The trouble with the Harper government's explanation -

The trouble with the Harper government’s explanation


I count 11 ridings that have so far been linked to allegations that voters were called about their polling stations: Guelph, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener-Conestoga, Kitchener-Waterloo, London West, Parkdale-High Park, Nipissing-Timiskaming, Elmwood-Transcona, Winnipeg South Centre, Sydney-Victoria and Saanich-Gulf Islands. (For sourcing see here, here, here, here and here.)

Meanwhile, the CBC now has a list of all the ridings where changes to polling stations occurred during the last 24 days of last year’s election. Of those 11 ridings that are the subject of alleged phone calls about polling stations, I see four on that list: Kitchener Centre, Kitchener-Conestoga, Guelph and Parkdale-High Park.

The other seven are not mentioned.


The trouble with the Harper government’s explanation

  1. Well crap, are you telling me that over a quarter of the voter-supression allegations could actually be due to legitimate changes in polling stations?  So, if the other calls were just harrassment calls…calls late at night; calls on the Sabbath, etc., with no false voting site information, would that be considered criminal?

    • “with no false voting site information”

      That is somewhat of a moot hypothetical, no?  The entire reason this is being investigated is because these calls (allegedly) DID contain false voting information, which is illegal under the Canada Elections Act, and punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fine.

      It’s not the calls being investigated, it’s the (alleged) content of the calls.

      • Actually they said some of the places only had harrassment calls…Jewish people being called on the Sabbath; middle of the night phone calls and late evening phone calls.  Of course, the allegation is that the caller pretended to be the Liberal candidate in each riding and even went so far as to put on accents.  So you see not all of the allegations are to do with changes in polling stations, some are to do with supression though ticking people off at the Liberal candidate.

        • All of which are illegal during an election.

          • That is what I was asking….is it unethical or actually illegal.

          • Suppressing the vote is illegal.

          •  It is both unethical and illegal.

        • Those are side issues, not the core issue that is under investigation. Directing people to nonexistent polls is the real issue. It’s criminal. The opposition would be wise to focus on that; the rest just blurs the issue and makes it easier for the tories to BS us.

          • I would have to agree with you Keith but it is confusing.  Aaron Wheery is saying there are 11 ridings tied to calls about changing polls but Bob Rae mentioned 27 and possibly 32 so I am not sure what he is referring to.  Also, the two articles…one in the National Post and one in The Toronto Star suggest staff at a calling centre in Thunder Bay called Conservative voters and identified themselves as being with the Conservative Party.  They then provided these voters with incorrect polling information in the week leading up to the election.  But so far no news has been released about Conservative voters complaining about calls.  These staff members say they called RCMP so there should be a record of their complaint.

          • Yeah the Thunder Bay story sounds like a case of poor organization – unlike the robocalls investigation that pushed this story into the headlines to begin with. The tories must love the way the waters are being muddied.

        • There always were a variety of calls. 

      • You’re sexually attracted to repeating the penalty, I know, but do keep in mind the “up to,” dear. Also that it’s a hybrid offense, and prosecutors could and probably would proceed summarily unless they were amazingly confident in the evidence.

        • Ah – working on the plea bargain already?

          • No, just crushing masturbatory political revenge fantasies whenever I can.

          • That pretty much describes Harper’s political outlook. it would seem.

        • I admit I’ve posted it 3 times.  For you, I won’t bring it up again.
          ‘Sexually attracted’ was not necessary – given the M.O. of other many other posters here, if posting something 3 times constitutes masturbatory, then these entire boards are one big circle jerk.

          (… well, actually, on some days, I’m not sure I’d disagree with such a characterization.)

    • It was a dirty election.  A few ridings in Toronto where there were liberal signs, vandals flattened tires etc…   When people have to say “no” to a sign for fear of vandals, are we any better than a third world country?  just a bit less violence, but intent is the same.

  2. The Conservatives made 6 million calls on election night. Surely some of the people called were misidentified as living in a different riding than the one they actually lived in (in which case they would almost certainly get incorrect updates about which polling station to vote in). Alternately some people in the same riding were probably mixed up (eg. they might have had the same name as somebody else on the list). 

    I mean, can anybody tell me what motive the Tories would have for giving false information to voters in Parkdale-High Park? 

    • The CPC has exhausted my willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt. The chances of this all just being an honest mistake is pretty incredible.

      • At this point, for sure.  Del Mastro and Duffy are not helping.

      • So again
        -Was the number of calls sufficient to change the outcome of even a single riding?
        – what is the motive for calling ridings that are not swing ridings?
        -What is the likelihood that all 6 million calls were made from their phone-bank with correct information?
        -How did they get callers to not identify themselves as calling from the CPC, when that was required of phone bank operators?
        -Why did Conservatives get some of these calls?

        This isn’t a matter of benefit of the doubt. Based on the evidence we have, the case against the Tories on the polling station calls is very weak. The case on the robocalls (which are a separate bunch of calls) is much stronger, but you guys seem to be giving up on that one because the pattern there is more localized.

    • They had no reason for giving false information in Parkdale-High Park.  Also, there is a bizarre story in the National Post where call centre employees are claiming that they made calls on behalf of the Conservative Party to Conservative voters and purposely have them wrong information….in Thunder Bay.

      • Yes, actually they did.

        But yer right…maybe it was pixies.

        • …Okay…so you tell me how it benefitted the Conservatives to call their own voters and give them false information.

          • So far we have no known instances of Cons being given false voter information.

            Just Libs and Dippers.

          • Emily….Och…I just told you that the story on the front of the National Post AND the Story sourced by Neuroticdog  above in The Toronto Star claimed that they were calling CONSERVATIVE voters, not dippers, not Liberals….sheesh…I’m sorry but you guys have some ready comprehension issues…

          • The only comprehension problem is yours.  The Star DOES NOT claim Conservative voters were misdirected.

          • You must be posting to someone else, cuz I never said they did.

            I’m guessing you aimed this at Health Insider.

          • You keep repeating this, but nowhere in the Star story does it say that Conservative voters were misdirected.  Please correct your posts.

          • They were 3 types of calls, according to the operators at the call centre.  Voter identification calls – to ascertain their intentions. ‘Get out the vote’ calls – to already known Con voters and then these
            ‘helpful’ where to vote calls.  The last ones were the ones the operators themselves thought were fishy because they had so many negative reactions. Note that the ‘get out the vote’ calls to Cons were different than the voting location ones. 

      •  What was “bizarre” about the story?

        As I understand it, the call center is in Thunder Bay but the calls were placed across the country…which is a pretty common pattern of call distribution for such centers. We’ve had them (too frequently) from as far away as Maine and the state of Washington.

        • What was bizarre?  Why would the Conservative Party have a call centre call Conservative voters and give them wrong information?

          • Okay again this article claims that in the days up to the election, the call centre called only CONSERVATIVE voters and gave them false information….how was this in anyway a benefit to the Conservative party??????

          • The article has the Conservative Party claiming that only Conservative voters were called. What else are they going to say?

          • @57fc79f8528c0aa6c4b4330d53700334:disqus 


            One. English. Word.

          • Well you really should have read the whole Toronto Star article before you dismissed the “claim” because according to that article, calls were made in earlier weeks to dippers and Liberals and only in the last week leading up to the election to Conservatives.  However, I guess if we aren’t accepting peoples’ “claims”, we can’t accept anybodies “claims” anymore because is it really true that in Canada only libs and dippers tell the truth?

          • I read the article at 9 this morning.

            Now stop waving blue pompoms and look at the evidence, not Harp’s excuses.

          • So you read the article at 9am this morning and because it contained allegations that Conservative voters had also been feed misinformation, you disregarded it as being false.
            I am looking at the evidence, ALL of the evidence…not disregarding things that don’t point in the direction where I want them to go.

          • No, you’re trying to save Con butt.

            The rest of us are familiar with ‘disinformation’

          • Oh, Emily. There you go again.

          • Hey, you voted for him, I didn’t

            Rescue his butt yourself.

        • This is why it doesn’t help to have supposed volunteers come on here and claim they are absolutely certain these mischief calls weren’t made in their riding. 

      • Do you have a link to that article?

    • Why would a CPC caller claim to be representing Elections Canada? Give me a legit reason for that.

      • They identified themselves as being from the Conservative Party and they encouraged you to go and vote.  They never claimed to be representing Elections Canada.

        • Go back to the original RackNine robocalls. Those were not made to Conservatives and they stated in English and French they were calls from Elections Canada. The media and the opposition are stupidly muddying the water, and – as your statements show – are actually helping the Conservatives dilute the issue and hide the seriousness of what transpired.

          • The problem is that there’s a number of separate incidents going on here.

            On one hand,  we have the incident that the Star is talking about made from Response Marketing Group, or RMG. These are the ones that Healthcare Insider is talking about, and seem to revolve around the Conservative party calling up, identifying itself, and directing people to various different polls — and if the story of the worker is correct — the wrong polls. These calls may or may not have been directed toward conservative supporters. The CPC says they were. Unfortunately, being as they have a lot to lose, I don’t think we can trust their claims. (Hint for Healthcare Insider: it’s reasonable to discount the claim from the CPC because its their asses on the line. It’s not as reasonable to discount the claims of the various people who are saying they got these calls because, first, there’s a lot of them, and second, they put themselves at risk of counter-claims if they’re making these claims falsely.)  However, even if we do, there still remains the problem that it seems the CPC was directing people, perhaps its own, to the wrong polls.  This may not speak to any sort of malicious intent, but it certainly speaks to their competence — or more specifically, appalling lack thereof.  I’m not sure it’s a lot better to be arguing that the CPC is so stupid they can’t even direct their own supporters properly, but that seems to be what Healthcare Insider is going for here.

            On the other hand, we have various harrassment and abuse calls that don’t seem to be call-center originated. These we’ll put down to assholes of all stripes, about as relevant to the real issues as sign vandals.. that is, disappointing, but not really important.

            Then, on the gripping hand we have the Racknine calls. These are the robocalls, these are the ones that the RCMP is investigating, these are the calls that seem expressly designed toward voter suppresion. These are the calls that we need to nail someone/some party to the wall for.

            One other thing we need to remember is that many CPC supporters will be desperately trying to confuse these three incidents so to muddy the waters for anybody who isn’t already a solid supporter of the CPC.

          • The Guelph investigation is based on records obtained by Elections Canada from Racknine.
            And that’s where the 34 year old fall guy worked. I haven’t quite narrowed down the ridings that RMG was involved in. There is definitely confusion being spread by some quarters – not usually a sign of innocence, but they don’t seem to realize that. 

          • Exactly! Thanks for summing it up so neatly.

    • The cons already admit to wanting to suppress Liberal votes so as to elect NDP in no-hope conservative ridings in Ontario. They even ran ads designed to help the NDP defeat Lbs. They wanted Libs votes suppressed for both electoral and pathological reasons.

    • Parkdale-High Park, Guelph, two of the ridings where  tires were slashed, brake lines were cut and graffiti written on citizens houses in 2008.  In Parkdale-High Park there were reports of incidents in the 2011 campaign too.

      What’s going on in this country!

    •  I was wondering the same thing. The Conservatives had less than 20% of the vote. Maybe, though, they were trying to minimize NDP wins?

  3. So… When is someone going to present legislation to modify the voting act and bar Political Parties from making these “advisory calls” at all: limiting notification of station changes to Elections Canada alone.

    • I’d like to agree but the CPC, which seems to have refined these tactics to a greater degree of precision than their opposition, would likely protest that such restrictions amount to “denial of free speech”, as they did when happily disseminating misinformation about Irwin Cotler.

    • I got a call on election day from the Conservative Party.  They asked me if  had gone to vote, encouraged me to go and vote and asked me if I knew where my polling station was.  When I said I did and that I was going to vote, they said “great, thank you” and that was the end of the call.
      It isn’t unusual in this country for political parties to give groups of people rides to voting stations, etc.  I don’t know how you would legislate that they wouldn’t be allowed to give them polling station information.  Of course that might lead to mistakes.

      • There’s a functional difference between inquiring if you’d like to know, and actively telling you where to go though “on behalf of Elections Canada”. The later should not be the job of any political party for reasons that are perfectly evident.

        If an address changes the only person who should be proactively advising voters is Elections Canada as the body directly responsible for organizing these things. Enable and empower them to do that and get parties right out of this practice. If parties would still like to ask you if you’d like to know where your polling station is or offer to get you there, that’s fine because there then is an onus to ensure the information is correct and you’re not misleading the person that’s far more traceable than an autodialer and a recording.

  4. Leftists generally don’t concern themselves with statistics, or math.  Or, for that matter, things that don’t make them feel good.  Let us look at the numbers, unsoothing to the leftists notwithstanding.

    Six million robo calls were made.  Sheer statistics tell us that there will be a few hundred (or even a few thousand) that are off the mark.  That, and the fact that conservatives were also misinformed, tells us this startling fact:  when millions of pieces of information are relayed, a small portion of that information may be mistaken.

    The desperate liberals, and their desperate cohorts in the media will look, well, desperate, when all is said and done.

    • After what the Cons have done to StatsCan you can actually,  seriously say, it’s the ‘leftists’
      who don’t respect statistics? 

  5. Has anyone come forward to say they were unable to vote because of a robocall directing him/her to the wrong location? Has anyone claimed they changed their vote due to such a call?

    • I believe it’s the attempt, not the success to suppress votes, that is the issue.

      • Nonsense! No harm, no foul, I say.

        That’s why I’m glad the Harper Government’s new crime bill strikes attempted murder, attempted robbery, etc., from the books. No point in filling the jails with a bunch of folks who technically didn’t do anything demonstrably, materially wrong.

        •  That’s false.  The crime bill does no such thing.  On the one hand we have liberals claiming the crime bill is too tough and will fill up jails and drive up costs, and then you come along and claim the opposite.  Make up your minds and stick to your script.

          • For God’s sake, it was  joke. 

          • You call that a joke?  Ha ha.

          • Having a little go at your selective attitude toward crime. I guess it’s not surprising it went over your head. 

          • Better than having my head stuck permanently in my ass like you.

      • No, you’re wrong. Any crime is more serious when successful.

        Firstly, on a fundamental level you’re wrong. If you shoot at someone, you can either miss, hit, or kill. The result determines whether you get charged with attempted murder or murder. The difference is substantial.

        Similarly, if this event actually influenced the election in one or more ridings, then that’s far more serious than if it had no effect.

        Secondly, we have lunatics out there screaming we need an election redo. That’s absurd unless there is a reason.

        So far we’ve had a large number of claims that there were annoying phone calls. Have any of these people also made claims that votes were lost? It’s the obvious question, a question that has been ignored so far.

  6. The numbers do not add….just take Guelph, where Liberal Frank Valeriote won by 6322  votes. Assuming a telemarketing success rate of 20% – which would be phenomenal – it would still take the CPC robocallers and scripted callers more than 15,000 successful contacts to convince 3200 voters to

    a) decide to go to the wrong polling station or not go at all


    b) once arriving at the fake polling station address, to just give up and go home rather than find the right address, because it was just to hard and voter apathy being what it is.

    Keeping in mind of course, that this grand, Machiavellian telemarketing scheme would be going against the grain  of all the advertising and promotion that Election Canada does to ensure voters go to the right polling station in the first place so 15,000 successful contacts is the very minimum.

    A more likely success rate is 6%, meaning the CPC would have had to have made more than 50,000 successful contacts to ensure they had just barely enough voters going off track with the CPC’s bogus message (ok, all of the CPC’s stuff is bogus messaging but you know what I mean), not just the few anecdotes we’re hearing about. And that’s just one riding.

    So far there’s a few anecdotes about callers going off script but so far there’s zero evidence of a large, mass attempt at deceiving voters in multiple ridings (other than usual election deceits – aka party platforms and speeches).

    Telemarketing is successful, but it’s not that successful.

    • Criminals are often stupid.
      That’s why they’re criminals and not something else, after all.

    • There’s evidence of a plan, just not evidence of it succeeding.  

    • If it succeeded in 1 person not voting that is too much.  That is why the attempt is a crime and any party knowingly engaging in such activities needs to be punished.  Which is worse, giving a donor a government contract not to advertise for you or systematically attempting to suppress the vote?  To quote Goldfinger, “The first time is happenstance.  The second is coincidence.  The third is enemy action.”  What is it in seven ridings with who knows how many calls — all by companies being paid by the CPC? And Nixon didn’t engage in a cover-up either.

  7. Lets face it, the CPC doesn’t exactly have a shining track record for honesty. They have already been convicted of election fraud as a party and individually folks like Toews have also been found guilty of election fraud on their own. They have lied, diverted funds to buy ridings, tried to pass off doctored photos to their propaganda arm (Sun) to discredit opponents, spied on citizens, attacked journalists (whilst using false ID’s) leaked medical files on vets, purposely disrupted committees, refused to divulge documents that they were legally bound to divulge, silenced critics, smeared judges, forged documents, cooked the books numerous times… I could go on and on. They are, at this point nothing but and organized crime syndicate. They must be removed by any means necessary. I fought for the country abroad, now I’m fighting for it at home.

    • They must be removed by any means necessary.

      Care to elaborate?

      • What, don’t you support armed insurrection, Mike? After all, the CPC does, that’s why they fight so hard to make sure our guns stay unregistered — just ask MP Larry Miller.