Canada Proud

Canada Proud

Background

Canada Proud is part of a network of conservative groups and social media pages initially founded by conservative activist Jeff Ballingall. According to its website, Canada Proud describes itself as “a grassroots group of Canadians working to defeat Justin Trudeau,” the liberal prime minister of Canada. “Since launching in September 2019, Canada Proud has built a nationwide movement of Canadians committed to defeating the Trudeau Liberals. We are using the power of social media to hold the Trudeau government accountable. Millions of Canadians are seeing our content each week.”1Homepage, Canada Proud. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Mts78

The network includes Ontario Proud, which began in February 2016 “as a single Facebook page promoting Ontario culture and criticizing the negative impact of the policies of Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Ontario Liberal government on the province,” according to an Ontario Proud press release.2(Press Release). “Ontario Proud Launches First TV Ads,” Ontario Proud, April 9, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/curJs

Ballingal worked with the now-defunct Sun News network – the onetime host of TV personality Ezra Levant. He had the idea to start Ontario Proud in response to the shutdowns of many Ontario community newspapers, according to a 2018 article in The Globe and Mail. The group initially set out to “attack or mock Premier Kathleen Wynne and sometimes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau” with memes and other shareable content. “Working virtually alone, he is managing to simultaneously make a mockery of his province’s new electoral finance laws, and to demonstrate that there is a huge market here for the sort of bias-reinforcing social media content that has polarized electorates around the Western world,” according to the story. “He has said his content ‘outperforms major media outlets’ and attracts more viewers than ‘all the [provincial] political parties combined.'”3Adam Radwanski. “This lone-wolf operative is shaping Ontario’s political discourse,” The Globe and Mail, January 12, 2018. Archived June 24, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/tzJoa

Sun Media was part of the Postmedia chain of newspapers, which also owns the National Post. 4(Press Release). “Postmedia Completes Acquisition of Sun Media English Language Newspapers and Digital Properties,” Postmedia, April 13, 2015. Archived April 14, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/aE4pA

Ballingall has been credited with helping Doug Ford win the Ontario premier’s seat in 2018 by using Ontario Proud to “unabashedly promot[e] Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives.” In a “victory update” to supporters that year, Ballingall said Ontario Proud’s Facebook content was viewed almost 67 million times.5Joan Bryden. “Ontario Proud’s arrival on federal scene renews fears about third party collusion,” CBC News, November 4, 2018. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/OrJg8

“Thanks to the generosity of our over 1300 donors, we were able to run a campaign that drove the narrative of the election,” said Ballingall in a press release. “We delivered on our goal of defeating Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and led the way in exposing the NDP’s extreme candidates and agenda.”6(Press Release). “Ontario Proud makes major impact during 2018 election,” June 18, 2018. Archived September 18, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FT4TU

“Ontario Proud was among the first groups to register as a third party under Ontario’s new election finance laws,” according to the press release.

Ballingall has described Ontario Proud’s “biggest fans” as middle-aged women:7Q&A: Jeff Ballingall, founder of Ontario Proud, on his right-wing meme machine,” Toronto Life, October 7, 2019. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KTZ34

“Our bread and butter is women 55 and older. They’re the most active on Facebook, and members of that demographic also vote in the highest numbers, so it’s important to reach those people. I tell my team: ‘How would you explain this political issue to your aunt? Simplify it, explain why it matters, don’t patronize,'” Ballingall said in an interview with Toronto Life.

Criticism

The non-profit news organization PressProgress has criticized the “Proud” groups for promoting false information and other conduct.

In 2020, PressProgress reported how BC Proud asked its Facebook followers if the “police did the right thing” in during the incident leading to the police officer involved shooting death in New Brunswick of 26 year-old indigenous woman Chantel Moore.8Right-Wing ‘BC Proud’ Group Asks Followers If ‘Police Did the Right Thing’ Killing an Indigenous Woman,” PressProgress, June 6, 2020.

