03.07.2012 03:04 PM

Vote suppression: Ontario PC party prez, Ford campaign boss caught red-handed? (updated)

Check this out.  A regular (and valued) reader spotted this one, which I haven’t seen in mainstream media as yet.  If this is true, it is wild.  And, for the Con Roboconners, things just go from bad to worse, every single day:

During Fryer’s first day of the training, Ciano and Kouvalis led a session about the mechanics of winning elections. Voter identification was at the core of this conversation. A key task to win an election, according to Ciano and Kouvalis, is to identify your supporters, nurture them, and ensure they get out the vote. Attendees were told about staying in touch with your voters, and informed of the services that Campaign Research offers.

Equally important to voter identification of supporters, Ciano and Kouvalis urged, is identifying and keeping track of non-supporters. It’s simple: the key to victory is ensuring more of your supporters turn out to vote than theirs. In the question and answer period that following this session, panelists and attendees discussed using robo-calling services to contact non-supporters.

Ciano, Fryer explained, gave detailed explanation of how robo-calls work, as well as techniques for recording messages, and the costs involved. He then discussed the merits of robo-calling: in addition to being inexpensive, they give the campaign manager total control of the message. Campaign Research could even write your script if you didn’t want to do it yourself.

The conversation that followed was deeply disturbing to Fryer. In a question and answer session, attendees discussed voter suppression tactics. They talked about posing as a member of another party, and about making rude calls at inconvenient times as a strategy to get the supporter of another party to not go out and vote for their candidate. The instructors detailed different kinds of suppression calls, and how these tactics are borrowed the U.S. Republican Party.

According to Fryer, “the mood of the meeting was that this is war and that anything goes.”

Attendees left the session with Ciano’s business card in hand. Without a list of attendees, it is difficult to know who hired his company’s services, but it is clear that Campaign Research did well fo themselves in the last election. In 39 ridings, Campaign Research did $389,890 worth of business. Of the 39 ridings, there are reports of at least 10 where fraud occurred.

UPDATE:  Kouvalis et al. are denying it.  Some present are calling Prof. Fryer a “liar.”  Check out his C.V. – I’m not sure I’d want to play a battle of the reputations with this gentleman.


  1. Mulletaur says:

    “A brief scan of campaign spending during the 2011 election from Elections Canada shows that Dean Del Mastro, MP for Peterborough paid Campaign Research $22,120.60 … ”

    You just can’t make this shit up.

    • Dave B says:

      As a Peterborough resident, I cannot convey how embarrassed I am that this man is our representative in parliament. I cannot believe so many of my fellow citizens RE-elected him.
      And, I suspect, if there was an election tomorrow, he would still get voted in.

  2. Mike says:

    This is so much a better tactic than leaking divorce proceedings. Love it.
    Keep it up.

  3. david says:

    This is truly Shit From Hell…..

  4. CuriosityCat says:

    A few people might have broken some laws during those sessions – it could well have been a conspiracy to suppress voters, which could be illegal under the Canada Elections Act.

  5. Greg from Calgary says:

    I don’t know what to say. I am concerned for democracy when this happens. I am glad this is making the news and is continuing to be discussed. But I am also sad when these things go on. I don’t always agree with the government that is elected but I always found peace with the face it was chosen by the people via a fair election. When this happens that peace I felt is gone and I feel used.

  6. sean says:

    Sooo is this how they knew it wouldn’t be linked back to the conservative party?

  7. Tim Sullivan says:

    Who is this “Manning” for whom a whole centre of democracy is named?

  8. Attack! says:

    So, the firm that is being investigated by the trade association for, um, suggesting to Cotler’s constituents that he was resigning


    and which worked for a number of federal ridings where dirty trick calls are being reported



    and whose employee set up a fake concern troll twitter account during the mayoral campaign & also torpedoed a potential candidate under a false identity during the former’s call-in show & who falsely befriended & conned the evidence out of the person his candidate rashly promised getting some street drugs for –


    are calling an Order of Canada & otherwise highly accomplished person


    a ‘liar’




    and are threatening to sue him, eh?





  9. CA says:

    Ok this is absolutely fucking outrageous. The KGB would be proud.

    So now Vic Toews is on the hunt to see who looked at public court documents.


  10. dave says:

    I think that I told the story here about a provincial election in BC in 1975 during which an owner of a local mom’n’pop corner store said that the night before the election he received a phone call telling him that if NDP won the election that Dave Barrett was going to nationalize all the mom’n’pops in BC.
    End of 1980’s, in a federal election, in my very right wing part of our large federal riding, we were told not to campaign because all that did was was stir up the tory vote in our area, and it was best to let them sleep, and not vote.
    Over provincial and federal elections here we saw lots that others did that we would now call ‘voter suppression,’ but it was not done on the scale we see now. In my own group we had debates often about what tactics we ourselves would use: were we going to go with (as someone puts it) a clean and ethical campaign? or were we going to use all the stuff we could get away with? A good way to keep people from voting was to spread the word that “Agh! all those politicians are the same, they’re all crooks.’ Then many don’t vote. Today, that is called ‘voter suppression.’
    (Seems to me there was a time in 19th Century Ontario history when the Orange Lodge was quite effective in getting out its own vote, and suppressing anybody else’s)
    A difference now is that tech makes mass voter suppression and fraud possible on a huge scale. I see USA Republicans blamed for lots of this, but those Repubs could certainly have learned something from the ruling party in Mexico back many decades.

