What happened in Saanich - Macleans.ca

What happened in Saanich


Global News finds that Elections Canada received 30 complaints about phone calls that conveyed false information about polling stations. The Toronto Star talks to one voter in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

It was a woman who claimed to be calling from the Conservative Party of Canada telling Hancock that his voting location had been changed from the usual location — a local school not far from his Pender Island, B.C., home — to the municipality of Saanich on Vancouver Island.

The supposed new location meant that Hancock would have to drive to the ferry dock at Otter Bay on the northwest side of Pender Island, take a 40-minute ferry ride south to Vancouver Island, and then drive another 30 kilometres to Saanich to cast his ballot. “It was very strange,” Hancock told the Star Tuesday. “When I started asking her questions, she shut me down pretty quickly and actually hung up.”


What happened in Saanich

  1. In 50 years time they will either be reviewing this story in History class as the greatest swindle in Electoral history
    The worst example of journalistic practice— making wild and wide assumptions from the memories of Liberal and NDP voters who thought they may have received misleading phone calls that must have been orchestrated by Harper and his henchmen.

    It`s beginning to look like the latter—a sorry time for objective journalism.

    • In 50 years time they will use the Dingwall scandall as the worst example of journalistic practice.  I don’t think Canadian journalists will ever again believe what a political party says in the house when the same party won’t publish the allegatioins on its website!

      Hopefully one day we’ll get to the bottom of this and hopefully catch those who vandalized the cars and cut the brake lines of citizens who had Liberals signs on their lawns in the 2008 election in Guelph and other southewestern Ontario ridings. For me, it’s way too early to tell.

      • If there are unstable people, in any political party, who do wacko things because they believe, in their extreme partisan minds, that they are helping the country then those individuals must be dealt with in a singular focused manner.

        But to turn a story about brake lines or telemarketers or ballot box shenanigans into a national conspiracy makes about as much sense as saying that Chretien and Rae and Ignatieff were all orchestrating the Vikileaks story by sending hourly instructions to Adam Carroll.

        Intelligent journalists are keeping a distance from this story. 
        A good rule of thumb might be:
         When you hear Pat Martin screaming bloody murder, assume his shrillness is a cover for his lack of sincerity and evidence.

        • I am not turning the brake line cutting and vandalism story into a national conspiracy. All I know is that these events happened in many ridings in my region in a byelection in 2008, in the general election of 2008 (about 30 incidents reported to the police) and again in 2011.  These events occured repeatedly, are well-documented with photographs and testimonies, and were the subject of police investigations that failed to produce indictments. I have never associated this to a political party, far from it I still think they are biker gangs, but I cannot close my eyes to the fact that these incidents involved persons who displayed Liberal signs on their front lawns.

          However, I am pointing a finger directly to the prime minister who appointed as Justice Minister a man he knew had pleaded guilty to electoral fraud; to the Senate a man he knew was under investigation for electoral fraud; to the “magistrature” a lawyer who was a consigliere to the Quebec mafia. I certainly have not and will not accuse Mr. Harper of having participated to an electoral fraud, but I am begging him to stop rewarding those he knows have participated in electoral fraud.  I guess that’s where you and I differ, Ellen : you approve these appointments made by Stephen Harper.

          • In 1999 Toews lost a Prov. election to an NDP and it was found that he overspent by $7500 in the campaign.
             He paid a $500 dollar fine. Not exactly Manslaughter, but, since we can assume the other parties would publicize this crime in future elections then we would think that the voters kicked his sorry as in those elections.But, No, he has won 5 elections since then, usually with 3 times as many votes as his nearest opponent.

            The point is:
            The voter will decide who they want as their rep.

          • I totally agree with you that the voters will decide who they want as their rep.  No problem.

            But what I am talking about here are appointments made by the prime minister, whose leadership citizens look up to. In my opinion, the prime minister should not appoint as minister of justice a person who has pleaded guilty to electoral fraud; to the Senate a person under investigation for electoral fraud.  It’s sending the wrong message to those unstable elements that you refer to.

            Is it asking too much of our prime minister that he appoints as minister of justice or senators persons who are beyong reproach, persons who have no record of, or are under suspicion of, fraudulent activity?

