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Civitas Society

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Civitas Society is a low-key but influential Conservative group in Canada with close ties to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. [1].

In its last annual report filed with the government, Mr. Harper's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, is listed as a director and Mr. Brodie attended the group's annual conference in May 2006 held at the luxurious Brookstreet Hotel in the Kanata high-tech research park of the Canadian capital, Ottawa. [2]

The Civitas Soceity has been described as "a society for conservative and libertarian academics, think-tankers, lobbyists and journalists." [3].

Members include Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a conservative, free-market think tank in eastern Canada, and a member of the advisory Board of the Frontier Institute for Public Policy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Montreal Economic Institute president Michel Kelly-Gagnon is also a member of Civitas.

The group’s current president is Lorne Gunter, a columnist with the right-wing national paper, National Post, launched by media mogul Conrad Black and now owned by the Asper family, which also owns the CanWest Global media empire in Canada. [Ibid]

Its annual meeting held in Ottawa in early May 2006, was intended to be "private". But journalist Elizabeth Thompson of the Montreal Gazette, covered the meeting from the lobby of the hotel, and reported that one of the guest speakers was American pollster and former Newt Gingrich associate, Frank Luntz, whose speech "Massaging the Coservative Message for Voters" offered Civitas members tips on how to obtain a majority for Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party in the next federal elections in Canada. [4].

Thompson reported, "Introducing Mr. Luntz yesterday, former Reform party leader Preston Manning praised the work Mr. Luntz had done for him several years ago. During his speech, Mr. Luntz mentioned that he had met with Mr. Harper -- whom he referred to on a first-name basis -- Friday and had posed for a picture together."

The Civitas Society does not appear to have its own web site.

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