Marc Mayrand testifies

by Aaron Wherry

The chief electoral officer is presently appearing at the committee on procedure and House affairs. He just finished his opening statement, the prepared text of which has been posted online.

The recent media reports on details of the subsequent investigation resulted not only in sustained media coverage, but also in a large number of people communicating with Elections Canada. Since then, close to 40,000 people have contacted my Office to express their concern. Of these contacts, over 800 were complaints alleging specific occurrences of improper or fraudulentcalls across the country. We have added sufficient resources to deal with the inflow of communications and to contact electors who made specific factual allegations. As I indicated in my statement on March 15, I thank Canadians for their collaboration.

The Office of the Commissioner is pursuing its investigation, and I am confident in their ability to do so in a manner that meets the highest standards. Until the investigation is completed and the facts are established, I reiterate the importance of not drawing any premature conclusions.




Browse

Marc Mayrand testifies

  1. I just finished reading Kady O’Malley’s liveblog.  From her description, Mayrand is taking the investigation seriously, and mentioned that if this is indeed a case of widespread voter suppression, he will “be outraged”.  No mention of what the penalty will be for outraging the chief electoral officer, but at least there’s some hope that EC is indeed taking this investigation seriously.  I have to admit, I had my doubts, given the lag between the election (and the specific complaints seen on blogs immediately after election day) and the revelations about Pierre Poutine printed in Postmedia (nine months?).

    Note: Mayrand stated that they’ve received specific complaints in 200 ridings! Wow. He didn’t mention if those were specifically complaints about fake Elections Canada fake poll location robocalls (or live calls), though.

    Liveblog link over at CBC:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/inside-politics-blog/2012/03/committee-liveblog-chief-electoral-officer-marc-mayrand-talks-robocalls-and-more-at-procedure-and-ho.html

    • The chief electoral officer may well be outraged; however his role is restricted to the conduct of elections. Enforcement and investigations are the responsibility of the Commissioner of Elections Canada.

      Up until 2006, the Commissioner could initiate prosecutions. Since December 2006,  when the Director of Public Prosecutions Act came into force, prosecutions are outside of the hands of Elections Canada.  It is up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide on whether or not to prosecute.   

    • I must have listened to the wrong 5 minutes, because I was completely underwhelmed by Mayrand and could not understand how he might consider this all to be done in error with no wrong intent.  The 200 ridings though is news.

      • Ha. 800 “legitimate” complains, 200 ridings. That’s 4 “legitimate” complaints per riding.  Scandal!!!

        • You have a way with math, “Rick Omen”.  How many calls do you think that may represent?

          • Who knows. We still don’t know how many illegal calls Valeriote put out, so that could account for a lot of those complaints. I think it’s fair to say that every single campaign across the country filed at least one complaint with EC at some point since the election, so that could account for a lot of them also. There’s also Joe Volpe’s shenanigans.

        • Some of us care about democracy, “Rick”, and think that calling people with false information about where they should vote is both illegal and immoral.  The scale of the crime doesn’t matter.

          Besides, you cons are supposed to be obsessed with unreported crime. Remember?

          • If you actually thought that democracy matters, you wouldn’t be trying to overturn the results of an election based on “complaints” from a handful of sore losers.

            Speaking of false information, why isn’t there any outrage with the 40,000+ (or whatever the fake # today is) people who filed false complaints with EC, just because they’re sore losers?

          • Contacts vs. Complaints.

            Now if you want to whine that the media didn’t make that distinction to begin with, you won’t find argument from me.

            If you want to argue that I was wrong for repeating what they said, again, you won’t find argument from me. I did, and I was wrong in that. Mea Culpa.

            Unfortunately, I expect what you’ll take from this is that we shouldn’t listen to media ever. And if that’s the line of reasoning, I disagree. I disagree for a couple of reasons. First – they got it right eventually.  Second – I don’t have time to be my own investigative reporter on all issues that matter to me. So I have to trust someone. I’d much rather trust the people who do eventually come up with right answers, and publish retractions when they’re wrong, than simply random strangers on the internet.

          • I agree with you on the democracy.  However I don’t share your disregard of the law.

          • So you have no faith in the investigation?  And as you know, the thousands of complaints were outrage that out electoral process was under sttack.  They were not false complaints. 
            You should worry about sounding either dishonest or stupid when you make these claims. 

          • “Rick”, you are conflating the word false with the word unverified.

