"Who's calling?" "The Conservatives." - Macleans.ca

“Who’s calling?” “The Conservatives.”

The Conservative staffer who ran the party’s war room on why the robocalls scandal doesn’t add up


Last spring, just days before the federal election, I filed into the Conservative party war room and took my seat. Everyone who’s had this experience knows the drill: an empty desk, a forlorn looking computer, some sort of phone and five weeks of exhilaration and hell staring you in the face.

Now, we’ve had some highly publicized disagreements with Elections Canada in the past, so the campaign leadership made it clear to everyone before they stepped into the building that accountability standards were to be incredibly high. We added new language to our volunteer and employee agreements, and even had an in-house independent accountability officer available to us at all times.

Have we been accused of being aggressive and rough-and-tumble in the past? Of course. Did we go after Liberal leaders with everything we had? You bet. But did the campaign organize a widespread voter suppression exercise in the 2011 campaign? No way.

And yet, in a matter of only a few days, we’ve gotten to a place where any misleading or erroneous call by a campaign or individual anywhere in the country during 2011 federal election is being treated as the work of Conservative masterminds. But some things don’t add up.

There seem to be three sets of allegations being made:

1. specific allegations about riding-level activity—mostly in the Guelph area—in which seemingly misleading information went out to voters in a very targeted way;

2. complaints from voters in several ridings who got some sort of notification that their polling station had changed in the waning days or hours of the campaign;

3.  vague allegations of harassing phone calls from opposition campaigns (mostly Liberal campaigns in Toronto).

On the first point, the only information I have is what I have read in the media. It appears that Elections Canada is investigating, and that a campaign aide has resigned. This leads me to believe that something was definitely amiss in Guelph; if that’s true, I hope those responsible are caught. Goodness knows Elections Canada will let us know of progress, either through official channels or through Postmedia, as it is wont to do.

On the second point, things get tougher. The allegation seems to be that we organized a widespread campaign to confuse Liberal voters into going to the wrong place, and thus get them to give up on voting altogether.  The Toronto Star cites three call centre “whistleblowers” who seemed to have known on election day that they were directing people to the wrong voting stations. Of course, in the same breathless article, the three call centre employees also report that: call centre employees sometimes changed scripts on their own, without the knowledge of their superiors or the party; the callers were clearly instructed to identify themselves as representatives of the “Conservative Party of Canada;” some of their co-workers decided on their own to falsely say they were calling from Elections Canada.

To sum up, then, the allegation is that the Conservative Party used its official call centre to attempt to misdirect non-CPC voters to polling stations across town, while telling them the Conservative party is responsible for the message. As a strategy, it seems preposterous. It just doesn’t make any sense.

The third allegation is that Conservatives organized a number of “harassing” phone calls to Liberal supporters in a number of ridings, sometimes posing as “Liberal” operatives. These were supposedly intended to annoy Liberal voters, to make them angry and turn them off the otherwise seaworthy Ignatieff ticket.

The following is a list of specific allegations and complaints; these are in the words of my friends in the LPC, so I am not making them up:

  • calling people at mealtimes;
  • mimicking accents;
  • treating people rudely;
  • calling on the Sabbath;
  • calling late at night or early in the morning;
  • pronouncing Guy Gallant in an anglicized manner;
  • jamming a Cambridge fax machine with calls; and,
  • my personal favourite, calling Dr. Carolyn Bennett by the name of “Doctor Carolyn Bennett.”

Hey Canadians: notice anything?  Most of these complaints are pretty typical of those contacted by call centres. Every once in while my wife voices the same complaint to me about political calls and fundraising. And by the way, our database management system, CIMS, does not differentiate between NDP and Liberal supporters in these ridings. So the allegation that we ran off a list of “NDP supporters” and “Liberal supporters” to target is bogus.  It can’t be done with our technology.

One other helpful reminder: the Liberal party of Canada debuted a new “national” database system for the 2011 campaign, one that was finally going to compete with CIMS. Given the number of complaints about Liberal contact lists and irregularities, it’s probably time to ask the LPC about how it handled the data and parceled it out to call centres.

Oh, and those CPC people that were impersonating Liberals? Here’s a great passage from Postmedia’s February 24 story that shows the depth of the deception:

Then, on the afternoon of April 11, a phone in Volpe’s own campaign phone bank rang. Volunteer Marsha Sands described the call in an affidavit.

“I picked it up and said hello several times. No voice responded but I could hear voices in the background. I then said, ‘Hello, speak please. You’ve called me.’

“A female voice, soft and young-sounding, said, ‘Are you going to vote for Joe Volpe in the up and coming election?’ I responded, ‘Who are you? Where are you calling from?’ several times.

“The caller said, ‘The Conservatives.’ I said ‘What? Who are you?’ Response: ‘Um, we are conducting a survey.’ “

I added the emphasis above. Let me get this straight: the best quote we have to show that Conservatives were impersonating Liberal campaign workers is one in which they identify themselves as Conservatives?

And have you checked the alleged riding lists for these abuses? Niagara Falls? Haldimand-Norfolk? St. Paul’s?! Um, we won Haldimand-Norfolk by 13,000 votes and Rob Nicholson beat the Liberal candidate in Niagara Falls by 18,000. We weren’t even close in St. Paul’s.

I realize this looks like I’m excusing some of the questionable behavior I’m hearing about. I’m not. If there was wrongdoing, I agree with everything the Prime Minister has said—the facts should be given to Elections Canada and they should investigate.

I don’t dismiss the possibility of individuals acted on their own to skirt the rules. But I also know that it wasn’t just Liberal or NDP supporters who received inaccurate information on polling day. On a day when probably a combined 20 million GOTV calls go out from the campaigns, mistakes happen.

There are also instances of Conservative supporters receiving irritating or “harassing” calls, which we believe came from the opposition campaigns. And given the number of polling station location changes made by Elections Canada, which we had to tell our supporters about, it’s no wonder that mistakes were made. For instance, our best information tells us the RMG calls from Thunder Bay were made to people we thought were Conservative supporters.

We are being accused of behaving with both Machiavellian brillance and Keystone Kops ineptitude: impersonating Liberals by identifying ourselves as Conservatives and suppressing votes by calling candidates by their actual names. It’s time to step back, and rely on facts.

