The robocall rules (II)

by Aaron Wherry

Elections Canada has no comment on reports of an automated call sent out by the Valeriote campaign in Guelph during the last election. Elections Canada says it does not pre-authorize election messages and if approached to vet an election message, Elections Canada would advise a campaign to review sections 319 and 320 of the Elections Act.

Section 320 states as follows:

A candidate or registered party, or a person acting on their behalf, who causes election advertising to be conducted shall mention in or on the message that its transmission was authorized by the official agent of the candidate or by the registered agent of the party, as the case may be.




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The robocall rules (II)

  1. Maybe give Jean Pierre Kinglsey a call, he seems to be a little more talkative when it comes to offering opinions on what’s illegal and what’s not.

  2. Oh dear. There goes the narrative again…

    • School boy errors. It is astonishing how bad Liberals are at this game. 

      • For once I have to entirely agree with you. Libs are amateurs at unethical behavior; Tories now, they’re real pros at this game.

        • I C WUT U DID THAR

          • Sorry, are we using our thumbs now? I don’t beieve its necessary to text.

        • Such pros that they handled this like keystone kops…….

  3. The message by the Valeriote campaign would seem to be me contravene the Act.

    It just brings to light how much the messages under investigation contravene many sections of the Act and the creminal code. e.g., identity theft, under-reporting of electoral expenses, voter suppression, and not mentioning the name of the agent…

    • What part of the message would make you hesitate to say it plainly? The recorded message made available in the media DOES NOT meet the legal requirements of Elections Canada. Therefore, it was an illegal message. The only possible defence that the Liberals could have offered – and didn’t – would have been to claim that the captured phone message was cut-off before the tagline was read.

      Yes, Liberals, it is too late to use that excuse now.  

      • I doubt even that would have been an excuse – you’re probably responsible for the message even if you just slipped up in the way you hypothesize.

        • Yeah, I agree. But people would be more inclined to cut you some slack if you intended to comply but failed by accident, rather than you if just didn’t bother to follow the rules. Mind you, the fact that the caller used a fake name tends to suggest a deliberate attempt to mislead.

          Libs will wear this one, and rightly so.

          • Apparently there are additional CRTC regulations that may have been broken as well.

            The Liberal defence is a bit more complex, however.

            Frank V. claims that this was not an advertisement at all. That it was some other type of communication that is not covered by these rules.

            An issue based call was the wording he used in an interview I just saw on the CBC.

            An expert should certainly be consulted to see if his defence holds water.

          • hmmm. Seems pretty far-fetched to me… It’s a message to voters urging a course of action (vote against X). Don’t know how you can get around calling it an ad.

          • If he expensed it as part of his election campaign, them I don’t see how he can use that defense.

      • I haven’t heard the message.  Have you?

  4.  
    Yup, shoulda been….wasn’t. Whether deliberately or by oversight….wrong

    Now we can move on to the other 31,000 calls about moved polling stations.

    • CRTC regulations against people using fake names in robo communications will be an interesting test of your comprehension of the english language Emily.

      We’ll see if your definition of real name, that is a totally made up name, will be legally valid.

      • Sorry, not interested in your irrelevencies.

        • If someone were truly not interested they wouldn’t take the time to reply …

          Regardless i’m glad you are now admitting the Liberals were wrong.

          24 hours ago you seemed determined to defend their actions.

          • Gawd, get some new gimmicks willya?

            Thats three old wheezes you’ve used in just one post!

            My position remains as before. So does EC.

            Ciao.

          • Your position can not remain the same as before. You are now saying that the Liberals were wrong. Before you were saying they did nothing wrong.

            Those are different positions. You seem to be having trouble with the definition of “same” as well as “real name”.

            Regardless the bottom line is that the majority of the 31,000 compaints sent to EC were form letters.

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/online-form-letters-behind-majority-of-31000-robo-call-complaints/article2366825/

            That’s a heck of a lot of red herrings you’ve been casting about Emily.

          • @yahoo-K5XAITELSHKETDEDYIH6U5AF54:disqus 

            Go bore someone else.

    • Right, nothing to see here, move on folks! You’re selective moral outrage displays your Liberal bias.

