02.29.2012 09:27 AM

Listen to actual election fraud, plus: how Robocon will play out

Here.

What you have just heard is a criminal offence. More details here.

I don’t give a sweet damn what Con-friendly commentators think about this scandal, or their claims that it is going to die.

It isn’t, because it can’t. There are three phases to this thing.

  • Phase One:  For the next few months, there will be more and more stories like the one above leaking out.  Because there are a myriad number of stories, in multiple jurisdictions, Elections Canada and the RCMP will be investigating well into 2013.  There will be search warrants executed and witnesses interviewed.  Demands for judicial inquiries and the like will be relentless, but Harper (remembering sponsorship) will refuse.  That just keeps it alive in the House.
  • Phase Two:  As in the sponsorship affair, this is the phase where arrests will commence.  All of the targets will lawyer up, and none will want to take a bullet for the Conservative Party, particularly since they are facing jail time.  This phase will cover late 2013 and into 2014.
  • Phase Three:  Prosecutions will take place in 2014, and into 2015.  Because of the complexity of the evidence, they will not be over quickly.  Because some of the defendants will be facing jail time, as noted, they will be doing deals to turn in bigger fish – just like in sponsorship.  They’ll start pointing fingers at their friends; it’s started already, in fact.

What does it all mean?  It means that, because the wheels of justice grind slowly, and because there will be multiple prosecutions, we are going to be reading and hearing about this thing well into 2015.

Which, last time I checked, is an election year.

73 Comments

  1. Bernadine Hall says:

    Two things:

    a) Watergate took forever to unwind. I remember a friend of mine and I standing in the lobby of our university residence
    and she asked me about Watergate (in fall ’72) and I said “no–this will just blow over.” (People always asked me
    questions because they knew I was a political junkie–although often spectacularly wrong, as in this case.)

    2) Nixon had won by a landslide in ’72 against George McGovern–we had close number of seats: Trudeau/Stanfield.
    Nobody could figure out why Nixon, who’d won, I believe, 49 out of 50 states would need to bug a Democratic office.

  2. CA says:

    Hey look election fraud in action.

    http://some.ly/A2E5tG

  3. W.B. says:

    Conservative media apologists keep dismissing the scandal by saying robocalls were used in ridings where the result was not in doubt, so why would the central Conservative campaign or PMO waste money and risk a scandal for no clear reason?
    This misses the point that using robocalls with misleading messages falsely attributed to Elections Canada, creates widespread confusion and cynicism across the whole electorate in many ridings from coast to coast. This is the best vote suppression tactic there is since it creates a lack of respect and trust in our whole political system for many years and many elections to come.

  4. Philippe says:

    It was hilarious listening to Conservative mouthpiece Lowell Green call this a Liberal conspiracy. A day later he switched gears and started berating the media for not talking about more important things such as the economy. I hope to never get to the point in life life I’m so blindly partisan. What a disgrace.

    • Kevin says:

      Even funnier if you remember him running for the Ontario Liberals in Ottawa-Centre in 1984 (came in third).

    • MoeL says:

      Mr Green, what could be more important than our democracy and the integrity of the electoral process?

      • Michael Bussiere says:

        Lowell Green has recently released a book about the collective brilliance of conservatives. Look closely, and you’ll discover that the formatting resembles many university papers I’ve graded (yes, I’m a Santorum snob) submitted by sly, lazy students. Wide margins, double-spacing, blank pages, and large fonts make a flimsy book into a full-sized product. It’s the ‘how to make 1,200 words resemble a 2000-word essay requirement’ method.

        Comment: Short on substance, shallow, opinionated, uninformed. Grade: D+ (at best).

        But who cares? His audience consists of people who think that pajama bottoms are an acceptable substitute for pants.

        • Ruth Ward says:

          Hey, pyjama bottoms are quite acceptable as pants for our well-educated lefty household! It fits in perfectly in our very lower income neighbourhood here in Hamilton Centre – great for a quick trip over to Timmy’s for morning coffee.

          Other than that, your point is well taken.

  5. Christian says:

    Sounds to me like Mr. Sona knows more than he’s letting on. The implication of his statement leaves one with the impression that he may actually know who the guilty party is. If so, I would think that he would want to find a lawyer real quick and clarify himself by way of affidavit or something. Otherwise I would think he could be implicated and charged right?

