Deceptive election day robocalls tied to Tory-linked firm

Voters in Guelph were told their polling stations had moved


Robocalls that aimed to sow chaos in the swing riding of Guelph in last spring’s federal election have been traced back to an Edmonton firm with ties to the Conservative Party, according to a joint Postmedia/Ottawa Citizen investigation. (Really Edmonton? ‘Headquarters of the oil sands’ wasn’t enough for you? You had to add ‘robocall hub’ to your industries-outsiders-will-slag-you-for list?)

Elections Canada was blanketed with complaints from 18 ridings about the calls after election day. From the story:

In Guelph, a riding the Conservatives hoped to take from the Liberals, voters received recorded calls pretending to be from Elections Canada, telling them their polling stations had been moved. The calls led to a chaotic scene at one polling station, and likely led some voters to give up on voting.

Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen have found that Elections Canada traced the calls to Racknine Inc., a small Edmonton call centre that worked for the party’s national campaign and those of at least nine Conservative candidates, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own campaign in Calgary Southwest. There is no evidence that Harper’s campaign or any of the other candidates were involved in the calls.

Racknine says it was unaware its servers were being used for the fake calls.

The RCMP are helping with the Elections Canada investigation, while the Conservatives say they are conducting their own internal probe. “Oh, you’re doing your own investigation, that’s cool then, don’t worry about it,” is what I’m sure opposition critics will say to the Tories when the matter is raised in the House.

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Deceptive election day robocalls tied to Tory-linked firm

  1. Where are the mandatory minimums for this?

      • LOL; punitive measures for us all!

        •  and a full pension at 55!

  2. Oooooh, there’s a BIG surprise.  The TORIES are involved in cheating????  Must be a slow news day.  so they are caught….what’s the penalty for tampering with the voting system?  Seems they got away with it before (oh, a CHARGE…how scary!), and will again.   And so continues the slide into slop politics of the USA.  I cannot believe Canadians would be willing to go to that polluted and corrupt way of politics….but unless a penalty worthy of STOPPING their blatant abuse of the laws is applies, the tories will continue in their daily business as they do now.

    • Yes, yes…by all usual means throw some ‘hate for the US’ into your comments and now, viola…you can feel so darned proud of the great white northern canadian way. Now, just to show you are so superior to those terrible yanks, count how many people go to jail for this…or get a suspended sentence or…or how many decades it takes to come to any conclusions that mean a doggone thing to anyone in your divine little political system or this country, beside..well…get a pay raise and permission to spend half a million dollars flying their families all over the world… a hell’s Angel Mistress to trust your national defense secrets to, or a failed Air india trial…we can have this discussion…and I will not back down buck-oh.Frankly leave the US out of this dung heap of a political cowards game. These robocallers ripped/cheated canadians out of their rights and how bout a canadian or two growin a pair an dealing with this misconduct forthrightly and definitively instead of some more, ‘…oh…it is what it is…’ type attitude. You do not like canada, stay in canada and do nothing…just shut up, drink beer, and play that hockey until you die with your Stdick in your hand. Stop worryin or wonderin about the US see if you can make a difference in the grand canuck homeland…there’s a challenge for ya…run for office and fix this mess!  In the US they DO put people in jail for criminal misconduct and they air their dirty laundry in public and take the heat for it like adults and nobody, I mean Nobody, ever mentions canada for a comparison on how to do much of anything including hockey – Vancouver is still recovering…yeah, I said it. Now what are you going to do about your mess.

  3. So.. those of you CPC supporters who like to suggest that any CPC campaigning is called voter suppression by the opposition, would you care to explain what this is?

    Is this actually voter supression, or is this just the regular means by which the CPC campaigns?

    • In my riding they deface homes that have Liberal lawns signs. Real classy bunch of people, those Cons….

  4.  Conservatives say they are conducting their own internal probe.
    It’s like alcoholics investigating liquor thief’s.

    When is the public going to wake up to these bent, lying, incompetent Harper Reformers.

    • The public *is* woken up but what can the public do? And with the CPC working to suppress the vote?

      This last election was the first election I was asked to show approved photo ID. (Actually I was asked twice. The second time by an embarrassed young man who rolled his eyes as if to say ‘I know…I know… like it was some cutely stupid thing he had to do. ) 

      How did this happen? 

      In the US, this issue is a huge issue. It is headed to the Supreme Court.

      Did I miss the controversy in Canada? Or were we all asleep. 

      It’s possible I missed it. Every now and then I get too busy to read the news. 

    • If they find anything they’ll release it, a bit a time tine, as edited as a Grewal tape.