            You take this politically, Ellen.  I am a business person.  For every hire I have to produce a full background check.  I would be fired if I hired someone I knew had pleaded guilty to any kind of fraudulent activity.  In my business it’s a big no-no.  Maybe that’s why I don’t understand that it’s ok for the prime minister to surround himself with and appoint fraudsters.

          • Look, Harper made a judgement and decided that the overspending of $7500, that Toews may not have been aware of at the time, was not a major offence and he promoted the guy. If he was wrong to do so then the voters would have told him so.

            As for Finley, Party Bagmen have been given rewards for their service since there has been rewards to give. Mulroney and Trudeau and Chretien did it so much that they ran out of Bagmen and started rewarding Bagladies.

            Once again Harper made a judgement: Finley may not be the most personable character but that electoral fraud investigation against him seemed to be tainted with opposition political manoeuvring.

          • Was hiring Bruce Carson a judgement call too?

          • Check your facts Ellen: Vic Toews pleaded guilty to electoral fraud in 2005 and was appointed minister of justice in 2006.


            As for the appointments of bagmen to the Senate by Chrétien, Mulroney et al, I can’t think of an appointment made while the PM had knowledge that the person was being investigated for fraud – can you?

            We are talking about electoral fraud, and the prime minister rewarding those he knows to be guilty or under suspicion of electoral fraud with high-paying jobs. Yes, it’s his decision and judgement that are at fault. He is definitely responsible for sending the wrong signals.

            As for Elections Canada your innuendos mean nothing to me.

          • So it doesn’t matter if you cheat, as long as you get elected.

        • National scandal — I guess if it doesn’t happen to you during a Federal Election but I saw this with my own eyes as a neighbour had here house plastered with red paint simply because she had  Liberal lawn sign. Of course, a criminal will always excuse the actions of a goon squad.




          • I caution you to use some discretion and good judgement when you read reports from the media about this story and you send me links from the cbc, and hill times and the star.
            It`s like I`m talking to a wall.

          • Could you please provide a list of acceptable news sources?

          •  @TJCook:disqus

            The CPC newsletter.

          • I don’t need to use caution for any of this Ellen. I witnessed with my own eyes. I honestly don’t know who did it but I can tell that I’ve never heard of this happening until Harper became leader of the Cons. And quit calling me a brickwall —  personal attacks are a sign of a weak argument.

          • Gtplyr055:  My crack about the wall was just a poor attempt at humor.
            Dave said I was not as funny as some Wilson character, so I was just trying to step it up a bit. 

            But I do think it is important to treat the reports from certain news agencies with a healthy dose of skepticism.

          •  @4a64130278c80432e4d05477e5ee5a66:disqus

            You mean like Sun news, right?

        • Who do you consider to be the intelligent journalists?

    • The worst swindle, even when considering Canada alone, was in WWI, with ballots being assigned to ridings wherever it was helpful for Borden.  This could be SECOND, however, and the worst in almost 100 years. 

    • Ellen, are you a paid Conservative staffer?

      • Good morning Dave:
        No I am not.
        It is strange you and others would think so. I would never think you or Lorraine or kc or any other liberal here were anything but amateur but able political junkies. I am genuinely curious why you and others would think differently about myself or other conservatives.
        Now can you answer me a couple questions:
        Why would you even think that I am?
        Why would other liberals here accuse me and others they disagree with, of being in the employ of the Conservatives?
        Am I that good at this or maybe am I that bad?

        • No, you just suddenly showed up at the same time this scandal broke and have been doing your best (and I do mean your best- you are downright prolific in your posting) to pretend there’s nothing to see here. 

          You’re kinda like Wilson, except not as funny. He admitted on May 3 that he was pretty much just a Conservative shill and since the election was over, it was time to move on. 

          Sorry, but I read your (interesting) posts with skepticism. 

          • She used to claim she was “non-partisan” but she pretty well dispensed with that myth in her next sentence. I’m thinking she might be Omen’s SO.

          • I was thinking that; they both showed up at the same time.  Oh well for all we know, they’re also Wilson and Calvin etc.

          • I`m sure you will agree that it is important to hear different and opposing viewpoints rather than the never-ending whining from those who contribute liberally on this board.

          • Why do you have to start off on the wrong foot by saying that contributors you don’t agree with as whiners? No one will take you seriously — i.e. they’ll call you a troll.

        • You and others are that obvious, not that good. 

      • Ellen, are you Pierre Poutine?

    • You do know there are phone records. complaints made to EC and RCMP at the time etc.

  2. “What is alleged 10 months after the election by some butthurt hippy socialist on Pender who, despite Aaron’s misleading lede, didn’t actually file a complaint with EC.”

    Fixed it for you.  30 complaints – some of which were made by Conservative voters – out of tens of millions of robocalls does not a scandal make.  That’s less than one complaint per million Canadians.

    You and your comrades in the media are so fornicated.  Even pinkos are getting the knack here that this is a bogus scandal with little if any evidence weaved by partisan hacks colluding with the socialist parties.  Harper should call an inquiry all right – into systemic collusion between journalists like Wherry and socialist parties.

    For the record, the voice recording Aaron posted yesterday was the “town bike” in certain circles, shopped around by certain socialist academics known to me and known to Aaron until they could find a stooge in the media to try to weave it into a conspiracy.  

    • I understood that Aaron wasn’t conflating the Global and Torstar subjects. Maybe your reading comprehension needs work? The “butthurt hippy socialist” did claim to have complained, though… to the Conservative and Green campaign offices on election day. Phone records or office records would confirm his story.

      The full-court press is on, I see. It’s either “Conservatives got calls too!” or “It was just a few robocalls!” or “Only 30 complaints? Pish!” or “B-b-but Adscam!!!” or “Sore losers!” – anything to distract from a growing image of attempted voter suppression, either by the initiative of a few diehards treating elections like a horse race or by a party bent on winning unchecked power at any cost. Voter suppression is serious business, and it would be just as wrong if the “socialists” were thought to be involved – in fact, I’ll wager the obvious Conservative supporters would be screaming for heads if the party suspected of benefitting from suppression were red or orange instead of blue.

    • Pathetic defense of indefensible actions.

    • Terence, are you Pierre Poutine?

    • You’re sounding even more desperate than you were last night, Mr. Yada Yada.  It would seem you have some sort of personal stake in this. 

  3. The prime minister must feel sick to realize that his legacy will be one of corruption and a questionable majority win.  I betcha he’s spittin,’ chair-kickin’ mad. 

    •  Undoubtedly he is mad. 

    • Doesn’t seem to trouble Mulroney. That just released study detailed how elites feels their above the law so that whatever they do is justifiable.

      • I used to dislike Mulroney until Harper came along; now I think of Mulroney as a bon vivant and incredibly ethical in comparison.

        • I agree.

        • Sounds like Mulroney owes Harper a huge debt of gratitude for rehabilitating his tarnished legacy, if only by comparison.

  4. Wow, talk about sending someone out of their way!

    Always these clowns go over the top with their stupid tricks.

  5. These allegations themselves can be dirty tricks unless the complainant will swear to the issue!!

  6. Hysteria should be bridled until real proof is obtained. Elections Canada has been studying for 6 months. What has it found?

    • EC has been navel gazing since the election ended. Oh and preparing a very unsatisfactory (in my opinion) report regarding the election. A post mortem report that neglects to mention the hundreds of complaints they received of this kind of call being made before voting day.  Check the CBC news online for May 2, 2011.  They included quotes from EC media staff that indicated how widespread (coast to coast) the problem was and some estimates of the number of complaints in various areas.

      BUT, if you check the official report to parliament about the 41st election (2011) you will find only one vague reference to this problem: a one liner in a list of the types of complaints they had received.  These should have gotten the same treatment in the report as the complaints of problems with accessibility at the polls, which broke down the data (even a lovely table) and made recommendations for addressing the issues.  Actual breaches of the Election Act? Pfff.  Indications of investigations into complaints of breaches? Pfff.  Results of closed investigations? Pfff.  The report is on EC’s website if you’d like to see just how lightly they treated these.

      We are right to be concerned about these breaches.  EC needs to admit much earlier in the game that they are not equipped to investigate criminal activity (these breaches are exactly that) and hand those complaints off to the RCMP immediately, not, as it appears 7 months later.  Complaints were known to have been made early in May 2011.  The RCMP first got a subpena in Nov 2011 and that is regarding only the activity in one riding.

      Hysteria be damned.

      • EC makes no mention of this letter from Elizabeth May (dated May 19, 2011) about this very complaint in her riding as well as across the country


        Nor of the complaint another MP says he lodged with EC after receiving a report of a similar robocall incident from a constituent. The number that originated the robocall in this case was based in Colorado, but it’s not unusual at all for automated call services to be based just about anywhere these days. CBC has reported on this here (Bruce Hyer is the MP) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/story/2012/02/29/tby-robocalls-from-usa.html

        If these complaints from MPs were ignored (certainly no mention in that official report published in August 2011), how many complaints from ordinary citizens that were phoned in or emailed to them did they also ignore?

        They don’t report on these publicly, so your guess is as good as mine.  We should not be in the position of guessing, though.  Accountability and confidence in our government only comes through transparency.  We need a lot more of it.

        Given this lack of transparency at EC, it is no wonder activity of this sort has been escalating to the level we are starting to understand now.  If you were able to get away with this (and I doubt this election is the first here in which these tactics were employed) you would become bolder the next time.

        Time to stop this with some penalties that fit the crime.  Not just incarceration and fines for individuals, but how about this: if a campaign in a particular riding is found to have undertaken these activities and won that seat (no matter the margin), their candidate should be retroactively disqualified and the second place candidate should take over that seat until the next election.  Why should tax payers pay big bucks so another race can be staged, while a slap on the wrist (in comparison) is levied against the party members?

        They want to gamble with our democracy?  Let’s raise the stakes. Make it hurt enough that they won’t even think of tampering with the system this way. (First rule of parenting by the way: appropriate consequences for the lesson you’re trying to teach.)

  7. This report leads me to believe the person or persons behind at least some of these calls was deliberately misleading voters. And was choosing targets based solely on phone numbers.  Anyone who had the address information for voters would have known better than to try this ruse on people on Pender Island or any of the other small islands around here.  Laughable. 

    As for those who are saying the reports of this kind of call should not be repeated by the media unless the source will swear to it (an affidavit?) — get serious.  There were complaints made to Elections Canada before voting day of this kind of call.  If EC had taken them seriously they would be much further along in their investigation today than they really are.

    If you look at their web site, there is not one mention of these kinds of calls, nor ones that represented themselves as Elections Canada.  No request for people to contact them if it happened to them which would be the first step in gauging the extent of this activity. 

    Individuals shrugged it off for the most part, likely unaware it was a serious violation of the Elections Act nor aware that it might actually be an intentional attempt to sway the result of the election.  Until they started to become aware — through the media, not through any effort of EC by the way — that this IS a serious issue, it IS criminal, it MIGHT have influenced the outcome, theirs was NOT an isolated, unintentional human error (if it was not a robocall) and it IS being investigated by the RCMP.

    This is rolling out as it is in part because of EC inability to investigate the many reports they DID receive in a timely manner.  And their inability to communicate with the public.  And their seeming propensity to believe, for instance, that if they received X complaints there must have been only X incidents.  Again, laughable.  But not funny.

  8. Attempted voter suppression through misleading phone calls directing call recipients to incorrect or even non-existent (I’ve heard at least one report of that) polling station locations could be rendered extremely ineffective and unattractive (from a cost/benefit perspective) by modernization of our system of casting votes.

    The time has come to give Canadian voters the ability to vote online.  Anyone without their own internet connection could be served by a local library, town hall, whatever, being designated as an access provider for this purpose.  Let’s do it.  It would be a much better use of tax payer dollars than continuing to chase down these breaches of the Elections Act and possibly running byelections when investigations show the result in a riding may have been so affected.

    It would much reduce the cost of running general (and other, since the technology ought to scale down quite nicely) elections in the first place.

  9. All I can say is thank bloody god we don’t use voting machines in federal elections. I can’t even begin to imagine the fraud and mischief the partisan blowhards might inflict on us. 

  10. I just ate a tuna saanich; it was tasty.

  11. Just watching Harper in QP claiming no complaints were made until now  – is he not informed or telling fibs?  He has a new talking point – this is just a smear campaign. 

    • It’s all of the above and probably more.

    • Plausible deniability?

    • He’s a liar. Does he look doped up?

    • Maybe Harper will appoint Sona…