ZERO leadership.

  19. I think John leaving is a good thing for the campaign.

  20. In response to the commenters saying `please disappear Green Party`, I can only say that a million Canadians voted Green. They like our policies, and want another independant voice in Federal politics. I know many peoples instincts are that the historically `normal`course of long running majority governments is the comfort zone, but to advocate the elimination of a viable, and principled Party so that your favourite Party can enjoy the prospect of untrammelled power, well, that`s pretty low and unwise stewardship of your polity.

    The per vote subsidy was, and is a move away from taxpayer subsidised political contributions by deep pockets. If you posed an honest question to the Canadian electorate: Would you prefer to see all Party`s funded by taxpayer subsidised donations, or would you prefer a level playing field of funding based on voter acceptance during an open and free election` Your argument would go in the toilet where it belongs.

    Dave Bagler:
    If John cannot get behind Elizabeth 100%, then yes, he must go. The fcat that he cannot do so, and is only the most recent in a long long chain of `quit in disgust` resignations is what worries me. Also the fact that we as a Party have invested very heavily in this Leader, and she doesn`t appear to be taking the long term interests of the Party into account in her calculations. If she were proving my criticism misplaced, then I would happily acknowledge it, and get back to my life outside politics, but the current council, and Leadership frightens me with incompetence at every turn. They cannot make any decisions, are treading on eggshells, and frankly are at sea in the big bad world of National politics. The leadership race is a case inpoint. We are now

  21. Then why not run for council and do something about it?

  22. As usual, Ken Summers has it right (see Ken Summers above, April 29, 2010 at 5:00 am). It doesn’t sound like Adrianne Carr is fundraising. Raising new loans is just new borrowing or, as Summers aptly puts it, “recycling” the loans. And that campaign is about to be prohibited in the Canada Elections Act by the Government’s proposed amendments (see All this takes the punch out of the oft-touted claim that the Green Party is fiscally responsible. It certainly hasn’t been internally.

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  23. @Dave,
    there is more than 1 way to do something about it. Just simply blogging, and alerting activists and the membership that all is not tickety boo is pretty important. It means that the next council election will actually generate some interest, and the usual crop of yes-people will have some competition you betcha.
    Then there is the leadership race, which takes a great deal of effort, but will allow for a more comprehensive repair of the Party finances, operations, and governance.
    I must confess that council will be an appealing responsibility with a full group of serious colleagues, but being a bit player on the Gong show council does not appeal to me. Look at how Rob Brooks has been badmouthed and attacked for disagreeing wih the Leadership. I could not keep my cool in such a setting, and would contribute to conflict, not good governance.
    Know Thyself is a cardinal rule in politics, and business, and I am experienced enough to know to play to my own strengths, not weaknesses.

    Itès true that hypocrisy is the kiss of death in politics, and I am afraid that I am causing damage to the GPC by talking about this stuff. The problem is, this stuff have been kept so quiet, and the secrecy wrapped around it all means that the membership has not got the slightest clue that our Party is in disarray. If you talk to a member at large, theyèll tell you that EMay is great, so the Party is just fine. The EDA executives are almost universally buying into the idea that we shouldnèt wash our laundry in public, and this combination has given the current leadership the sense that they can do or say ANYTHING they want, including cancelling the Leadership race, and people will sit still for it.
    Well the time has come when the Leadership has pinned their hopes on red 9, and has gambled everything WE BUILT on themselves. There will not be anything left of the Party if their strategy fails, so there is not much to lose by anticipating the public release of our financials by half a year.
    Fiscal responsability is easy when it matters to you. We will return very quickly to a sound footing when a majority of councilors say; No, we cannot do that thing without the funds in place. No big deal, it just takes the will to stand up for our principles, and it becomes non-controversial and business as usual to keep things on track

  24. @Dave, you indicated that you think that John leaving is a good thing for the campaign. I seem to recall that you’ve been actively involved with the campaign as best as you can be from your residence in Ontario, by making calls into SGI and collecting data. I’m just curious as to why you believe his departure is ultimately a good thing? And I ask this question with all sincerety because I, like most members, don’t have much of a clue as to what’s going on in SGI.

    Also, I’ve been one of those who has bought into the notion that we need to elect someone in the next election, and our Leader is one of the few better bets we have. I do not want to see her fail, and I continue to support her.

    And with that in mind, I have to take issue with bluegreen’s suggestion that the leadership contest has been cancelled: it absolutely has not been cancelled (unless something has happened recently at Fed Council of which I’m unaware, and I admit that’s a possibility, because I never know when these meetings are now, since they’ve started posting minutes announcing the next meeting after it’s been held). Again, there has been no cancellation of the contest. The contest will take place after the August BGM, unless we Members change our by-law regarding when the contest is to be held. Nothing has been cancelled yet.

  25. @Steve, Yeah I do think it’s a good think that John is leaving.