In 2020, PressProgress reported that Canada Proud was falsely claiming that the federal government had banned Remembrance Day ceremonies.9Canada Proud’s Claim That The Government ‘Banned’ Remembrance Day Ceremonies is Very Clearly False,” PressProgress, November 15, 2020.

In 2021, PressProgress reported of Canada Proud claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were being distributed according to “skin colour.”10Canada Proud is Spreading Misleading Propaganda Claiming COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Distributed According to ‘Skin Colour’,PressProgress, March 4, 2021. Archived May 4, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DYyTo

Mobilize Media Group

Jeff Ballingall is the founder of the Mobilize Media Group, a public relations company that “creates compelling social media content that influences public opinion.”11Jeff Ballingall, LinkedIn. Accessed April 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 12About,” Mobilize Media. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9xqND

“We have extensive experience working with large public affairs firms to create viral content and manage campaigns. This includes work with some of Canada’s most well-known agencies to complement their traditional public affairs and government relations efforts,” their website advertises.

Mobilize Media was retained by Erin O’Toole, a 2020 leadership candidate in the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). 13Brian Platt. “Creator of popular conservative Ontario Proud page joins Erin O’Toole campaign team,” National Post, January 16, 2020. Archived April 13, 2022. Pierre Poilievre’s CPC leadership campaign hired the company to “boost his message online” in 2022.14Catherine Cullen. “Poilievre’s campaign hires team behind Canada Proud to boost his messages online,” CBC News, April 28, 2022. Archived May 4, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0bbcj

Canada Proud’s Facebook page notes it is managed by Mobilize Media Group:

Ballingal’s professional background

Ballingal participated in the Ontario election tour for the Canadian Taxpayers Association in 2007.

Ballingal was a senior multimedia content producer for the now-defunct media company Sun Media from 2012 to 2014. Ballingall has boasted that he “tripled their web traffic” while working for Sun News, and said that it was on this job that he learned about Facebook’s “power to reach the general public.”15Jeff Ballingall, LinkedIn. Accessed April 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.Graeme Gordon. “The King Of Canadian Conservative Shitposting,” CanadaLand, November 24, 2017. Archived July 27, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cWvZv

From 2014 to 2016, Ballingal worked as a consultant16Jeff Ballingall,Navigator. Archived February 24, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/vTdZT for the public relations and communications firm Navigator. Notable clients of Navigator have included Jian Ghomeshi – eventually dropped by the company – and Michael Bryant.17James McLeod. “Crisis public relations manager Navigator beefing up social media capabilities,” Financial Post, November 22, 2017. Archived April 13, 2022. The company reportedly had rates as high as $600 per hour, which “approach those at the top Bay Street law firms,” according to the Globe and Mail – referring to an area of downtown Toronto that is the center of Canada’s financial services industry. 18Joe Friesen. “Michael Bryant’s spin class,” The Globe and Mail, September 18, 2009. Archived Aril 14, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zDJx4

In 2019, The Post Millennial brought on Ballingall as Chief Marketing Officer.19Jeff Yates and Kaleigh Rogers. “Canadian news site The Post Millennial blurs line between journalism and conservative ‘pamphleteering’,” CBC News, June 27, 2019. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zHDrT

Stance on Climate Change

October 25, 2021

Canada Proud quoted Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein in a tweet:

March 3, 2020

Canada Proud quoted an article by Rex Murphy in the National Post in a tweet:

Funding

Oil Industry Funding

Michael Binnion, president of Questerre Energy and the Quebec Oil and Gas Association, reportedly called on oil companies to fund Québec Fier or “Québec Proud.” They were encouraged to funnel their contributions through a pro-oil advocacy group called Modern Miracle Network.20Patrick Bellerose and Geneviève Lajoie. “L’industrie du gaz et du pétrole veut influencer la campagne,” Le Journal de Québec, August 23, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bNCZV

According to 2019 story in Maclean’s on “the social media battle to beat Trudeau”:

