Oops, again - Macleans.ca

Oops, again


The government’s rhetorically problematic week comes to an unfortunate end.

The prime minister and his parliamentary secretary, Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, claimed in the Commons that the Liberals were the only party that used American calling firms. “We’ve done some checking,” the PM said, and “we’ve only found that it was the Liberal Party that did source its phone calls from the United States.”

But documents show 14 Conservative campaigns enlisted the telephone services of an Ohio company called Front Porch Strategies. During the election, the company made thousands of calls into each of those Canadian ridings from its headquarters in Columbus. In fact, Del Mastro’s own campaign used the American firm twice during his successful bid for re-election last year.


Oops, again

  1. Criminal AND incompetent….a bad combination.

    • “The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight” — that Breslin novel —  keeps popping into my mind.

    • So, while it appears to be fairly evident that real criminal conduct is occurring – making untrue claims to elections investigators that one is a recipient of a false robocall (mischief under the criminal code) as many are now proudly admitting online,  and while the opposition parties are clearly complicit (we can argue about degree) in this, given that the result was reasonably forseeable from the public prodding, those here stand mute to such abuse. 

      A blind eye to actual crimes, while smearing the Conservative party.

      Query whether those willing to lie to elections officials for political gain, would have a propensity to make the fake robocalls in the first place?

      I suspect fair minded Canadians will answer that question in the affirmative.

      • If you have evidence to support your spurious smears bring it forward. (I’m so pleased…I’m learning my talking points from the Cons).

      • Yesterday Tony made a valiant effort to claim 31,000 Canadians were suffering a mass delusion.

        Today you’re trying to claim 31,000 Canadians engaged in criminal activity just to smear your beloved party.

        River in Egypt the pair of you….laughable to boot.

      • Martin and the NDP is being sued by Rack-Nine for $5 million – just a start.

        • Yeah, that’s the kind of tactic that would make a Singapore fascist proud.

        •  That lawsuit will be thrown out by a court as frivolous. Puh-lease.

      • ” making untrue claims to elections investigators that one is a recipient
        of a false robocall (mischief under the criminal code) as many are now
        proudly admitting online”

        Every one of them anonymous, I’m guessing?  
        A nice variation on the “Hi, I’m calling from the Liberal Party at 2am.  Can we count on your support, a$$hole?” campaign from the last election.

        • Hey! Did you call me?    lol

      • “will answer that question in the affirmative”

        what a freakin’ blowhard.

        • He seems to be confusing evidence with talking points.  But who wouldn’t be confusing  the two after listening to del Mastro all week? 

      • The out of control smearing frenzy appears to have claimed its first victim.  The NDP is being sued by Rack 9.   The substance of the allegations in the suit are no secret and in fact are a matter of public record.  I look forward to the NDP attempting to back up with evidence the suggestions of criminal conduct on the part of Rack 9.  As it stands there appears to be zero evidence.  Otherwise the NDP may be draining its badly needed coffers into the ad firm used by the CPC – karma.

        What’s remarkable is how many (including most here on this thread) seem to think that stating someone is engaged in criminal behaviour, without any real proof, is ethically fine, and immune from redress.


        • As I said — Steve and his useless appendages learned this tactic from their fascist pals in Singapore.  Litigation chill, sue opponents into poverty. That’s how they do it there. 

          • So you are fine with a person or group being publicly defamed as being involved in criminal activity when there is no proof of such?

            I suspect the answer to that question depends on whether they are your political enemies or not.

          • No I’m not however, Martin wasn’t given an opportunity to retract his opinions. I also happen to think that the dollar amount is somewhat overblown and frivolous and designed to create headlines. In addition, Meier initially stated  that he is non-partisan. In fact, he’s sponsored swanky parties for the Con elite including Harper.  He might have some traction if he’d been up front with this.

        •  And to repeat what I said above, no court will even look at this frivolous case and it’ll be tossed out.

          • Martin made a series of public statements (not in the house and therefore not subject to parliamentary immunity) about a specific business, wherein he suggested that business was engaged in criminal and or wrongful conduct. 

            I suppose it’s possible Martin has a treasure trove of evidence supporting his public charges.  I don’t believe anyone has seen this at this point.  As such, apart from your politically motivated wishful thinking, I’m not sure on what basis you can declare the suit frivolous.