            I’m not trying to overturn anything.  I have not filed any sort of action or injunction.

        • 2 legitimate complaints in Guelph lead to finding over 7000 attempts at voter suppression.

          Scandal indeed.

        • Rick Del Mastro

          • Uncanny, the similiarity.

        • Still don’t get the robocalling concept, I see, Rick.

        • Rick, EC got a total of 70 legitimate complaints from Guelph.  Yet, they have hard evidence that about 7000 calls impersonating EC with false information went out in that riding and that 280 people even took the time to call back Pierre Poutine’s phone AND this story was in the news already at election time and has been nonstop in the Guelph news for weeks.  Seems that for every complaint there could easily be another 100 people or more affect.

          • So of those 800 complaints, only 730 were from outside of Guelph? So we’re down to 730 complaints from 199 ridings…

            It’d also be interesting to know of thsoe 730, how many were complaints about the same call… Ie. Husband and wife decide to each complain separately.

            You guys can focus on all these bogus numbers all you want, this whole thing has turned into a sham.

          • Calls can and have been tracked where no complaint was made.  Complaints are useful as an investigative tool but not necessary to prove the law breaking. 

          • Unreported crimes are a huge problem in Canada. Lightly reported crimes, on the other hand, are evidence that everything is just peachy keen. 

            You don’t have to be a moron to support the CPC… but it sure helps. 

  2. I’m a little disturbed about the disruption of the NDP online leadership vote.  This story has been swept under the carpet, but Scytl, who was handling the online voting, has being doing this kind of thing around the world for a while now. It must have been have been one of their most embarrassing moments.

    That said, Scytl claims there were 10,000+ IP addresses involved in the attack, most from Canada. This is a pretty sophisticated attack, in spite of claims that these robot farms can be rented for $70 per day. !0,000 IP addresses cannot be rented for that price, they were hijacked. Yet nothing in the news about new PC viruses making the rounds.

    And why target an NDP leadership convention in Canada?  This whole thing just stinks to high heaven — of dirty tricks by the same people who keep getting away with all kinds of tricks, the ones who never answer a question – ever.

    You all know who I am talking about.

    Don’t count on any police force or the RCMP to get to the bottom of this.  Along with being the world’s internet bumpkin, Canada’s cops could be stand-ins for the Keystone Cops when it comes to their majestic powers of investigation and prosecution.

    • That’s it, I’m going to get my tin foil hat!

      A 10,000 PC botnet is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also not extraordinarily large.

      Anonymous pulls this kind of stunt on a daily basis. 99% it was one or several of them.

      • Your tinfoil hat is never out of arms’ reach anyway…

    • I don’t see what the Cons have to gain from disrupting the NDP leadership process.  The faster the leader was chosen, the sooner they could start fabricating lies about him/her.

      • Think Con attack ad ‘They can’t even run a leadership contest, can we trust them with running the country’?  As soon as things appeared to be bogging down the pundits  were quick to point out the optics. 

        • To me that still doesn’t implicate the party at all.  A 10k botnet isn’t out of reason for a single individual to have access to,and as we know from these forums alone, some of the CPC supporters are willing to go to extremes to defend/benefit the Party.

          • Agreed – it could even have been Libs – if what seems to be the motive was to attack the NDP’s competency. 

  3. Wow – I think the CPC’s hope that the damage could be contained to Guelph has been blown clean out of the water. 200 ridings spread through every province as per Mr. Mayrand. Also, I did not think it possible, but I’m actually beginning to feel sorry for Dean Del Mastro.

    • Save your sympathy; useful idiots enjoy being useful: it makes them feel important.

  4. 800 complaints about phone calls serious enough to be investigated, leading to 250 case files being opened covering 200 ridings.

    And only a 7 riding majority.

    If there are any CPC MPs reading this, you guys need to have a serious talk with your party and campaign organizers and find out for sure if the party is connected to this in any way, shape, or form. Because if it is, the only way your political careers will survive, even if you weren’t directly responsible, is to get ahead of it — be a whistleblower and perhaps get forgiven.. or tie yourself to the mast and hope it doesn’t sink.

    Your choice.

    • I don’t disagree with a word you have written, but I still suspect that they will “hang together” come hell or high water. The Canadian people seem to have endless reserves of apathy and all politicians rely on it. 

    • The only Con MP I’ve heard express concern for what appears to have happened,  by whoever did it it. is Michael Chong. 

      • That must be why I haven’t heard his name in a while; express shame and you’re out of the news cycle.

