03.15.2012 09:48 PM

Your nightly Robocon: the cancer spreads

An investigation by CBC News has turned up voters all over Canada who say the reason they got robocalls sending them to fictitious polling stations was that they’d revealed they would not vote Conservative.

Although the Conservative Party has denied any involvement in the calls, these new details suggest that the misleading calls relied on data gathered by, and carefully guarded by, the Conservative Party.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand announced Thursday that he now has “over 700 Canadians from across the country” who allege “specific circumstances” of fraudulent or improper calls. CBC News examined 31 ridings where such calls have been reported and found a pattern: those receiving those calls also had previous calls from the Conservative Party to find out which way they would vote.”

49 Comments

  1. smelter rat says:

    that’s going to leave a mark.

  2. woody says:

    More interesting stuff here: http://unfuckwithable.ca/

  3. Philip says:

    I’m fairly certain every young Conservative staffer is busy either fleeing the capital or cowering under their beds, afraid to be the next one tossed under the bus.

  4. deb says:

    I keep being told Im leaping to erroneous conclusions by a conservative friend.
    But to be honest, im not really leaping, instead its more like swimming or drowning in news reports daily. I love it, keep it coming!
    Unfortunately my biggest fear is that when the conservatives get nailed good and proper, we found out that Canada would still vote them in!

  5. que sera sera says:

    When the government has already been found in contempt, when the Party already pled guilty to previous electoral fraud, when Cabinet Ministers already ripped off $50 million from Treasury, there really doesn’t appear to be a line left to cross for stealing an election & suppressing democracy.

  6. Derek Pearce says:

    I watched that report and it was pretty devastating in that it was just ordinary middle-age middle-class folks (ie not protester types) who were robocalled after being identified. This is going to grow into an ever-larger problem for the governing party.

  7. Terry says:

    Average number of complaints to EC during any federal election: 400 to 500.

    With almost 1,000,000 more ballots cast, the 2011 election has, to date, approx. 700 similar complaints.

    Do the math – draw your own conclusions. Figures from EC reports to date.

    • James says:

      Are you doing the math right? Of the average 400 – 500 complaints, how many of them were “specific circumstances of fraudulent or improper calls”.

      This cycle, 31,000 complaints were apparantly filed. Now they’ve determined of those 31,000 there are 700 with “specific circumstances of fraudulent or improper calls”.

      • kenn2 says:

        EC did not commit fraud. And technically, neither did the media, though some of them could have been more responsible with their reporting.

        To the folks on this board who keep saying ‘31000 complaints’ here… you’re not helping.

      • Jason King says:

        PR fraud, that’s quite the accusation. Got any proof or is it more TulkBS?

    • MikeM says:

      This is the math:

      voters: 13,929,093/14,823,408 = 1.06

      up 6%

      complaints: 700/((500+400)/2)=1.56

      up 56%

      • Philippe says:

        The fact is that we don’t know if, or how big an impact it had. Your comments are slanted because of your partisan nature. It would be nice if those from different political stripes were able keep our discussions fact-based rather than protecting their side at all cost.

        What we do know so far is highly disturbing. We do know that criminal act(s) have been committed. It will be interesting to see whether your party’s tough on crime rhetoric applies across the board, or only to those outside of your political circles.

  8. Steve T says:

    While these are more-specific allegations, I’m not sure if the cancer has “spread”. The big news yesterday, it seems to me, that rather than 31,000 complaints, we have 700. Not to diminish the importance of those 700, but it’s a far cry from the original number that the opposition was equating to “thousands of complaints”.

  9. Conservative Socialist says:

    These are serious allegations. But these claimants’ phone records need to be analyzed to find out the actual source of where the misleading/harassing robocalls actually came from.

    • kenn2 says:

      unless those records were retrieved soon after the election, I’d bet the chances of getting pre-election phone records are near zero, now. How convenient.

      On the other hand, I’d expect Racknine and other robo-call service suppliers to have full records of their clients, what robo-campaigns were created with what phone-lists, and what actual calls were completed. Messages too.