      • LOL you’re all wound up about 1 call….but not 31,000 calls

        Your selective moral outrage displays your Con bias.

          • EC always said it was 31000 complaints. Obviously this has been garbled by the media and spun bythe opposition but nevertheless there are serious complaints over illegal attempts to misdirect voters. If this is conclusively linked to Harper it is big trouble. I think we can all agree the numbers are beside the point.

          • They only need enough to figure out what ridings were targeted and by what robo company. 

          • Ya, well so far the only links to illegal robo-calls have been connected, and admitted to, by  the Liberals. I also find it hilarious that these so-called “complaints” have probably successfully delayed and muddied EC’s investigation.

          • “Ya, well so far the only links to illegal robo-calls have been connected, and admitted to, by the Liberals.”

            And you’re wearing that like a badge of honour are you?

            You could be right about the leadnow petition, but that at least wasn’t the fault of the liberals. Although they did post an email form letter of their own to be shared with EC, and that did urge people with a genuine complaint to register it and come forward.

          • Yup, some express concern…some make complaints

            ‘Form letters’ is just the method of communicating, but I shouldn’t have said ‘calls’.

          • Emily, even JanBC admitted….the online letters were a petition….sent to Libs & Dippers by left-leaning activist groups, for people to then send to Elections Canada voicing their CONCERN about the voter suppression.  It didn’t mean they were victims.  It meant they wanted a public enquiry.  Apparently you didn’t visit the site, or you would have gotten one of the online letters to fill out and send yourself and you would have been counted among the 31,0000.
            It all makes sense, that is why no Conservatives are among the complaintants…they didn’t visit the site either.

          • Apparently you didn’t read why I just wrote.

          • Apparently, you have been schooled.

          • Mmm no, I don’t even know what that means.

            My comment sounded like I meant 31,000 people had PHONED Elections Canada, which made me laugh when I realized it, so I clarified.

    •  I’d just like to point out that the 31, 000 contacts were not necessarly about the moving of polling stations, and that it is likely, considering the muddled message presented by the media and parties, that many of those contacts may be about robocalls similar to this one.

      • Out of the 31,000 contacts with EC there are bound to be genuine complaints, concerns expressed and plain old mistakes …but EC has to check them all out, and it’s a slow process.

        •  Fair enough

  5. Sigh…when is the LPC going to get it through it’s head that if you demand ethical behavior you have first to be ethical yourself; otherwise the whole exercise is pointless, or at least ineffectual?

    Another unnecessary self inflicted wound. And pointless too since attaching a party label wouldn’t have hurt them, it would merely required courage or conviction. If you’re so worried it might backfire , that should tell you maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea.

    Libs have to learn if being unethical and slimy is Harper’s achilles heel then being sneaky and underhand is the Liberals…and put a stop to it of course.

    • That being said, the reports of what the CPC has pulled are considerably worse than what the Liberals have already admitted to. If Canadians look at this issue and say “they’re all the same”, they’ve done themselves and the country a disservice and given the likely far worse wrongdoers – harper’s CPC – an undeserved free pass. 

      • Completely agree, we have to maintain the distinction there’s nothing illegal here as with Vikeaks, it’s just dumb politics IMO. And of course the CPC liars club will spin it as hard as they can, even going to the extent of slyly implying all politics is slimy so no harm done really. That way we all lose. So I do blame my party too.


    • Sigh…when is the LPC going to get it through it’s head that if you demand ethical behavior you have first to be ethical yourself
      .

      When are ANY of the parties going to get this?

      • C’mon now. Just how many perjorative adjectives do you think I have at my fingertips?

    • Agreed.  They seem to have wanted to make it sound like a third party call.  I don’t get why they did this, it was dumb and unnecessary. 

      • Agreed. Especially because third parties are also required to identify themselves in their advertising, as per section 352 of the Act.

  6. Certainly I haven’t heard a convincing account of this story that would indicate Mr. Valeriote hasn’t broken the EC rules.  He and the Liberals should accept the appropriate penalty. 

