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Was this the work of one person?


 

An interesting note from Joan Bryden’s review of the robocall allegations.

Opposition MPs noted that whomever organized the calls had to have access to lists that identified each voter’s party preference — something typically only available to local and national party campaign headquarters.

The list of ridings allegedly involved now numbers 27.


 

Was this the work of one person?

  1. Work of one person? ROTFL

    At least 18 ridings targeted. All of them potential swing ridings.

    Using a system whose design allows for essentially anonymous messaging so that the company can claim ignorance of what was said or how it was used.

    A system run by a company working for the Conservatives, the messages sent through the Conservative party account.

    Whose voters somehow weren’t targeted?

    Good grief.

    It beggars belief that something so large and so targeted could be done without group coordination, without use of the Conservatives’ vaunted electoral database, and without the knowledge of someone in a position of power that oversees multiple ridings. This stinks to high hell of campaign fraud of the highest order.

    Anyone faking a message like this from a government department, especially in cases affecting the establishment and running of our federal government of all things, should be charged with treason. Nothing less would reflect the seriousness of this situation.

    It matters not one whit whether a single vote was actually lost here. The principle itself should be sacrosanct in a democracy.

    And as a side note, I’m disgusted with the CPC’s response. If they honestly took this type of thing seriously they should be out in front in terms of denouncing this and finding the perpetrators.

    Their tepid response signals to me that they aren’t taking this nearly as seriously as they should.

    • They probably did a focus group with the Ottawa Church Ladies and found out that none of them cared about this.

    • What strikes me as odd is that the voter’s predisposition list, compiled at the riding level for scrutineering, somehow became available nationally but, if you’ll recall when they were making excuses about a political donations loophole, a composite list of riding donations isn’t.

  2. I think folks are making a leap of logic that may not be well founded. It’s not necessarily true that the Robocaller knew the party affiliation of those who were targeted. It may be that people were targeted by postal code or region. For instance, it might be that the Robocalls were intended to supress the vote in rural ridings (or urban ridings) and calls were directed on that basis alone. Maybe calls were targetted at less affluent neighbourhoods as “those folks tend to vote for party X.and we need to drive down their turnout.”

    There is no evidence that the fraudulent “Elections Canada” calls were targetted by party affiliation, is there? Perhaps for the calls that were merely harrassing, but not for the clearly illegal fraudulent calls. At least no evidence that I have seen.

    • This has got Con fingerprints all over it.

      • Oh, I am 99% convinced that this was a Conservative operation and 85% certain that it was conceived and directed by a current or future Conservative Senator. I just haven’t seen any solid proof that the Robocaller was working with information available only to political parties.

        • Thanks for clearing that up.

        • You are saying Conservative Party member DID receive calls. Are you sure?

          • I don’t think he said that. No one has come up with any evidence that any Con supporters received any of these calls. I’m sure that would be part of the PMO War Room talking points if that were the case.

    • I think the “evidence” is that when this scheme first came light not a single conservative voter came forward to say they were similarly mislead.

      Had there been any conservative voters called, I believe PMO would have been right quick to get them out in public saying that.

      • It does tend to raise suspician, but it doesn’t prove anything. I’m just asking a question based on the excerpted quote that the caller  “had to have access to…[ internal party documents] . I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

        If you make false assumptions, you often come to wrong conclusions. Are the opposition MPs quoted making false assumptions?

        • Well they all want face time in the media so they tend to go overboard when these events happen.

        • I have to agree. Right now there is no real evidence they were even involved. Everything right now is conjecture based on circumstantial evidence.

          That said, there seems to be more than enough evidence to move forward with a full criminal investigation.

    • I don’t know about any evidence, but they would not want to send cpc supporters to the wrong polls; they are not the voters they hoped to suppress. 

      • Hi Patchouli,

        I wrote you a fairly lengthy response which was promptly swallowed whole by this horrible software. The short version is that I think the perpetrator of this electoral fraud might have traded off precise targetting against stealth and opted for the stealth mode. Unlike the In&Out scandal, there was never any hope of explaining this away as confusion about the rules. This was a criminal act from start to finish and I don’t think even the Conservatives would be stupid enough to use internal party documents in that act.

        Hence my initial question, are we really sure that this was done from internal voter’s lists?

        • Hi, lgarvin.  I have no evidence either way, of course, and your idea may indeed be correct.  At one point late yesterday afternoon, on Power and Politics, Rosie Barton said that several conservatives — either MPs or campaign workers, I don’t recall which — were pointing fingers at a specific consultant.  At that point on Twitter, Andrew Coyne said something about an awful lot of people suddenly having knowledge about something nobody knew about.  I do not for one moment believe that this was done by a consultant — we don’t do anything unless authorized by our clients (ie we don’t waste their time and expect them to pay for it). And I don’t blame the company that distributed the messages.  In things like this, I say just follow the money and figure out who benefitted — somebody with authority somewhere signed off on this. 

    • Actually, not one Conservative voter has reported receiving these calls. NOT ONE. Kind of weird wouldn’t you say?
       
      Moreover, this isn’t even the first or second time in recent months that this type of system has been used in aggression against Liberals voters or voters in general.
       
      This both fits the established CPC pattern of behaviour, originates from a company they use and the other parties don’t, was clearly a massive, targeted and well organized effort, and seems to have required an in-depth understanding of who to call, and who not to call, given that complaints are only coming in from non-conservatives, and what party is it again that brags about its voter databases?

      Consider:
       
      “…Liberal supporters in a dozen ridings, mostly in Ontario, reported mysterious harassing calls, often late in the evening or early in the morning, where rude callers from a phone bank pretended to be working for the Liberals. The calls seem to have been an attempt to alienate Liberal voters in ridings where the Liberals and Conservatives seemed to be in close contests….”
      http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/23/stephen-harper-denies-tories-knew-about-illegal-election-robocalls-linked-to-party/
       
      “…The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s resignation and a pending by-election. But while the party says it was not breaking any rules, political analysts say the tactic crosses a line and will harm not only voters’ trust in the system, but perhaps even the Conservatives themselves…”
      http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/30/conservatives-admit-theyre-behind-false-byelection-calls-for-liberal-mps-riding/
       
      “…The ballots cast at a special University of Guelph voting station are valid and will be counted, Elections Canada said Friday, in response to the Conservative party’s attempt to have the votes nullified…”
      http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/04/15/tories-ask-elections-canada-to-void-guelph-special-ballot-votes/

    • It doesn’t seem like much a of leap at all given the Conservatives are the only party with the investigators at their door.

  3. This appears to be very similar to how in-and-out was done. It was not a riding level initiative, it was a national effort, centrally managed and focused on priority swing ridings. As with the earlier illegal in-and-out scheme, the money for it was laundered through safe Alberta ridings which were spending less than their limits.

    The big difference is that the goal of in-and-out was to buy “legitimate” advertising, albeit ads whose cost exceeded national limits. The goal of the robo scheme, however, was voter suppression. The difference is that the former was a breach of “administrative” election law, the latter is potneitally a beach of criminal law.

    Will it matter? Hard to say. Are Canadians now so lazy about their democratic rights and has politics been so deliberately degraded by this government that Harper can now dismiss even criminal violations as just more piffling, partisan and media blather. I hope not, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

  4. I am larfing my assoff about you lefties going into contortions over this.  The Government House Leader has already explained the situation and made it very, very clear.  The rights of the Conservative Party to address the public trumps all these petty concerns.   Sending information, even information that may be false, to potential voters by robocalls is protected by FREEDOM OF SPEECH. THAT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!    As a result, even if it is at variance with some bureaucratic rule that the Liberal lovin Elections Canada came up with FREEDOM OF SPEECH wins!  Van Loan explained this very clearly with respect to a situation that was virtually identical to the one at issue here, CASE CLOSED.

    It is unfortunate that Stephen Harper has to even bother addressing this.  THE SITUATIONS ARE THE SAME!  It is the Conservatives free speech rights that are being attacked in the media and on these pages.  When SH says the Conservatives did nothing wrong, he is simply reminding you idiots that it is the Conservatives constitutional right to communication any information they see fit,  to anyone they see fit, by any mechanism they see fit.  Gawd are you lot dense, I mean this is hardly a new issue.

    • Yeah, it really sucks that Our Glorious Leader’s opponents are nothing but a bunch of whiny losers. They probably support pedophiles and commies. We all know they don’t support the troops. And what about The Children??

    • Oh sure, you laugh now, but how are you going to feel when they start quoting you as their defense?

    • I wouldn’t bet the farm on this.  In the case of Cotler it was about his privileges as a member of parliament, something the HoC judges itself upon, but in this case it’s about the constitutional rights of citizens.  If actions taken by a person or party are found to be designed and conducted in order to affect negatively a citizen’s constitutional right to vote I am more inclined to think a judge would have to side with the citizen.  Even a judge who was once a consigliere for the mafia named by The Harper Government would have problems with this, IMO.

      • It is not just constitutional rights – which are extremely important, but which might be argued pro and con – that are attacked here, but it is also a criminal act to commit fraud, and to pass oneself off as a representative of Elections Canada seems pretty fraudulent to me. It might be easier to win on criminal charges than on a constitutional basis.

    • Revolting. Exactly the same logic which wants to make it legal to spread false news on the Sun network.

      Strange how this moral vacuum exists along with the Christian Heritage stuff.

      Revolting, Stewart. 

      • This doesn’t actually sound like Stewart Smith, unless he’s being viciously sarcastic.

      • I think he’s being sarcastic (as was I). However, I notice he’s not displaying his usually Tag Line (I’m not sure what they call those headers) about liking Lenin.

        • Hah! You’ve all been duped by a robo-poster alleging to be Stewart Smith. The message came from a service that knows nothing about it, has no clue who Stewart Smith is, and has never heard of the Conservative Party of Canada.

          You can take that to the bank. Really. Trust me on this.

          • Fortunatly, Michael Sona has been fired, so nothing like this will ever happen again.  Feeling better already.

          • Fired? FIRED?? Hah, again! Down the rabbit hole where CPC politics live, this is a career-enhancing item on his curriculum vitae.

            He’s headed straight to the Senate, stopping by Rideau Hall along the way to pick up his Order of Canada lapel-pin thingy.

    • Ellen, have you taken over StewartSmith’s account?

      • ellen is the lovechild of dennisf and hollinm…

    • Loved the Dennis F-ism at the end there. Nice touch.

      • Next!

        •  The gall!!

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