    When I met him at the Ottawa FC meeting it became clear to me, and anyone within earshot that he wasn’t in it anymore and that was months ago. I think for SGI to be a success the campaign manager has to be fully committed to the success of the campaign.

    Although to be fair to John being the campaign manager of a campaign that is constantly under attack from some party members must suck. He was put in the position of running a campaign were everyone one wants to have a say.

    I think blog posts like these, that are light on facts but heavy with accusations and absurd conclusions are irresponsible.

  26. Some valid concerns, but I think you are wrong or at least exaggerating on some of the factual assertions, and that doesn’t help, especially if you are building a case on them.

    – You assert there are “NO FIELD ORGANISERS” which is not correct. There are fewer than before, but there still are some. Some is not none. (More would be good.)

    – You mention “communications staffers on the payroll” but most of those positions were cut at the same time as organizers were pared back. Thus, to assert that communications was kept while organization was cut is incorrect. Both were cut back. Some were let go, others were doubled-up with other (non-comm) tasks.

    – I don’t know about Adriane Carr’s campaign to find more private lenders, but the borrowing from EDAs was a one-time appeal (at least so far), not an ongoing one. And she HAS been successfully getting fundraisers going and (so I hear) meeting her monthly revenue targets – so this is not just a future wish.

    – Jim Harris is still involved somewhat in fundraising, he’s got a big event planned for July. I won’t say more, as I don’t know how much of the details are public. But it has some rather large potential.

    – When was hiring/spending “ramped up”? Did staff grow dramatically in 2009 before being cut back in 2010? If so, then I missed it.

    – Neither Elizabeth nor Adriane has been focusing solely on SGI or party debt. Both have been doing fundraising events in partnership with local EDAs, where half or more of the money raised stays with the local EDA. Speaking from our own position, we’ve had Elizabeth here in Barrie more often than any other party has had their leader here, and each time it provides us a boost in local media coverage, new membership, and revenue. SGI is the top priority, but that hasn’t keep Elizabeth from responding to strong demands from other ridings & regions for support.

    The most ironic thing about that last point is that it’s a damned if you do or don’t situation. If Elizabeth chains herself to SGI, she is accused of an “all eggs one basket” approach at the risk of the rest of the party. Yet when she ventures out of SGI to be a leader rather than a star candidate, she draws criticism for not putting 110% into winning SGI.

    Not a job I’d ever want, anyhow.

  27. Its highly unlikely that John quitting has anything to do with the kind of criticism you are talking about Dave: from outside those closely involved with the SGI campaign itself.

    And it would be my educated guess that it has little or nothing to do even with criticism intenal to the campaign- which always happens and is easily enough ignored by a Campaign Manager [generally, even if it comes from the candidate, except that in this case she is also the Leader chief cook and bottle washer].

  28. Interestingly enough, for all the money being spent in SGI while there are so many spending cuts, I hear very little criticism of that. A few passing comments noting it don’t amount to a lot of criticism.

    So what’s Fryer supposed to get discouraged by- criticsm of May and of how the party is run? Because thats where most criticism is directed.

    And even if he said that gets him down- you’d need to take that with a big shake of salt. Because if the SGI campaign was going reasonably well, it wouldn’t matter for the Campaign Manager what the hell anybody else said… as long as the checks kept coming.

    But if the campaign isn’t going very well, its easier to point fingers at naysers than it is to face how daunting the campaign is.

  29. Dave, you have long been castigating every single criticism made of the leadership, whether valid or not. You also employ a great deal of spinning in order to deflect from those facts and critiques which are strong, and turn the discussion to trivialities. I do not expect you to change now, and I am sure that every future failure of the current leadership will be excused away by you as the work of sinister and irresponsible people like me. Apparently, you prefer that the membership be kept in ignorance, while the important people do as they see fit.

  30. Erich,
    As usual, I have to partly agree with you, and partly disagree. Calling somebody an organiser, but then tasking them to put their full efforts into the SGI campaign means what exactly? You could argue that there are still organisers on the payroll, but how much of their efforts are spent organising? I cannot quantify how many are actually organising, and not.
    As far as hiring increases, I believe that there were a few hires after the election, but there is no doubt that big resources were disposed of.
    That Jim has returned to fundraising?!! That is news to me big time. I saw an email from him regarding a recent fundraiser, but after my last telcon with him, I didn’t expect him to be doing much of anything political for a considerable time to come. Just goes to show how addictive politics is.
    As far as the damned if she does and damned if she dooes not, You are right, but I haven’t criticised her out of both sides of my mouth, and I won’t. The basic idea of everything on Red7 I will criticise, because i do not think it serves the best interests of the Party. The fact that the wagers have been laid, and she now has to focus on door to door is a corrollory of the choice of strategy. All efforts to win SGI will now need to be pursued. THAT was the thrust of this post. The strategy has been chosen, we are 6 months into the implementation, and there is evidence that things are not well in the SGI campaign.
    What EMay is doing on the fundraising circuit is great, and is more or less what I believe she should have decided to do. But she didn’t decide to build EDA’s and local organisations. She decided that getting her elected was the Party’s overriding priority. She can do as she sees fit, but she will be accountable for the choice of SGI, and if she has any sense, then she won’t muddy the strategic waters further by digressing.
    I am content to judge Adriane on the success of the fundraising, and Elizabeth on the success of the SGI strategy. Even though Elizabeth pretends that she was forced into SGI by the Party, it is her choice, and she will be judged based on the outcome there.
    Adriane has raised some money, but she has a great deal of money to raise. Ken S. is correct also, the language in council minutes shows that council has conflated raising new loans with fundraising. I would like it to go on the record that should she meet the funding gap through new loans, she did not perform a wonderful service. She simply postponed the recconing.