  6. dave says:

    I will mention again, as a caution, the example here in BC of the outcome of the legislature raids by the RCMP almost a decade ago. The court proceedings went on for years, packed with delays and evasions. In the legislature, the government said nothing, claiming the affair was before the courts, even when the questions were on items having nothing to do with what was going on in court. Then, just before the bigshots were supposed to testify, the two fellows on trail pleaded guilty, and then, strangely, the BC Government paid $6 million to cover their legal expenses. Through all those years, our mainstream media in BC insisted that there was nothing to see in the BC Rail sell off. Today, the whole thing is pretty well swept under the rug. The BC Libs are in trouble because of the HST, – not any of the leg raid events.
    The Conservatives were found by the Speaker to be guilty of contempt of parliament. The government power and Conservative money were able to deflect this charge and win their strong stable etcetera. They are certainly in a postion to use their power and money to affect any investigation or trials.People and groups who have contempt for a fair election or for democracy sure as shoot are not going to hold back from tinkering with the justice system.

    • Ottawacon says:

      Apples and oranges here. The staffers in BC were dirty and acted in their own self-interest, it was pretty clear that the benefit did nto accrue to Government – they just had to deal with the least-worst and making sure they did not wear all of it. It was clearly bad, lots of ‘should have knowns’ and undue influence, but at root, it was a corruption issue.

      As bad as corruption might be, this is potentially far worse. We are already well into the ‘it is not the action, it is the cover-up’ stage, which is where it can start reaching deep into the hierarchy – even if we indeed believe some of the Conservative friendly voices pointing out the odd riding choices.

      • dave says:

        I used the word ‘strangely.’
        For me, the days before the cabinet and ex cabinet members were to testify, the two accused, who had been defending themselves from the charges for years, suddenly pleaded guilty. If they were two ‘lone gunmen’ and the BC Lib Government received no benefits, (the Premier and others in cabinet said that the two fellows were scurrilous rascals) then why did that same premier and cabinet pay $6 million to cover the legal expenses of two guilty, scurrilous ‘lone gunmen’ rascals?

        I figure that the BC government used its powers to unduly influence the justice system to cover up all the info about the BC Rail/CN/North Burlington deal. And if they can do it in a highly civilized part of Canada like BC, it can surely happen in the rest of the country.(By the way, at an important part of the trial the judge who had been hearing it all for the first few years was re assigned, by the Conserv gvt in Ottawa, to a new position – and a brand new judge appointed to this trial.)

        As an added irritant, the premier of BC thru all this, resigned over the HST kerfuffle. He’s ok, tho; yr Prime Minister appointed him Canada’s new High Commish in Britain

        • Ottawacon says:

          There is no question a deal was done to get the BC Rail scandal resolved, but there was never anything that pointed beyond the two advisers manipulating Cabinet – which is probably what happened, and is embarassing enough to merit spending $6m of taxpayers’ money to make it go away. It stinks, but the probable nature of the benefit (avoided embarassment) is just not going to have the same resonance as it would have if there were any real indications that a Cabinet member had been paid off, for example. Apart from personal financial benefit, it was very hard for anyone to envision why any given Cabinet member would have benefited from the BC Rail situation.

          I just don’t see the same capacity to bury this one, though I have no doubt that efforts will be made. The ‘rogue staffer’ explanation does not quite wash, because unlike the BC situation, he did not get much more than perhaps a mediocre Ottawa job.

  7. Derek F.P. says:

    The simple claim that the calls did not skew the vote has to be tested on scale and impact. So for scale it is important to determine how many calls were made to each individual riding, and of that how many were participants in the election and how many were not. If the impact is that more people were detracted from voting in the election then was the margin of victory, a re-call is deemed warranted. That’s what the former head of Elections Canada, JP Kingsley had to say about the matter on CTV’s newscast.

    In my riding, where the difference was but a mere 18 votes, the reasonability threshold will be quite low for a recall.In other ridings it may be harder to make that determination. If we keep in mind that the margin of victory supporting the CPC’s majority is 12 seats and about 5800 votes then I would not be entirely surprised if recall orders reduced their majority-status into a minority government if support drops for the CPC from this issue.