        • I don’t know why Harper didn’t take that position, instead he has Del Mastro out flailing around on whether anything wrong actually happened and/or  accusing others of lying and being hysterical.

  5. One premature conclusion that Mayrand doesn’t want us to jump to is that there was any intent of wrongdoing.  He said it might have been an error.  I cannot imagine the circumstances under which someone can mistakenly impersonate Elections Canada and send that out with false information to thousands of homes.  My confidence in Elections Canada plummeted from just listening to Mayrand for 5 minutes.  I couldn’t stand the idea of listening to him any longer.  

    We need a Royal Commission.  Write to the GG.  It’s a long shot, but Mayrand basically said don’t expect much from EC and don’t expect it soon.  He admitted they did not have the resources do uncover what happened in Saanich.

    • I didn’t watch the whole thing so I must have missed the part you watched. But in the portion I saw, Mr. Mayrand was quite insistent that no-one misrepresents themselves as being Elections Canada by accident. I saw the last 40 minutes, or so, and Mayrand was increasingly impatient with suggestions that this was just a bunch of mistakes and misunderstandings.

      • Maybe after Mayrand made this statement, he got a lot of followup on how it could have just been an error and then he clarified.  As I said, after I heard him say it might be an error, I couldn’t keep listening to him.

      • Or it could be that the people who received the calls mis-represented the caller as mis-representing themselves. For example “We’re calling to inform you that EC has changed the polling station…” doesn’t exactly represent the caller as EC, but the receiver could, conveniently months later, claim to have felt that the call was being represented from EC.

        But I know, it’s a scandal! Conspiracy! Pierre Poutine! GAAKKKK!

        • Give it up “Rick”.  Soudas is a much better at making the implausible sound plausible than you’ll ever be.

          • I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word plausible.

          • It’s quite plausible that “Rick” is simply a troll who’s come to muddy the waters of this story.

        • All political parties were instructed that they should NOT call voters about the location of their polls. Only one party ignored that instruction. I guess they took the chance that they might be misunderstood when they called voters to discuss polling stations against the advice of Elections Canada. 

          I find it kind of funny that the Conservative Party can’t find a real person willing to post their laughable talking points under their own name. A fake person denouncing a “fake” scandal. Sounds legit.

          • Resorting to personal attacks I see. I expected better from you.

          • It’s not personal at all. That would require there be an actual person there, not a sham.

          • A fake person with real feelings… what will they think of next?

        • I’ll say it again: you remind me of Dean Del Mastro

          • I’ll say it again: Troll!

          • I’m encouraged that you would admit it ‘Rick’.

        • Give it up Rick – Rack9 and others will have the messages logged. 

    • I think his underlying message was to let him (and EC) do his job before anyone jumps to any conclusions. That includes the possibility that some of those calls weren’t malicious.

      I wouldn’t give up faith just yet on EC.

    • I agree with you.  I can’t imagine someone would no malicious intent would go to the trouble of registering a phone under the fake name Pierre Poutine, give a fake address, etc.  The investigation is ongoing.

  6. I made a complaint to Elections Canada about practices I personally witnessed during the last Federal Election, but in retrospect (looking back on the convo I had with an Elections Canada official) it was lumped in with the whole ‘voter suppression’ fiasco.

    Elections Canada may be hell-bent on following the voter suppression angle, but I fear there was mass exploitation of a legal loophole that allowed thousands of Canadians to register under Special Ballot Voting to cast votes for a specific political party well in advance of Election Day and before the full campaign could play itself out.

    I, however, was told that it wasn’t a form of voter suppression – I never thought it was, I was concerned about a coordinated campaign to test the very limits of Elections Canada law. Who needs to run a good campaign when you can just call up your supporters and teach them how to vote for you before Election Day and guarantee yourselves a vote-base to launch from.

    Maybe it’s just me, but contacting folks and saying, “We’re from (non-partisan sounding institution) and we’re calling on behalf of (high profile member, political party, candidate) and here’s instructions on how to vote before Election Day.” is just plain wrong.

    Especially when the Elections Canada Act states, No person shall inside or outside Canada: “wilfully interfere with, or attempt to interfere with, an
    elector when marking a ballot or special ballot, or otherwise attempt to
    obtain any information as to the candidate for whom any elector is about to
    vote or has voted.”

    Apparently, this effort was simply a means of “getting out the vote” and is smiled upon by Elections Canada.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *