02.23.2012 10:51 AM

A picture is worth 1,000 words, etc.

Kudos to the reporters who dug this one up. This is big, methinks. But the best part is the photo of this robocalling character, above. An instant classic.

From the story:

Elections Canada has traced fraudulent phone calls made during the federal election to an Edmonton voice-broadcast company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country.

While the agency investigates, aided by the RCMP, the Conservatives are conducting an internal probe. A party lawyer is interviewing campaign workers to find who was behind the deceptive “robocalls.”

Elections Canada launched its investigation after it was inundated with complaints about election day calls in Guelph, Ont., one of 18 ridings across the country where voters were targeted by harassing or deceptive phone messages in an apparent effort to discourage Liberal supporters from voting.


  1. Michael S says:

    Some rumblings on Twitter that this guy worked on Fantino’s by-election campaign.

  2. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Gingers have no souls………sorry……..

  3. Philip says:

    One disagreement with Elections Canada could be passed off as bad apples, two suggests a pattern of potential criminal behavior at the Conservative Party HQ.

  4. Attack! says:

    What a pukey business model he has: he hires out his spam machine (10 MILLION robocalls for elxn41 alone) & doesn’t even vet what kind of lies or slander he might be aiding & abetting — his clients get to upload it directly, so he can play Sergeant Schultz to sleep at night.

  5. sharonapple88 says:

    Dirty deeds done dirty cheap. Really cheap if you consider it would just cost 1.9-3.5 cents per minute per call. You could subvert democracy for a couple of hundred dollars. A real bargain in this day.

    Seriously, who thought that this was a good idea?

  6. William says:

    He is searchable on LinkedIn

    A couple of recommendations show that he’s done work with Wildrose and the CPC

  7. william smith says:

    So who declares a “bad election” suppressed votes in close ridings means fradulent wins means Harper’s majority GONE

  8. Nurie Jahangeer says:

    He looks like the average grassroots supporter of the Reform Party of Canada…*cough*…Canadian Alliance Party…*cough*…Conservative Party of Canada: [DELETED! LIBEL ALERT!].

    PS: I’ve also noticed that many Alpha White Male Conservative supporters also tend to have an element
    of arrested development and are quite often seen racing cars, rebuilding old motorcycles, refurnishing toy cars,
    ect. I suspect many of them also love big guns because they suffer [LIBEL]. Its all very Freudian ya know!.

  9. kenzo's says:

    A company called “Racknine”? Good God. truly befits a massage parlour front or some other untoward sleaze.

    I’ve been maintaining for a few weeks now, that PM’s Davos speech was a real, genuine jumping of the shark moment and that these guys are going to unravel quicker than the toilet paper down the basement steps (don’t ask, just made that up). I don’t know why the optimism- I’m normally the pessimist. We various factions of the Opposition have best get our crap together.

  10. Jamie Labonte says:

    It’s a real shame that they did this. What even more shameful is that we will let them get away with it.

  11. Harith says:

    Pretty funny considering Baird was snarling about dirty tricks not too long ago.

  12. Philippe says:

    I’m curious Warren, is what they did considered a criminal act?

  13. Ted B says:

    Lying, unethical calls to Montreal residents to undermine Liberal Irwin Cotler, that even Conservative MP/Speaker called disgusting and unethical, authorized from the PMO.

    Breaking the Elections Canada Act with their illegal in-and-out scam, leading to charges against top Conservative campaign organizers and convictions.

    Breaking the Elections Canada Act by illegally deduct national campaign expenses as local campaign expenses and get taxpayer-funded rebates for it.

    Conservative robocalling under investigation by the RCMP.

    Shutting down Parliament when faced with accountability challenges.

    Shutting down Parliament questions at record breaking pace.

    Ignoring court orders and Parliamentary Orders for production of documents (detainees, in-and-out scam).

    Illegal and unethical political interference with Access to Information requests.

    Record breaking number of illegal non-compliance under the Access to Information Act.

    Illegally using ministerial offices and resources to campaign for the party and organize fundraisers.

    Contempt of Parliament for not producing documents they are required to produce under law so MPs can do their job.


    We don’t have an accountability problem here. It’s bigger than that. I’m reluctant to say because it gets said too often in partisan games, but we have a genuine democracy problem here.

    Someone should start and publish a list.

    Oh look. I just did. Anyone care to add?

    • dave says:

      I would like to add the election that resulted in the 1st Con minority gvt. I have no evidence at all, but I suspect that when the upper echelons of the RCMP leaked that income trust investigation stuff to NDP Judy, that that action, and its effects on voters shifted from a Lib minority gvt to a Con minority gvt.

      • Iris Mclean says:

        Yup. That had me convinced that our national police force was interfering with the election.
        The RCMP did a number on BC premier Glen Clark in ’99 that was beyond belief as well.

        • dave says:

          Isn’t that stuff amazing here in BC? I caught the tv news show when the cameras showed up at Clark’s home just when the cops did. Tyjabi (?) has a short book on this BCLib/Montague/Clark thing that is a pretty good read. Somehow, I get the sense that the rest of Canada just does not catch on to what has happened here the past decade.

      • Ted B says:

        Maybe yes, maybe no.

        The Harper Cons are corrupt to their bones, and won the close election in part because of that.

        But they didn’t cause that. They just benefited from it. So it doesn’t get added to the list of democratic contempt.

        • dave says:

          You’re right, there is no evidence, so far, to connect the Conservs and that income trust thing.
          Same as the Chuck Cadman accusations. For a long time Chuck C’s daughter and wife seemed adamant that the offer had been made. Then, suddenly, they switched their story. ( I figure that James Moore’s performance in the House on that on that one brought him in from the margins and into the cabinet. He did a good job.)

          I guess it is too early to predict what the Geurgis lawsuit might bring.

          • Ted B says:

            The Income Trust thing does not seem to be in any way the doing of the Conservatives. If you want corruption and conspiracy, probably much more likely RCMP payback against the Libs.

            But you do mention the whole Cadman “financial consideration” thing which absolutely qualifies for my list.

    • David_M says:

      I add this only because it hit close to home and I REALLY like Glen. I thought he was an oustanding MP and the kind of person I want to have represent me in Parliament.


      “At doors I canvassed I kept hearing certain stories about how I spent too much time in Africa, or that my voting presence in the House wasn’t too impressive. When I informed them that I only spent one week a year on that continent (Sudan), and that I take it on my holiday time over New Years and on my own dime, I could sense the hesitation in their voice. “Oh … that’s not what we heard when the Conservatives phoned us last night.” Something that hadn’t been an issue heretofore was suddenly looming large in the final days.”

      • Ted B says:

        Agree Glen was a great MP and a great loss to his constituents.

        Agree that what was done to him was awful and unethical.

        I’m trying to compile a list of clear illegal and anti-democratic behaviour that is beyond corruption.

        Sadly, the kind of thing you described – misrepresenting the actions of individual candidates – is not only routine fare but also done routinely by supporters for every candidate of every party.

        It’s also not a nationally orchestrated democratic corruption like in-and-out criminal activity.

      • Philippe says:

        I want to throw up and swear off politics after reading that.

        • G. Babbitt says:

          I know I will be flamed, but I live in Pearson’s riding and I am pleased to see him go. His passive aggressive “I’m not a politician” schtick wore thin and obiviously I was not alone. And okay maybe he didn’t go to Africa that often, but he did nothing to counter a feeling that Africa relief (actually South Sudan only) was his first priority. More importantly for Liberals is to look more deeply into how he lost his seat when both the Tories and NDP put up unknown candidates. And it was clear that the NDP didn’t put up much of fight, putting their resources into Matthyssen’s riding yet their candidate got significant support against one of the more “progressive” Liberals.

          • pomojen says:

            So it doesn’t matter to you that the conservatives appear to have played dirty in this case at all? Does the subversion of democracy bother you? Or do you not see anything wrong with this because you wanted this man to lose? That would be a superficial analysis and represent quite primitive morality development on your part if that is the case.

          • Warren says:

            Con confirmation bias run riot. You’re wasting your breath (or data bits!)

          • G. Babbitt says:

            No, the Conservative tactics bother me a great deal and posing as Elections Canada staff should stick to the Conservatives. I’m just pointing out that Glen Pearson did not lose his seat because of these calls, which he kind of implies.

