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June 2, 2006
Liberal Candidate Shuts Down Critical Website

Several Canadian CQ readers have sent this update on Joe Volpe, candidate for the Liberal leadership post, who ran into some embarrassment when two of his major contributors turned out to be 11-year-old twins of a drug company executive. Volpe raised $54,000 from two families that had everyone contribute the maximum $5400, including underage children in apparent violation of Canada's campaign finance laws. The Liberal Party insists that the contribution came from the children and not from their parents, which would violate the strawman ban on using other people to launder contributions.

The Liberals just can't seem to shake their reputation for financing shenanigans, and now it looks like they've decided to enhance it by attempting to silence Volpe's critics. A satirical website,, attempted to poke fun at Volpe's predicament by posing as a contribution website for civic-minded Canadian youngsters. Not seeing the humor, Volpe reacted by having the website shut down:

It was all the buzz in official Ottawa yesterday -- a hilarious political whodunit in this age of websites, platforms and templates.

Overnight, someone built a website spoofing Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe and his acceptance of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from children, including the 11-year-old twins of a former vice-president of a generic drug company.

By early yesterday afternoon, the Volpe team had the website pulled down. ...

Mr. Volpe's campaign had the site shut down without knowing, it seems, who put it up: "Hi Everyone," wrote Brenden Johnstone, who is with the Volpe campaign, in an e-mail to other leadership campaigns. "There has been concern about how the issue of the Volpe donations was reflecting on the leadership race.

"My Office has had the website suspended through CIRA [Canadian Internet Registration Authority] and CDNS [Canadian Domain Name Services] and it will be down as soon as 6 p.m. I think the issue with the website has been dealt with. . . ."

If Volpe's office thinks that pressuring the hosting service to silence his critics will "deal with" the problem, I suspect they have some naivete on the Internet. More than just showing a thin skin, Volpe and his office will likely provoke a torrent of criticism that will dwarf any consideration of questionable contributions. Does the Liberal Party really stand for government officials bullying hosting services into gagging their critics?

Stephen Taylor, Canada's (future!) blogging Parliamentarian, has a few words to say about this:

This is absurd, censorship and an abuse of power. As a citizen, regardless of your political affiliation, and as a Internet consumer, this should outrage you. The Internet is for free speech, and this fundamental freedom is really only labeled as such because it is one of those elements of our liberty that had to be protected from tyrants with power. If one cannot lampoon a political candidate (the archetype of free speech in a free society) then we aren't truly free. What is perhaps most chilling is that this censorship has come from a candidate for the Prime Ministership.

If you believe in freedom of speech online and abhor the strongarmed actions of Mr. Volpe against Canadians and the Internet citizenry, please trackback this post and pass this on to all of those who might share this concern.

and then... why not send him an email to voice your concerns:

In an update, Taylor confirms that the provider,, shut down the website due to their fears of exposure to litigation from Volpe and his campaign. That transpired after Volpe's office contacted the registrar and informed them of that possibility. The man who aspires to the Prime Minister's office not only cannot handle criticism, but also has no trouble throwing his weight around to silence it.

After Adscam, is this the kind of public relations the Grits need?

UPDATE: Stephen Taylor has not quite made it to Parliament yet, but we're hopeful. And CQ reader Mr, Michael (one of the readers who tipped me) shows us where we can see the site in PDF format.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 2, 2006 6:20 PM

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» LIberal Political Candidate takes pride in shutting down opposition website. Big Brother Lives, Free Speech Dies in Canada! from Left Wing = Hate
Major Hattip to Captain’s Quarters who are reporting on this blatent Government suppression of Free Speech by Citizens of Canada. Welcome to the Socialist Utopia! ……. It was all the buzz in official Ottawa yesterday — a hilari... [Read More]

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» Liberal Squishes the Web from The Daily Bayonet
Joe Volpe, liberal leadership candidate and raider of teen piggy-banks has had his people close down a spoof web site that mocked his recent acceptance of a series of $5400 campaign donations, including two from 12 year old offspring of a drug industry... [Read More]

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» Canadian Politician Attempted to Quash Free Speech from The New American Citizen
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» Clear Thinking Up There from Everyman
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Tracked on June 3, 2006 6:25 PM

» The dark side of Joe Volpe from Steve Janke: Angry in the Great White North
Joe Volpe has shown himself to be an enemy of free speech, valuing his power over the rights of his fellow citizens. If you know something about Joe Volpe, there is some real irony here. [Read More]

Tracked on June 4, 2006 9:19 AM


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