The audio trail - Macleans.ca
 

The audio trail


 

A Liberal campaign worker in London West saved a voice mail directing her to the wrong polling station.

The message, from a woman claiming to be with the Ferguson campaign, arrived mid-afternoon on election day, May 2, advising O’Reilly she could vote at a polling station at “the Emily Carr public school” on Hawthorne Rd. O’Reilly had already voted at her assigned station – not that school, which is about 10 km from her home – when she got the message. She forgot about it, she says, until this weekend.

“Honestly, I thought, wow, what if this call was one of the calls (they’re) looking for?” said O’Reilly, who added she never erased the message, as it’s her family’s habit to “hold onto things forever.”

London West was identified as a riding under investigation by Messrs Maher and McGregor.


 

The audio trail

  1. ‘Press save’…..a handier feature than we knew!

  2. I love the smell of a  smoking gun in the morning.

  3. Amazing how many Liberal and NDP staffers are coming out of the woodwork just now, to say they knew and had suspicions about these calls at the time.

    I wonder how long it takes the commentariat to notice why that’s a problem for the Relitigate The Election strategy…

    • While you may be an upstanding citizen and report every instance of fishy behavior you see the moment you see it, most of us aren’t such pains-in-the-ass to the authorities — and it takes something larger happening.. like national news stories.. to realize that our experience might not be just an isolated incident without context and as such not worth getting worked up about.

      When we realize that we’re part of a pattern of fishy activity, then we start going, “Hey! Yeah, that happened here too!”

      • No, it’s funnier than that. Wait for it. It’s going to piss you off immensely when you find out.

        • Can’t wait. It might be the first time your: just you wait and see when the true story breaks, you’ll all be sorry, strategy has delivered.

    • It’s also disconcerting that it took Elections Canada almost an entire year to look into this when it was reported by several ridings right around E-Day.  I’m not entirely sure what you are trying to imply but I believe several of these incidents were reported back in May 2011.

    • There were multiple complaints at the time in the press and to EC.

    • Not that I’m interested in making political hay from this situation, and I certainly don’t want to suggest that they are the same in terms of organized malfeasance (if at all, we don’t know), but the Sponsorship Scandal took several years and significant numbers of allegations from many quarters both partisan and bureaucratic alike to be made and an understanding of the situation being brought to light 
      (Cutler’s first whistleblowing was in 1995, heads only really began to roll in 2002/3, the electorate only exacted its own consequences in 2006)  .

      With that said, I’m quite uncomfortable with what appears at the moment to be some grossly over-the-top rhetoric in terms of how effective this “Robocon” campaign was. On the surface I have doubts that sufficient numbers of people were misdirected in order to result in the Conservative majority that we received. 

      I agree that what appears to be a Litigate our way into Government strategy or fantasy should not be even on tip of anyone’s tongues because even the sympathetic Canadian is unlikely to perceive that as democratic or fair unless an investigation would demonstrate clearly that there was the sort of gross voter suppression that is being alleged. 

      Nevertheless, with the gravity of the allegations being made, there should be a full investigation because it also appears that it’s not nothing or a complete fabrication either. 

    • There’ll be more coming after DelMaestro, I’m sure.

  4. I expect that there will continue to be reports from some of the 11% of eligible voters that voted Liberal in the last election that they feel there was some wrong doing from the Conservatives. That is not unusual. It happens after every election with the losing side.

    I haven`t heard any stories from folks who did not vote Liberal because they went to the wrong address, but I expect if reporters keep their ear to the ground, one of these stories will be next.

    Unfortunately, dirty tricks have always been a part of elections. Bottles of rum used to be handed out by party workers to sway thirsty voters. Promises of favors or jobs are still used. I personally hate telemarketers, however, they are used by all political parties.

    • Yes, and as long as there have been banks. there have people trying to rob them.  We have an Elections Act, what we are talking about is a possible violation of it. 

    • Ahhhh

      The bottles-of-rum-and-everybody-does-it gambit has surfaced, folks!

      I believe there was something said about ‘doing politics differently’ in there recently too….but now the back-seat version is…..Maaaa he hit me first!

    • Thumbs down.

    • Is that a variant on the “the Liberals did it first” meme?
      I’m waiting for more information before deciding just how serious the present situation is, but the practices you mention (rum, jobs, etc.,), despite tradition, are all illegal, right?

    • Somehow I doubt that blithely characterizing the possible commission of criminal fraud as “business as usual” is helping the Con cause here, but keep it up. You’re giving voice to the level of moral laxity that apparently infests CPC culture.

  5. But it really _is_ business as usual. All kinds of people have been expressing the opinion that “whatever the details, certainly the leadership of the Conservative party was not directly involved” I say that’s extending the benefit of the doubt where it is demonstrably not warranted. I have no doubt that Stephen Harper and his Senatorial henchmen would be quite willing and eager to get their own hands dirty in such an illicit campaign. Indeed, they wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it properly.
     