“Oil money has also contributed to the network of Proud groups across Canada, which have been linked to Ballingall’s Ontario Proud.21Stephen Maher. “The social media battle to beat Trudeau,” Maclean’s, July 4, 2019. Archived July 11, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hBYAl

“Elections records in New Brunswick show that the Proud organization in that province — which was founded by a former New Brunswicker resident in Calgary — was funded during the 2018 provincial election by the Manning Centre (the respected think tank founded by Reform Party founder Preston Manning) and the Modern Miracle Network, a Calgary-based non-profit corporation spearheaded by Michael Binnion, a petroleum CEO who tirelessly promotes the industry and attacks its critics on social media.

“Binnion, who tried unsuccessfully to launch a fracking industry in Quebec, is reported to have raised money for Quebec Fier, a similar Quebec Facebook group that runs ads attacking federal and provincial Liberals. Binnion is on the board of the Manning Centre.”

“Ballingall, like most people who run third-party advocacy groups, doesn’t name donors except when required by election laws,” Maclean’s reported. Until the start of a regulated pre-election period, “anyone, including foreign entities, is free to secretly pay for political messages through Facebook groups, TV ads or text spamming.”22Stephen Maher. “The social media battle to beat Trudeau,” Maclean’s, July 4, 2019. Archived July 11, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hBYAl

The Globe and Mail also reported in 2019 on the involvement of the Modern Miracle Network in funding the Proud network:

“The Proud network has received funding from the pro-oil advocacy group Modern Miracle Network and industry executives who attended a private meeting on April 11 with Conservative Party of Canada strategists, including Mr. Marshall, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and operative Mark Spiro. A copy of the agenda obtained by The Globe and Mail showed they discussed using friendly interest groups independent of the party to rally support in a bid to oust the Liberals,” The Globe and Mail reported.

2018 Ontario Election Funding

Documents obtained by PressProgress showed that Ontario Proud was seeking up to $700,000 in donations, in part by offering “sponsorship opportunities” for contributions up to $250,000.

Because Ontario’s rules restricting political donations “do not apply to Third-Parties, such as Ontario Proud,” the group could accept contributions from diverse sources barred from contributing to political parties and candidates, according to the documents:

Screenshot of original document obtained by PressProgress

The materials outlined opportunities for donors to “invest” in Ontario Proud by issue or by project:

Screenshot of original document obtained by PressProgress
Screenshot of original document obtained by PressProgress

It offered the following sponsorship opportunities:

Screenshot of original document obtained by PressProgress

Robert Faissal Donation

In 2017, Ballingall reportedly received a $10,000 donation to Ontario Proud via “sought-after Progressive Conservative donor” Robert Faissal. The Globe and Mail reported that according to Mr. Faissal, Ballingall had been connected to him through Alykhan Velshi, a “well-known conservative political operative who was, at the time, chief of staff to the then-leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, Patrick Brown.”23Robyn Doolittle and Greg McCarthur. “How Ontario Proud and third-party advertisers are taking aim at the federal election,” The Globe and Mail, September 14, 2019. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/JZ0lI

The Globe and Mail noted the donation occurred in a “regulatory vacuum” used by similar advocacy groups:

“Election regulators have tried to discourage groups such as Ontario Proud from functioning as an end run for political parties skirting the caps on how much money they can accept – and Mr. Faissal says he was vaguely aware of these issues when he says he received a phone call from Mr. Velshi about Mr. Ballingall’s project.

“‘I told Alykhan “as long as it’s legal,”‘ Mr. Faissal said. ‘He’s like, ‘yep, it’s absolutely legal.'”

“(When asked about Mr. Faissal’s account, Mr. Velshi called it ‘totally untrue,’ but also acknowledged having met Mr. Faissal and telling ‘anyone who would listen’ that Ontario Proud was the best thing to happen to the Tories.)