Oh, and how about that Adam Carroll…?

Jason Lietaer is a political strategist and communicator who wishes he was golfing. He ran the Conservative party’s war room during the 2011 campaign. Follow him on Twitter: @jasonlietaer.


“Who’s calling?” “The Conservatives.”

  1. Jason: Would it be normal for a staffer to be able to access the CPC voter registry, which I assume does maintain a list of “Not voting for us” and then place a volume call order to Rack9, on the day before the election, without any oversight?

    • I don’t see what would be abnormal about that. Explain?

      • If it is normal, then it speaks to negligence on behalf of the party. Negligence in vetting who has access to their lists, in the training of the people they allowe to access Rack9, and negligence in how they allow their resources to be used.

        If it is not normal then the question becomes who gave the OK for “Pierre Poutine” to proceed.

    • Oh wait, I misunderstood. My apologies.

      • No worries, although I seem to be getting more of that here and there. I’ll need to watch my messages more and make sure I’m not assuming too much common background with other folks here.

  2. Canada’s msm is lousy with Liberals who spend their days diagnosing Conservatives. That’s why this scandal is only focused on Cons even tho we know perfectly well all parties engage in dodgy activities that wouldn’t pass the sniff test. 

    National Review ~ Are Conservatives Nuts?
    Remember the cocky, arrogant kid in nursery school, the one who always thought that he had all the answers and that he could do whatever he wanted, and was always ignoring what the teacher had to say? Chances are this bully grew up to be a conservative.

    Right now, I have no doubt that some liberal readers are nodding their heads and saying, “Yes! That makes total sense. Conservatives are such bullies!”

    Well, according to the latest “scientific” study this is nonsense. In fact, it’s the other way around.

    Here’s the lead from a story in the Toronto Star about a new study in The Journal of Research Into Personality: “Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.”

    One reason this isn’t hard to imagine is that this is a very, very old game. Ever since Theodor Adorno came out with his scandalously flawed Authoritarian Personality in 1950, liberal and leftist social scientists have been trying to diagnose conservatism as a psychological defect or sickness. Adorno and his colleagues argued that conservatism was little more than a “pre-fascist” “personality type.”

    Perhaps the more revealing psychological insight can be found in the fact that so many liberals think disagreeing with them is a form of psychosis.

  3. Liar

    • Which part exactly, and how do you know?
      I’ll agree, being who he is he doesn’t necessarily get the benefit of the doubt, but there’s not a lot in his argument where he’s asking for it.  Basically the third paragraph, which I agree we should discount entirely, and the paragraph where he talks about their database systems.  However, that does sound plausible, so I’m not willing to just throw it out.

  4. How about calling from North Dakota?  Who paid for that Jason? As they said in Watergate, follow the money.

  5. So, the guy who ran the Conservative party war room during the 2011 elections says “It wasn’t us”.

    Hey, thanks for clearing that up.

    • That’s just poisoning the well. Imagine he hadn’t identified himself and presented the same arguments.  Go on that instead. 

      • Fair enough: I’ll put on the blinders, Let’s look at the language choices:
        “in which seemingly misleading information went out to voters”
        “some sort of notification”  “vague allegations of harassing phone calls”That’s preety clearly political messaging, but let’s step past the effort to diminish the importance with soft language. 
        How about this statement of fact?
        “So the allegation that we ran off a list of “NDP supporters” and “Liberal supporters” to target is bogus.  It can’t be done with our technology.”
        Except the very Star article he refers to as “breathless’ talks about how earlier in the campaign, automated calls went out where respondents would pick which party they preferred. Including the ability to pick “Liberal or “New Democrat”But the real reason I have to dismiss this whole piece as flackery is this: The attempt to make the thought of a dirty tricks campaign so ludicrous that it almost doesn’t need debating:”…in a manner of only a few days, we’ve gotten to a place where any annoying or erroneous call by a campaign or individual anywhere in the country during 2011 federal election is being treated as the work of Conservative masterminds.”He’s framed it so that it can only be either some guy, or the whole party. Nothing in between. And that is the structural failure.

        • Well the whole party pleaded guilty for the 2008 election fraud or whatever it was, didn’t it? I’d believe the whole party could be blamed, or at least the national headquarters.

          • Holly — the issue in 2008 was a new and ambiguous piece of legislation.  Pleading “guilty” was the only way to end an expensive court case that seemed at a stalemate. Your reasoning is absurd.

          • She is always absurd, wasting your time trying to explain common sense to “anything, any way but Harper” people.

          • Nonsense, they were cutting their losses. 

          • The issue in 2008 was the Conservative Party defrauding taxpayers of our money to buy attack ads with. Looks like theft to me, not some fairytale ambiguity.

        • See? Much better. Now we have *reason* to call him a liar.  Why would they collect Liberal or New Democrat if they’re not keeping that data? Excellent question.

          And your structural point is a good one as well.  There exists a whole range in between the entire party and a rogue operative.  Let’s make sure that we root out all of the rot.  Who knows, if they’re lucky, that might even leave them an MP or two.

          • Why would they collect Liberal or NDP if they aren’t keeping the data?  Hmm, maybe so they call back their Conservative voters later in the election and remind them to vote.
            “Now we have a reason to call him a liar”….I can see you are willing to let Elections Canada and the RCMP do their job here.

          • No.. not Liberal and NDP. Liberal OR NDP. As in exclusive or, as in they differentiate between them, which is what the RMG person said.

            Neither Elections Canada nor the RCMP are investigating Jason so far as I know. I’m just going off of what he wrote compared to what we already know.

        • CIMS assigns a numerical value, not a tag. If you’re a “Liberal” or “NDP” you receive a negative value. Lists can be generated above or below a specific value. A non-supporter would have the same numerical score, regardless of which other political party they subscribe to.

          • Then why do they differentiate between them, which is what the pollster reported?

    • LOL BANG ON! Best words said all day.

      • If the political affiliation of the person making the statement is the standard you want used to determine their truthfulness, then I can assume that the Liberal and NDP voters who are complaining about receiving robocalls need not be taken seriously.

        • clearly he wasnt talking solely about political affiliations but I can see why you might think he was.

          • Of course, he was talking solely about the political affiliation of Lietaer.

          • Read harder.