  14. I wonder if this one is going to fall under the “it’s the cover-up” rule.

    • Philip says:

      I wonder who the victims are in this squalid little voter suppression scheme are? Oh right. Canadian voters. What a wonderful time it must be for Conservatives.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        They have a patsy in Eve Adams’ office, so the search committee’s work is done. And in one day! How efficient.

        • Pat says:

          Yeah… because Michael Sona definitely had access to the account information and funds to organize a robo-call of this magnitude – it hit a relatively large number of homes in a number of ridings, so it couldn’t be cheap. There is almost no way he would have the authority to do something like that without the permission of someone else in the party, and the fact that the robo-calls went outside of the riding he was working in, suggests to me that the national campaign would have to be notified.

          The really interesting thing for me is whether Michael Sona falls on his sword for the good of the CPC, or whether he tries to stop himself from going to jail for this by spilling the beans. I know Michael, from when we were both at the University of Guelph (he was the head of the campus tories, I was the PR officer for the campus grits), and he is a total partisan nutcase – I wouldn’t put it past him to accept jail time to make sure those dastardly Liberals don’t get the upper hand.

          And this HAS to result in jail time, doesn’t it? I mean, whoever did it impacted the results of about a dozen ridings. That is a dozen seats in the house! That could mean the difference between a tory majority and a tory minority…

  15. Jamie says:

    The Conservative party of Canada: Strong leadership.

  16. Class Middle says:

    And this would be Michael Sona. The conservative staffer from Guelph who is under investigation.


    • pomojen says:

      Whoa.That pic says a mouthful. Made me step away from the screen. Who chooses to allow such a pic to get out there?

      • que sera sera says:

        I expect it will come in handy holding off non-Conservative voters in the next federal election.

        You know, when the military is mobilized to keep “law and order” at the “neutral” polling stations while the UN is clamoring for “observer” status.

        While Harper cruises by in his “nothing to see here, go back to sleep, father knows best” mode.

        And the Conservative groupies continue to grind their teeth in rage at the world in all its glory.

    • Pat says:

      Check out my comment above on Michael Sona – there is NO way he could have done this without central campaign support and permission. He wouldn’t have access to the resources, and by campaigning outside of his own riding, he would have had to have the agreement of either the national campaign or the other riding campaigns…

  17. william smith says:

    The CPC is already saying that it was an “independent contractor” involved. Somebody is going to be pushed under the bus pretty quickly and then the CPC will stand back and deflect all enquiries to legal responses and attempt to look not involved. I think the MSM has got this between their teeth to make up for the whining about not reporting Vic’s problems last week. I smell blood

  18. smelter rat says:


  19. Sean says:

    So the CPC cheated, lied and probably broke the law to win an election…. Next on the Fifth Estate, the grass has been declared green, the sky has been revealed to be blue.

  20. jack says:

    You can bet Harper had a strategy just for this the very minute it was discovered. Of course, they hoped it would not be, but the ops manual for this exact situation was put in place long ago.

    It will take some brave souls with deep convictions to actually get to the bottom of this.

    Does anyone actually believe a lone staffer would come up with a scheme to target closely held ridings and not tell some superiors about it?

    And how about the call lists? Its time we are able to not allow our private phone numbers to be distributed to people and parties for robocalling purposes. The do not call list must be applied to political parties also. Toews compains about his publicly filed divorce papers being aired and yet these guys are buying private phone numbers and then conducting alleged schemes that could very well be unlawful.

    Just think what they will do with an ability to get data without a warrant.

    These guys have no scruples. Get busy Anonymous!!!!

    • Philip says:

      First it was a “honest mistake”. Now, after nobody was buying that nose stretcher, it’s all about the rogue staffer. Every bit right on cue, straight out of the Conservative Party handbook. You might think the Conservatives would have come up with something new by now.

      • Pat says:

        Check out my comment above – it couldn’t have been a rogue staffer. Any half-assed journalist should be able to find that out…

  21. Windsurfer says:

    This thing has ‘hotted up’ faster than even I would have thought.

    Squirm, baby, squirm.

    See Impolitical, Galloping Beaver and probably 50 other blogs.