            To the contrary, it appears that unless Martin has evidence to back up his charges, the NDP will be writing a very large cheque.

          • Martin referred repeatedly to “Racknine rascalls”, clearly meaning whomever was involved in using Racknine to make fradulent calls a fact which isn’t in dispute.
            The lawsuit is a laugh.   How about that bet?

        • “The out of control smearing frenzy appears to have claimed its first victim.”

          Hardly.  Anybody can file a claim.
          Maybe you’d like to wager on its success?

  2. Confucius ~ Ability will never catch up with the demand for it

    • Hup, hup Holland!

      • An ex’s father taught me all about the Oranje and why I should appreciate dutch football.

        What is a Singapore fascist? I like sounds of it. 

        • von Bommel . . .  another reason “why I should appreciate dutch football.”I was cheering for the Oranje in the WC final until that moment.

          • Me too.

        • Singapore is a fascist regime. The ruling cabal basically sues their opposition into poverty. Needless to say, they’ve rigged the judicial system to favour the ruling class. 

          I’ve got a Dutch background so I pretty always support the Dutch in football (except for the last World Cup — their sportsmanship against Spain was despicable. The right team won. I think they were still acting out their disappointment of being robbed by that baby diver C. Ronaldo. Too bad because Ronaldo’s so talented — he doesn’t need to dive. Stuff like that brings the game into disrepute)

  3. Will Conservative MP’s continue to stand with liars? or will they choose Canada?

    • Do you think we may have floor crossing(s)?  Who would go first?  Chong has spoken out against this…oh, and where would they go?  Libs, indies, NDP, Greens? 

      • If any of them are honest… or will they remain sock puppets? They can sit on their morality and ethics for another three years, but I hope some of them are seeing that if they want to preserve a political career past that, the time is coming to make a decision. If, then, independent.

        cartoon life dougsamu.wordpress.com

        • Is there really a chance some mps might cross the floor? I suppose it depends on whether Conservative voters are as outraged as all the rest?

          If the CPC was smart [ which they clearly aren’t] they would insist Dean, PP and Vic cross the floor – but who would want them? It’d be the first ever instance of a floor crossers being sent back. Nice if Chong and a couple others would amble over though.

          • Will Conservative voters become outraged? When the dissonance overcomes the ideology.

          • So no then!

          • A rousing game of full contact Red Rover, right there on the Commons floor.

            Could be a ratings winner on TSN.

      • Chong is far too decent to be in the party that he’s in.

  4. Must comment on story…..26 degrees outside….warm desert breeze…..must pay attention to criminal Conservative Party…..Saturday morning……orange blossoms in garden……eucalyptus trees…..Del Mastro…..

    • Rub it in eh?  :-)

      • Just wait till the GOP primaries  come his way, we’ll rub it in…besides it must just about be wild fire season down there now; it’s gonna get hotter Dave.

    • Hey! Smug is for the Cons! Get back on script here.

  5. In fact, Del Mastro’s own campaign used the American firm twice


    Poor Dean had a TERRIBLE week.

    • I wonder when he will start worrying about his own reputation.

      • Watching the Conservative response to this thing over the past week, you can only come to the conclusion that they simply don’t care what people think. If you oppose or even question this government you are an enemy of some sort, a taliban supporter, weak on pedophiles, a hack, a Liberal, a liar, a smear-monger, Un-Canadian.  In short, your opinion and your vote is beneath their contempt.

        How much longer can they get away with this? You got me. I was absolutely incredulous that they got away with it the last time. I consoled myself, and I even wrote here, that the people are not wrong and that my low regard for this party was obviously the minority position. I didn’t like the result but I accepted it as a legitimate expression of the will of the people. Now, I am not so certain.

        There has to come a tipping point. For me, it came a couple of years ago. For some folks it appears that it will never come.

        • Austerity, that will be the tipping point. Mere power is not enough to keep the two halves of the Conservative Party together. Money is the glue and it’s about to run out.

      •  What reputation?

        • But don’t you need some credibility to sell used cars?

          •  I thought you only needed to be good at bullsh*t to sell used cars.