      But I’m betting the provided robo-calling records are incomplete, especially messages and scripts, cos i don’t think there’s any law compelling them to keep or disclose such records. Such a law needs to be part of the Elections Act.

      We shall see…

      • Steven says:

        Wasn’t there a recent news report that the HarperCons had already gone to a call centre to “investigate” the records, BEFORE Elections Canada attended?

        How much effort and tech savvy does it take to delete or alter evidence?

  10. VH says:

    Warren.

    From article:
    As for the next step, all of these voters say they want Elections Canada to get to the bottom of it.

    “There definitely should be punishment,” said Lori Bruce of Fredericton. “They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

    It seems there’s a conspiracy of politicos and non-politicos to make us all believe that the CBC and Elections Canada is equivalent to law enforcement.

    What are they going to do, send a sternly worded letter?

    Look when John Gerretsen and his attorney general compatriots in the other provinces want to get their act together and actually use the powers of the criminal code then maybe the Cons won’t do this again next election.

    But I’m guessing that Dalton McGuinty will look the other way, as his is custom, and some loyal Conservative will once again be rewarded for public malfeasance.

  11. Philip says:

    “Proof or it didn’t happen”
    Surely that is why it’s an ongoing investigation, Mr. Tulk?

  12. Marc L says:

    Let Elections Canada and the Police do their job. Meanwhile, do the Liberals have anything to say about the upcoming Federal budget? Nope. The changes to telecommunications ownership rules? Nope. The Harper `tough on crime`legislation. Not much there either. All Robocon, robocon, robocon. I`m looking at this, and what it is telling me is that the Liberal Party doesn`t give a crap about real policy isssues in this country. All they care about is finding a way to propel themselves back into power. If they can do it cheaply, without convincing Canadians that they actually have something to offer — no need for policy conventions and that sort of annoyance — that`s even better. It`s like getting a free ride.
    Maybe you should merge with the NDP. I might not like their views, but at least they have some.
    Really sad what the LPC has turned into.

  13. smelter rat says:

    Whatever, Gord. The election fraud ads for the 2015 are being scripted for the Liberals and NDP as we speak, thanks to the Reformacons.

  14. Conservative Socialist says:

    Time will tell. I see the following possibilities:

    1. The allegations are true, and those who registered their complaints have phone records that can be traced back to Pierre Poutine, who is actually Stephen Harper’s evil henchman.

    2. Pierre Poutine was an isolated case that was done by a rogue staffer/partisan.

    3. That most who registered their complaints were NDP or Liberal partisans who were trying to manufacture controversy and outrage, but their phone records did not match what they claimed.

    4. Pierre Poutine was actually the work of an NDP or Liberal staffer who engineered fraudulent robocalls in the hopes of making the Conservatives look bad.

    Nietzsche said that the easiest way to destroy a cause is by becoming it’s most enthusiastic advocate. It’s quite easy for partisans to pose as the opposition to call and harass voters to make their opponents look bad. Protests are often disrupted agent provocateurs and informants who try to radicalize the crowd to instigate a riot.

    So I’m with you on this–I want to see legitimate evidence where the source of the robocalls can be traced. We need more than somebody’s word against another. Phone calls can be traced via court orders and subpoenas.

    • The Zaphos Institute says:

      Oh, and what evidence has come out that is wasn’t #1?
      Regardless of your hyper-partisan POV, that possibility is still very much in play.

  15. kenn2 says:

    I doubt we will see Many of the posters on this site criticizing EC and the media for calling the 31000 contacts “complaints”.

    …I will. It was unhelpful that EC reported the 31000 number without differentiating between actual 1st person reports, and simple messages expressing concern. And it was too coy by half that most media ran with the 31k number.

    A couple questions from me;
    – why shouldn’t EC report on contacts or complaints? That’s part of government transparancy.
    – Unless there’s something really rotten, this isn’t an issue likely to force the Tories out. Why hasn’t the CPC got out in FRONT of this by cleaning house (if necessary) and showing that this wasn’t from the CPC core, it was a rogue element, we’ve purged the element, and here’s some legislation to prevent recurrence? Every second the CPC spends with their flailing rearguard action, hurling mostly false counter-claims, makes it more likely that they have something to hide.