    Can’t wait to see how this manifests…….. but the ‘jump the shark’ is becoming more clear with each passing second, for Steve’s career, at least.

  22. Iris Mclean says:

    Bob Rae instigated the whole robo-call scam knowing it would look bad on the Cons.

  23. Ted B says:

    So where will this land on the DefCon (Defend Conservatives) Chart?

    DefCon1 – If an issue arises, say it’s a non story – already too late for that, though as Impolitic notes, it seems Harper’s response is more clearly about getting this off the news cycle.

    DefCon2 – If the issue won’t go away, then blame the media

    DefCon3 – If the issue still won’t go away, then blame the Liberals or say they did it too

    DefCon4 – If the issue still won’t go away, then blame a bureaucrat or provincial premier

    DefCon5 – If the issue still won’t go away, then blame a staffer

    DefCon6 – If the issue still won’t go away, then start talking about Adscam, coalitions, broken GST promises and the NEP

    I’m guessing we’re headed pretty quickly to DefCon5 on this one, with a sprinkling of DefCon6 and a lot of DefCon2.

  24. brucethepainter says:

    From the photo he kinda looks like he could the country mouse cousin of city mouse Robby Ford.

  25. fred says:

    Pat Martin : ” “Did they really win that last federal election? Or did they achieve their razor thin majority by cheating? ”

    Yes Gord, but massive election fraud is the norm in Russia not Canada.

  26. smelter rat says:

    Yes, we wouldn’t want EC to get involved would we? After all, they will likely determine the truth. As they did in the In and Out scandal.

    • smelter rat says:

      Nice try. Of course it was going to end up in court, once the EC investigation was complete. Moving the goal posts again?

  27. Michael says:

    DefCon3 – If the issue still won’t go away, then blame the Liberals or say they did it too

  28. Jason King says:

    Its good to hear you arent blog commenting and driving anymore. Im sure the motorists of central Alberta are also relieved.

    “If their was criminal wrongdoing lets see the charges be laid.”

    A token proclaimation from the Tulk toolbox.

    “Elections Canada shouldnt be trusted after it conduct in the in and out and the illegal polling station ad other incidents.”

    Well the tories plead guilty to the in and out so Id say they were the guilty ones in that. Its not the conduct of Elections Canada that was under scruitiny


    and the polling station? Well it looks like the big point of that was more about a conservative staffer trying to grab a ballot box.


    I dont see why you have a problem with internal investigations. The tories have relied on them as a defense many times before.

    I grew up near Guelph, know someone that works at UG, and someone that works for the NDP and he assures me that the poll was above board as Elections Canada stated. That means my anecdote rules out your anecdote. So you’re story of meeting a cpc worker from Guelph for an hour vs me growing up a half hour away from Guelph and having over 25 years of experience plus a large number of connections. If you’d like I can email my friends there and get them to restate what they told me. Bet you cannot do the same. These uncited anecdotes are fun!

    “I mention the above not defend the alleged actions but to put them in context. ”

    Bullshit, you are using them to manipulate the narrative to your unproven and uncited view (remember no wikipedia, only sources considered valid in high school).

    “As warren can certainly attest emotions can run very high during a campaign and ethics are at times disregarded (joe volpe and Anne McLellans campaigns come to mind – but I’m sure all parties have had transgressions committed in their name.)”

    I see what you are trying to do here; first trying to portray some sort of kinship of perspective with Warren. That’s funny.

    Next reverse onus. The old “Well you did it too” argument. Stale and overused by your side. Also, if this robocall voter suppression is true and at a scale that is being alleged its far more egregious than you claim. Painting everyone with the brush of guilt might increase cynicism but it hardly proves innocent or lessens the accusations.

    • Jason King says:

      One more point. As Kitchener Waterloo is involved I might as well counter any future anecdotes from you. I grew up in KW, in the shadow of St Marys Hospital (Kitchener-Centre), I have an uncle who’s a member of the Conservative Party, and aunt who’s a member of the Liberals, plus an old friend who volunteers for the NDP.