    • And what would that be?  Stephen Harper personally campaigning on election day and asking, on national radio, people to vote for his party was also illegal and against the law.  Maybe Stephen Harper should also accept the appropriate penalty along with Valeriote.  I can assure you that whatever penalties those are, they do not involve a prison term or the need for new elections, as the illegal robocalls that people have been focussing on could.

      Basically, I’m giving Stephen Harper a personal pass (and I don’t even like the guy, don’t respect him and don’t trust him) because there are much bigger, much more important, election fraud issues relevant to the 2011 election and I’d like to see those addressed.  I wish we lived in a country where all we had to worry about was whether our Prime Minister made made a last minute, but illegal, solicitation for votes for his party and whether an MP didn’t identify his campaign on an issue based robocall.  Sadly, we do not live in that type of country.  We live in a much, much worse one. 

      • Those are all very strong points.  

  7. Thank you. This addresses my concerns from the previous post and is a much better job of getting the relevant facts on the record.

    • What are the odds Wherry would have posted this had you (and several others) not expressed concerns in the previous post?  It seemed bloody obvious from the beginning that the Liberal robocall was illegal.

      It also seemed completely ridiculous that there were 31,000 complaints.

      Wherry’s running count of affected ridings also seems ridiculous. Most of those incidents are simply people annoyed by election phone calls, and have nothing to do with illegal activity. Like all other manufactured astroturf scandals, the facts are getting out long after the hype, accusations and conspiracy theories.

      Like the Afghan detainee scandal, the Suaad Mohamed scandal, the wafer scandal, and the dozens of other manufactured fake scandals, there is more witch hunting going on than there is actual reporting.

      • Funny you mention the detainee scandal. Did the govt ever release any of the commitee’s

        finding, nope? Neither did it allow the judges to continue like they asked…bit selective in our scandals aren’t we?

        • I don’t think you were following. All 3 parties came to an agreement on the release of all documents pertaining to detainees, and they were released per the agreement to MPs in both the government and the opposition.
          Once that happened, the issue was over.

          • That’s not true. Only a fraction of the docs were looked at and released [ even then they were not delivered to parliament unredacted as per speaker's order].
            The govt arbitrarily shut the process down, against the advice of the panel of judges once they attained a majority…check your facts bud.

          • No, check your own facts, and keep up your search for Elvis, I’m sure he’ll turn up.

          • http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/22/no-smoking-gun-in-detainee-doc-dump-tories



            Even Liberal MP Stephane Dion, who pored over tens of thousands of documents as part of a secret ad hoc committee, agrees the documents show the Canadian Forces always acted with integrity and professionalism.


            A secretive ad hoc all-party parliamentary committee had been poring over the documents for the past year, following an historic ruling by former Speaker Peter Milliken.

            Baird also said the ad hoc committee, which cost Canadians $12 million, won’t be re-struck, meaning they will not continue to look at sensitive documents related to the war in Afghanistan.

            “I suspect if we went on for 12 years and spent $120 million that some would say that wasn’t enough,” he said.

            Last year, the government released thousands of censored documents in response to demands from the opposition to see the files.

            But Milliken ruled the government had breached the privilege of Parliament by denying MPs access to the uncensored documents.

            He gave the government time to comply, which they did last spring by striking the all-party Afghan detainee documents committee to first vet the documents and withhold, by consensus, information that could jeopardize national security or endanger Canadian Forces members in Afghanistan.

  8. Why am I not the least bit surprised that EC has nothing to say about a Liberal’s illegal phone calls? They have one target, and one target only. Truly disgusting.

    • But,but,but……….Elections Canada is a world renowned institution. They travel the world and give seminars on how to hold elections. 
      Locals here have told me how proud they are of them.

      • I find it terribly amusing that the Lefties here go on and on about how EC is completely unbiased and above reproach. They then turn around and demand a public inquiry because EC & the RCMP can’t possibly effectively investigate this “scandal”. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re stupid, or because they think everybody else is stupid.

        • The only rationale ever put forward was concern over resources, not competence. But carry on spinning. The law of averages says you’ll get lucky one day.

      • It just goes to prove that even a world renowned institution can be infiltrated by fraudsters.

        • So you’re saying that EC is a corrupt organization staffed by fraudsters? I would say that accusation is much more worthy of a public inquiry.