  6. Thought  i heard somewhere that Kenney was having a truthiness moment too – was that the same firm?

  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jim-harris/robocalls-scandal_b_1305397.html?ref=canada
    This is interesting if a little dated. I had no idea how slim the margin of victory was for the tory majority. It certainly dispells any notion that this election might not have been stolen. It also points up how ludicrous FPTP is – 6000 odd votes gives you a majority for 5 years.
    However, it does provide a motive and a plausible incentive for running a risky voter suppression scheme. No wonder the opposition parties are going so hard at it in those close swing elections.

    • Makes you wonder. Gerald Caplan claims that a former Con told him the the Cons and the Republicans have deep links.


      This is Front Porch shilling for Harper:


      Some Con apologists have gone on to state that there’s nothing wrong with using American firms and expertise in Canadian elections. I’m beginning to think that this practice should be banned as Canada will have little, if any control over how these firms behave during Canadian elections. 

      This could be very disturbing….

      • I find it highly offensive that this group, associated with the US Republican Party, is involved in pitching their “conservative movement” message in a Canadian election.

        Yes, it should be illegal.

        Surely to God we have enough people in this country to run our own election campaigns.

        Adopting Republican tactics of robotic talking points and smear campaigns is one step.

        Attacking the public financing of campaigns is another step.

        Eventually, the Harper Government will likely claim that limited private spending violates free speech, the US position.

        • What will Harper be giving to his republi-Con buddies. Rights to Canada’s water? He’s already shown that, when he doesn’t have to worry about votes, that he give away our other resources for a song.

          What constitutes treasonous behavior in this country? 

  8. comment re-posted elsewhere.

  9. There appears  to be no evidence whatsoever linking the Conservative party to such calls, yet many are indicting them already as criminals.  Such smearing is clearly unethical, though likely not criminal. 

    However, making false claims that one was a recipient of such calls (as many are proudly claiming in comment threads including the Globe and Mail) to officials conducting an elections investigation is clearly criminal conduct – mischief under the criminal code.  Widespread criminal conduct appears to be occurring, but garners barely a whisper amidst the smear campaign.

    Worse, this appears to be as a result of “encouragement” to file complaints.  Further, it is easily forseeable that such dishonest reporting would result from this public prodding.  Note that this prodding did not come from some low level miscreant, mind you, but from the highest members of the opposition party.

    The irony abounds that in the smear laden feeding frenzy, those pointing the finger guilt are to some degree complicit in widespread criminal conduct, while many others (presumeably because the political ends justify the criminal means) are actively engaging in criminal behaviour. 

    • River in Egypt….etc.

    • The only apparent irony is that you apparently think evidence is required to criminalize the CPC but not to criminalize those who have come forward with complaints.
      Is it reasonable to conclude you’re either unusally obtuse, aware of what you’re doing or simply a moron?

      •  How about a craven dishonest liar who, for personal gain or malignant purpose, places the welfare of a political party above Canada’s system of governing itself?

    • “Such smearing is clearly unethical, though likely not criminal.”

      Which is probably why the Cons have been resorting to, and getting away with, such shabby tactics for so long (e.g., taliban Jack, hate the troops, soft on crime, separatist supporters, standing with child pornographers, etc., etc.,)

      If you keep spitting upwind, eventually you’ll get gobbed.

    • Somebody must have switched the road signs at the High Road turnoff. 

    • Harper’s record doesn’t bode well when it comes to credibility: Cadman. In and Out scheme, Cotler affair…. Lawyers always highlight the credibility of a witness/defendant during a trial.

    • Typical Con reaction.  Blame the people who criticize, question or complain.  Nobody encouraged anybody to make phoney complaints. 

      So far, only one party could have gained any advantage from this and that’s why the Cons are suspected.

      If they’re innocent, let them hold a proper Inquiry, instead of leaving Elections Canada to struggle with this on limited resources, having to farm some of the work out to the CRTC, and some to the RCMP.  On top of that, the term of Commissioner who found the Cons guilty of previous election wrong doing is up, and he will be replaced.  Wouldn’t you know.


    • I just heard Shelley Glover repeating that nonsense on the 6 o’clock news. 