    But our system is such that once we a majority, the PMO takes over both legislative and executive powers, with no accountability to anyone. They are in power for 5 or so years.

    It is worth the dirty tricks, and even fraud to win an election, because once power is gained, it is almost absolute. There is no recourse until the next election. And then, that election can be bought with even better tech manipulations. Once in power, all wrongs are swept away with impunity.

    The way we work our democracy might be contributing to tempting parties to pull dirty tricks and to carry out lies and fraud. And there seems to be lots of cash to keep hucksters, like the guys mentioned in this article, in business, – well heeled and well dressed hucksters.

    We’ll see whether or not our Elections Act and our Crim Code, and our investigative institutions can get a handle on this recent upgrade in tech use to manipulate voters. If we cannot get some insight into what is happening – sort of like an open and transparent democracdy with a well informed citizenry – then our coming elections will give us even more hi tech manipulations, with even fewer resources going to what is useful and educational in our elections.

  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sennr_y02Ro

    here this video explains it all
    you take a few votes away from opponent in swing riding, you add a few of your own, and voila majority government

  12. Geoffrey Laxton says:

    Dan Arnold: Dean Del Mastro, knower of everything, handles robocall with a straight face


  13. Kalford says:

    Hey Warren. . . Just out of curiosity, if you were the Campaign Manager for the Leader of a Federal Political Party, would you not include it in your C.V. ?

    • Warren says:

      Not these days!

    • Philip says:

      It is John Fryer’s C.V., the man may include whatever he wants. I suppose he might be thinking his Order of Canada would be enough. To your point, I wouldn’t include volunteer political positions on my C.V. unless specifically applying for a job at a political organization. Personally I feel that activities conducted on my own time wouldn’t be the business of my potential employer. Like many Canadians, I suspect, I tend to keep my political affiliations to myself (although not on this proto-blog).

      • Warren says:

        They invited him. He wouldn’t have been there had they not asked him.

        For them to now bray and shriek about his political views is facile bullshit. Like most they’ve done in this scandal.

        • bluegreenblogger says:

          Actually, the Manning Centre promoted the campaign training school thing to their mailing list. One of our Green Party colleagues on the GPC Federal Council was a former Conservative-Reformer from Alberta, he received the promotional email, and forwarded it to a number of people (myself included) who were trying to professionalise the Green Party national campaign. I blogged abouit it, and publicised it to the Green Party in general. John Fryer was Federal Council member for BC, and had just been made campaign Manager of Elizabeth May’s SGI Campaign in the pre-writ period. He was obviously preparing for the task, and enrolled himself in the Campaign School. You see, some of us wanted to transform the GPC voters list and conact database into a winning machine like CIMS, and start building a useful voter intention and issues based DB. So the Manning Centre did not invite anybody in particular. I guess they figured if John had found out about it, he must be ‘true blue’ LMFAO. If you know John, then that is really funny. His entire life has been about Labour and Politics. While I do not know John Fryer very well, he has struck me as meticuloulsy honest and canny. If he said something happened then it is true. If he merely suspected then he would have kept his mouth shut. That is my opinion anyway, but at least it is formed with some pêrsonal knowledge about the person involved.

  14. Geoffrey Laxton says:

    More shite hitting the fan…

    Spending patterns raise more questions in ‘robocall’ affair


  15. Gtoronto says:

    I remember years ago attending Liberal election college and the biggest controversy we had to deal with was when doing door to door canvassing should we cut across someones lawn and go to the next house or use the sidewalk. I was the bad boy and said we could save a lot of time cutting across people’s lawns when they weren’t looking. LOL
    The bottom line for the Cons is they wanted to be kings in hell and not servants in heaven. Well, they “got” the king part, now comes the hell, I hope they think it was worth it.

  16. william smith says:

    And I still would like to know how I can get my “stolen” data back from the Cons. I have emailed them and there is still no answer

  17. Philip says:

    Yay!!! The talking points have finally show up! Stout work Mr. Tulk, stout work indeed.

  18. wsam says:

    I wonder if good old Tulkistan would be taking the same tact if this training had happened at a place called something like The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Centre for Really Liberal Downtown Liberals who Really Love Liberalism. Me thinks the Tulkster would be advocating for Alberta to exit Confederation rather than be associated with such corrupt underhanded sneakiness. He would be claiming Canada as worse than Cuba.

  19. Outsider says:

    If the “methodology” included duping people away from polling booths, then the answer would be: “Yes. What the f*ck do you think?”

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