  6. A great strategy for SH would have been to announce during QP  that he was immediately authorizing the release of all the Conservative calls through RackNine to Electrions Canada instead of only the ones associated with the Guelph riding that they are compelled to produce due to the warrant. That would demonstrate that the issue was simply a local one quickly and immediately restore some of the faith in our government.

    The fact that the preferred strategy is to wait for more warrants to be issued does not indicate that the Conservatives are guilty, but it does warrant suspicion and as a result further investigation. 

    • You mean instead of just claiming to be transparent and open, actually be transparent and open?

      Hm. Novel.  Who knows, might even work.

    • Harper doesn’t have any authority to do that.  

      Local campaigns can release the calls they paid for, but the accusation is that people involved with campaigns were making calls off the books.

      Neither Harper nor the CPC national campaign can release calls that they didn’t pay for or authorize.

      • Except it wasn’t off the books, because it was with a CPC account.  That’s pretty much as on the books as you can get.

        • Do you have a source for that?  I haven’t seen that anywhere.

          • http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/22/racknine-inc-fraudulent-election-calls-traced/
            While it doesn’t directly say it was a CPC account, we know you can’t just call up with a burner phone and get a company to robocall a bunch of people out of the blue.  Whoever did it needed access to some sort of account. An account that had a list of numbers in it (unless you’re going to assert that maybe the guy manually entered all the numbers through his burner phone), and that lead the RCMP, when they went looking at Rack9, to then turn and start looking at the CPC.

            Sure, maybe it’s all circumstantial, but as I said before, odds are the guy standing over the body with the bloody knife is the one who did it.

          •  In other words, you are making up lies.

          • If you think using your brain to connect available evidence is lying, well then, that actually explains quite a lot about most of your responses.

      • They had better release everything they have, but they probably won’t, because over 50 ridings so far are reporting funny phone calls, and that sure cannot be blamed on one or two local campaigns.

      • Ironically, they could if Vic Toewes got his “privacy” bill passed!

      • Then Guelph should release theirs.  If they wouldn’t expose some systemic scheme, why wouldn’t they?

      • This is complete nonsense.  The CPC supporters throughout the CPC organization from top to bottom would do exactly what Stephen Harper asked them to do if he dared to be honest.  The ONLY information that will clear up this scandal is currently in the hands of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Harper’s challenge to the opposition to come up with evidence is absurd, because it is all in his possession.  And you can be sure that hard disks and data bases are being cleaned and shredding machines are operating  at full capacity in the CPC headquaters right now.  If Harper is serious about clearing this up he MUST invite Elections Canada, the RCMP and some impartial judicial representative to search the CPC files and databases. 

      • Interesting that CBC is reporting Conservitive party to review the tapes in Thunder Bay that they claim was never used. Le Devoir porting that candidates paid company 15000.01 advised by the national office and received nothing. 
        By your statement “Neither Harper nor the CPC national campaign can release calls that they didn’t pay for or authorize.” it is interesting that they need to go listen to the calls.

    • No political Party in their right mind would accept to releasing calls, documents or agree to an inquiry without knowing specifics.

      It isn’t right but its a fact. They had 100’s and 100’s of people working for them.

      • And by “right mind” you mean “Right mind”.
        Meanwhile, any party that didn’t think it had anything to hide wouldn’t have a problem with this, right? Just go ask the deadbeat dad Vic Toews.

        • Or you could ask a Liberal scholar { Carroll } who majored in Toews Studies.

        • Oh boy, nonsense again!

          I am not replying to shit like that!

          • And yet.. you did.

      • Paul Martin appointed Gomery without knowing the specifics.

        • And look how well it worked for him. We might still have a very strong LPC federal government as we speaking otherwise.

          It is always the last resort, it isn’t right but it is what it is.

          • So it’s not what’s right, it’s what’s best politically – seems to be theme with the Cons.

          • Just because something’s right doesn’t mean it’s Right.

          • oh wow……that just makes me ill.Claudia……I voted for harper once thinking that a change was a good thing…….seems Martin and the Libs are more ethical………

          • You misunderstood, actually I didn’t explain myself better.

            An inquiry when NO ONE and that does include Harper and Co doesn’t know the facts will be  terrible leadership and strategy. Had Martin been smart enough and had good leadership skills he would not only got the bad guys, get rid of them, be reelected with a very strong mandate but he did it wrong (Martin is a good guy with heart in the right place but he sucks as leader) and even though he wasn’t the bad guy paid for the consequences.

            And that’s what’s going to happen here, whoever did this will get cought (there is no massive conspiracy as most people on this board makes you believe, that’s just their wish because of their personal dislike) .

            In a real true democracy, you would love to see that kind of transparency and accountability but unfortunately politics doesn’t work that way, I wish it would, bless would be the day when a leader doesn’t have to worry about opposition, and if you can show me a country, any country with a true transparent democracy please let me know because I want to move there.

            ; )

      • This is nonsense.  The ONLY information that will clear up this scandal is currently in the hands of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Harper’s challenge to the opposition to come up with evidence is absurd, because it is all in his possession.  And you can be sure that hard disks and data bases are being cleaned and shredding machines are operating  at full capacity in the CPC headquaters right now.  If Harper is serious about clearing this up he MUST invite Elections Canada, the RCMP and some impartial judicial representative to search the CPC files and databases. 

        • Oh my dear God….

          You watch the X-files too much buddy!

    • The strategy that Harper is actually using is to challenge anyone else to come up with evidence the CPC has done anything wrong.  The absurdity of this is that the ONLY information that will clear up this scandal is currently in the hands of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Harper’s challenge to the opposition to come up with evidence is absurd, because it is all in his possession.  And you can be sure that hard disks and data bases are being cleaned and shredding machines are operating  at full capacity in the CPC headquaters right now.  If Harper is serious about clearing this up he MUST invite Elections Canada, the RCMP and some impartial judicial representative to search the CPC files and databases. 

  7. “Jason Lietaer is a political strategist and communicator”….

    He sure is.

  8. You’re going to let the facts get in the way of a perfectly good drive by smear.

    Does anybody else remember when the national media shamelessly accused the PM of stashing a communion wafer up his sleeve? Do you remember how excited Wherry and his cohorts were at the prospect of negatively influencing the CPC campaign? Do you remember any of those “journalists” apologizing for gleefully reporting a complete fabrication?