      Funny place, Guelph.  They also had some Conservative try to appropriate a ballot box.

      • It’s the same guy who grabbed the box – now been tapped to take the fall for the calls.  He is currently working for the MP who has been seen with Dimitri Soudas.
        This government is like a bad soap opera.

  5. “There is no evidence that Harper’s campaign or any of the other candidates were involved in the calls.” 

    Luckily, people we don’t like are guilty until proven innocent in this country. Otherwise this could be taken at face value and might completely indemnify the Conservatives.

    • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  But tell me Kevin..were you counselling similar caution before the Gomery inquiry?

      Hah! Side thought.. Harper’s transition continues on course.. he is now having an investigation of a scandal he’s involved in. Thus bringing him up to the last few weeks of the Martin government. His performance could get meta somewhat soon.

    • The company who facilitated the calls only worked for the Cons in the last election.

  6. ” (Really Edmonton? ‘Headquarters of the oil sands’ wasn’t enough for you? You had to add ‘robocall hub’ to your industries-outsiders-will-slag-you-for list?)”

    There’s some awesome unbiased reporting for you.  

    • Hint: being unbiased does not mean forcing everything to be balanced. Sometimes reality is just unbalanced.

      • Exactly, Thwim! I get the feeling sometimes that ‘objectivity’ is defined as the midpoint between the polarities in an insane asylum – or a den of thieves. 

        Actually, Channel Whatever-News, and you Globe and Mail —  you have to step out of the madhouse if you’re going to deliver sensible analysis of current events.

        In the last thirty years, news media ‘objectivity’ has shifted so far right as to completely invalidate itself.

    • Yeah; “Need To Know” used to be straight synopses of stories; lately it’s been full of snide commentary. I’m not opposed to snide commentary (in fact I rather like it), but I think it belongs in the blogs rather than here.

    • I don’t see the bias, Rod.  Do you doubt that being associated with robocalls is considered unappealing?  Or that there’s a, justified or not, worldwide disparagement of the oilsands?  This is indeed something that numerous outsiders will slag Edmonton for.  This is not the same as claiming that the robocalls were a Tory plot, or even that they were definitely malicious.
      Unbiased doesn’t mean failing to state the obvious and uncontroversial.

  7. Is this related to the crank calls in Irwin Cotler’s riding?

    • Unless you consider it as evidence of a certain mindset toward the voter, then no, not directly.

      • I dunno; I’m starting to think there’s a CPC “dirty tricks” policy manual out there with all this stuff set out…

        • Pages from the Karl Rove playbook. 

  8. Well, yeah! The CPC as any other Party has some supporters that create more problems by their blind partisanship and they should be prosecuted for fraud and what they are: bunch of idiots.

    But to suggest that Harper or his team had anything to do with it just as ignorant as the blinded partisans IMO

    • It might be. If the party didn’t already have a pattern of these kinds of shenanigans.. like Harper admitting he knew of an attempt to bribe a sitting MP, or like the party pleading guilty in court to fraudulent election expenses.

      After all, if someone’s known as a pedophile (aka, not “Deadbeat Dad” Vic Toews), do we give them as much benefit of the doubt when kids start complaining about being molested?

      • Why would 10 people go to the effort of expressing a like for your sneaky attempt at scandalizing an innocent man?
        Sorry, I forgot where I was for a moment there.

        • Probably just to troll idiots. It seems to have worked.

        • Well excuse me, but when a Minister of all people starts accusing people of supporting pedophiles because they don’t blindly accept a law that could potentially strip every Canadian citizen of their fundamental right to privacy, and then it turns out he knocked his kid’s 17 year old nanny decades younger than him… well frankly he deserves whatever scorn he gets.

          People in glass houses ought to know better.

      • Oh boy! Don’t even know what to say about all this… because I want to be polite.

        • I`m not as polite as you.
          A Thwim is a coward. It has no limits in tossing out scandalizing and sneaky accusations while hiding behind it`s label.

          • LOL.. seriously? Attacking me because I have an alias is not only a poisoning the well fallacy, it’s bloody hypocritical considering you’re not even registered.  People can at least look through my history to see if I’ve been consistent — and know I’m not changing my moniker to hide things.

            Beyond that, whether the accusations are scandalizing isn’t my call. However, I fail to see anything sneaky about them.. or untrue, for that matter. They’re pretty direct and upfront. Toews is a deadbeat dad because he stopped paying child support when his estranged wife still needed it, and Harper is recorded on tape as knowing about a bribe toward a sitting MP.

