How many ridings?

by Aaron Wherry

Various allegations of phone mischief were made during the last federal campaign and various ridings have been cited this week in connection to the fraudulent calls being investigated by Elections Canada. Because the allegations vary—rude calls, late night calls, calls about polling stations, etc—it’s probably worth clarifying how many ridings may have been impacted by calls meant to misdirect voters to fake or incorrect polling stations.

Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher identified seven such ridings.

The robocalls received in Guelph were recorded in female voices in both French and English. They told voters their polling stations had moved to a shopping mall in the city’s downtown, where parking was scarce.

A Citizen-Postmedia investigation has found calls misdirecting voters were also reported in ridings across the country: Kitchener-Waterloo, Kitchener-Conestoga, London-West, Parkdale-High Park, Winnipeg South Centre and Sydney-Victoria. It is possible that they were caused by robo-dialing errors.

Today, the Canadian Press notes a case in Kitchener-Conestoga that was dismissed as human error (this case was previously covered here and here).

Beyond that, there is what was reported nine months ago.

On May 2, election day, CBC reported that Elections Canada was receiving complaints.

Elections Canada has had reports from several ridings from voters in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia who claim to have been given false information that directed them to the wrong place to vote … Elections Canada is reporting that it has received more than 100 complaints from Kitchener-Waterloo and the Guelph areas. Another dozen complaints were fielded in the Ottawa area.

This report adds two areas not implicated by McGregor and Maher: Ottawa and British Columbia.

Eight days later, CBC reported that Elections Canada had launched an investigation.




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How many ridings?

  1. Hope the cons go down for this.

  2. They missed one I think. Marcel Proulxs team reported a series of calls harassing Liberal supporters in Hull-Aylmer in the lead up to the 2011 election. It was reported in Le Bulletin d’Aylmer. The article is no longer on-line but there are references to the story on PoliTwitter: 
    http://politwitter.ca/detail/link/63048

  3. .sdlcj s;lifh wo;sfuh s;f

    • Easy for you to say.

    • Try to calm down. Write for Sun Media, do ya’?

  4. It’s not that they were trying to cheat in those ridings, they were just trying to protect the voters from themselves.

    Because when you don’t vote in a Conservative, this is what happens to you:

    The New Democrats said there’s no good reason to have moved [Quebec's Employment Insurance] centre from Rimouski, which is located in one of the many Quebec ridings held by the NDP, to Thetford Mines, which happens to lie in one of the very few Conservative ridings.

    That Tory-held riding of Mégantic-L’Érable belongs to Industry Minister Christian Paradis, the party’s Quebec lieutenant.

    There was a report Friday in a Montreal newspaper, La Presse, that the new centre will rent an office that belongs to a business partner of Paradis’ father.

    Quel dommage.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1136687–ndp-asks-ethics-czar-to-probe-move-of-quebec-ei-centre?bn=1

  5. I suspect that sacrificing young, enthusiastic acolytes (I’m really tired of the “throwing under the bus” meme) is just the price of doing business in the CPC hierarchy of values.

    And while I’m seriously reluctant to use the trite f-word word here, fascist is, by most objective definitions, starting to fit as an apt depiction of CPC tactics.

    • I wouldn’t hesitate to use the word. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…

  6. What’s the deal with Parkdale-High Park?  That was clearly a competition between Kennedy and Nash.  Liberal voters in that riding not only got the same harassing phone calls during the campaign, they also got the fraudulent Elections Canada robocalls on election day.  On election day.  After the orange wave.  What’s up with that?  The difference between Nash or Kennedy winning would have almost zilch effect on the Conservatives.  This one really has me puzzled.  Why would they (they being either the CPC or a CPC supporter as that is the only plausible suspect) actually spend money helping Nash win?  Any ideas?  Anyone?

    • I’m not sure either. They’re both good people and it was a shame that one of them had to lose. I’ve voted for both of them in the past. The Con candidate in all of the elections under Harper has been a card board cutout.

      • I agree they were both good candidates, although I found the Nash campaign dirtier than I expected this time around.

        • Me too. It was the one reason I didn’t vote for her this time around. She didn’t need to dirty Gerrard — I mean using his attendance in Parliament as yardstick for his effectiveness as an MP is so much like a Con tactic. 

  7. Mr.Wherry,do you know which Ottawa riding got the robocalls?  The news link says Richard Mahoney’s wife got one of these calls in Ottawa (Mahoney had previously ran in Ottawa Centre).  

    Interesting that the Ottawa robocall message  was clear except for the polling station info, which was garbled.  Of course, one could run such a message in multiple ridings without changing the recording with the intent of spreading confusion/uncertainty, so that people would not vote.  The 1-800 number they were told to call for more information seems to have connected them to a Quebec phone with no answer.

    • That seems to be under dispute as no one said anything until now.  The other ridings had complaints lodged at election time.  The connection to the NDP is peculiar and I don’t know what to make of it, as they benefitted in Parkdale-High Park. 

      If they really had some NDP voters harassed during election time, they should have said something at the time, don’t you think?  Why would the NDP sit on something illegal for months and only come out with it now?  I’d wait on this one until the RCMP or Elections Canada investigates.

  8. Howath has now jumped on the bandwagon and appealed to Canadians to call Elections Canada if they think they got one of these calls.  EC does not need to hear from disgruntled NDPers who think they may or may not have received one of these calls but don’t have any hard evidence either way.  EC is following hard data and there seems to be plenty of it, plus plenty of complaints that were made in a timely way (when they happened).   EC’s resources are limited and they are trying to do a real investigation and the NDP shouldn’t encourage people to waste their time.  If someone has any new evidence (actual evidence) they should come forward.  Obviously when you have a hundred people in a riding complaining on election day, you know there are hundreds more who got the same calls.

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