    I’d expect about the same again from our national media. They prove time and time again to be useless tools of the opposition, who don’t care about actual issues, and who are so eager to find that single “gotcha” moment that they completely disregard all objectivity and sanity.

    Yet, the harder they try, the more they fail. So keep it up geniuses.

    • The desperate conspiracy theorists can’t come to grips they have lost three elections. They blamed the RCMP, the media for adscam.
      They can’t accept their not the cool kids anymore and have lost their goodies. The loss of political party funding will likely bankrupt two parties. Pity.

      When ur grassroots refuse to step up and donate, volunteer and voters refuse to show up at the last three elections it is EASIER to blame someone else.

      The Sisterhood of the whiny parties….

      • I actually helped out a friend of mine who was running as a Liberal in the last election (I know, that’s going to shock some people here) and the hubris amongst the staff was absolutely shocking. When the inevitable loss came on E-day, almost nobody in the room actually believed it. It *must* have been a mistake.

        Personally, I think it’s because those on the left prefer echo chambers as opposed to an actual diversity of opinion and debate. They find places to congregate and agree with one another. If somebody suggests a different point of view, they’re usually ridiculed to the point of never coming back. This then convinces them that *everybody* must feel a certain way about a certain subject and that there’s an absolute consensus among Canadians as a whole on any given topic.

        Then, when reality inevitably strikes, their entire worlds come crumbling down around them, because the world they live in is completely separate from the reality most people live. They then return to their echo chambers and restart by finding consensus about who or what is to blame, and start the whole process over.

        One need look no further than the comments at the G&M or Wherry’s blog for evidence of this mentality.

        • As opposed to places like SDA or the Blogging Tories which are just paragons of openness and acceptance, you mean?

          • Do you honestly think SDA or Blogging Tories is less “open” and “accepting” than the Emilys, Holly Sticks, Jan, etc., who lurk here?

          • That you can put names to them here rather answers that question, doesn’t it?

          • What do you mean by lurking?  I post on here in the same way you do, buddy.

          • So… you’re comparing Wherry’s blog & Macleans in general to be comparable to SDA and Blogging Tories? I wouldn’t call either of those blogs objective. Are you saying you think that Macleans is an arm of the LPC?

          • Interesting. So you admit SDA and blogging tories are actually arms of the CPC now, and not just grass roots bloggers.

            Good to know.

          • May I help you:
            When Conservative wish to vent, they go to places like SDA or Blogging Tories. That`s normal
            When Liberals wish to vent they gather at places like MacLeans—that is just the way it is.
            I am here strictly for the entertainment.

        • I think this is a symptom of political people in general. You put 5 weeks in of long days with people who think the same way you do, and most voters you meet are either for you or “undecided” (to polite to say otherwise). A political campaign is an echo chamber.

        • A good half or more of the comments at GM are supportive of opinions like yours; maybe you should ask yourself how you manage to pull off being the eternal outsider and yet purport to represent the real world pov of mainstream Canadians all at once? Part of the reason you get no respect is likely because you can’t maintain a logically consistent pov.

        • Rick: Excellent analysis of the stifling and frantic environment that the left seem to create for themselves.

        • You worked on a Liberal campaign in the last election?

    • When you are handed a wafer you put it directly into your mouth.  You do not stand around holding it.  He should never have gone up for communion in the first place.  How ignorant of him and his staff not to know that you don’t just join in when you are not a Catholic.  It’s one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever seen.

      • LOL maybe you should send a letter to his protocol people. I’m sure Catholics all over Canada were and remain absolutely devastated. You guys are *sure* to win the next election. Thanks for making my day.

        • And if the only thing “we  guys” were concerned about is gaining power, I’m sure such sarcasm would sting.

          However, since we’re not CPC supporters.. it doesn’t.

      • I agree that he never should have taken the host, and I’m surprised he was never briefed beforehand on Catholic communion.

        But on the issue of “when you’re given a wafer, you immediately eat it,” this would depend on the Christian denomination. Orthodox Christians, for example, will take the wafer to their seat and eat it only after praying. Catholics, on the other hand, will immediately eat the wafer.

    • The National media has been going “downhill” very quickly over the past few years especially. They are so pro opposition that anything the Conservative Party of Canada said or did, The CBC wpuld find some way to be critical. 
      They overplay the actions of unruly activists , protest groups, playing anti government behavior over and over to the point it is sickening to listen to news. 
      Don’t expect any objectivity or sanity from the CBC and at times the CTV News channel is beginning to show anti CPC  leanings as well. 

      • I agree. The fact that the MSM seems to be cheer leading these days for Anonymous is the most egregious example of how low they’ve sunk. Propping up a criminal organization as the defenders of all that’s good in society is so absolutely beyond the pale, words can’t do it justice. And it’s obviously because Anonymous only fights for left-wings causes, and only attacks right-wing institutions. They’re not vigilante’s, they’re common criminals who pose a great threat to all who enjoy a free Internet. They abhor censorship, unless it’s them who are doing the censoring.

  9. So the Conservative election communications director says there was nothing wrong with Conservative communications during the elections. Well, I’m just plain shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

    •  So the opposition NDP and Liberals are saying there is a conspiracy and election fraud and implicating Conservatives.  I’m shocked!  Shocked, I tell you!

  10. I was with you all the way to the very last line . . . and then you blew it.
    Adam Carroll was wrong to do it but it wasn’t illegal. It was his silly “payback” for Toew’s you’re-with-the-pornographers insult. Comparing his work in any way with possible election fraud is about as red a herring as it’s possible to find

    •  Oh Crap. The Libs and the MSM are all calling this teapot tempest evidence of widespread “dirty tricks” from the PM down. It was so widespread and prevalent that no one mentioned it until 9 months after these supposed massive attacks on voter gullibility. Very little evidence except in ONE RIDING it seems, and a whole host of innuendo and defamatory accusation. Dirty tricks, however, is certainly the work of Adam Carroll, clearly. fair comment.

