Upon further review, the Conservatives discover they did it - Macleans.ca

Upon further review, the Conservatives discover they did it

An admission of responsibility for robocalls in Saskatchewan


Four days after denying any involvement with phone calls made to Saskatchewan residents about changes to riding boundaries in the province, the Conservative party admits it was responsible for the calls. Here is the statement from party spokesman Fred DeLorey.

In regards to the calls last week that went into Saskatchewan concerning redistribution, the calls came from the Conservative Party. There was an internal miscommunication on the matter, and the calls should have been identified as coming from the Conservative Party.

As I said in the past, we are not polling on this issue, we already know where people stand – 75% of people who attended the public hearings and submitted written submissions opposed these drastic changes to the boundaries.  But we are doing a host of things to communicate with voters and get their feedback.

Not only were these changes opposed by 75% of the public, but an actual member of the commission also opposed these changes, which led to an unprecedented Dissenting Report by the boundary commission.

We agree with the Dissenting Report of Commissioner David Marit on the basis that:
—These drastic changes were opposed by 75% of the public who presented at the Commission’s public hearings;
—There will be fewer MPs representing urban areas than under the previous maps, a fact pointed out by the residents, city-councillors, and business leaders in Regina and Saskatoon;
—Because of population growth, the next boundary commission will have to change the ridings back to rural-urban blends; and

Rural Saskatchewan plays a vital role in supporting the urban population centres and it only makes sense to have MPs that represent both rural and urban areas to reflect that important characteristic of the province.

Colby Cosh covered the dispute within the boundary commission last week. As I noted a few weeks ago, the new boundaries theoretically turn a province with 13 Conservatives and one Liberal into a province with 11 Conservatives, two New Democrats and one Liberal.

And as I noted shortly after the last election, the popular vote result in Saskatchewan is a glaring example of first-past-the-post failing to reflect the province-wide will of voters. Here again are those numbers from the 2011 election.

Conservatives 256,004 votes (13 seats)
NDP 147,084 votes (0 seats)
Liberals 38,981 votes (1 seat)


Upon further review, the Conservatives discover they did it

  1. Thankfully the Liberals have electoral reform on the agenda. They plan on making our existing system democratic by requiring that MPs earn their seats with a majority of the vote: Preferential Voting. Although not fully proportional, it will cut down on fake majorities and landslides that occur under FPTP. And this is a reform that can be brought in without a referendum (unlike Proportional Representation, which is sorely lacking in support across the country.)

    (While in opposition, Harper said FPTP produced a “benign dictatorship.” Of course, he’s perfectly fine with it as long as he’s the “dictator.”)

    From Trudeau’s democratic reform platform:

    “3. Enact Electoral Reform:

    I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties. I support a preferential ballot because I believe it will lead to a more substantive and civil debate during elections and a more representative government afterward.”


    • The only thing worse than a partisan Conservative hack (they don’t deserve the ‘Tory’ moniker) is a partisan Liberal hack.

      Sorry pal, you’re all the same- the only difference is the colour of the lawn signs.

      • It wasn’t my intention to take a partisan position. I think the Liberals are taking the most practical approach to electoral reform which, in my opinion, is the most important issue there is.

        In the last election a super-majority was opposed to Harper getting absolute corrupt power. Yet he got it in any case. That is the exact opposite of democracy which is allowing Harper to change Canada beyond all recognition against the wishes of Canadians.

        Preferential Voting modernizes our existing (Westminster-style) system, which is a giant leap forward. I also support PR, but we need to put out the fire before worrying about interior decorating.

        I’m a non-partisan centrist. The NDP are right on many issues like the Dutch Disease for instance. It is utter folly to wind back the clock on progress and turn Canada into a dirty-energy super-power. It is terrible environmental policy and terrible economic policy.

        The best government in the history of Canada was the Lester Pearson/Tommy Douglas informal coalition in the 1960s. With electoral reform we will get more of them which will represent the wishes of Canadians.

        • Preferential voting is not a leap forward at all, let alone a “giant leap. It is another undemocratic, winner take all voting system that still leaves vast swaths of the voters without any representation in Ottawa.

          • It’s absurd to call PV “winner take all.” Winner-take-all means the leading candidate can win the riding without having support from a majority of constituents. And due to this kind of vote-splitting, the leading minority party can win a fake majority (100% of the power.)

            The fact is PV puts a stop to vote-splitting by allowing voter’s to have alternative choices. This also stops parties winning fake majorities due to vote splitting.

            All federal political parties use PV to elect their leaders. It makes our existing Westminster-style of government (based on voters electing individuals to represent them) democratic.

          • Electing a single position like a mayor or party leader is fine for PV. But it doesn’t work in single-member ridings with a variety of opinions on issues. It is “winner take all” in the sense that the people who don’t vote for the winner don’t get represented in Parliament. Please don’t try to tell me that one person can represent everyone in a single member riding. Why not use PR so that we would have multiple representatives in larger ridings? That way, almost every voter can see themselves reflected in Parliament and have a real representative? PV produces artificial majorities because it includes people’s second and even possibly third choices. I would like my first choice towin for once in my life. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

          • PR is still a majority-based system. That means a coalition usually forms with around 50% of the seats, while the other 50% of the representatives are out in the cold. So there are still winners and losers under PR: even under STV people have to be represented by their 2nd or third choice, or none at all.

            The main problem with PR is that the media hates it (including the Toronto Star) and it has failed to gain momentum. So now is the time to get practical and ensure our existing system is democratic to stop the Conservatives from changing Canada beyond all recognition when a super-majority is opposed to them.

            First put out the fire. Then worry about interior decorating.

    • Sorry but AV is putting lipstick on a pig. It is self serving and cynical for the Libs to support this “reform” which is an anti-democratic change but not a “reform”. And AV is not a proportional system at all. The Libs thinking is that because they’re the “centrist” party, they will be the 2nd choice of both Cons and NDPers and therefore we can have perpetual Liberal governments. Whether that logic still holds today is up for debate.
      Joyce Murray is the only Lib leadership candidate who supports elements of PR. http://joycemurray.ca/policy/102-policy

      • Yes, PR zealots want all or nothing. Unfortunately, we live in a democracy and it’s really up to voters to decide what kind of democratic voting system they prefer.

        PV simply makes our existing Westminster-style government democratic by ensuring representatives earn their seats with a majority of the vote.

        Our existing system has individual representatives who are (usually) associated with parties. PR true-believers think that representation should be focused entirely on parties. If a party gets 10% of the vote, it should get 10% of the seats. But the fact is not all people agree this is the right way to go.

        Considering PR has lost 4 provincial referendums, it’s time for a change of tack. It’s better to make our existing system democratic than lose another referendum to FPTP.

        • One of the reasons that PR lost the referendums was because most of the parties opposed it. So please don’t try suggest that it’s the party bosses who are behind PR. It’s not. If a party can win 100% of the power with less than 50%, or even less than 40% of voters, they think they can just bide their time until it’s “their turn”. AV will make matters worse.

          • “AV makes matters worse” That is utterly ridiculous.

      • BTW, it’s a fallacy that the Liberals will benefit from PV. The opposite is true. Under FPTP, the Liberals had the advantage of being the “winning” party while the NDP was historically the “losing” party. Voters don’t like wasting their votes on the “losing” party so they cast in with the “winning” party. Last election, Layton turned things around and the NDP became the “winning” party and the Liberals and the Bloc became the “losing” parties.

        So under PV, where people can vote 1) NDP 2) Liberal because they want to, this will put a stop to fear-based biases that have historically favored the Liberal party. Now the NDP becomes a viable alternative and voters won’t be afraid of the Cons winning because they rank NDP first.

        The Green party will have the same opportunity to make a breakthrough. (In the last election, the Green vote went from 6.8% to 3.9% for fear of voting splitting, hitting higher than 10% in some polls before the election call.)

        PV isn’t as proportional as PR, but it is a giant leap forward and will stop extremist minorities from getting absolute corrupt power. It’s also much easier to get done than PR, which has lackluster support, not to mention contempt from the media, including the Toronto Star.

  2. Just add blatant gerrymandering to Cons’ growing list of acts of democricide.

  3. I actually found myself – a Harper hater (with good reason, I feel) – sticking up for Harper et al. a few days ago in a discussion with friends, saying I expected the CPC would graciously accept the recommendation of the committee, and that while the dissenter had been too much on the side of the rural municipalities rather than electoral fairness, reason would prevail and prevail clearly.

    I am saddened to learn different.

  4. Ahhhh CON Saskatchewan values…..

  5. “There was an internal miscommunication on the matter…”
    Let me guess: they left out the important NOT in the sentence: “Please note: this is [NOT] a Poutine mission.”

    • ‘Not’ was misspelled. Easy mistake, it’s so similiar to ‘robo’.

      • The phrase socialist opposition might have been a giveaway also.

        • I can’t believe they missed the opportunity to slam the infamous carbon tax.

    • How can following or not following the CRTC rules be an “internal miscommunication”? They know what the rules are at Con central. They chose not to follow the rules. The robocall service provider also knows the rules. If that company’s president is the “voice” behind the call, they can hardly claim (as they did for the 2011 election) that they “didn’t know” what was on the tapes. They really do take us being stupid.

  6. The Conservatives make themselves looks like absolute assclowns with this bungle. With all of the political sensitivity on this particular issue and clearly one hand does not know what the other is doing. Pretty pathetic.

    • Jeez Bill keep that up and I might have to vote you again for the second time ever.( sure that is untrue)

  7. Look, it’s like a Perry Mason tv show: they called us and railed about the new boundaries and why they are all wrong and how awful things would be if they changed, and that’s the impression they have left for the people who listened to the robocalls. Can’t CRTC sue them for this kind of crap — they refused to identify who the calls were on behalf of, then both DeLorey and that jerk Lukiwski lied to the public and said they didn’t do them. Marit is a known conservative partisan here; how he got on the boundary commission is beyond me.

    • Probably just asked.

  8. Didn’t the liberal mp get fined for doing more or less the same thing?

    Love the Con excuse though…we already know what the answer should be on this issue.

  9. Translation: CRAP finally found a low-level flunky to fall on his/her sword for the good of the party.

  10. Geez Wherry, you’re sounding more and more like a crybaby who wants to change the rules whenever things don’t go your way. First past the post was just fine when Liberals were winning. Now you say it doesn’t reflect the will of voters.

    Let me correct that for you. What you really mean is that it doesn’t reflect the will of leftists like you. You poor thing.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get your way again in a future election, at which time, strangely and unexpectedly, FPTP will cease to be a problem in your mind.

    • WARNING – Con diversionary tactic in progress.

      • Diversion from what? You’ve got issues. You’re like a flea, but less intelligent.

        • You guys just got caught with your robopants down – lashing out at others isn’t going to distract from that. I can’t believe how frigging stupid you people are. Time to fold ’em.

          • Who’s lashing out? I’m waiting for you to say something comprehensible. Have you said an intelligent comment this week, this month, ever? Do you ever say anything interesting? Ever? That’s why you’re a flea. You contribute nothing. At least that’s better than being a mosquito.
            I seriously cannot recall you ever saying anything intelligent to anybody at anytime for any reason.

          • And now the voice on the tape has been compared to…God. it just gets better and better.

          • Apparently being a flea is your intention. Go nuts. But you really should be taking your medication.

      • I suppose if you’re Conservative then being shut out with 1 of 8 votes in a four party race with a mean vote split looks exactly like being shut out with 3 of 8 votes in a three way race with essentially no vote split.

        If you’re Conservative and STUPID, that is.

        • We’ve always been told everything Harper does is a master chess move. I’m having trouble seeing this one.

          • this is one might be a pay off. yes there are going to be a whole bunch of new ridings in 2015, but as of now the CPC has a majority of 12. I don’t know if they are likely to win any additional ridings but they are likely to lose eight ones that they currently hold. If Saskatchewan gets new ridings that number could jump to 10 – that’s pretty narrow. Now blatantly ignoring a boundary commission to keep what they have should offend every Canadian, but the CPC has done worse in order to get less, and if their followers actually cared about democractic principles and responsible government they would have left a while ago. So it would be vile, but the “chess move” stuff would be pretty clear.

  11. Question for all out there: is this a CRTC violation one in the same with what Frank Valeriote was fined for? (i.e. sent out a robocall without identifying the originator or a callback number)

    If that’s the case, does the CPC get fined?

    • I am thinking this is different because it’s not during an election so it’s less of a campaigning issue. It’s probably LESS serious in that regard, but the fact they’re messing with boundary commissions truly rankles.

      • It’s the same in that it is a CRTC violation to not identify yourself (I think that applies outside election periods). For sure you have to provide a call back number in all cases. However, since parties and third parties are pretty much unregulated by Elections Canada when there’s no election going on, they can spend as much money as they want on this kind of stuff. But they’re supposed to follow the basic rules. Contrary to the Cons “explanation”, the CRTC rules are known to everybody in the business. It was not an “error of communications”.

  12. So good of you to point out to all of us that the Liberals received 40 thousand votes in Saskatchewan in the 2011 Election and received only one seat.

    Now, if this was ” a glaring example of first-past-the-post failing “, it must have been absolutely horrific on your sense of Democracy in 1993 and 1997 in Ontario when the Reform Party received more than 1 million votes each Election and ended up with only one seat.

    • His point was the NDP got shafted fool. It has nothing to do with the liberals in this instance.
      The CPC seem willing to gerrymander the bounderies merely to stop the NDP getting one extra seat and losing two themselves.

      • The NDP received 147000 votes in Sask. in the 2011 Election and ended up with zero seats.

        In the 1993 and 1997 Elections the Reform Party received over 1 million votes in each election from Ontario voters but ended up with only one seat. I can only imagine the horror Wherry ( such a democrat ) must have felt.

        I practically have to provide “picture by numbers ” for you to understand even the simplest sarcasm. Is your name Sheldon ?

        • Sorry, don’t do obscure cultural references and stuff – who’s Sheldon when he/she is at home? The only peron who remotely rings a bell is Kennedy. Which would be a bizarre reference. Do enlighten me wont you?

          You missed the point here so admit it for once.

          First off it is this particular bit of news that is topical right now. I’m sure if you had asked nicely instead of your usual sneering manner he might well have conceded your point.
          As for the situation of the reform in ON during those years, i can’t say if it is directly comparable at all to this one. Were rural urban divides a factor there too? Or was it simply that the reform vote was too widely dispersed throughout the province? In the end it hardly matters, since FPTP has clearly not produced a valid proportional result in either case. Score 1 point for electoral reform that benefits all parties equally.

          • “Sheldon” is a character from The Big Bang Theory. Whether or not that is obscure I suppose is in the eye of the beholder.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Cooper

            Thanks. I think i did see some snippets of the show some time or other.It was pretty good, wasn’t it? Guess that makes me the obscure one as i watch as little tv as i can, and i’m too cheap to get cable or satellite.
            Interesting bio. I might concede intellectual superiority and arrogance as a negative trait, but almost all the other traits seem to be tailor made for Andrew, far as i can tell.

    • Funny – the Reform Party supported proportional representation at one time. Whatever happened to that?

      • Same thing that happened to them giving up their pensions. They got into power with the system as it is.

  13. Every time a government gets caught in a lie, they should lose a seat to the opposition.

  14. Even if the previous “robocalls” stigma did not exist using robo calls on an issue such as electoral boundaries is patently wrong on every level. If the Conservatives are that terrified of loosing a seat in Sask. they have better start looking within and park the robo dialer. Yes, I am a CON but this kind of crap is blatant BS.

  15. It would not be fair at all for Saskatchewan city residents to have proper representation in Ottawa. At least that’s what the Cons are saying. Somehow, urban residents in Saskatchewan cannot be trusted to elect Conservatives so Sask ridings must include enough rural people to ensure that Conservatives are elected.
    Funny how the Cons say that 75% of people who participated in the hearings are opposed to the riding changes and therefore the Cons are opposed. Will they apply that standard to the Enbridge pipeline hearings in Alberta?

    • Allan, that claim of 75% was proven by the commissioner to be bogus yesterday; local CBC reporter asked and it was debunked as a fraudulent claim.

      • I’m shocked. Absolutely shocked that the government would make a fraudulent claim. I guess there are still a few more Jubilee medals to hand out.