    Harper’s campaign leaders did not get away with their last electoral fraud because they claimed innocence. They got away with it by getting the crown to accept the absurd proposition that “The Party” was guilty of electoral fraud but that no individuals within the party were guilty of anything.
     
    When the Cons were trying to destroy Irwin Cotler through lies and smears, they didn’t deny that that was their intention, they denied that there was anything wrong with doing it. And further, more brazenly, they argued that trying to stop their lying and cheating and stealing would be an offence against their rights.
     
    And we continue to have people defending Harper & his crew with the opinion that “oh, they would never go that far…?” Talk about your willing victims!
     

    • I see you have already tried and convicted those you wanted to be guilty in this story. I will give it a couple more days before I decide.

      • Certainly I have come to a conclusion about the charactor of the Harper government. I have come to no conclusion about the specifics of this latest debacle except to say that they are certainly capable of such a thing in my opinion. My opinion is based on years of observation of a party that has invariably taken the low road in their pursuit of power. At every juncture, the Conservatives have taken the least honourable option, the cheapest smear, the most underhanded tactic, the least transparent approach and the most cowardly path. For years, 100% of the time.  

        I congratulate you, however, on your remarkable objectivity.

      • “I see you have already tried and convicted those you wanted to be guilty
        in this story. I will give it a couple more days before I decide”

        And I’m sure your “decision” will reflect the fair-mindedness we see in all your comments here.

  6. Has there been a single story of an actual voter who didn’t vote because of these phone calls? Like, one single person?

    • Subversion of democracy comes out of the fascist playbook. You’re comfortable with crooks trying to game the system? This wasn’t just one isolated incident. And no, I’m not pointing fingers — I personally don’t care who did it. 

      • If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

        • LOL – I love it when people get philosophical.

          So Rick, if someone decides to kill someone else with a sniper shot, and he misses his shot, is he guilty of an offence? If so, what offence would you charge him with, and what would you suggest as his penalty, if any?

          • Well he’s certainly not guilty of murder, is he?

          • Come on, this is willfully stupid. You’re so determined to polish the Conservative knob that you would make this ridiculous argument.

            Maybe time to rethink, eh?

          • Nope. It’s attempted murder and the clueless moron who stands behind him  handing him another bullet is guilty of the same offence.

            Why do you hate democracy, Rick, and how far are you willing to go in order to kill it?

        • It makes a vibration, which is interpreted by our brains as a sound if someone is around to hear it.  However, the point you seem to be missing is that we’re still dealing with a downed tree.  If that tree is our free and fair democracy, then I want the lumberjack responsible prosecuted.

        • So you’ll brush this off if they find out that it’s an evil coalition plot to subvert the CPC? I don’t think so!

        • If a fake Electons Canada call is made but the voter sees through it, has the act been violated?  I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. 

    • I suspect that, in the eyes of the law (if not the citizenry), the intent to commit fraud is germane here, regardless of consequences of the act.

      In a related context, people perpetrating scams out of boiler room call centers are guilty of a criminal offense whether or not they actually harvest any victims.

    • Just because its only attempted fraud it isn’t an issue?

    • The crime is impersonating an elections officer, which is illegal under the Canada Elections Act.  It is punishable, on conviction on indictment, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment of not more than five years, or both.

      Someone committed this crime, there are recordings of the autodialer.  It is only a question of who.  This is currently being investigated; I look forward to the results of that investigation.

    • Criminal Code of Canada
      403. (1) Everyone commits an offence who fraudulently personates another person, living or dead,
      (a) with intent to gain advantage for themselves or another person;(b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property;(c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person being personated or another person; …

      Do you know the meaning of “intent”?

      • I don’t think he’s disputing that it’s against the law. I think he’s addressing Bob Rae’s assertion that the Liberals lost several ridings because of these tactics, and we therefore should immediately hold by-elections in all the affected ridings.

        But I don’t believe, as Rick says, that many voters were dissuaded from voting due to this incident. So far, no one has come forward and admitted that they haven’t voted because of these tactics. Perhaps in a few days, we’ll learn the full impact of this robo-call campaign as more information surfaces.

        • If that is Rae’s assertion, it likely cannot be proven. However, the “bigger fish” – that some form of electoral fraud occurred – if proven, is surely enough to call into question the validity of the electoral process in affected ridings, and therefore any subsequent results.

          Who knows, or cares, how many were misled, or dissuaded from voting because of these calls? It’s irrelevant. If the EC-impersonating calls are demonstrably real (as they seem to be)  a crime was committed by some as-yet-to-be-determined person or organization. The effect of the crime is irrelevant to the fact of the perpetration of the crime itself.

          Even if it is not a political party, but rather some Mike Duffy-imagined ‘third party’, any fraud, if proven, seems enough to call into question the validity of the electoral process and therefore, its results.

          If evidence demonstrates a criminal act indeed occurred, then any benefit, even perceived, accruing to parties responsible for that crime should be revoked. If the benefits are, say, electoral results, the ridings and results affected should be nulled and re-contested.