“Whatever role Mr. Velshi played in the donation, if any, the suggestion that it was legal is correct – and that’s because his payment was made in a regulatory vacuum, one that all advocacy groups like Ontario Proud have used to their advantage in the months leading up to the federal election campaign announced this week.”

[…]

“Regardless of form, these groups all have one thing in common: When they started fundraising and designing their attacks in 2017, 2018 and the beginning of this year, they did so under a cover of secrecy that Canada’s election law, as well as some provincial rules, affords them.”

Greg Essensa, Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer, commented in 2016 at the Standing Committee on General Government discussing the 2016 Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act:24“Official Report o fDebates (Handsard): Standing Committee on General Government, June 6, 2016” (PDF), Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“The problem with our current rules is that they provide third parties an almost unlimited ability to raise and spend funds, in contrast to parties and candidates, which are subject to limits.”

2019 Canada Proud Federal Expenditures

According to its website, “during the 2019 election, Canada Proud registered as a third-party advertiser and spent over $350,000 on ads mobilizing opposition to Trudeau after receiving over 4,000 donations from grassroots supporters.”25Canada Proud Releases Results Of Conservative Leadership Poll,” Canada Proud, January 6, 2020. Archived April 13, 2022.

2018 Ontario Proud Provincial Election Donations

CBC News reported in 2018 that Ontario Proud received nearly $460,000 during the 2018 election campaign.26Mike Crawley. “Corporations fuelled Ontario Proud’s pro-PC election spending,CBC News, December 11, 2018. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HIrj2

According to Ontario Proud’s submission to Elections Ontario, corporations gave Ontario Proud $459,000 for political advertising, while individuals donated $53,198.

According to Canada’s National Observer, September 2019 financial filings revealed that “public expense reports filed to Elections Canada on Sept. 15 show that every dollar of the group’s campaign spending has gone to Mobilize Media, a media production company owned by Canada Proud founder and director Jeff Ballingall.”27Emma McIntosh. “Canada Proud spending campaign donations at founder’s company, financial filings show,National Observer, September 19, 2019. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/X83Nx

In 2018, The Walrus reported on Ontario Proud’s influence on Canadian politics:

“Ontario Proud’s financial records have not yet been made public. Ballingall says 1,300 donors both big and small have contributed funds to what was once an out-of-pocket bootstrap organization. A PowerPoint presentation leaked to The Walrus this summer showed that Ontario Proud was seeking $700,000 in funding to ‘inform,’ ‘influence,’ and ‘mobilize’ voters ahead of the 2018 election — roughly the spending limit placed on third-party organizations in Ontario.”

Election Spending

The following data on Canada Proud’s fundraising is based on the group’s “Third Party Electoral Campaign Return” forms submitted to Elections Canada, detailing donations for the 2021 federal election and the 2019 federal election.

Descriptions and company information are based on DeSmog’s review of most likely matches for each individual donor. View the attached spreadsheet for additional information and sources on Canada Proud’s Election Fundraising (.xlsx).

Key Documents

Canada Proud

Ontario Proud

BC Proud

Canada Strong and Proud

Alberta Proud

NL Strong

NS Proud

Proudly New Brunswick – Fièrement Nouveau-Brunswick

West Coast Proud

Canada Proud Network Map

Actions

April 2022

CBC News reported that Jeff Ballingall’s company, Mobilize Media, had been retained by Pierre Poilievre‘s Conservative leadership campaign for Pierre Poilievre.28Catherine Cullen. “Poilievre’s campaign hires team behind Canada Proud to boost his messages online,” CBC News, April 28, 2022. Archived May 4, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0bbcj

“Ballingall’s pages, which are funded by donations, throw some verbal blows that might raise eyebrows coming directly from a politician,” the CBC noted.

January–February 2022

As Geoff Denbicki reported at DeSmog, Canada Action launched three paid posts in late January 2022 supporting the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 416-mile-long (670-kilometer) pipeline that would supply gas to an export facility on British Columbia’s west coast.29Geoff Dembicki. “Conservative Party-Linked Facebook Page, Canada Proud, a Major Source of Climate Disinformation,” DeSmog, March 17, 2022.

“Environmentalists claim that by opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, they are supporting local Indigenous people,” read the post. “They will never tell you that ALL of the elected band councils along the pipeline’s route support the project.”

Facebook analytics show that Canada Proud spent up to $4,000 promoting that message, which reached an estimated audience of over one million people, and generated more than a million impressions.

Screenshot of Canada Proud’s Facebook advertising campaign, via Facebook Ad Library

The Post Millennial

Jeff Ballingall joined The Post Millennial,30We have some exciting announcements,” The Post Millennial via Mailchimp. Archived June 27, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/tJ6F1 a “pro-conservative” news site, in May 2017 as chief marking officer. Ballingall’s Proud network has regularly shared news from The Post Millennial.31Jeff Yates and Kaleigh Rogers. “Canadian news site The Post Millennial blurs line between journalism and conservative ‘pamphleteering’,” CBC News, June 27, 2019. Archived June 27, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LaCNs

Canada Proud

Ontario Proud

Prior to Canada Proud’s launch in 2019, Ontario Proud began in February 2016 as a single Facebook page. The page posted criticisms of the policies of Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government.32(Press Release). “Ontario Proud Launches First TV Ads,” Ontario Proud, April 9, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/curJs

BC Proud

Ballingall runs BC Proud.33Q&A: Jeff Ballingall, founder of Ontario Proud, on his right-wing meme machine,” Toronto Life, October 7, 2019. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KTZ34 and is listed in their articles of incorporation,

In 2019, the Liberal Party sent a letter to B.C. Elections Commissioner Yves Côté, requesting that he look into potential “improper co-ordination” between Canada Proud and BC Proud, CBC News reported.34Liberals complain to elections commissioner about conservative groups’ co-ordination,” CBC News, July 26, 2019. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qT6aQ

“My concerns are twofold,” stated Liberal national director Azam Ishmael. “First, I am concerned that B.C. Proud has incurred partisan activity expenses in excess of $500, triggering the immediate requirement for registration” as a third-party federal campaigner.

“Second, I am equally concerned that Canada Proud and B.C. Proud are sharing resources in such a way that may enable either or both of these third parties to circumvent the maximum spending limit applicable to third parties during the pre-election period.”

Canada’s National Observer found that ads run by Squamish Voices and at least a half-dozen other “grassroots” Facebook pages were linked to Canada Proud, Jeff Ballingall, and his company Mobilize Media Group.35Jessica McDiarmid and Marc Fawcett-Atkinson. “Right-wing operatives masquerading as local grassroots groups on Facebook,” Canada’s National Observer, March 17, 2022. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xyrgv

Canada’s National Observer found that “a Vancouver-area number was used to run ads on three purportedly community Facebook pages: Squamish Voices, Richmond Hill Voices and Nouvelles de la Liberté in Terrebonne, Que.”36Marc Fawcett-Atkinson and Jessica McDiarmid. “How we traced the links between supposedly grassroots Facebook pages and right-wing political operatives,” Canada’s National Observer, March 17, 2022. Archived April 13, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bXg6i

“Canada’s National Observer traced the phone number to Angelo Isidorou via corporate filings. Isidorou is a Vancouver-based writer for conservative website The Post Millennial.”

A single Toronto-area number was listed on other ads that ran on the Facebook pages of Canada Proud, BC Proud, and supposed grassroots groups including Squamish Voices, Richmond Hill Voices, Nouvelles de la Liberté, Vaughan Voices, Brampton Together, and Save our Islands.

“The pages masquerade as community groups, sharing lighthearted posts about local issues,” however “experts warn pages like these can undermine democracy,” Canada’s National Observer reported.37Jessica McDiarmid and Marc Fawcett-Atkinson. “Right-wing operatives masquerading as local grassroots groups on Facebook,” Canada’s National Observer, March 17, 2022. Archived July 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/H4YAe

Further, “ads run on Squamish Voices and Richmond Hill Voices listed a Toronto address. Business registration documents show Mobilize Media Group worked out of that address before moving to its present location.”

Vaughan Voices, Brampton Together and Save our Islands were other pages that shared a Toronto-area phone number with ads run for Ontario Proud and BC Proud.

BC Proud’s Facebook Page discloses that the Pacific Prosperity Foundation “is responsible for the page”:

The Pacific Prosperity Foundation

The Pacific Prosperity Foundation, also known as the Pacific Prosperity Network (PPN), launched in November 2021,38(Press Release). “Launching Pacific Prosperity Network,” Pacific Prosperity Network, November 15, 2021. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/3q5p4. According to its website, the group makes “strategic investments that empower and support civic leaders in their journey to improve their local communities.”39About,” Pacific Prosperity Network. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/vFwiy

“Pacific Prosperity Foundation (Network) is here to turn good candidates into strong leaders, so they can make their communities even stronger,” its website suggests.

The group’s executive director, Micah N. Haince, describes his mission as “to develop political leadership at the local level while making strategic investments in like-minded individuals and grass-roots organizations, who believe that B.C. communities are best served by promoting lower taxes for individuals and families, less red-tape for businesses, and more a entrepreneurial economy.”

Discussing “environmental protection and green innovation,” the group advocates for the use of Canadian energy abroad without naming specific sources, such as fossil fuels or renewables, and opposes government involvement in energy markets. :40Issues,” Pacific Prosperity Network. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KDpKu

“Canadian energy products are superior to alternatives that are used in Canada, and their use should be promoted to off-set consumption from less environmentally and ethically conscious energy producers worldwide…Pacific Prosperity Network firmly believes that the role of government in the marketplace should be reduced to solely that of a regulator, not a participant.”

PPN does not reveal the sources of donations to the organization, and uses this as a selling point to prospective contributors:41Get Involved,” Pacific Prosperity Network. Archived June 29, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/XThO9

“There are no limits to the amount that you can contribute, nor does Pacific Prosperity Network have any requirement to disclose the names of individuals or organizations that make contributions to PPN,” the PPN website notes.

Nova Scotia Proud

Nova Scotia Proud has shared a director, Devin Drover, with groups linked to Jeff Ballingall, including Newfoundland Strong and Proudly New Brunswick.42Former Crosbie staffer behind anti-Liberal Facebook ads, robocalls,CBC News, May 10, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/M5Q

“Canada Strong and Proud” Network

While reportedly independent from the “Proud” pages run by Jeff Ballingall, several other groups operate under the umbrella of the “Canada Strong and Proud” group on Facebook. At least one has listed Jeff Ballingall as an adviser.43Robocall campaign triggers suspicion, hostility — and support from New Brunswickers,” CBC News, October 4, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/C69PO

The CBC reported in 2019 that the Canada Strong and Proud groups were not affiliated with the Ballingall-run pages:44Christian Paas—Lang. “Manning Centre a primary backer for series of anti-Liberal Facebook pages,CBC News, October. 3, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8ypEw

“Confusingly, those groups have no affiliation with Ontario Proud, Canada Proud or B.C. Proud, which are similar but separate anti-Liberal groups set up and run by Jeff Ballingall, a former Conservative political staffer and media figure,” CBC wrote.

Proudly New Brunswick director Heidi McKillop later told the CBC that Ballingall was her advisor.45Robocall campaign triggers suspicion, hostility — and support from New Brunswickers,” CBC News, October 4, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/C69PO

An archived description on the YouTube page of “Proud Canadians Online,” since removed, listed the groups involved in the “Canada Strong and Proud group”:46Proud Canadians Online,” YouTube. Archived April 14, 2022. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/czfdN

“The messages on this page have been authorized by CANADA STRONG AND PROUD, 705-417-2888, STRONGANDPROUD.CA This organization is affiliated with the Canada Strong and Proud group including, New Brunswick Proud, Fièrement Nouveau-Brunswick, Nova Scotia Proud, Newfoundland Strong, Quebec Fier, Quebec Proud, Alberta Proud, West Coast Proud and Ontario Strong.”

