Inside Politics

So, about those alleged ties between the National Citizens Coalition and Conservative Party of Canada...

In response to the continuing furore(tte) surrounding the anti-Bob Rae Youtube clip released by the National Citizens Coalition during last weekend's Liberal convention -- which was first publicized on twitter by NCC director Stephen Taylor, who was attending the event in question as accredited media, and who did not immediately disclose his connection to the spot --  NCC president Peter Coleman has gone on the record to vehemently, if not quite categorically, deny that there is any link between the organization he leads and the Conservative Party of Canada.

"We do not work for the Conservative Party, never have, never will," Coleman assured Hill Times reporter Tim Naumetz, who nonetheless noted that he "deflected and did not directly answer" a subsequent question on whether the NCC "still maintains contact with [Stephen] Harper or officials in the Conservative Party."

The NCC may not work for the Conservative Party, but it does share a contractor with several candidates who ran under the party's banner during the last election: Rally for Canada Inc, which, according to its somewhat minimalist website, is a provider of "full service digital solutions".  

According to its third party advertising expense report (PDF), the National Citizens Coalition paid the company $1,306.31 for Facebook advertisements during the last election. 

Over the same period of time, three Conservative candidates purchased unspecified services from the same company: Newton - North Delta hopeful Mani Fallon ($2,520), whose bid was unsuccessful, and victorious incumbents Russ Hiebert ($1,680) and Randy Hoback ($3,300).

So who is the (as it turns out, not so mysterious) digital solutionist behind Rally for Canada Inc?

Step forward, Stephen Taylor.

Yes, that's the very same Stephen Taylor who was responsible for what can most charitably be described as the soft launch of the NCC's anti-Rae Youtube spot over the weekend, which - again - was undertaken while he was ostensibly covering the convention as accredited media.

In fact, at the same time that his company was billing both the NCC and Conservative candidates for election-related expenses, Taylor was still serving as a spokesperson for the NCC on various issues, including a CBC.ca report on, somewhat fittingly, given the current context, viral videos.

"The great thing about web video is the speed of reaction of issues as they are brought up in the campaign," he noted at the time.

None of which, to be clear, in any way contradicts Coleman's claim that the NCC takes no marching orders from the governing party. It does, however, provide a bit of context on what would appear to be a slightly closer relationship between that party's candidates and the coalition's director. 

UPDATE: The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor provides more details on the National Citizens Coalition election donor list. 
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