  31. I am laughing aloud at myself.
    I reread Erichs comment above, and realised that I did crticise Elizabeth for both staying in SGI, and leaving SGI. Sorry. To be clear. I disagree with the strategic decision, but it wasn’t mine to make, and that is water under the bridge. Given that it has been made, then I expect that it will be implemented, which means downplaying the rest of the Party considerably. It is the least bad course of action given the choices made to date. What I will insist on though, is that there will be no free passes this time. If SGI is not a smashing success, then it will be accountability time. If Adriane fails to meet the real fundraising targets that she herself agreed to, then she will be held accountable.

  32. Thank fcuk!
    Does this mean that we may finally have a hope of unseating Lunn here in SGI ?
    This has been impossible since the Green Party arrived as a vote-splitter.
    Former and current SGI Liberal candidates Briony Penn and Rene Heatherington are both far more credible AS ENVRONMENTALISTS than Elizabeth May and would steamroll her in a debate on the subject.
    As would former NDP MP Lynn Hunter.

  33. HaHa Trout!
    The Liberals are even more clueless if they think that its the Green Party’s fault that they keep getting creamed in SGI. The last election was a dream scenario, where the electorate was as heavily manipulated as is conceivable in a Canadian election. The NDP candidate ‘withdrew’. The Green Party organisation basically asked their supporters to vote Liberal, and even with the Greens shilling for you, and the dippers throwing their candidate under the bus, you proved yourselves a bunch of losers. NOW you have had your chance, and blew it, so why don’t you practice what you preach and fall under that self same bus yourselves? Or do you expect the other Party’s to do your’ work for you, yet again, so that you can fail miserably, yet again?

  34. Ya, trout, I’m not so sure about your assertion regarding Renee Heatherington having more credibility that E. May as an environmentalist. First off, she belongs to the Liberal Party — for me, that toasts her credibility right there, given that the Libs are on target for “business as usual” in the tar sands, have ditched their weak carbon tax platform, and seem keen on supporting a cap-and-trade scheme to line the pockets of bankers rather than actually reduce greenhouse gases. Sorry, she’s got no cred, and the voters of SGI will see right through that. Ditto for Penn, and frankly, ditto for Hunter, save the belonging to the Liberal Party part.

    But that’s not what I wanted to write about. I’ve been going through the original post and all of these messages, but it’s completely not clear to me that anybody really knows why Mr. Fryer has stepped down. I realize that in absence of this information, we’re likely to run wild with speculation. But maybe there’s a good reason why he has stepped down that doesn’t have anything to do with the sorts of things we’ve been speculating on. Hopefully, at some point, an explanation will be offered, by someone who knows, if for no other reason than to end this speculation.

  35. Good point Steve,
    I just sent an email to John asking him to weigh in. He will be in an uncomfortable situation though, so lets just wait and see what he has to say, and we won’t have to rely on hearsay.

  36. 3 parties, huge amounts of energy and funds.
    QUIT this WASTE>
    It is us against the corporate shills .
    The environmentalists vs the NON environmentalists.
    The degrees of differences amongst the Libs, NDP and Greens on actual policies are small enough to make one party and get on with the business of helping us survive on our planet.

  37. I’m inclined to think the why’s of John quitting matter less than the fact and the impact that he did.

  38. @Ken,
    well yes, that’s what the post was about, he’s gone, and that spells trouble, whatever the reason. I should have anticipated though that people would focus on the finer points, so I thought I’d ask John to comment to resolve that side issue. This was actually a poorly written blog. I am not writing well, as my focus has been on business communications lately, and it’s hard to get back in the swing. I wrote and rewrote this damned post 4 times, then finally erased everything, let it flow, and hit the post button. It isn’t a perfect written piece, but it serves to illustate my point. I didn’t think it would be picked up by the media, or I would have written a crafted piece. But then again, had I crafted it into something smarmy, who would have been interested other than a few Green Party readers.