Many of these groups have received funding from the Manning Centre, a group renamed the “Canada Strong and Free Network” – not to be confused with “Canada Strong and Proud” – with the goal of “explicit networking and relationship building among the various components of the conservative movement in Canada.”47Manning Centre for Building Democracy changes name to Canada Strong and Free Network,” Canada Strong & Free Network. Archived June 27, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DFYYM

The CBC reported in 2018 that the Manning Centre had given $312,450 to the Canada Strong and Proud network, with $240,500 going to “Canada Strong and Proud” alone.48Christian Paas—Lang. “Manning Centre a primary backer for series of anti-Liberal Facebook pages,CBC News, October. 3, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8ypEw

“That page is affiliated with a series of provincial pages, including New Brunswick Proud, Nova Scotia Proud, NL Strong and Quebec Fier — all of which got Manning Centre funding,” the CBC reported. .49Christian Paas—Lang. “Manning Centre a primary backer for series of anti-Liberal Facebook pages,CBC News, October. 3, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8ypEw

“Alberta Proud, BC Strong and Ontario Strong are also part of the family of organizations. The various groups often post and share similar contents and ads.”50Christian Paas—Lang. “Manning Centre a primary backer for series of anti-Liberal Facebook pages,CBC News, October. 3, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8ypEw

New Brunswick Proud / Proudly New Brunswick

Proudly New Brunswick director Heidi McKillop told CBC News in 2018 that Jeff Ballingall was the group’s advisor.51Robocall campaign triggers suspicion, hostility — and support from New Brunswickers,” CBC News, October 4, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/C69PO

Newfoundland Strong

Newfoundland Strong is a group also reportedly linked to Jeff Ballingall’s Ontario Proud. CBC News reported in 2019 that a single individual, Devin Drover, has been a director of both Nova Scotia Proud and Proudly New Brunswick.52Former Crosbie staffer behind anti-Liberal Facebook ads, robocalls,CBC News, May 10, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/M5Qxk

Drover told CBC News that the group was originally named “NL Proud,” but changed the name when they found another group already operating under that name.53Former Crosbie staffer behind anti-Liberal Facebook ads, robocalls,CBC News, May 10, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/M5Qxk

Alberta Proud

Ontario Strong

According to Ontario business registration data, Ontario Strong – not to be confused with Ballingall’s Ontario Proud – was registered by Canada Strong and Proud, which also has an Ontario corporation registration on file (Ontario Corporation Number 5018698)54ONTARIO STRONG (290730332)Government of Ontario. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Saskatchewan Proud

  • Facebook: SaskatchewanProud
  • Website:
  • Twitter:
  • YouTube:
  • Instagram:
  • Federal Data:
  • Provincial Data:

Saskatchewan Proud regularly links to initiatives by Canada Strong and Proud on Facebook, as well as other members of the network such as Alberta Proud and Nova Scotia Proud:

Manitoba Proud

  • Facebook: ManitobaProud
  • Website:
  • Twitter:
  • YouTube:
  • Instagram:
  • Federal Data:
  • Provincial Data:

NL Proud

According to its now-expired website, “NL Proud is a grassroots organization, powered by everyday Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We’re working together to defeat Ottawa lapdogs like Andrew Furey, holding our failed leaders accountable, and fighting for a government that puts NL first.”55Homepage, NL Proud. Archived January 8, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sLP8a

A NL Proud founder told CBC News his group was founded in part to block the spread of groups like Ontario Proud to Newfoundland and Labrador.56Former Crosbie staffer behind anti-Liberal Facebook ads, robocalls,CBC News, May 10, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/M5Qxk

Québec Fier / Quebec Proud

Québec Fier was reportedly inspired by Ontario Proud.

