05.18.2011 06:38 AM

Conservative dirty tricks

Unidentified Con staffer at work.

Bottom line?  Some of Stephen Harper’s Reformatory campaign team would be petitioning for bail, right about now, if Dalton McGuinty’s legislation had existed at the federal level.

Ontario wants to be sure nasty tricks that surfaced during the federal election this month don’t return in the Oct. 6 provincial campaign.

Liberal candidates in Ontario and Manitoba complained during the federal election that voters received harassing calls late at night by people claiming to work for the party.

Elections Canada is also investigating reports a number of people received about mysterious calls on election day that wrongly suggested their local polling station had been moved.

Attorney General Chris Bentley has introduced amendments to Ontario’s Elections Act to formally outlaw such campaign stunts.

Bentley introduced legislation on Tuesday, with just six sitting days before the legislature breaks until the Oct. 6 election, that would impose a fine of up to $25,000 and up to two years in jail for such dirty tricks.

The bill would make it illegal to impede or attempt to stop someone from voting by providing false information and to make it illegal to impersonate an election official, a party of party candidate.

More here and here and here.



  1. Craig Chamberlain says:

    Kormos. Helpful as always. Credibility: squandered. Of course he wouldn’t think of slamming the government for failing to introduce these measures after what we saw this spring, if his supporters were targeted this fall.

    Send this career politician packing!!!

  2. Dude Love says:

    Politics has been a dirty game since it was invented. Watch the Gangs of New York for a quick lesson.

    And without proof, it is hard so say, who sponsored the various phone calls. Don’t you think the NDP would also do anything to win at all cost?

  3. Cath says:

    and here it turns out that the dirtiest of tricks were going on in the LPOC – according to the posted articles yesterday. I’m actually surprised that this law isn’t already on the books of Elections Ontario – was homework done to make sure?
    Maybe Elections Canada should take note?

    What? No post about the recount decision here that surfaced last night?

  4. dave says:

    Too bad the federal electipons act is a toothless tiger when it comes to fraudulent campaign tactics and electoral intimidation.

  5. Brent Sienna says:

    IF the Cons were behind it, and it is a big IF since Elections Canada is still investigating, there is no hard proof it was them. I’d be careful lobbing those stones though considering the glass house the Liberals are living in. Remember the Liberals have their own little dirty trick players too, people like Liberal Joe Volpe’s handler who was allegedly photographed swiping Green Party material from mailboxes and subsequently turfed for it, or Liberal Andrew Kania’s volunteer who was caught with stolen Conservative signs in the back of his truck and was arrested and charged for that. Dirty tricks happen on all sides, you know it as well as I do, so don’t make it seem like the Cons are the only ones up to underhanded crap. No, I wasn’t paid for this post, but the cheque better be in the mail as I need to fill up my gas tank tonight. 🙂

  6. wassup says:

    War-Man: Can you please explain to us private sector, Timmie swelling workers, why we should vote for more of this:


    I simply can’t understand why we need to pay cops $100,000 a year. I’m sorry but I don’t get it. I don’t understand why the wages of Public Servants are not being frozen. I don’t understand why your Liberal Colleagues want me to either pay more taxes or go further into provincial debt to pay salaries that are 50 – 100% above going market rates for public servants.

    If you can give me a straight answer as to why it is necessary to pay these salaries, while my own income is in decline, I will vote for McGuinty.

    • smelter rat says:

      You get what you pay for. Want $25,000/yr. rent a cops? Be my guest. Just don’t complain when they fuck up, which they will.

      • wassup says:

        The selection process for cops in Ontario is based on Employment Equity hiring and a high school education. How many 22 year old kids out of high school make $125000 a year besides Ontario cops?

        • The Doctor says:

          Well, drug dealers do.

        • Michael says:

          I am certainly not “pro-police”, but you should get the facts straight.

          First off, salary is not $125K. The starting salary for a raw recruit is $45K. A 1st class constable makes $83,483 (less than a city of Toronto officer).

          The minimum educational reqirement is a high school diploma, however most recruits have post-secondary education.

          If you are going to make smart-ass posts, you might want to base them on some semblence of a fact,

      • Jerome Bastien says:

        Well of course, so at $100,000 will they ever fuck up? What about at $1,000,000, then they would be the most perfect cops EVER!

        • The Doctor says:

          I think I’m going to use that reasoning to get me a raise. (“Actually, I’m perfect; it’s just that you haven’t been paying me enough!”)

    • Craig Chamberlain says:

      “Public servants” work very hard, including the managers of unionized staff who are themselves non-unionized, i.e. not in a collective agreement. These are the “wages” (salaries) you would be freezing. You could see managers with high levels of accountability including to political reps making comparably less than the people they supervise.

      As for the salaries for our law enforcement officers, yes, I think the $100K examples are high. Which is not to say their work is not important and that yes, they should be properly compensated.

    • Jon Adams says:

      What? You’re not going to split my sides again by calling them “gip”sies and “Liberanos?” (GETTIT?! GETTIT?!)

  7. Keith Richmond says:

    Hi Warren,
    I recall the “prank calls” during the federal election, but admittedly did not follow the story much. Your post implies that Harperites were behind the calls. I don’t recall hearing that specifically in the news. A cursory google news search did not pull anything up to suggest Tory involvement. On what basis do you suggest Tory interference?

    • Warren says:

      I’m not your research bureau.

      • Outsider says:

        Based on the nasty tone of their pre-election campaign commercials that began airing over a year ago, combined with the general prickishness of the Harrisite cadre within the inner circle, and the jackboot tactics to keep potentially dissenting youths out of campaign events during the election, I would think it is a pretty safe assumption who would be the likeliest candidates. If it walks like a duck and stabs you in the back like a duck ….

    • Craig Chamberlain says:

      Time will tell. Let’s all hope charges are laid, followed by convictions. Surely we can agree to that?! But before anything comes forward, let’s also agree to not make excuses for the culprits — agreed?

  8. Rob W says:


    Let me highlight some facts that lead one to the logical inference that the CPC was behind the phone calls:

    1) The calls targeted ridings held by Liberal MPs.

    2) The ridings were expected to be close contests between the CPC and LPC.

    3) No CPC supporters complained that they had received erroneous calls.

    4) AS soon as the Liberal campaign found out about the calls, they sent staffers to the bogus location in order to drive or direct voters (regardless of party) to the proper polling location.

  9. Scotty Rowe says:

    I would suggest that New Democrats are just as likely suspects as Conservatives. There was a significant surge of student support for the NDP on university campuses. These sorts of “dirty tricks” are considered “harmless pranks” by some young people.

    • Craig Chamberlain says:

      Not considered “harmless pranks” but rather, under the guise that “the ends justify the means” — morally justified given the “threat” to all things good.

    • The Doctor says:

      But that just can’t be. Dippers are all good, Conservatives are all evil. All the time.

  10. george says:

    bail not applicable guess you were a great defense counsel

  11. TJK says:

    Being that Conservative supporters (including in Edmonton Strathcona) received and reported these calls, and that they occurred in Alberta, BC and Ontario, I think we can logic this thing out.

    The way that the fact of Conservative supporters receiving these calls has simply been ignored is both hilarious and pathetic.

  12. Rob W says:


    Cite a source.

  13. Derek Pearce says:

    Can Elections Canada subpoena phone records? Trace the calls back and criminally charge the bastards, no matter which party (or no party).

  14. TJK says:

    I appreciate the civility very much Rob W; it’s a dwindling trait in these discussions. This thing should be investigated fully. I just don’t have much faith in EC to do it.

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