  39. To Ommissions and the other Liberal supporters:

    The problem is that our political parties are playing a game of attrition. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP are trying to hold out until the people who have been excluded from having a voice in government give up and walk away from politics. The Greens are trying to force the other parties to give in and pass proportional representation legislation. Until one of these two options takes place, we are going to have minority governments.

    If we switched systems, then we would have coalition governments like the ones that have served Germany so well. If the Greens give up, we continue to have fake majorities, but ones in which environmentalists have no real voice.

    It isn’t a choice between the vile, evil Conservatives and the OK Liberals, because the environmentalists in the Liberal caucus never have the power to actually do anything. It is all very well to say that the Liberals signed Kyoto, but the fact is that they did bo diddly when they were in power. I know local Liberal organizers and they are totally and completely the same sorts of people as the local Conservative organizers. You cannot expect these people to pass legislation that will fundamentally change society.

    As for the NDP, they don’t have a clue about the environment either. They see everything in terms of class warfare and destruction of the environment as a capitalist plot. They don’t see any responsibility in the way people live their lifestyle at all. And they would never, ever support things like carbon taxes and full cost accounting. They would rather see the entire planet burnt to a cinder before they ran the risk of offending someone in suburbia (many of whom are union members.)

    The minority of Canadians who understand the environment need a voice at the table. Under the first-past-the-post system with fake majority governments, their voice is consistently and systematically excluded. We need proportional representation and coalition governments to get them to the table. And the only way we are going to do that is to comprehensively and exhaustively prove to the political elite in this country that Parliament will simply not work without this reform. And the only way to have that happen is for the Green Party to keep drawing off enough votes to create minorities.

    That is why it is such a shame that so many prominent Greens keep stupidly talking about electing people. It is also why it is so bad that we are not organizing on the ground and electing people to municipal governments and building our vote count.

  40. @BGB, no it’s more that your criticism is normally based on assumptions and guess work that you then take way to far. You write as if you know what you are talking about but frequently say things that show that you don’t.

  41. @Dave

    For you to know that BGB is more or less just making up what he talks about in this blogpost, you would have to know what is actually going on.

    How about sharing something specific with us?

  42. @Dave
    Take a look at Erich Jacoby-Hawkins comments. He refutes me with examples and information. You do so with vague declarations. And who is the worthy commentator? This is BLOG! I make no claims of irrefutability, and I don’t mind admitting when I make a straight out error. If my conclusions are fatally flawed, then I will fess up, maybe with a bit of kicking and screaming, but I am not afraid to admit a mistake.
    The GPD has receded into a shell of secrecy, and there are very few legitimate sources of information on the workings of Federal council. EVERYTHING of note, or even the trivialities are shovelled into a secret members only zone on the website, (What do you call a secret shared by 8,000 people?), and theoretically we aren’t supposed to talk about it, or else we are bad members. Well isn’t it convenient when you can classify the most innocuous info as secret? I am sure that if I came right out and blogged with full use of all the data at my disposal, you would be howling that I am irresponsible, and spilling state secrets. If I were to post full council minutes, and comment on them, the facts would be irrefutable. The conclusions would truly be devastating, and I would be cast out of the Party. If I had to identify my ‘sources’ then they wouldn’t be wanting to talk to me. Fortunately, I am not a journalist, and I don’t have to apply as high a standard. I paraphrase, and consider what i can say, and not say carefully. The result is that many of the ambiguities and guesses are in fact based on evidence, I just cannot quote because the source is a state secret. You, and all my readers no doubt take that into consideration when reading. Even the assertion that our membership has dropped to 8,000 could theoretically get me in hot water. It is true, but not something that I am supposed to reveal. And yet, it is highly pertinent when assessing the competence of our Party that the membership is considerably lower than it was on the day Elizabeth May got elected as leader.
    You can continue to dislike what I write, but if you have some information that refutes me, please, by all means call me on it. That’s what the comments and posts are for, to provoke responses, and generate a dialogue about the topic of the day. It is a healthy thing, and imho represent the path to TRUTH.

  43. @Ken if I though sharing info with you would help the party I would, but I don’t.

  44. Bill Hulet: you are wrong about theLibs and NDP: I have been a on policy making meetings, in a grass roots way with both these parties.
    The grass roots people of these parties hold policies as green as the Greens. They just don’t belong anymore to the Greens, some of them, because they wanted to be part of a party that gets more votes and to influence he other party’s policies.
    This proprtional representation stuff has been longed for for decades and we still don’t have it.
    Meanwhile, the destruction of the planet worsens every day.
    I thoroughly believe that there are plenty of progressives who, united beyond the old party loyalties, could save us.
    We have been playing political games for too long at the expense of this planet and its inhabitants.
    United we stand. Divided we fall.
    Ignatieff is not speaking for the majority of Libs, just as Carole Taylor realized when she opposed the carbon tax.
    I am not going to wait for the voting system to change.
    I do propose, in the meantime, if there is move towards a unified party, that grassrooters hold a pre election election and after the vote, support the candidate who wins in that riding, providing ofcourse it is a significant lead.
    Party loyalty, be darned. We need to get on with policies that work.
    Talk to the candidates and see where they are at.
    In Elizabeth’s riding, the Libs and NDP and the CAP have excellent, accountable candidates who have policies worthy of support as much as the Greens.
    Elizabeth has long been admired, but but I know NDPers and Libs who will not vote for her because they don’t see how she could get enough votes.
    A pre election, would let us know: how many will support her.