    Proof or it didn’t happen.
    if it happened, it happened. Stifling evidence, shouting over critics or drawing to a stalemete on technicalities won’t make stuff unhappen.

    • GPAlta says:

      EC publishes the raw number of contacts it receives after every election, that is just part of what EC does. Its report was already published saying 1000 contacts/complaints/whatevers post election. The fact that they did receive 31,000 more complaints 10 months after the election requires a material restatement of its public report. The 1000 number that they had post election was high but within the normal range. Having 31,000 more is unusual (not good or bad, but unusual and normal to add to the public record which always documents the total number of contacts). The media has reported that out of the 500 or so that they get after every election only a handful result in any specific finding. Now we have up to 700 that may result in a specific finding.

      I don’t think you’d deny that certain members of the public are very concerned that this investigation be thorough and complete. EC is the only body in Canada reassuring them that it will be, just as the police always reassure the public that they are doing their job when no arrests have been made in a serious crime that the public takes an interest in. EC is doing the tories a favour by continuing to tell the public that the situation is under control. If no one were saying the situation is under control, I think there would be a lot more demand for a public inquiry and a lot more misinformation circulating. EC has not said anything that isn’t true. They haven’t said anything that accuses anyone.

      Just look at what the Chief Electoral Officer actually said, and consider who it benefits (hint: not those who want a public inquiry)

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/03/15/pol-elections-canada-committee.html
      It’s the first public statement Mayrand has made since the story broke at the end of February.
      Warns against drawing conclusions

      Mayrand cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

      “Like all law enforcement bodies, the office of the commissioner generally does not disclose information on its investigative activities in order to protect the presumption of innocence and privacy,” he said.

      “In this regard, I advise caution about drawing conclusions based on possibly inaccurate and incomplete information.”

      “The Canada Elections Act strives to achieve a delicate balance between the need for accessibility and openness, and the necessary safeguards to ensure the integrity and fairness of elections,” Mayrand said.

    • kenn2 says:

      ‘reaped’ implies they went looking. ‘received’ is more like it. And an expression of concern is never a waste of time.

      Also, I suspect (without confirmation) that some sort of routine investigation was underway shortly after the election. I don’t really know how this hit the public radar at this time, but who knows how much has already been determined and what remains to be checked out.

      (Correction – the perpetrators know full well what was done and when, but none seem willing to discuss it yet)

  16. JH says:

    Royal commission now – with full powers to access each and every complainents phone records etc., no side trips or excursions into never-never land. Get all the facts on the table.
    This will settle it once and for all. Might cost a few million but that’s the price of democracy.

  17. Anne Peterson says:

    I am shocked that the head of Elections Canada thinks the media should give up its investigations. There is entirely too much secrecy involved in everything around government. The media should dig harder.

    So Elections Canada is only going to deal with 7 fraudulent complaints and the rest of the trickery is going to be ignored? I am shocked about that too.

    Where is the non partisan board Mr. Harper promised to appoint officials like the head of Elections Canada. It never materialized, did it? Didn’t he appoint this man? He appoints everyone, doesn’t he and they are all conservative partisans. The Senate. All the heads of agencies. The head of the CBC. Everyone.

    We need a Royal Commission to address the problems created by the new electronic world and to recommend the changes necessary to protect Canadain voters. I notice the conservatives are not really trying to get to the bottom of this. It is those fighting like cornered rats (I keep using that word, it inadvertently come to mind in the situation. Why I ask myself) to avoid a real investigation who are probably guilty.

  18. Steven says:

    My HarperCon friends, while not ready to concede their side is losing ground on this issue, are now spreading the message /talking point (presumably from HQ aka The Death Star) that every party plays the game.

    I doubt that there will ever be another inquiry called by any government to investigate itself after Martin’s suicide-by- Gomery.

  19. kenzo's says:

    Anyone else savouring the irony of Gord having matastasized across this post (as in so many others)?

  20. Outsider says:

    Well, here is one poster who wants to know exactly what happened, and done by whom, regardless of which party it is. Would you be willing to say the same?

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