    • What would EC investigate?  The Valeriote campaign reported the call as an expense.  No investigation is necessary as to who are the culprits behind identity theft, under-reporting of expenses, voter suppression, etc.  All they need to do is fine the Valeriote campaign. 

      • Well, they’ve admitted to one call. If they were responsible for one, it’s quite likely that there were others. Reviewing all of the campaigns communications would probably be a good place to start.

        • And you’re calling for a review of all the Tories campaign coms aren’t you? Or are you in agreement with Big D that only the libs need do this?

          • Rick’s really blowing the ‘throw Pierre Poutine under the bus and call it a day’ move they planned.

  9. It sure looks like Valeriote’s campaign was in contradiction of s. 320 of the Elections Act.  He should probably be charged/fined, as appropriate.  Case closed.  Now, onto that other fake call story…

  10. I wonder if the Elections Canada official in Guelph who approved and operated the improperly authorized advance poll at the University of Guelph for the Liberal Party was the same Election Canada official who the Liberal Party say okayed their illegal robocall.

    • An advance poll for the libs…is that the best you can come up with – an obvious lie?

      • I don’t want to point fingers but everyone said Andrew Prescott was “obviously guilty” and lying when he claimed that there were robocalls being made by the Liberals in the Guelph campaign…now it turns out there is proof that he wasn’t lying.  Can’t we just let this play out to its conclusion without so much partisan BS and media misreporting….31,000 complaints of robocall supression indeed!  How many people on this thread filled out the online “concern” petition and sent it into Elections Canad and then were counted as one of the 31,000 complaitants by Canadian media?

        • Lead Now’s petition is for a public inquiry….

          • Was that the only online form because it seems that Elections Canada was overwhelmed with having to call people who contacted them and from the report in the Globe and Mail, a large number of the contacts had no personal experience with voter-suppression calls but rather concerns regarding the issue.

        • Who’s everyone? I seen that allegation but it wasn’t universal and while he remains innocent until proven guilty he has not as you assert been proven to have no involvement.
          Agreed everyone should dial back the rhetoric a bit.

  11. Well, looky here…

    The Globe and Mail, only about a week behind Sun News in breaking this:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/online-form-letters-behind-majority-of-31000-robo-call-complaints/article2366825/

    Elections Canada says the bulk of the 31,000 messages it’s received from Canadians concerning fraudulent robo-calls in the 2011 ballot were merely form letters. “The majority of those contacts were made via automated forms or online
    form letters,” agency spokesman John Enright said Monday.

    Form letters such as those generated by activist website Leadnow.ca –
    which encourages Canadians to submit them – do not spell out an
    allegation about specific robo-calls but merely raise concern about the
    subject.
     

    So. We can throw out this whole “31000 complaints” nonsense. Not even close. That’s not even a good sized Facebook group. For all we know, because EC isn’t telling us, this could still well be small enough in scope to be the work of one single greasy, cheese covered, french fry eating individual.

    I really hope Maher & McGregor don’t disappoint us and reveal who this person is soon, and whether he had an accomplice on the grassy knoll.

    • I’ve been trying to tell the Cons on here,  who claimed all those calls were fraudulent reports of robocalls, that these were most a petition demanding a public inquiry, for a bloody week.

      • Funny, I didn’t get one of those online forms to contact Elections Canada about my concerns regarding robocalls…they must have voter information and only go to voters of a certain partisan persuasion.  Is that why it appeared that all the complaints of voter suppression came from people of a certain age and political party when actually they were targeted for the petition by a leftist organization because they had visited their website?

        • It was in the news that EC had posted a call report form on their website – do you have a problem with them doing that?  And the Lead Now petition has been in the news since the get go – I don’t know how you wouldn’t have heard about it.  And yes, it is considered an enemy of the Con establishment. Last I checked,  in this democracy,  people of all persuasions are allowed to complain to government institutions. 