  45. I’m just a convenient foil for you Dave. Read what BGB said: its the same point as my cryptic challenge.

    Erich gives specific refutations, you just spread around the ad hominem.

  46. @Bill
    Now there’s a debate that is worth starting. You see, I happen to agree with you about every single line, with one exception. The value and influence of the Greens on the national agenda rises and falls with the efficacy of our electoral threat. We need to become better and better at the mechanical aspects of electoral politics, in order that the strategic reality you describe should be enhanced in our favour. So in that respect, our electoral efforts, and success at them are the means by which we acheive our policy goals in the absence of elected power. And should we start to succeed, and be ‘captured’ by purely electoral considerations, perhaps it will be time for a new Party to enter the spectrum, and keep US honest and true to good policy, and public welfare.

  47. @Oemissions – I agree that there are progressive members and elements around the table in the Liberal Party, and that many of the Green Party’s policies have been adopted (albeit in watered-down versions) by the Liberals. The carbon tax is an excellent example. I understand that the Liberal Party re-committed to a carbon tax back in May, 2009 at the last General Meeting. The same meeting which confirmed Ignatieff as Party Leader. And the same meeting in which Ignatieff completely nixed the idea of running on a carbon tax: “It’s not going to happen”. This despite his Party Member’s own wishes.

    What the hell is the point of having a Party which won’t represent it’s member’s wishes? Say what you want about the Greens, our Leader goes along with what the Member’s want, even when it can sometimes be difficult.

    As for the Liberals, I’m sorry, but that’s a completely different animal. Your notion that there is common ground to be found amongst the parties is a good one, but there is too much which separates us from one another which would need to be addressed before real accommodation can be found. Right now, the best we can do is work together, issue by issue.

    Your suggestion that since proportional representation has been an historic no-go, it’s something we need to abandon is very telling. It’s the sad state of Canadian democracy which has led to inaction on the environment, as corporate interests are running the show. To me, there’s very little difference between the Blue and Red elite.

    Oemissions, if you want to be green, come and join the Greens, because we’re the only Party who is speaking for the environment which would actually do something for the environment if elected. The others are just green-washing, despite the fact that their member’s hearts might be in the right place. As long as those parties remain Leader-driven, nothing is going to change. We Greens know and understand that.

    Democracy belongs to all of us, not just an elite, whether that’s the PM and Cabinet, or a Party’s brass.

  48. I am green, very green, one of the greenest Canadians there could ever be. Extremely low carbon footprint.
    I was a Green Party member.
    When Briony Penn, former Green member, joined the Libs, I joined the Libs to support her and … I liked Dion.
    I go to NDP potlucks in my riding because I like the intelligence and degree of participation there.
    Michael Byers is the President.
    During the last election, federal, in our riding, The CAP candidate got the biggest applause at a town hall meeting.
    I am all for proportional rep. You misread,me.I in no way suggested abandoning it. It remains on the table , I sign petitionss from Fair Vote Canada and anything else about it regularly.but I doubt if it will happen before the next election.Incidentally, I was at the Green Party meeting when Adrianne was finally convinced that the STV was ok.
    I just got my Gold card. I have been involved in politics long enough to see that party loyalty has often been a deterrent to progress.
    Otherise, Penn would have been elected. Instead we have Lunn again.
    I hate having thoughtful, informed bright friends competing with each other under party banners.
    I wonder if you read and thought about my post without your imposed party loyalty blurring discussion of what I said.

  49. I think both Bill Huelet and Oemissions are on to something important here. Supposing the Greens and the Liberals agreed to work together, or amalgamate in some informal way. Don’t yell at me first, think about it. This is what May and Dion wanted to make happen, informally anyway. Their problem was, they wanted to take the shortest route in the shortest possible time. So it was too sane and practical an idea for most Canadians. So what? Backing up the greens in the Liberal caucus is still the best way to get Green ideas into the mainstream. Putting our energy where it can help get rid of Harper–how dumb is that? If we had a minority Liberal gov’t. dependent on Green support, we’d see good changes happen fast. The voters would figure that out pretty quick; it’d be like throwing them a life preserver.

  50. Oem:
    The arguments you are outlining are so old in Green Party circles, that when we hear them, we probably all want to skip to the end and say NO to each other, without bothering retracing all the steps.

    I think most Greens have rejected this approach for a very sound reason. It doesn’t really work to allow yourself to be co-opted. We have all been promised all sorts of great things during elections, but once the votes are counted, then the winner gets on with ruling. Promises made are easily forgotten. Fact is that for all her expertise, Brionny would have been a minor cog in the Liberal machine. She would have spent her entire career fighting like hell for fig leafs, as did Stephane Dion. The ONLY reason she is a catch for the Liberals, is because they are convinced that they can co-opt 5% of the electorate (The core Green vote) with vague promises, so that they can seize power and get on with the business of serving the interests of their more powerful and centrist constituencies.
    In my calculations, the reality of growing Green strength at the ballot box is the only real influence that Greens can have over the competing Party’s policy. If that strength declines, so does the need to cater to it. So you see, if you have been successfully co-opted, then YOU are lending succour to a false premise. That your support and votes will be rewarded with policy decisions, when in fact the act of supporting them decreases your value in a FPTP system. Bill hulet is correct when he states that changing the attitudes of the electorate is the key to securing real change. As more and more people truly support Green policies, and identify them as such, it becomes more and more critical for one or another of the big Party’s to actually do things to win their support. And i believe I am correct when I say that the mechanism to quantify the policy threat to the big Party’s is ongoing electoral success for the only clear proponents of sound environmental policy, the GPC.
    Ther’s no definitively correct answer here. It may be that you are right, and it may be that we are right. It is also quite possible that we are BOTH right, and it will take people like me stealing away votes, and people like you, directly influencing the bigger Party’s to get the job done in our present system.

  51. Whatever.
    I am right out of patience.
    I do NOT want another victory for Lunn.
    Briony learned a great deal about politics, and party machinery in that election.
    Had she been elected, I suspect that Briony has .enough spunk that she would put her constituents first.If it meant resigning, she no doubt would.
    I too have been an extreme fan of Elizabeth May even tho I wrote and told her not to come to our riding because the environment would be well represented by either the Lib or NDP.candidate.
    I don’t think that Elizabeth has won the support of Briony and many of her followers but I know she has it from some.
    Elizabeth has a huge amounts of votes to gather to win this election.
    So far, NDPers are not budging.
    Rene Heatherington is impressing Liberals, so where will all the votes come from for Elizabeth to be elected.
    I offered a possible solution in a previous post above..
    Split the vote 3 ways again and we send another Conservative to Ottawa.
    For me, it could be my last election and I don’t want to be disappointed but I suspect I will.
    Collaborate or perish?

  52. Any word on who John Fryer’s replacement will be?

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  53. Oemissions:

    Just what do you mean that this will be “your last election”? Are you going to slash your wrists if Lunn get re-elected?

    I just don’t buy this stuff about the Conservatives being Satan incarnate. I don’t buy it from Elizabeth May, and I don’t buy it from anyone else. They are simply the predictable reaction that always takes place before a fundamental shift in consciousness.

    Societies often become reactionary just before a significant change for the better. South Africa became crazy just before the ANC ended up running everything. Mike Harris ran Ontario just before Dalton McGinty came to power and brought in the sustainable energy guru from Germany to rejig our power system. The USA elected total goofs to the White House just before they elected Barack Obama. And my home town elected a mayor and city council that came straight from the gong show before they elected a woman with a Phd in Environmental Science mayor plus an over-whelming majority of large-G and small-g Councillors.

    It is complete and utter crap to think that we all have to sell out our principles in order to stop the planet from imploding. It is only when people follow their heart that politics actually starts to work properly.

  54. Oemissions: “Briony learned a great deal about politics, and party machinery in that election.”

    Apparently enough that she decided NOT to run again for the Liberals.

    As BGB pointed out, the Liberals had the perfect storm to beat Lunn in 2008 and failed. A disgraced and resigned NDP candidate, a Green party campaign with minimal spending and volunteers compared with an almost full-limit spending Liberal. A number of prominent websites (VoteforEnvironment, AnythingButConservative, etc.) all urging Green and NDP voters to vote Liberal to beat Harper/Lunn. The “greenest” ever Liberal leader. If the Greens hadn’t run there, the Liberals probably STILL would have LOST! (No, you can’t automatically assign all Green votes to the Liberal in the absence of a Green candidate).

    Epic fail. The Liberals HAD their chance to displace Lunn. If that’s the most important goal, then Heatherington should step aside and urge Liberals to support May. It’s May’s turn for a shotb. At least the Green Party is running their leader and strongest candidate in the riding. The Liberals keep running one-shot token green (as in new) candidates – 8 different candidates in 8 elections. (At least the Greens put their support in building Andrew Lewis’ name over 3 elections). Which party is really showing a commitment to the riding this time?