    • Okay, here’s the problem with the approach you’ve tried here.  I know you’ve got nothing and have to do the best you can, but.   “making false claims that one was a recipient of such calls” “There appears  to be no evidence whatsoever” “Widespread criminal conduct appears to be occurring” “yet many are indicting them already as criminals.  Such smearing is clearly unethical”
      So, if you are really against the idea of presuming the guilt of a group of people in talk, as opposed to in law–why did you just do it?

  10. Oops is right – leadnow’s website shows over 37,000 messages sent in their Robocall campaign – push send and an auto-letter is sent to EC and MPs.   Ha, ha – all the Harper Haters out-and-about – left-overs of Occupy Vancouver holding a big protest at the Art Gallery today.  Wannabe Anonymous posting youtube vids making nasty, no-proof statements about Toews sex life.
    Ya, those conservatives really are scum.

    • So that proves they are all lying does it? Before you start insinuating everyone at leadnow are scum you might care to remember the CPC uses pretty much the same format for its email appeals and donor pleges as do the other political parties.

      All you’ve done is draw attention to the fact that there are orgs out there who have strong objections to the Harper majority. Leadnow, as far as i know has a respectable track record as an public lobby and democratic advocacy group. They are not some scummy proponent of and advocate for dirty political tricks from down south.

      Edit: The 37000 signatures were on a petition actually, nothing at all to do with the official complaints process.

      • They are mostly “junior” dippers with advisors like Tides Canada, rabble .ca, JJim Stanford CAW….need I go on?

        • OMG, they might be partisan. What are they doing in a conversation like this?

        • And they’re all Canadians…what’s your point? It all has to still pass the EC sniff test.

          Besides i quite like Stanford. If Mintz or Gordon were on the list would that somehow make it beyond reproach?

  11. Thank you Peterborough for thrusting Dean Del Mastro onto the national political stage! We can all use the lulz!

  12. Oops, Pat Martin is facing a 5 million dollar defamation suit for his usual shooting off at the mouth last week.
    RackNine gave him an opportunity to apologize for his slandering of their company. He chose to continue with his hysterical script.
    He seemed unusually quiet on CBC Fri evening. Probably just got word from the lawyers.
    I hope a few  of our intrepid media can tear themselves away from robocalling to make sure uses his own money to pay for his lawyers.

    • So what — Singapore fascists do this all the time. I notice that Harper used to use this tactic when he first became PM but it seems he’s lost his taste for litigation since he hasn’t won a single case he initiated.

    • “[Martin] chose to continue with his hysterical script.”

      Oddy, I actually agree with you on this. IMO, Martin would help his own cause considerably if he dialed it back a bit. He and Del Mastro deserve each other.

      • They filed suit before he had a chance to apologize….and their suit is because they are claiming a person or persons unknown used their service for their own purposes. A rent-a-service in fact.

        • Whatever…I’m referring to Martin’s general deportment on this and other issues. He tends to go over the top, where every grievance becomes a moral atrocity (has he not already declared this to be the biggest scandal since Confederation?). IMO, a little circumspection in his remarks would do wonders for his credibility and he should save the 10-on-a-scale-of-10 outrage until the allegations are substantiated and the perpetrators are identified.

          • I guess he has a short fuse. 

          • He might want to be careful he doesn’t become a poor guy with a short fuse. 

          • Oh that’s true enough….but Cons always go over the top…so he answers in kind.

            And people seem to like his plain speaking as a nice change from the bafflegab we usually get.

          • It’s a good thing somebody does.  Igantieff always seemed to hold himself at a distance.  I always had the feeling that, deep down, he didn’t really have a problem with Harper.  He really was too long away from this country.

            Both Jack, and Gilles Duceppe, ironically, did a far better job of standing up against the Harper onslaught on Canadian values, and they did it with class.  Oh, those damn “socialists and separatists”.  The BQ, by the way, was also instrumental in exposing the national unity contract scandal that helped bring Harper to power.  But anything the Liberals, or the old Progressive Conservatives, did, pales in comparison to this untrustworthy government.  Who can believe anything they say?  Who trusts that they wont find a way to cover up any part they played in this?  Not one of their MP’s has the guts to stand up to Harper on anything.