        •  Exactly: A small number of ridings in Ontario and a couple of other provinces – NOT widespread, and all apparently to little or no effect. The rest of the conjecture about the origin from CBC and other lib/left media – MUST be the Conservatives from the PM down, because the Adscam Libs and dirty tricks Carroll Libs couldn’t be conceived of doing anything even remotely untoward. The over-the-top wild accusations from Rae and Martin are simply not to be believed. And I had so many robocalls I just hung up, like most folks would.

          • There are now reports of hoax calls in 52 ridings.

          • yeah….  such grevious reports such as “they phoned at meal times!,  I thought they sounded rude!, and I got phoned early in the morning or late at night!!

            The ones that include the misleading EC fraudulent calls.  You can count on one hand.  Not to mention the amount of ridings out of your 52 that were in reach of a different winner given just several thousand cases of the fraud…

            But lets not let the facts get in the way of arm waving.

          • Graffle you wrote above it was “in ONE RIDING” and now you write “A small number of ridings in Ontario and a couple of other provinces” which is false; at least 52 ridings all across Canada, even some in Alberta. You should give up, you cannot just dismiss this.

            Looks like a nation-wide conspiracy.

          • He will now say  it’s a nation-wide conspiracy by the opposition parties (and the press) to smear the Cons.

    • Oh, since it wasn’t illegal what Carroll did, no big deal?  Great standard.

      Meanwhile, a bunch of crappy phone calls are a big deal? Interesting standard.

      • Oh, so Carrol’s fair-comment response to a bill and a Minister who despicably slandered the majority of Canadians who opposed the bill is a big deal but attempting to subvert democracy is all in a day’s work? Interesting standard.

        • Fair comment? Wow. You are one heck of a hypocrite.

      • A bunch of crappy phone calls which break the law and attempt to take away the most basic right of our democracy. Yes. That is a big deal. Why do you hate democracy so?

      • You’re smarter than that. 

  11. I know I feel better already.

  12. Great article, I would have let the last line go however. it makes it seem like you are defending the alleged vote suppression by equating it with inappropriate use of HOC IT infrastructure.

  13. Thanks to Macleans for getting the CPC side of this in a chunk larger than a soundbyte.


    • You figure the Conservatives are not being heard due to a lack of opportunity to speak? That’s more than a bit of a stretch. It looks to me like the Conservatives are repeating the same tired and transparent talking points by choice.

      The poor conservatives, even with a Strong, Stable Majority they are still the being picked on and victimized by the big kids.  

      • You figure the Conservatives are not being heard due to a lack of opportunity to speak?


        Have you MET this guy? 

      •  Where you got all that from John’s comment, I have no idea.

  14. Oh man, the more we know the sillier it gets.

    • I firmly believe election fraud is highly objectionable, a crime. But the actions and evidence, oh brother…

      • It’s fun to post and speculate, but we aren’t going to really know about this for many months, that’s what I believe.  But just as phone records proved the Shafia family murders, at some time in the future, phone records will show the innocence or guilt of the cpc.  Evidence will be hard to scare up, especially if the prime minister sees no good reason to hand over their books of payments, etc. during the election period.  Then again, the sponsorship scandal rolled out over years, right, and this might too.  No speedy answers, but justice is worth it.

        • Phone records didn’t prove the murders. A whole lot more evidence on top of the phone records proved it. But kudos for being the voice of reason. While others rush to condemn the parties involved, I also agree that with time and patience, the truth will come out.

          • You are right; I overstated its importance, but the phone records really helped the police even come up with their theories. 

          •  That being said, a lot of people following the case were proven to be right all along….

        • Agreed, whatever happened in Guelph needs to be addressed but if you are expecting a smoking gun, you’ll be waiting long time. There isn’t one.

          Whoever “Pierre Poutine” is, isn’t coming from top CPC brass, it’s just plain common sense.

          • It was common sense that the sun revolved around the earth. That heavier things fell faster than lighter things. That black people did not deserve to be free. That women did not have the brains to vote.

            Common sense is simply an appeal to the masses by another name. It’s a substitute for actually thinking.

          • Oh Puh-lease!

            How well that your common sense works for you? Not too well IMO so far everythime you cried wolf has backfired BIG TIME….

            Common sense is to wait to see the evidence, clear tangible evidence and then go from there…

            Wishing that your hatred becomes real this time around, it’s well, lack of common sense!

          • If common sense is to wait to see the evidence, then by declaring (as you do above) that there simply was no conspiracy — despite there being absolutely no evidence for that assertion — implies you only use common sense when it suits your preconceived notions.

            That’s even worse. That’s not just unthinking, that’s an unthinking hypocrite.

  15. I’m interested in the accountability protocols supposedly put in place on-site.  Could more information be provided on the nature of the complaints the system put in place to correct them?  

  16. Show up with some real information such as the results of an indepth internal party investigation and we’ll start to call you by your full last name rather than the first three letters.

  17. A decent read – right up until the last sentence. If you want to drag Adam Carroll into this – which you just did – then I hope you’re going to demand exactly the same sort of contrition from the CPC leader in this matter as the LPC leader demonstrated over Vikileaks. But you won’t. That last sentence turns this from a decently-thought out article by someone who happens to be a CPC supporter, but is even-handed, into partisan hackery. If the Libs are to be raked over the coals and lose the moral high ground over a staffer acting independently, then so should the CPC. But I just don’t think you’re going to demand that. 

    • Bob Rae has the courage to apologize properly, something a good leader needs to have. Harper lacks that courage.

      • Yes, he really seemed contrite and remorseful, and probably very pissed off at his staff. But he had no other choice but to address that, had he not and became public his Nixon strategy would have fall apart in seconds (it already has but at a different level) Moronic Trudeau is not going to be seen the same way (but that for Rae is an advantage, probably loathes him anyway) So yes he showed leadership but not so much about the goodness of his heart only partially.

        • While the coward Harper will deny, deny, deny until he finds himself doing the perp walk.

          No, Rae doesn’t have a Nixon strategy, it’s Harper that will soon be saying “I am not a crook” and trying to cover up what cannot be covered up.

          As for Trudeau, he’s smarter and funnier than I expected. His tweets are a lot wittier than your comments, Claudia.

          • Oh yes, Rae did have a Nixon strategy. Blew in his face tho, thanks to a hater like you.

            And well, you liking Trudeau… what can I say?! It shows how poorly your taste is!

            So my dear, go on keep on hating and being absolutely miserable, I see it is working wonders for you.