            Feel free to correct me if you can.

          • Of course they can’t. That’s why they’ve got their panties in a bunch.

            Nothing drives a partisan crazier than presenting them cold hard facts that pop their “reality bubble”. LOL

          • You guys interrupt a thread about a call center in Edmonton to pick up on your smut campaign against Toews.
            Toews has made some mistakes, no doubt, but you appear to be, in a sneaky manner, accusing him of committing crimes against children.
            If you have confidence in your scandalous accusations, if you have any evidence against him, then you should go to your nearest police station and file charges.
            If you continue to hide out in the blogs then I will assume you are cowards.

          • You do understand what the word “not” means, right?

          • Wasn’t news until Toews made it news.

            You can’t go around calling everyone who disagrees with you on very serious legislation a “supporter of pedophiles” and think you aren’t going to catch flak for cheating on your wife and knocking up a 17 year old girl decades younger than you.

            I mean get real.

        • If I’m wrong, do feel free to point it out.
          After all, when somebody can show me I was wrong, I’ve learned something. That’s a good thing.

          Oh.. and don’t worry about being polite, lord knows I’m not.

    • Con goon squads vandalized homes and cars of Liberal supporters in my riding. I never heard one CPC official tell them to stop.

      • NDP good squads vandalized homes and cars of CPC supporters in my riding. I never heard one NDP official tell them to stop.

        • Really? Because while I remember the stories in the news about Liberal supporters having their brake lines cut, I don’t remember anything about CPC supporters having the same experiences.

          I’d be interested in reading about it, if you could direct me to the reports.

        • I think your just making that up so please provide proof.

          I don’t recall Dear Leader admonishing his goons for this behavior. I’m left to conclude that he condones his peeps trashing the property (and potentially causing lose of life) of citizens who are expressing a political opinion that isn’t part of the Con-borg/Con-speak meme.

    • Another staffer heard from.

  9. Well, a lot of us knew this at the time. In my work as a social activist, I pushed some mainstream media people to investigate this at the time, but they didn’t/wouldn’t — were afraid to. It had to be the Tories doing this, and it should have come out during the campaign. The Elections Canada folks are a joke. Check out a blog of mine on how the Conservatives won the election by cheating and Elections Canada let them off the hook:

    And everyone should read this article about the dark thoughts of Stephen Harper:

    • Why would anyone hope to find any objectivity or truth in your thoughts about Stephen Harper?

      • Here’s a mirror Ellen.

  10. Rex Murphy labelled our P.M. “the artfullest dodger” long ago and the trend continues on a daily basis for the last 6 years.

    • They seems to be BFFs these days.

  11. more like the sly fox!

  12. This’ll throw Vic Toews off the front page. GO GO NDP lapdoggies. WOOO spy coverage

  13. 18 targeted ridings….
    18 targeted by-elections…

  14.  Give me a break.  Put this into perspective people. Robocalling in an attempt to put people off going to the effort of voting? Versus the NDP spending $630million on BC Fast Ferries to then turn around and sell them to Mexico for $13million with ZERO repercussions?  That is my money they are stealing.

    • What, pray tell, has that got to do with Cons conning voters. That’s not even a good deflection troll. 

    • Yes, the perspective is one group doing something which the voters can decide if they want to punish or not, the other group doing something to avoid letting the voters express their opinion.


    • The NDP didn’t sell the fast ferries. That would have been the BC Liberals.

    • Provincial politics and federal politics are two different animals. Bad business decisions do not equate with trying to prevent people from voting. Give me a break!

  15. How about a serious discussion about online voting… i mean I can file taxes online but I can’t vote?

    • The primary difficulty of online voting is how easy it is to skew an election.

      The competing demands of being able to cast your ballot in secret, not being able to cast more than one ballot, and knowing that your vote got counted as who you put down on the ballot are really tough to reconcile with the black box that is any electronic voting system.

    • I know of an a public institution that has on-line voting and I can tell you it is very problematic. I wouldn’t trust any results from an online vote — I’m familiar with the programming having done some myself. The security of such a system would always be in doubt. Hackers are always a couple of steps ahead of the IT security people.

  16. One way or another we know these calls were made, thousands and thousands of them.

    In contentious ridings that were Liberal and the votes were close on election night.

    And somehow they managed to target only non-conservative voters based on the reports.

    Now tell me, how does one do that without, say, a huge database of supporters?

    Run through a company working solely for the CPC and using the CPC account?

    Now I agree there’s no evidence of involvement from the top, but really, how much circumstantial evidence does it take before the benefit of the doubt starts evaporating?