    And if Renee’s focus is on beating Lunn due to his failures, why was her first press release as candidate an attack on May, before even introducing herself? (See for yourself:
    Is this a great start to the kind of interparty spirit of cooperation you crave?

    Take a good, hard look and realize that your best bet to replace Lunn with a real, not co-opted Green is to support May’s campaign, and bring your greenish Liberal friends with you. You won’t be alone!

  55. This is now reminding me of Con comments on CBC posts.
    Most of the replies here are defensive, with misconstrued info and uninviting towards dialogue, discussion and exploration.
    No thank you!

    And… another thing… I don’t want to hear anymore “consciousness” stuff.
    People have been saying that since the 60’s.
    Look at all the “environmentalists” fill up the parking spots for “green” events.
    And I’ve been saying for some time: a Prius is NOT a solution.
    Understand human nature and the psychology of groups, then we will have some progress.

  56. Oh yeah…. am I going to ‘slash my wrists’?.
    No, I’m going to slash tires, get put in jail and probably pass away there or get run down trying to cross the road on a X-walk.

  57. Something Erich said earler, counter to Matt’s take on the fundraising:

    “I don’t know about Adriane Carr’s campaign to find more private lenders, but the borrowing from EDAs was a one-time appeal (at least so far), not an ongoing one. And she HAS been successfully getting fundraisers going and (so I hear) meeting her monthly revenue targets – so this is not just a future wish.”

    And I’ve heard before similar general assurances that debt repayment is on track.

    The 2010 First Quarter results are now posted by Elections Canada. So lets compare those general assessments to actual results.

    Total fundraising for the quarter is $228,000 versus $211,000 for 2009 Q1.

    Even on the surface, before looking deeper… that has to be called flat fundraising. And there would be no progress on knocking down the $1million plus debt.

    The spending cuts would at best cut into that debt $50,000 for the quarter, that would at best keep from going further backwards since first quarter is historically low for revenues [while expenses are constant].

    But even comparing apples to apples- is this Q1 better than last year? …. Thats only $17,000 growth in revenue and $50,000 cut in expenses. $65,000 progress against the debt- if it is even that much- is way too slow for 3 months when you are talking about $1million debt to pay down before the next election.

    On top of that- even the sluggish $17,000 in fundraising growth is highly suspect.

    I noticed right off what an unusually high proportion of it is donations over $200 [in one quarter]. Which means the bread and butter fundraising is actually going down, and is being made up for with larger contributions that parties can get quickest when they need to hit the panic button.

    A quick look at the list of contributors showed right off the bat what an unusual proportion of the contributors are for the ANNUAL maximum of $1100… in the first quarter.

    And checking against the 2009 list of contributors, almost no one is a new contributor, and most gave $1100 last year.

    Even more telling- 15 of them are people who gave that same $1100 in 2009, and did it in later quarters last year.

    And I didn’t even look at the substantial number over $500 but under the [easily visible] $1100 maximum contributiors.

    In other words, to “meet the revenue targets” … which were modest enough that they only meant not going further backward in the quarter- the brain trust has heavily canibalized fundraising to come.

  58. Here’s what I think is a more direct or straightforward look at the business of cannibalizing of later fundraising for funds now.

    The increase of over $200 contributions for the first quarter was $95,000 for 2010 over $63,000 for 2009. With 250 contributors instead of 160.

    My survey of the $1100 contributors showed none of them to be new, and most to have given later in the year in 2009. There is no reason to expect the contributors between $200 and $1,000 to be any different.

    But you could quickly enough check those 250 over $200 contibutors against the 2009 list of contributors to see how many were new.

    About $6,000 from new contributors would be required to replace the natural turnover of contributors who do not repeat. So $6,000 has to be subrtracted from the total amount from new contributors to see how much actual new growth there was.

    Based on my survey of the $1100 contributors, I’ll bet there is ZERO growth from new contributors: that the entire $32,000 growth in larger contributions is canibalizing contributions that you would have got anyway, just later in the year. So getting those funds now adds no new revenue.

    Worse: half that $33,000 canibalized did not even go to repaying the [old] debt hangover…. it went to filling a NEW hole: the $15,000 drop in the bread and butter revenue stream of contributions under $200 in a quarter.

    And like stepping up who you get private loans from, this not only does not create the new revenue that is an absolute requirement for paying off the debt… it is even worse: energy and initiative into crisis management that radically diminishes the chances of the requisite revenue growth.

  59. Bwahaha: From Policy Options –

    Most of the major Canadian political
    parties are doing primary
    research and, as the CIMS machine
    demonstrates, it’s come a long way
    from the first telephone surveys of the
    1940s. Even the Greens are getting
    into opinion research, most recently to
    figure out in which riding May should
    choose to run in the next election. At
    a little briefing for reporters at Hy’s
    Restaurant in Ottawa in June, May told
    reporters she wished that the Greens
    had been out in the field, doing this
    kind of research, far earlier.