          • Ignatieff was often in Canada….and news is everywhere….I think he just expected better at that level of public life, and instead he found himself in a bar brawl.  Same for Dion.

            I did find Ignatieff more rightwing though.

            And sadly I agree….none of the Cons have the bal…er…backbone to stand up to Harper on anything.

        • Hahaha!  From the quotes in the newspapers, Pat Martin had PLENTY of time to apologize but instead of apologizing, he used his time to make more defaming comments about Racknine and its owner. 

      • Things have been set to such extreme polarities. There is unfortunately a place for Martin’s extreme counterbalance. I don’t countenance either position, but there is a place that has been made for it. It makes the moderates, who will emerge, acceptable.

        • I do wish they would take Martin off the file, simply because his rhetoric is so overblown that he makes it easy for people to tune out. 

          • I guess I won’t be in line for that job either :) It’s too easy to get worked up about the kind of BS.

    • Their suit should go nowhere.  They were involved in something sleazy, whether they knew it or not.  Are they, somehow, above criticism?  Who do they think they are?  The Harper Government?

      • Rack 9’s defense, obviously, is that they merely provide a conduit for the their clients’ communication activity, without knowledge of intent or content (similar to the passive, impartial role of a phone company or ISP).

        They may actually be able to get away with this posture of innocent handmaiden, unless or until it can be proven with hard empirical evidence that they actively colluded with this particular client (the CPC) in criminal activity, i.e., the transmission of communications for the purpose of willfully suppressing the vote in a federal election.

        I really hope EC has sufficient competent, independent resources to connect all the dots in this cyber-labyrinth, because with all the spoofing that can happen with this technology, the forensics may not be easy.

        •  As the focus has not let up with RackNine, their CEO has changed his tune from vague references to a party “down East” that used their services and maintaining the company is “non-partisan” and runs campaigns for “all kinds of parties” to the facts that they only run campaigns for Conservative parties (Ontario PC and Wildrose), that documents have linked them to the Ontario PC campaign and that burner cell phone.  Originally, Meier was stating that his was not a call centre but his web site (2call.ca) says otherwise and we all know an outgoing call centre is still a call centre.

          To say he was an innocent bystander in all this is ridiculous.  The documents and links will be uncovered by the RCMP and the CRTC and ELections Canada and then RackNine will not be suing anyone for defamation.  That’s my prediction.

          • You’re making it sound like the the dotted line between the enabler and the crime is more obvious than I figured it might be.

            I hope the investigators at EC can find enough sound evidence to make some convictions stick, regardless of who the perps turn out to be. While I’m truly p!ssed about what appears to have happened to the Canadian electoral process, I’m trying to remain dispassionate until we have some irrefutable facts.

    •  Could you post again? The link appears to be broken.

  13. maybe Heave Steve Day is coming sooner than we thought. Still almost a year late, but better late than never.

    • Fascinating to think that the political situations in Canada and Russia right now appear to have some similarities.

    • Heave Steve.  I like it!  The  New Mantra.

  14. I’ve been reading articles in the Guelph Mercury -some very interesting.  This article is chock full of things that make you go – hmmmmm.


  15. I take your point, but I also believe Martin really and truly is outraged at a 10 on a scale of 10.  And yes, his outrage gets there on a regular basis, but I can relate to that, since so does mine.

  16. And from Quebec comes this, in today’s Le Devoir – a 90 year old told the newspaper he was harassed by the Conservative Party.  A lady from the CPC phoned him incessantly, claiming he had to pay $200 to the CPC because he had previously promised to do so. He says he never did such thing, having voted Liberal all his life. He didn’t pay. His MP says he will publish ads in the local newspapers asking residents to come forward with their stories.

    I can hear Tony’s quotes coming on memory….

    BUT, the Conservative Party did this on the phone AND in writing.  The man was able to produce a copy of a letter from the CPC, with the subject in bold YOUR PROMISE TO CONTRIBUTE $200.

    Why do Conservatives choose to associate themselves with the worst elements in our society?

    Why do Conservative MPs use their majority to impose secrecy on committee deliberations and votes when it pertains to Elections Canada?

  17. Oops my heinie

    What doesn’t matter to our electorate no longer surprises me.

    • As an old boss of mine used to observe, “It’s sickatating.”