    They’ve shown time and again that nothing is beneath them, so I wonder where people find the audacity to give them any benefit of the doubt at all, especially since they only recently got caught using phone campaigns to mislead constituents in Cotler’s riding and got fined for breaking election spending laws and trying to hide it?

    I mean what kind of person seriously conflates lying to constituents with free speech? I mean what’s the claim? “I have a right to mislead voters???” REALLY???

    Doesn’t that just spell it out right there?
    One can reasonably argue that the only thing left to prove is whether the party executives knew about it, because given the existing facts there’s no real way to argue away the truths we already know: that someone with access to their voter database and Racknine account organized a massive campaign to limit non-CPC voter turnout!

    Is someone seriously going to contend that the Liberals and NDP undercut themselves?

    Sigh. Just when I thought things couldn’t get anymore mucked up.

  17. I think I read that this same firm is working with the Widlrose Alliance

  18. This past November, the Conservative In and Out scheme violated Elected Canada rules.  Also, this past November, the Conservatives were caught in a phone call campaign perpetrating a rumour that Liberal MP Irwin Cotler has resigned.   The Conservatives are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on advertisement for the Conservative Economic Action Plan (so called.)  These advertisements are Conservative propaganda at taxpayer expense.    No reasonable person believes that the Conservatives were not aware of this campaign to blame harassing phone calls on the Liberals.

  19. Conservatives say they had nothing to do with this issue… yeah right… Cons can say they’re innocent all they want, we “Liberals” and NDPeers know better… even if they are innocent, who cares!? I’m just glad we have the corrupt bureaucrats encrusted within Elections Canada on the case, they’ll get to the bottom of this, unlike adscam, thankfully, if not, we still have our lefty media whores rallying the troops with hysterical, irrational, screams of witchcraft and sorcery. I blame Stephen Harper, and if he keeps crank calling people, I’m going to join up with the Separatists and, well… separate, or something. Cons say they’re innocent, pfffft, yeah right, whats that got to do with it? 

    • Say what?

      • I’m just saying if us “Liberals”, Separatists and NDPeers want to seize power again we have to have are media continue their irrational, dishonest, hysterical rhetoric against the Cons. The truth won’t cut it, if we want to be in power again, we “Liberals” and NDPeers and our media whores have to light our hair on fire and manufacture “scandal” where “scandal” doesn’t exist, we have to continue to set the negative narrative against the Cons and turn every fart into a hyperbolic waterfall of misinformation and irrational hyperbole, and we have to do it every week. Pat ( F U ) Martin is our standard bearer and we need more of his unhinged McCarthyism. As I said, dishonesty, hysterics, and unhinged hyperbole is our only chance at power and we must continue this tactic before common sense takes hold. Hopefully, our co-ordinated hysterics will fill the void until we can continue imposing our beloved Trudopian State. Like the HRC’s, truth is not a defense.   

        •  Party above fair election,s CPC supporters, forever and always.

          • Light your hair on fire, scream “scandal”, grab your pitch fork, regurgitate “Liberal”, NDP, media talking points… Guilty until proven innocent, “Liberal”, NDP supporters, forever and always.

  20. On Friday, Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen reported to find evidence of a “systematic voter-suppression campaign” against Liberals in tight ridings during last May’s federal election.
    Automated messages reportedly told voters that their polling stations had been changed or directed them to non-existent stations.
    The campaign also allegedly consisted of harassing phone calls targeting Liberal voters in 14 ridings — the majority of which were in southern Ontario.
    Liberal supporters say the calls usually came late at night or early in the morning from people claiming to represent the local Liberal candidate.
    Calls also were placed to voters with Jewish-sounding names during the Saturday Sabbath and in one riding with a South Asian candidate, voters received phone calls from someone who appeared to be imitating a Pakistani accent.
    Those who received the calls say they got them repeatedly and that the person on the other line spoke to them rudely.

  21. Crime Minister Harper…..steals money from pensioners under false pretenses…then takes away your internet liberties with Bill C-30…then tells the soldiers with mental disorders to get lost…then gives an adios to a conservative party supporter, that the RCMP believes has been deeply involved in voter rigging …and he says nothing…not even a simple apology to the voters of Canada….and the question is What’s next?….our health care?.

  22. Who is going identify all those that say– they had calls? Anybod could say that–it will be— he said–she said—on it goes. Wait till the other partys(if ever) gets into power–then their closets will be emptied!!!  Calls could be coming from all ridings–prove it–& remember u’ll all “whine” if the socialists ever take power—G– help us all!!!!!!    mars

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