Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Conservatives seek support for data science file mining

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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(Ottawa) Conservatives are considering the next step in their plan to secure an investigation into payments made by constituency offices to Liberal MPs to a company run by a friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Time is running out for such an exercise that the call for a federal election would be interrupted.

Stephanie Taylor
Canadian Press

The Conservative Party’s attempt to persuade the Parliamentary Ethics Committee to look into the reasons that led MPs to appoint Data Sciences Inc. Forcing its founder to testify came to nothing after five hours of discussions on Monday.

“It is important that Canadians know before we end up in an election where their money has gone,” Michael Barrett, a critic of Conservative code of conduct, said on Tuesday.

Last month Globe and Mail She revealed that according to MPs’ expenditure reports, the majority of Liberals had relied on their office budgets to provide data science services, which was founded by Tom Pitfield.

Mr. Pitfield is a childhood friend of Prime Minister Trudeau who also served as the Liberal Party’s chief digital officer in the 2015 and 2019 elections.

From the conservative point of view, these payments are patronage financed by taxpayers’ money. They also denounced the fact that the Canadian Liberal Party is directly linked to this company, which it has hired to provide it with digital services and support in developing its own database of supporters.

Justin Trudeau has argued that his deputies used data science to manipulate constituency files and argued that there is a clear separation between political work and parliamentary work.

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“We have always made sure we follow all the rules,” he told the House of Commons on June 23.

The Liberal Party of Canada has yet to respond to our request for comment on Tuesday. Our letters sent to the Montreal Headquarters for Data Science also did not receive a response.

During a parliamentary committee debate on ethics, Co-Vice President and Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan dismissed the conservatives’ accusations by calling the operation a “witch hunt” and a “false scandal.”

She told the committee that her office called Data Sciences for technical support and because it is a Canadian company that provides services in French and English.

Michael Barrett said Tuesday that the Conservatives are discussing with other opposition parties ways to explore the issue in more depth.

“They stood together for answers,” he said.

Mr. Barrett did not go so far as to say that liberals should stop doing business with Mr. Pitfield’s company, but reiterated that we need to know more about the nature of contracts first.

The House of Commons is in summer recess and is due to resume in September, but persistent rumors suggest a federal election campaign will be launched before it resumes.

The Conservative Party used its history of liberal relations with data science to solicit donations from its grassroots activist base in a recent email. It says that Chief Erin O’Toole will clean up the mess in Ottawa and that it is the only real moral choice to take the prime minister’s seat.

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