      While we’re on the anecdotal tip. When I mentioned the robocall thing to my friend in Waterloo he seemed relieved as many of my peers were disturbed by the principle of misleading voters. Im not saying that because they were heartbroken that Andrew Telegdi didnt return, but because they dont like having their voting rights messed with

      Forgot another anecdote. I lived in Vancouver East at the time of the In and Out scandal. Why do I bring this up? Well because it was in Vancouver East that the whole In and Out scandal started. It was the son of the CPC candidate that tried to get the refund that started it all.

      Anecdotes are awesome!!! I see why you like them Gord.

    • Jason King says:

      Yeah its called Siri. Maybe you should get it before you kill someone or spill a burrito on your pants. I hear hot cheese and beans dont help the driving.

      You do realize that you are putting on a publically available website that you drive dangerously on Alberta’s highways? Man that’s just stupid.


    • Jason King says:

      ” I’m currently reading chernows biography of Washington and apparently even he stooped to unsavory tactics when the pressure was on. ”

      The old “we’re all guilty” explanation. Really? You’ve worn that old chestnut out pretty much.

      “The Kennedy’s illegal conduct in elections at all levels is well documented, yet I dare say you consider JFK and RFK heroes.”

      Links or it didnt happen. For the record I consider them historical figures and part of the past.

      • Jason King says:

        “Links or it didn’t happen? Really? Are telling me you are so much a neophyte about politics that you have never heard the widely coroberated stories (tip o’neill being one of probably hundreds) of Joe and Sons political corruption?”

        Hardly, you refuse to cite your sources and I dont see why I should have to do the heavy lifting for your argument. Im not a neophyte and considering your internet “expertise” in plugging crap like salesforce I figured you’d get the Reddit reference. Guess not. Once again cite your argument and don’t be such a whinger and try to put the onus on me.

        “And historical figures or not, do you consider them great and to be heroes or not?”

        Once again the reverse onus ploy. No I refuse to answer that and play into your simplistic pattern.

        Once again back up your argument with valid citations or its just words.

        How did you successfully complete university with such shoddy skills at backing your point up?

    • Pat says:

      Your sources were both at the scene, and are incredibly biased. I also went to Guelph (for 7 years), and recently, and my contacts (who were also there) said that Sona was a nutcase. I suspect that neither of our sources can be accurate for political bias reasons.

    • Pat says:

      That argument doesn’t work when the conservatives came into power on a “we won’t be like those corrupt Liberals” platform.

  29. Pat says:

    Are you sure you met Michael Sona? I’ve never actually heard anyone describe him as a good guy, even conservatives have found him slimy. The guy is a douche.

    • dave says:

      By golly, sometimes one person gets around as much as dozen other people would.

    • Pat says:

      I’m sure Hitler was decent enough in small bursts (not that I’m saying Sona is Hitler, cuz he isn’t). So what you are saying is that you asked the person who was accused of something what happened, and they told you that they weren’t guilty. I’m sure you got the 100% true story (in case you missed it, that was sarcasm). It doesn’t matter how thorough your line of questioning was, that does not guarantee that a person who may benefit from lying won’t lie.

    • Jason King says:

      So Sherlock Tulk do you think a “he said she said” type anecdote really proves your case?

      I was talking to a guy and his friend and they said you know squat. That’s about as valid of an anecdote as yours.

      Stick to the insurance, investigation is definitely not your thing.

  30. William says:

    Totally off topic but I thought you might enjoy this Warren


  31. Steven says:

    And today, the Star reports that Peter MacKay had DND personnel urgently look up the flight records of an opposition MP in an (unsuccessful) effort to deflect criticism of his indulgences.

    Special congratulations to the voters (including NDP and Green voters in ridings that they had no hope to win and only cut into the otherwise winning Liberal vote) who all helped put the HarperCons in charge!

    Canada is at the mercy Papa Doc Harper and his Con-Con Macoutes.

  32. Mulletaur says:

    The only way to stop dirty tricks is to hit them back 10x harder in the goolies so that not a single person would be foolish enough to stand for the Conservative Party of Canada, ever. Make their candidates cry every day. Then if they want to talk peace, we can sit down with them and agree that this sort of thing is bad for democracy, moral outrage, blah blah blah. Until then, drop the pious cant, which is anyway the height of hypocrisy.

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