    Thoughts?

  8. Rob H. says:

    Well.

    While a Conservative member, supporter and donor – I’ve blogged about my concern of this fiasco, and beyond that, about the folly of the current crime bill.

    My concern, however, is apparent in the blog world and the broader media. There is a very clear “my side at any cost” mentality in this country – with very few Conservatives understanding that a failure to come to a full and complete understanding of the source of the phone fiasco will not serve the long-term interests of the party, or, more importantly, democracy in general.

    Political supporters – whether Conservative, NDP, Liberal or Green need to understand very clearly that the ends DO NOT justify the means, and that there are worse things than “your side” not getting elected… such as increasing the diminished respect voters have for the policital process – reducing the potential of decent people running, and decent people influencing politics – and giving an edge to narrow minded zealots of all stripes. Time to demand more – particularly us Conservatives. Where are we, as a party, if our best argument is “look at Adscam”?

      • dave says:

        Yeah, if this is not dealt with openly and fairly, I am trying to imagine what future election campaigns are going to look like.

    • Cath says:

      This is one of the best responses I’ve read to date Rob H.
      I agree with you sir.

    • AmandaM says:

      Said more eloquently than I could’ve ever managed. Couldn’t agree more.

    • Jim Hanna says:

      Couldn’t agree more; and certainly Liberals have to deal with Vikileaks, sadly. Up until now I could say that almost everyone I ever met from any party – Conservative, NDP, Bloc – I always had faith that whatever our disagreements on politics, everyone involved (especially working election days) were stewards of the process. I’ve never met a single one who didn’t take it seriously. Except for some overzeolous PQ warhorses, but even then, they were just sticking to the rules.

      But now…this is just so sad; hearing that fake Elections Canada call….what have we all let ourselves become?

      • Rob H. says:

        I appreciate the comments.. it’s interesting that, fundamentally, the vast majority of people, particularly those who take the time to post online comments, simply want to create the best possible society for Canadians – whatever the party – and when discussions come from that understanding, they can be pretty interesting. Sadly, too often, we result to attacks instead of debate (I’ve been as guilty as anyone), ignoring the reality that we’re all in this thing together.

        While I’m not quite ready to return to my past Liberal voting habits, it is notable that no one here saw fit to “pile on” this somewhat dissappointed Conservative.

        • patrick deberg says:

          Rob,

          I too would like to offer my thanks at your expression here. Many times have I sparred with opposing views but really tried to believe that the people I argued with had the best interests of the country at heart. That their passion was as fervent as mine but they believed they needed to take a different road to get to the same place. And God knows I have spent time with people of a different persuasion that are to me the salt of the earth. I really never payed much attention to politics for I thought the swings back and forth were a natural progression of things and extremes were rare. That has changed now and the only reason I’m involved was after seeing the visceral hatred people I had never met had for me and my ideas. I came from Irish Catholic stock steeped in trades and factories worked union and non union and follow the Catholic ideals mostly. I believe in the basic right for everyone to have enough to eat and a roof over their head. I consider this pretty normal in the grand scheme of things. But when I started to read that this made me subversive, requiring surveillance and a danger to the nation well that raised my ire to hit back. The well has been poisoned and I for one am tired of drinking from it. But I can’t think every conservative is tarred from the same brush. So if you continue to donate and serve I hope you get value for your buck!

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Rob H., if you were in my town, I’d buy you a beer. There are several Conservative voters I know of that have the exact same feelings as you do, and, while they and I will exchange friendy brickbats about our political leanings, they, too, take these revelations very, very seriously.

      If there are any members of the Conservative caucus left that have any sort of a conscience, I wish the hell they’d step forward and speak up, as you just did.

      Thank you for writing what you did here. Sincerely. –MCB

  9. Lee says:

    Harper is in trouble. I hope we bring back the death penalty for traitors.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Naw.

      It would be more fitting for him to rot in prison. In his case, being put to death would be more of a mercy killing. He would have all-l-l-l-l that time to think about the damage he has done to his own country.

      And he would have to be very careful about where he bends down to pick anything up.

