Vote Pray Serve.ca – violating the Elections Act?

Who is behind this website?

Vote Pray Serve was set up by a person or persons unknown on March 21, 2011, five days before the write was dropped  and according to Whois was registered by  Sibername Internet and Software Technologies Inc.

The website states it is run by a group of volunteers who are soliciting donations which are not tax deductible. That means this is not a charity. But what I’m not clear about is why they need to solicit funds for a grassroots get out the vote web page.

What are the Election Canada Rules?

Anyone can volunteer during an election for whoever they chose.  However registration is required when an individual or group spends $500.00. Elections Canada:

Third party
A “third party” is a person or a group, other than a candidate, registered party or electoral district association of a registered party.

A “group” means an unincorporated trade union, trade association or other group of persons acting together by mutual consent for a common purpose.

A person or group is considered to be a “third party” when incurring electoral advertising expenses during an election period to promote or oppose a registered party or the election of a candidate, including taking a position on an issue with which a registered party or a candidate is associated.

So far this group has a web page, a Facebook and a YouTube channel with two videos. While I doubt the production costs of the two videos and a web page domain and hosting purchase amounts to $500.00, there is no way of knowing. There is no way of knowing how much the volunteer group has received in donations.

What is also troubling is the lack of identification.

Elections Canada:

7. Identification of Election Advertising

The Act requires that a third party identify itself in any election advertising it sponsors and indicate that it has authorized the advertising. Failure to do so is an offence.
[352, 496(1)(b)]

The following wording is suggested:

“Authorized by the Coalition for High Technology Investment”

or

“Authorized by the United Computer Workers Association, Local 2213″

My question is simple. Does this group fall under the criteria for registration? Are they violating the Election Act?

What does this volunteer group promote? They say they set themselves up to vote, pray and serve, and then they go off into some murky territory.

ON IT is a movement of Canadians that are committing to voting, praying and serving in this upcoming election. Stay tuned here for videos, resources and sweet things you can be a part of leading up to the 41st Canadian election!

A click on the prayer tab and up pops Proverbs 29:2.  Up pops links to various charismatic and pentecostal prayer groups, with a list of what to pray about from  Nation at Prayer out of Pickering Ontario. Nation at Prayer was registered as a charity in 2006, a quick glance at the directors, and a familiar name popped up. Kerry Carmichael was a board member of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.  This charity has expenses and revenue of nearly 100 thousand dollars.

As a complete aside, the Vote Pray Serve site promotes Family Values. Sound suspiciously like the Hope for TV campaign which Crossroads Television Network said it was issuing tax receipts for – the campaign which did not get charitable status. This also sounds like Charles McVety language. I digressed. Back to the topic at hand.

The serve tab gets really interesting.  Family friendly candidates are listed, with an encouragement to readers to get out and help them. There is also a plug for The Conservative Party, thinly disguised:

Catch 22: An “anything but Conservative” campaign has been launched to oust Conservative MPs from 22 ridings by endorsing the next leading candidate regardless of where they stand on issues. We encourage you to check out these ridings, find out who the family friendly MP is (regardless of his/her party) and get behind them as these ridings will be a tough battle for all the candidates. Click here to see the ridings.

Someone is not happy with some members of The Conservative Party, because when you check this list of approved candidates who ‘stand for morality you get what may be the parliamentary pro-life caucus;

THE VOTE THAT SHOWED THEIR TRUE COLOURS: Whether or not a candidate is truly strong on family issues comes through in the “tough” votes where an MP is challenged to choose between their conscience and party/political pressure. A vote that put MPs in this situation was Roxanne’s Law (C-510). Through Roxanne’s Law we clearly saw who the strong family values MPs were and who simply professed to be but were not willing to put their neck on the line when it mattered most (for women wanting to choose life).

Yes, the page claims Roxanne’s Law is not the key issue, but it’s the key issue. The message is, vote for these candidates if you are Christian who cares about righteous people ruling Canada.  REAL Women Canada and Campaign Life Canada are mentioned. REAL Women Canada is the Canadian arm of a right wing US group Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. REAL Women Canada is a registered lobby group.
Campaign Life Canada is a well known anti-abortion group run by Jim Hughes. They are running a get out the vote video on their site.

There are 89 candidates listed of family friendly. from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. I have no idea where Atlantic Canada candidates are.  They are listed, back on blue, web error. No NDP, Green or Independent candidates were listed.

PEI
One Conservative Party incumbent listed, voted for Roxanne’s Law.

New Brunswick
4 Conservative Party incumbents listed. All voted for Roxanne’s Law.

Quebec
No incumbents listed. One ‘family friendly’ candidate.

Ontario
7 Liberals are listed for Ontario. All 7 voted for Roxanne’s Law. All the Conservative incumbents listed voted for Roxanne’s Law.

Manitoba
7 Conservative Party incumbents are listed, all voted for Roxanne’s Law.

Saskatchewan
13 Conservative Party incumbents are listed, all voted for Roxanne’s Law.

Alberta
18 Conservative Party incumbents are listed, 17 voted for Roxanne’s Law.

British Columbia
13 Conservative Party incumbents are listed, 12 voted for Roxanne’s Law.