  18.  “Oh, and how about that Adam Carroll…?”  I wish Jason would stick to golfing, too.

  19. Uh huh…

    Jason Lietaer is a talented communicator and strategist, specializing
    in strategic branding, crisis management, communication and political
    and marketing campaigns.
    Immediately prior to re-joining Enterprise Canada, he served as the
    Executive Director of the Conservative Resource Group – providing
    cutting-edge research, marketing and communications tools to the federal
    Conservative caucus.

    He was responsible for developing political communication products,
    collaborating on branding and marketing decisions and acting as a
    liaison between the federal Conservative caucus and Prime Minister’s

    Jason has also worked as a senior advisor to two Ontario premiers, in
    the offices of Ministers in the Ontario provincial government and for
    Members of Provincial Parliament.

    A graduate of the University of Guelph with a degree in Management
    Economics, Jason was also General Manager of the Ontario Flue-Cured
    Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board for five years.

    In his various roles, Jason has designed and executed winning
    campaigns, and has spearheaded several communications efforts using the
    newest and most effective social media tools.

    • That *is* an impressive resume.

    • What’s wrong with that? I know whenever I want sage advice on political ethics, the first person I turn to is a former tobacco lobbyist.

      • Cough *Levant* cough.

    • “There’s no whore like an old whore”

      — Brian Mulroney

  20. You devote a total of 4 sentences to adressing the Robocall scandal in this post.

    The first pleads ignorance. The next two suggest a lone gunman, who may or may not have been disciplined already. The last is just a drive by smear on Elections Canada.

    The second two allegations you address are essentially straw men. Even still, your explanations are strange.

    The first you dismiss as a poor strategic choice. That’s only true if you don’t deny it, which you are doing.

    The second you dismiss as a technological impossibility. Really. Conservatives don’t knock on doors anymore? Don’t identify their support? It’s impossible for the Conservative party to create lists of who supports them and doesn’t?

    Is that also true in Mr. Cotler’s riding where you were calling identified Liberals to guage support in the event of a (fabricated) by-election? Something’s not adding up there.

  21. Agreed the last reference to vicileaks blows the author’s credibility – that and telling snide references to EC. But he seems to have a point about the star story. If they were told to ID themselves as calling on behalf of the CPC, why say you were calling from EC? Just negative caller feedback? Something doesn’t add up. I just don’t know if it’s the media coverage or this guy belatedly shoveling the partisan bs on?

    • I think his closeness to the situation blows his credibility.  But I also think that over the next few days, weeks, we will have to try to sift through what is credible and what is not — and that the actual investigation will likely take a long time.  I think we will smell the slow burn of potential cpc corruption for ages to come.  In any calling scenario, there will be some incorrect calls; but the patterns of corrupt calls are becoming too hard to ignore.

    • Only one person in the Star story is quoted as saying some callers said they were from Elections Canada; and when she was on the Current this morning, she was not willing to confirm the exact wording.

  22. You’re kidding.  The allegations are about covert ops (specifically robocalls, and outside call centres), not volunteers calling out of campaign offices.

  23. A question for Mr. Lietaer. And no, I don’t expect he’ll be answering…
    When you say that “… we’ve had some highly publicized disagreements with Elections Canada in the past… ” are you referring to the last time you were found guilty of electoral fraud? Seems to me you were claiming innocence in the early days of that one too.

    When it comes to the Harper Conservative ethos, I think PVL’s heartfelt defence of the Cotler slanders is the most sincere expression of Conservative thinking extant.

    You’re merely trying to spin and obfuscate and smear, as is your default mode of behaviour. That Van Loan fellow though, he was Testifying! 

    • I guessed that as well, but how do guys looking at the phone banks stop in and out payments? 

    • Maybe one of those highly publicized disagreements with Election Canada would be the fact that EC felt they should get a warrant to search the Conservative offices to see how they spent their own money while never going after the Liberals who spent public funds from Sponsorship on election campaigns. 

      •  Please, if your political zeal drives you to call our democratic institutions into question, then I say you’ve crossed the line.  Elections Canada is world famous as a paragon of efficiency and accountability.  If our ruling party calls its impartiality into question, then I say again: this is not my Canada.

        • Ha, ha, ha, ha… that was a funny one… “paragon of efficiency and accountability”. ha, ha, ha, ha… Elections Canada… ha, ha, ha, ha…

        • Keyman:
            Rather then rhetoric about how EC is a paragon…blah, blah, blah, maybe you could explain my original query. Why did EC not go after the Liberals for directing public funds into their campaigns and then feel free to bring cameras and Liberals along with the Mounties on a raid at CPC offices?

          • Why is it every time the Tories are caught, instead of being ashamed they just start yelling “Libs did it first! Adscam! Adscam! Lalala I can’t hear you!”

          • Because they really do seem to believe that two wrongs make it Right.

          • I am not comparing the degree of wrong in Adcsam compared to the In and Out other than one was public funds and the other was CPC funds.
            I am talking about the difference in the reaction of EC to the two stories.

          • Actually, the thing about the CPC case is that it wasn’t just CPC funds, it was about CPC getting refunded by the taxpayer for their illegal expenses.

      •  “… the fact that EC felt they should get a warrant to search the Conservative offices…”

        Boy, you guys really hate those warrants, eh? 

        • Personally, I like warrants for the purposes of raiding Con offices, especially when they come accompanied with Liberano party members and CBC cameras in tow… those are the best kinds… and fair too.

          • If you like warrants you stand with the pedophiles. Sorry dude, it seems a little harsh to me too, but that’s the new normal in Harper’s dystopia. And you really seem to like the guy…

      • Didn’t they have to ge a warrant because the Con party would not co-operate with them? 

    • Maybe he was referring to Elections Canada refusing to investigate obviously fraudulent “home” addresses (about 3,000) in Edmonton Centre in 2006 – until it was leaked to the press. Lawyers, businessmen of all stripes were using their business address for tax returns, so EC used it for their polling stations. That’s REAL fraud, and no, EC didn’t want to do anything about it when it was pointed out to them as “the lists have already been printed” or some such load. I was there. I was a scrutineer and I SAW lists with names highlighted, to be confronted if they showed up to vote.

      And that’s just one riding out of 308.