The group’s stated mission is to “[bring] together together Québécois sick of being passive witnesses to the deterioration of Québec and its future prospects. Our goal is to recover our greatness. Our goal: a proud Québec!”57OUR MISSION,” Québec Proud. Archived January 23, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zcN2p

According to the group’s website, it opposes “a government in hock to the environmental lobby [that] refuses to develop our natural resources,” and claims that traditional Québécois culture is imperiled: “Our language and our culture are in danger. We lack a vision for the future.

Quebec Proud has been one of several groups to receive funding from the Manning Centre.58Le « Manning Centre » aide des groupes antilibéraux,” La Presse, October 5, 2019. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ofGEc

Maxime Hupé, a conservative political operative, purchased the domain quebecfier.org and reserved the name for a Facebook page in 2018.59Who’s Behind The Right-Wing ‘Québec Fier’ Facebook Page?HuffPost, August 4, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oQ8MU

Maxime Hupé was on the staff of Senator Larry Smith at the time she purchased the domain name, and is a former director of communications for Maxime Bernier, the founder and leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

Hupé approached Jean-Philippe Fournier, a candidate for the conservative party of Canada and Quebec, to become the page’s primary administrator. Host Éric Duhaine reportedly gave advice to Fournier.

Hupé and Duhaime told Le Journal de Québec in mid-2018 that they were no longer collaborating with the group.60Patrick Bellerose and Geneviève Lajoie. “L’industrie du gaz et du pétrole veut influencer la campagne,” Le Journal de Québec, August 23, 2018. Archived June 28, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bNCZV

Maxime Hupé is a former director of communications for Maxime Bernier, the founder and leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

West Coast Proud

Contact & Address

Canada Proud

Federal nonprofit registration documents at the Government of Canada listed the following address for Canada Proud as of 2019:

36 King Street East 4th floor
Toronto, ON M4E 2G9
Canada

Records list the following as Canada Proud’s initial registered office address in 2008:

435 Palmerston Boulevard
4th Floor
Toronto ON M6G 2N7

Ontario Proud

Documents at the Government of Canada listed the following address for Ontario Proud, one identical to the most recent address for Canada Proud:

36 King Street East 4th floor
Toronto, ON M4E 2G9
Canada

Ontario Proud’s initial registered office address as of 2008 was:

16 Norwood Terrace
Toronto ON M4E 2G9

Ontario Proud’s disclosures on the Facebook/Meta ad library have listed the following address:

560 King St W,
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1M3

BC Proud

According to BC corporate registrations, BC Proud Media, Inc. is registered to a UPS Store in Victoria, BC. No other physical address for the group or its directors is provided:

UNIT 108 1834C OAK BAY AVENUE
VICTORIA BC V8R 0A4
CANADA

Facebook advertising disclosures have listed the following address for BC Proud:

4000-36 King St E,
Toronto, ON M5C1E5

Note that Squamish Voices also has listed its address as “36 King St E, 4000, Toronto, Ontario M5C1E5, CA.”

Alberta Proud

According to federal registration documents, the group’s address is:

802 13 Avenue Southwest
Calgary AB T2R 0L2

According to their website:61Contact,Alberta Proud. Archived April 14, 2022.

PO Box 91014
Royal Oak Calgary, AB
T3G 5W6

Saskatchewan Proud

N/A

Manitoba Proud

N/A

Canada Strong and Proud

According to federal corporations data, the group’s address is:

Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower
22 Adelaide Street West, Suite 3400
Toronto ON M5H 4E3
Canada

Mobilize Media Group

Mobilize Media Group listed the following address as of April 2022:

https://mobilize.media/#whatWeDo

Mobilize Media Group
151 Yonge St., Suite 1100
Toronto, ON M5C 2W7

Pacific Prosperity Network

According to British Columbia corporate records, the Pacific Prosperity Foundation registered with the following address:

2500 – 666 Burrard St,
Vancouver BC V6C 2X8

Other Resources

Resources

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