This is bordering on obsession

02Feb09

Maybe I should just leave National Newswatch alone. Then again, no, I won’t apologize for my fascination with the site’s advertisers. Each one is better than the last.

The newest banner on the site links to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. As is the norm with these organizations, political connections abound. The group’s executive director, Dave Quist, was a candidate in the 2004 federal election.

When Alliance MP Reed Elley left politics in 2004, his riding — Nanaimo-Cowichan — became a battle between Quist and current NDP MP Jean Crowder. Crowder topped Quist by about 6,000 votes.

That the IMFC has taken over some space on NNW looks to be an extension of a trend that Quist explained to The Tyee back in 2006 (emphasis mine):

Quist … said that Canadian social conservatives are becoming better organized. By forming think-tanks and entering public policy debates they’re doing something that centre and centre-left groups have been doing for years, he said.

“If anything, social conservatives are becoming better organized,” said Quist. “And whether they’re part of a religious affiliation or not, by being better organized they have a more unified voice.”

While social conservatives are generally pleased to see the Harper government in power, “I don’t think there’s any hidden agenda there from the social conservative side of it,” Quist said. “We’re not in the makings of a theocracy in any sense of the word at all.”

The institute, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family Canada, has found a receptive audience for its research in the Liberal party as well as among Conservatives, he said.

Just a little earlier in the same story, Quist said that groups like his don’t have as much influence in the Prime Minister’s Office as some critics assume:

“Am I drafting policy that’s going to be adopted by the PMO and things like that? Not a chance.”

Fair enough. But recall that bold text in the last passage, and then look at the resume of the current director of policy at the PMO. Still think that the IMFC has little influence?

UPDATE: Oh. There is much, much more here.

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