    • Hmmmmm cheap shots, highly debatable. You obviously didn’t understand what happened between EC and the CPC, suggestion read it again.

      • I must have missed something, are you seriously suggesting that it’s a cheap shot to comment on a recent conviction for electoral fraud when the topic at hand is electoral fraud? Seriously?

        I’d be fascinated to hear your explanation of why the Harper gang entered a guilty plea when they weren’t really guilty. Please elaborate and feel free to get as detailed and as convoluted as you need to… I promise to read it all.

        • I think you need to read what “In and out ”  and The
          Public Prosecution Service of Canada withdrew Elections Act charges
          against Doug Finley and three other Conservative officials. A mistake yes, HUGE you bet! But a mistake.

          • Keep on polishing that turd.

  24. I accuse you of nothing with regards to these phone calls but I do accuse you of naming to the Senate a campaign manager you knew was under investigation for electoral fraud, and paying $52,000 to get the charges dropped in exchange for his keeping his senate seat (about $100,000 a year plus expenses) until he’s 75.  That’s a documented fact that I accuse the Conservatives of doing.  It’s shameful and you approve of this, and in so doing you encourage fraudulent behaviour.

    What am I doing losing my time explaining something like this to a partisan.

  25. Clearly the media and the opposition can’t come to grips with the REALITY of three election losses and the upcoming budget that will result in layoffs in the public service.

    Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.” “Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave.”

    • Wow! That thesis sounds balanced and credible – sorta like claiming all conservatives are ALL born natural misogynists, just cuz I say so.

  26. and where did all this money come from?

    • All the money?  Racknine…ten thousand calls for less than 200 dollars….plus the price of a throw away cell phone…not a lot of money needed.

      • According to L. Ian MacDonald – a guy who would seem to be fairly well informed in the mechanics of electoral politics – the cost of such an exercise would be about $30,000. Exclusive of the burner cell phone.

        • http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Simons+RackNine+under+probe+robocalls+affair/6218645/story.html
          Their lowest rate would get you $0.019/minute/call. So 10k calls is just under $200. It’s hard to see what would qualify you for the lowest rate though, as RackNine doesn’t even seem to advertise that service. And I expect long distance charges are put on top of that.

          L. Ian MacDonald’s numbers are, I expect, based on a live call-centre, not robocalling.

          Guelph has some 90k electors.  Assume a 60% non-CPC rate, as the voting totals expressed, cut that in half again for undecideds/no-answers, and you’re looking at about 25k calls.  So maybe about $500 if you assume they got the lowest rate. With LD charges what they are these days, that fee is probably nominal.

          Not bad. Takes away some of the support from the “too expensive for a rogue agent” theory.

          So, maybe this was just a bad seed that needs to be caught and made to do community service for the rest of his natural life. If only we had a government that actually believed in transparency, and so would open things up so that people could verify this.

  27. This was very informative and clarifying. Thank you. It was great until you brought up Adam Carroll for no discernible reason. I’d suggest removing that as it takes away from the general impression I got from the beginning that you were just trying to set the record straight rather than engage in some petty bickering.

  28. I hate this system sometimes…

  29.  um rick,
    You do know that the phone is regsitered to Pierre Poutine from seperatist way?
    I mean is that not the ultimate example of a group who is so closed off to the rest of canada that  they believe their wown bull?

  30. Oh puh-lease! And you this how? As usual pure BS

  31. The Liberals just fired the guy who executed the most brilliant political message in the last year.  Funny, ironic, and above all, legal. 

    They should be nominating him to be leader of the party instead of the hapless Bob Rae.  Losers

    Maybe the last line in the article is a job offer.

    • The real Diogenes would cockpunch you on sight for being a chump.  Brilliant indeed:  Carroll posted from a Hill IP address during work hours without using a proxy, or using a forty buck throwaway phone.

      • He means the message was brilliant. He’s not claiming the guy was up to Tory-level coverups.

      • Obviously Carroll didn’t go through Con boot cmp.  I thought it was only criminals who used those phones…

  32. I my riding (Palliser in SK) the night before and the day of the election, the most NDP intensive polls all got robocalls saying the NDP candidate supported a 10% (!) increase in the price of gasoline by way of new taxes…a complete lie. He went from ahead in the polls for the last week of the campaign by up to 6 point to losing the election. Whadda ya make of that, smart guy??!?

    • Hey I live in Palliser too (and got those calls too).  How do YOU like having the oldest MP in Canada?

    • The price of gas would go up with the NDP’s cap and trade plan.

  33. Side note: awful pic of harp — his beefy head is as big as a buffalo’s.  Must custom order shirts for extra beefy necks.

  34. Stephen Harper need only make two public statements for this
    to blow over and properly erase all suspicion:

    1) I have ordered my entire caucus and all their staff to proactively share
    ALL knowledge available about misleading, harassing or voter suppressing calls
    with elections Canada and the RCMP.


    2) If I or anyone in my caucus possesses knowledge about these misleading,
    harassing or voter suppressing calls that we have not yet shared with elections
    Canada or the RCMP, I will resign. 


    • I don’t even think he’d need to go as far as number 2.  Just the first point would take him most of the way. 

  35. so this is what it looks like when three monkeys type

  36. Even discounting the source, some good points are made here. I think the opposition parties are getting carried away with the accusations, running the risk of making themselves seem like fools with all the little petty complaints. Complaining about calls during meals or on the Sabbath takes away from the genuine, serious allegations re RackNine.

    The RackNine story, if proven out, would be a clear act of lawbreaking that, depending on who they can tie to it, has the potential to be a genuine scandal and disgrace. The Libs & NDP would be wise to stick with that, and not try slapping all the extra nonsense on top.

    I don’t like the CPC. I’d like nothing better than to see proof that my gut feelings about them are true. But really: Enough with the bogus BS, opposition! You’re helping the CPC, not hurting.

    • That’s pretty much where i am at. Love to see these guys nailed but worried the opposition will blow it through amateur crap like vikileaks – they should back off a bit and leave it to EC and the cops.

      • Good points to both of you.
        Pat {largest electoral crime in Canadian history!} Martin should be told he is helping only those across the aisle.

        •  Is this Pat ( largest electoral crime in Canadian history) Martin possibly related to Pat (black ops) Martin?