The voting record for Roxanne’s Law is here. Any mistakes in counting above are mine. Assuming the best a group of eager volunteers culled their information from the same sources I did. But why cull names from Roxanne’s Law which was introduced by Rod Bruinooge, pro-life caucus chair?

Is this Vote Pray Serve web site just a group of volunteers?

On to the Facebook page. One of the first names which pops up is Faytene Grasseschi (nee Kryskow) of MyCanada. Rod Bruinooge has spent a fair amount of time onstage with Faytene and she was a strong supporter of Roxanne’s Law.
Did MyCanada put together the Vote Pray Serve website? The single Facebook admin is Judy K Jo out of Toronto Ontario. That’s it. That’s all there is.  And the fact she lists CTS (Crossroads Christian Television) on her about page along side Crossroads It’s Your Call and John Haggees CUFI situated at Canada Christian College, just means she likes religious television and is obviously a neo-charismatic. She also lists Faytenes group Bound4Life which is another right wing US offshoot founded by hard core dominionist Lou Engle. And I may not be fair, the names are familiar to me and pop off the page quickly. At least she is openly listed as admin. It’s one more person than the Vote Pray Serve website discloses.
While being a friend of a Facebook page is hardly sinister or a breach of lobbying or election laws, I find myself wondering who else listed as a friend may be financing and supporting this ‘group of volunteers.’

At the very least, I am troubled because the people behind this web page are not disclosing.
Unknown people are asking for your money and sending  the message that if you are a caring Christian – vote Conservative.

The lack of disclosure is disturbing. The solicitation of funds is disturbing.  To that end, I’ve written the volunteers at Vote Pray Serve and asked the following: Who are you and have you spent $500.00 on this election?  When I get a response, I’ll post it.

Update: Vote Pray Serve.ca volunteers have not responded to two emails sent in the last 36 hours. The Vote Pray Serve.ca main video was supposedly done by a 43 year old out of the United States. A source says the main video looks a lot like a 4MyCanada election video produced possibly in 2005 for the 2006 election. Hard to say, the original video is offline.

The Vote Pray Serve.ca volunteer group came to the attention of Le Devoir and Radio-Canada last week.  Rick Hiebert has a follow up post to this one, joining some more dots.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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13 Responses to Vote Pray Serve.ca – violating the Elections Act?

  1. Bene Diction says:

    Well, I’m not the only one who has noticed

    Radi0- Canada and Le Devior made similar connections last week.
    http://tinyurl.com/4y88qob

    http://tinyurl.com/6jft6v8

  2. JHC says:

    The ‘voteprayserve.ca’ website has gone dark – couldn’t connect. Maybe the owners got ‘raptured’ or something and couldn’t pay the monthly hosting fee (www.midphase.com).

  3. Rick Hiebert says:

    I see that Radio-Canada has found a new newspeg for their Enquete story! Looking forward Bene D, to whatever you find out….

  4. Tim says:

    Rick, the question that comes to mind is whether Evangelical Fellowship of Canada will launch a complaint about this story now. In light of the fact they are linked from the Vote Pray Serve website, one has to wonder if they will try and distance themselves from it, especially in light of 4MyCanada and Faytene being involved… I’d imagine, like usual, it all comes down to convenience.

  5. Sherm says:

    This smells fishy – is the religious right in the US pushing the religious right in Canada to promote this stuff?

    I thought we had separation of politics and religion in Canada. Guess not.

    Not good. Not good at all.

  6. John Payzant says:

    The facts are vague as to who runs the show

    This does have the characteristics of Right-Wing American Evangelical

    Seems to be that there could be New Apostolic Reformation as well

  7. Bene Diction says:

    Hi JHC: It seems to do that – I’ve lost it twice and it’s reloaded. Odd, there is no new content.
    Keep trying, it’s still online.

  8. Pingback: Faytene likes Vote Pray Serve. And so do the mini-Faytenes | Bene Diction Blogs On

  9. Bene Diction says:

    Thanks for your post on the Facebook connections Rick, it is up to the group of volunteers to decide whether or not to be a bit more transparent with their affiliations if they have any.

    Soliciting funds, lack of disclosure on a get out the vote website and a supposed 43 year old from the US uploading videos for a Canadian election…?

    Who is this group?

    It is up to Elections Canada to decide whether or not there are third party issues with 4MyCanada/Vote Pray Serve.ca.

  10. Pingback: Religious leaders and voters in the Canadian election « RELIGION & POLITICS

  11. Bene D says:

    Someone sent me this link. The Miracle Channel, (Canada’s TBN) one of thier shows called Insight.

    Looks like Faytene’s fingerprints are all over this website. I didn’t see the show.

    Thursday (April 7/2011)
    [ IS11-112 ] Vote, Pray, Serve
    Are you going to vote in the upcoming federal election on May 2nd? Do you believe your vote makes a difference? Faytene Grasseschi (Kryskow) joins us via Skype to talk about issues that are important to Canadians. Call in with your election questions and comments! LIVE at 11am MT.

  12. Pingback: BEHIND HARPER: THE NEW FACE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT | The Armageddon Factor Blog

  13. Pingback: VotePrayServe violates Canada Elections Act | Bene Diction Blogs On

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