          • You are so right.  People of all political persuasions are allowed and encouraged to complain to government institutions.  The problem occurs when “concerns” about an issue turn into reports of “personal experience leading to complaints’  regarding an issue.  The Canadian media reported that 31,000 people complained of receiving robocalls related to supressing their votes, not that 31,000 people call “concerned” about the reports that other Canadians received calls that entailed voter suppression. 
            As for “Lead Now being an enemy of the Con establishment”…..my goodness what are we in junior high?  Is it too much to ask for some truth in reporting and investigative outcomes?  Do you guys even really want to get to the truth of what happened or do you just want to defeat your “enemy”, the 40% of voting Canadians who checked off  “Conservative” on the ballot?

          • Umm, my guess is it’s the latter.

        • You wouldn’t get an email from LeadNow unless you’ve signed one of their on-line petitions in the past. 
          But it’s not like they’re some secretive organization – anyone on Facebook who has even a moderate number of FB friends will come across one of LeadNow’s petitions sooner rather than later.

      • Yeah they’ve shamelessly changed their tune from outrage over all those fraudulent false claims to outrage over fraudulent form letters.

        • The poor Cons, just trying to survive in a sea of fraud.

        • No, I am sure the letters in the form of a petition for the ‘concerned about voter suppression” are real.  It was not well done though to suggest that they were actually personal complaints of voter-suppression phone calls….
          If the left leaning voters are so indignant over what has occured, why would they want to cause such a backlog to Elections Canada that could only delay that instiution’s ability to investigage the robocall incidents?  Surely they did not believe that sending in 31,000 online form messages indicating their individual “concern” regarding voter suppression was going to enhance the investigation.  Perhaps you can explain the reasoning to me?

          • I’ve no idea. It does look like an overreach. However, I’ll wait and see what EC has to say about it.

          • But Dean Del Mastro has told us repeatedly that the Libs bought millions of robocalls directed at Cons. so why would you assume the 31,000 would be exclusively complaints about Con calls?

    • So…if you are “concerned about” robocalls but didn’t necessarily get one, you submit a letter and these letters became part of the 31,000 contacts to Elections Canada reporting disturbing robocalls….according to the Canadian media…..ouch!

    • I mocked that 31000 figure last week by referring to it as 31,000,000. And that was before I saw the Sun report. The number was meaningless.
      It was pretty obvious the 31000 figure was achieved by 31000 Lib and NDP supporters doing that mouse click thing, just like the prorogation thing, and the Census thing and the wafer thing, and the……

    • Anyone find those thousands of emails Maxime Bernier had that protested the mandatory long form census?

  12. I’m not at all surprised to read that the “majority” of the “31,000″ contacts that EC had from “Canadians”, were in fact online forms filled out by request of Leftist “activism” websites. I don’t think the opposition is going to be able to continue this “fire storm” for much longer. LOL

    *Cue feigned budget outrage*http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/online-form-letters-behind-majority-of-31000-robo-call-complaints/article2366825/ 

  13. Here, I’ll summarize this “scandal” in a few words:
    1- the Guelph riding was a cauldron of dirty tricks
    2- In all ridings, the supported lists used by all parties to “get out the vote” are filled with errors, often misidentifying individuals’ part preference
    3- the information being sent to voters (such as poll locations) was also rife with errors
    4- the rule to identify your party in election advertising has been ignored in some cases
    5- Due to 2, 3 and 4, some voters got calls from parties they do not support, to go to the wrong voting location, from individuals/computers who did not identify themselves

    Elections Canada will rap a few people on the heads and deliver a few fines, and that will be it.

    That’s it!  The end.  Time for the next manufactured fake scandal.

    • I think you missed out on one very important part of this scandal….the part played by the Canadian media.

      • I suspect you say that sarcastically.

        Well, certainly a large number in the media are praying for the next adscam.  They’ll try to portray almost anything as a sign of Conservative malfeasance (even the number of questions fielded by Harper at media scrums in the last election, or the supposed unwelcome participants in Conservative rallies – there really is no bar they will not go below). 

        What they fail to realize is that every time they blow their horns like this, they further marginalize themselves.  Nobody, except rabid anti-Conservative partisans like the Wherry-ites, have the slightest interest.

        That being said, there’s no doubt that a large number of media members
        refused to play along (eg Paul Wells), instead waiting to see if there
        is anything actually there.

  14. So far the only real proven illegality comes from the Liberals, now that’s rich

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