      Now, could you imagine being him and live for, say, the next 30 years living like that? Living in fear? After all, he is hell-bent and determined to have us taxpayers living in constant fear.

  10. patrick deberg says:

    It’s a pathetic place to be if you’re Green. Spouting off about supporting the troops and sending them to fight for democracy at the same time having conservatives urinating over the very principle they are dying to defend. And then to say the ecomomy is more important than the troops who have paid the ultimate price. He’s beneath contempt to carry on as if this is insignificant. The cretin thinks Canada is his personal banana republic.

  11. patrick deberg says:

    Was referring to Lowell Green at CFRA in Ottawa

    • Jim Hanna says:

      Thanks for the clarification, I spent a minute trying to figure out what teh Greens had to be sorry about – hell, right now they seem to be the only party in Canada without any egg on their face…

  12. sj says:

    Here are my predictions for near-term fall-out:
    – a few more junior staffers or riding level campaign managers will be fall on their swords or be thrown under the bus
    – Peter Goldring in Edmonton East will be welcomed back into caucus and guaranteed something cushy to keep him quiet because there seems to be evidence that calls were made in his riding too and no one wants him going further rogue and spilling the beans
    – the charges will not be related to the vote suppression under the Elections Act, but false filings under the Election Expense Act. Guelph campaign manager already said they used Racknine but no Rachnine expenses were declared. So either local campaign charged for not declaring these expenses or national campaign charged for paying for a riding specific expenditures
    – some at the RCMP will be called before a parliamentary committee to explain why no one acted on call centre employee complaint of election fraid.

    • Ted B says:

      Don’t know about the fall on their swords bit.

      Think about a guy like Sona. He’s young and has family. He’s super loyal, but do you think a kid like that is going to risk going to jail for something he knows – and is already publicly admitting – was done fraudulently by someone else?

      The key is how serious the RCMP takes this. If they take it seriously, as they should, you will have a lot of rats thinking the ship might sink.

    • Ottawacon says:

      “So either local campaign charged for not declaring these expenses or national campaign charged for paying for a riding specific expenditures”

      If it gets to the second of these two, the firebreak is gone, and the scandal hits another stage entirely. If Racknine was paid by the national campaign, ‘Pierre Poutine’ will be assumed to have been given access to the service by the national campaign.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      How about Helena Geurgis? She’s got more than just an axe to grind with this bunch.

  13. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Rather sad that when Bob Rae got up in the House of Commons to question Mr. Harper on these events….Mr. Harper simply threw Vikileaks back in his face(which is typical), but which effectively took the feet out from the Liberals high moral stand.
    Mr. Kinsella…..you were absolutely correct in your opposition to revealing the personal affairs of Mr. Toews….
    I initially didnt have much sympathy for Mr Toews, and the “piling on”(partly because of my loathing of the man) but I realize that the party and Mr. Rae were not well served by this at all.

    • Kevin says:

      An alternative (distasteful, but still): every time Harper brings up Vikileaks in response to an election fraud question, Mr. Rae could respond with something like “Mr. Speaker, my question wasn’t about (insert sleazy Toews fact here), it was about election fraud”.

  14. Dave B says:

    Question: What happens to bills that get voted in by this fraudulent government, in the event that some serious legal action goes down? What will happen to their hard-on-crime crime bill? What is the minimum sentence for election fraud? Surely it’s worse than possession of a few grams of marijuana.

  15. fred says:

    “”The protocol is an appropriate balance between the independence of the RCMP on law enforcement matters and its accountability to me as the minister responsible for the RCMP,” Toews said.”

    So, while the cons are stonewalling, how much pressure do you think they will be putting on their employee Mr. Paulson? If his public pronouncements are
    being filtered and sanitized, what expectations of Toews are in play?

  16. MississaugaLibPeter says:

    In the name of democracy, each person who received a phone call misdirecting them should get a sworn affidavit or notarized statement made immediately.

    There must be enough Liberal and NDP lawyers out there across this country ready to do this for free.

    Then drop them off at the RCMP and Elections Canada!

    Whaddya think WK?

    • MississaugaLibPeter says:

      I will get my I.T. folks to set up a website of sorts to get a connection between lawyers and people who received phone calls. Should have it ready by the end of the weekend.

      In the mean time, maybe someone can take a look at that Job Bank downage that is hitting 2 weeks soon. Finally, someone is reporting about it.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/02/29/bc-job-bank-down.html

      I had to spend bucks advertising in the Mississauga News and Brampton Guardian. All I got was crap compared to the good stuff I usually get from the Job Bank. Maybe the newspapers are not reporting it since it helps their classified sales.

  17. AP says:

    Looks like somebody didn’t like the view from under the bus.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/29/young-tory-staffer-who-resigned-amid-robocalls-scandal-denies-involvement/

    There are few thing more ferocious than a cornered cat. I’m sure Stephen “Adopt-a-Cat” Harper knows that better than anyone.

  18. Riaz Khan says:

    I came to Canada because I thought that in this insane world, Canada is the only sane place. Will it stay like that? After last week’s news regarding election fraud or whatever you guys want to call it, I still have a hope but it is on the shaky grounds. Certain issue are beyond any party politics and that includes the basic right to vote. God knows, how much blood has been shed in many county’s to have this basic right. Whenever I go to Ottawa, I spend at least 10 minutes, alone, looking at the Peace Tower with misty eyes, thinking: What a country…. I hope and pray it does not change.

    • Cynical says:

      Me too, brother. I’ve thought all along that with luck and a following wind our country could be as you hope. The Conservatives are dimming those hopes, for me, but…

      I sincerely hope you do not come to regret your choice. If the institutions play their part, you won’t.

      Give ’em hell, Warren.

  19. Michael Bussiere says:

    Interesting to note that there is currently zero coverage of this in the online edition of the Calgary Herald. No surprise, but truly disturbing.

  20. smelter rat says:

    Perhaps we can ask for UN Obervers for the next general election…

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Considering that we have been called upon to monitor elections in other countries, it would be damned embarrassing–but at the same time, it might turn out to be necessary.

      May Stephen Harper and his cabal of cretins find themselves in the middle of the Sahara Desert with the fleas of a thousand camels infesting their fucking armpits.

  21. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Where is blog resident Con apologist Gordon Tulk to weigh in on all this?…….cant defend the indefensible, or still awaiting his talking points……

    Im actually looking forward to his attempts at damage control…lol

  22. MoeL says:

    Just drove back from Ottawa and decided to listen to a CFRA talk show. The topic… robo calls. Surprisingly, one caller actually made some sense. His point was that Elections Canada should not be investigation the scandal because he felt they had a conflict of interest. His rational was that they had just certified that the election was fine, and that any finding now of widespread fraud would reflect badly on them. I buy that.

    I think we deserve to know ASAP how many complaints were actually filed before and during the election (from what I hear there were many) and how these complains were treated! I don’t think that that’s too much to ask. I now also agree with the opposition that independent commission would be the way to go.

  23. Iris Mclean says:

    Given the finite resources (money) available to the RCMP, I’m surprised that Vic or Steve hasn’t already retorted in the HOC with this…. Would you rather have the RCMP investigate and prosecute child pornographers, or crank phone callers?

  24. Brad Young says:

    This story originally broke last spring. If you give Harper the benefit of the doubt he knew nothing about the calls during the election, when the story originally broke he must have looked into it. And I am sure he was thorough enough to find out what happened, therefore I believe he must know a good portion of the truth today.

    Normally I don’t wish the worst for anyone, but the more he denies it, the more he blames the liberals, the more he tells the other parties to come forward if they have any info, the more I hope for the worst for him

  25. MCBellecourt says:

    “Okay folks …. time to pin the tail on the donkey.

    This really isn’t rocket science.
    -Montreal boy
    -Communications director for Harper ( former )
    -Untimely departure following the May 2011 election

    You got him – come out come out wherever you are Dimitri Soudas

    Elections Canada would like a word with you. Bring your poutine if you’d like.”

    This was from a poster who goes by “AubreySharpe” in the G&M story about Sona.

    What do you guys think?

    • MoeL says:

      It certainly wouldn’t be out of character for him and the timing of his “departure” is certainly right. Interesting! I find it hard to believe though no one in government (e.g, solicitor general) would have a legal responsibility to inform the proper authorities if they knew a criminal act had been committed.

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