    But the Conservatives, with their
    CIMS system, as well as sophisticated
    socio- and geo-demographic data analysis,
    still seem to be the most assiduous
    about researching the voter base. It doesn’t
    hurt that they have the resources of
    government to give them more data and
    insights into what the Canadian voter
    wants on a day-to-day basis. Just as
    importantly, they have the fundraising
    machinery to support private research,
    though the government’s quarterly
    financing of parties means that even the
    Greens can commission scientific surveys.
    But the real question is, How are
    they using these data? Is it to support the
    selling of an ideology, or to change internally
    in response to elector preferences?
    So far it seems to be a bit of the latter in
    an effort to achieve the former.

  60. So, who will replace John Fryer?

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  61. Can’t remember must be prescient. S/He has anticipated my next oversized post, which I am editing, and will post tomorrow.
    I’m not sure who the ‘lucky person’ will be. My invitation didn’t come in yesterdays mail, so maybe I should stop waiting for it ;-)

  62. It would be fitting if the new SGI campaign manager is terminated national political campaign director Catharine Johannson.

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  63. To answer my own question, SGI’s campaign manager is someone named Jonathan Dickie, who apparently also worked for May in Central Nova (see–will-third-try-be-a-charm-or-spell-the-end-for-green-party-leader).

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  64. Thats an interesting find Markus.

    When I googled Jonathan Dickie the only thing that came up is that he lived in New Glasgow and a blog entry from someone who in October 2009 visited the Green office there and talked to a Jonathan Dickie.

    The blogger said he had been in the office a month or 2 earlier, but thats from October 2009, not October 2008…. many months after May had given up on Central Nova, and even a few months after she was officially running in SGI.

    Who knew they still had a staffed office open in New Glasgow that late, and for god knows what reason.

    Never heard his name before- not that I’ve heard a lot of the GPC names from Central Nova. But highly unlikley he was central in the election campaign. Not that it would make much difference, since they never did much of a ground campaign.

    Looks like a repeat of the pattern of loyalty over skill and experience,,, which doesn’t stop people from being turfed or leaving when they’ve been around for several months or a year.

  65. Yes, I chanced upon the name of the new SGI campaign manager from a link at the home page.

    It is odd that May has not chosen someone from within the riding. You would have thought that someone from Andrew Lewis’ teams of 2004, 2006 or 2008 would have valuable local experience. Hiring an outsider, no matter how qualified, does smack of reinventing the wheel.

    And yes, I agree with Ken Summers that it does look like loyalty has (again) trumped skill and experience.

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  66. Mark Francis wrote above:

    “The GPC is wide, but not deep. It is still haunted by decisions made back in 2003-2005.”

    Now let’s be fair.

    Dermod Travis nicely addressed Francis’ view in his guest column at Report on Greens back in November 2009 as the Green Party’s present financial mess began to filter out (see Whatever the problems were, the people in 2003-2005 did a lot right — a lot of which the present lot is now doing wrong.

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

    P.S. It’s nice to be able to respond to Francis here. The Defenders of Free Speech over at the GPC-Members Yahoo! group (not Francis) banned me for similarly moderate comments while I was still a Green Party member. Authoritarians sure are insecure.

  67. From BGB:

    “Can’t remember must be prescient. S/He has anticipated my next oversized post, which I am editing, and will post tomorrow.”

    A couple tommorows have come and gone… :)

    … though we wouldn’t want to rush you when more time would mean more editing…

  68. Since no one has big news, theres always looking at what is known and seeing if it might mean something. I’ll go for some equivalent optimistic indicators if someone has them to share.

    But I remember Elizabeth May recently saying that she would buy a house in SGI after she sells the ones in Ottawa and New Glasgow.

    Her Ottawa digs allegedly went on the market early-ish in 2008. Now it may well be on the market, formally. IE, if someone happened to offer $50K above top of the market price, she’d sell.

    But you have to think she has no intention of selling- and that there is no evidence she is serious about selling.

  69. Gone but not forgotten:

    Markus Buchart
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    (Not a Green Party member)

  70. Some constructive discussion going on here, but a lot of bickering, even from the host. Let’s get beyond that.

    I’d also like to add that there may be plenty of valid criticisms here, but I bet this is nothing compared to the shit that goes on within the larger parties.

    Let’s see more constructive criticism, offering alternatives, and less complaining.

  71. Actually, even the Liberal Party cannot come close to the GPC for bizarre internal machinations. The senior staff revolvind\g door phenomena is literally ten times more than what goes on in other parties.

    Which doesnt belie your main point / request.

  72. […] folks, Greens from the provincial parties, and other guys are readying to run for the leadership. Not An Official Green Party Site smacks May hard. ReportonGreens also points out that May doesn’t seem to be gathering much […]

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