    •  You mean see more proof, surely?  or are robocalls the final ethical line they hadn’t yet crossed for you :)

      • I mean concrete, nail ’em to the wall, take ’em to court & fry their asses evidence – and right now while the robocalls look like they may be it, all the evidence isn’t in yet. So the opposition needs to hold back on all those other crackpot accusations (“My granny stubbed her toe running to answer a Tory call. Obviously they hoped the injury would make it too painful to vote!”) and focus on provable claims of lawbreaking. Subject: [macleansca] Re: “Who’s calling?” “The Conservatives.”

  37. Jason there’s smoke and fire from your crew here…so get some rounds on the links in prior to being served by the RCMP and fitted with an orange jumpsuit…hopefully through C-10 you’ll get the mandatory minimum you deserve. :)

  38. You say the CPC does not have the technology in CIMS to pull together the information to determine who supports what party, however in the interview with the RMG workers, she clearly indicated that earlier in the campaign when they were polling, they had been taught to identify party support and to press a particular buttons if they had an identified liberal or ndp supporter.  Seems that sort of sorting would provide a pretty comprehensive list don’t you think? 

  39. @ JASON LIETAER :  if you’re going to write a piece from the point of view of a COnservative staffer, at least please don’t pretend to be soooooo naive that you ruin your article’s credibility.

    ” It appears that Elections Canada is investigating, and that a campaign aide has resigned. ”

    No, we KNOW they are, and we KNOW a campaign aide resigned, and his name: Michael Sona. His name was in every Canadian outlet. Your attempt to parse your words so as to render every allegation doubtful or vague casts doubt on all your arguments, and Macleans should have refused to publish this lame spin.

    • Oh brother, another nonsense comment. Reading too much between the lines, aren’t we?

      Can’t come up with nothing better?!

      Yes, we know for a fact EC is and has been investigating and that Michael Sona has resigned but do you know why? Do you have proof of why he did resign, tangible proof? When you do please let me know, if responsible he needs to pay for the consecuences to full extent of the law.

  40. The author links allegations of call centre induced election fraud to “typical call centre behaviours.” He forgot to add impersonating Elections Canada officials to his list of tactics that Canadians encounter with call centres on a daily basis.  He also neglected to mention that slimy and deceptive call centre tactics, while legal for the purpose of business, are not in any way ok when interacting with voters, especially on election day. If such tactics resulted in voter confusion or deception, they are illegal and have no place in any election messaging.  These impact of these tactics can’t be explained away as result of bankrupt call centre cultures. 
    This piece is an obvious attempt to soften serious allegations of systemic fraud emanating from one party’s political machinery. Why else would the writer allude to the vikileaks poster Adam Carroll?  While vikileaks aired out the dirty laundry of a Minister and violated the unspoken orthodoxy that personal lives are off-bounds in Ottawa political culture, it didn’t break any Canadian laws, nor did it impair any voters from exercising their rights on election day.  To equate it to allegations of widespread election fraud illustrates the desperation of the spin masters in the Conservative party who remain trapped underneath this scandal.  

  41. Oh, and how about Irwin Cotler?

    Did the Conservatives come out and apologize or did they try and defend their dirty tricks with some lame excuse?

    All parties are guilty of dirty tricks.

    • No, they came out and admitted it and said they figured it was just fine. Just part of the game.

      Too bad nobody’s told them that my government isn’t a game.

  42. Ahh, I see the con-trolls have crawled over here!!  O well, freedom of speech they say.  On the other hand,
     Because of Harper’s infamous bullying, muzzling, funding cuts, firing, and shutting down tactics, I am hesitant to put much faith in the investigations of either EC or the RCMP!!  I think we ought to insist on an INDEPENDENT PUBLIC ENQUIRY – nothing less.

    So, if you are all feeling as betrayed and outraged as I am, here are links to 2 petitions – one is for a call for by-elections,  the other is to the Gov Gen,  asking him to dissolve this 41st Parliament:

    The best way we can effect positive change is with an independent public inquiry,and to sign these petitions, then pass them on, share, email the links, im, tweet to your friends and networks .. as far and as wide as you can.  The ‘squeakier the wheels, the better the grease!’  This could be an historic time for our Country – let’s not allow it to die out… Please!

    • Actually, the best way we can effect positive change is come next election, throw every single one of them out. Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green. Every incumbent. Gone. They couldn’t make our House of Commons a decent place, they don’t deserve to be there. Not a single one of them.

  43. Uh-huh.  Typical reaction.  A party representative claims his own party toed the ethics line and at least one other party breached it.

  44. What self-serving garbage. Nothing but a party-authored attempt at distraction. If this government had any balls it would investigate the allegations, many of which are DOCUMENTED with Elections Canada.
    And re: Andrew Carroll, since when did publicly spreading the truth become a crime? If Vic Toewes doesn’t like people talking bad about him he should probably stop screwing – and impregnating – staffers barely into their 20s. Family values, indeed.

    • Please, you’re a Liberal. All you ever post is attacks on Harper and the CPC. No matter how many times facts prove you wrong time after time you just drone on. Don’t you ever get tired of repeating the same message. Get a life.

      • Please – you’re a Tory. All you do is blast anyone who disagrees with you.

        What facts? List a few.

  45.    This is definitely a ‘black ops operation as described by Paul ( don’t I look like a prof) Martin.
      How high does the rot go? How could any find the names and numbers of supporters of a candidate?

       I see the dark American-like hand of  Stephen Harper,all over this……………..

     Or anyone with a touch of political knowledge and a computer could go to Elections Canada and get the names and addresses of everyone that contributed to any candidate last election.  Shocking,but true. Guess what,equally shocking is that these people who actually donated out of their own pocket are likely to be supporters of that candidate still.  It’s all there,for anyone to see,for any incumbent,even the evil Conservatives. Oh no,I’ve said too much,must take the pill , the jackboots(Martin’s word BTW) are approaching. No.no,help me Justi

  46.  Spin, obfuscate and smear?  Pot, meet kettle.  Spin, obfuscation and smears are the content of your comments.

  47. It wasn’t a political message. He put Toews personal life on the internet.  That’s not political at all. That’s sleazy. And then he used the threat of extortion. Even more sleazy. Your hero.

    • Calling me and the majority of Canadians child pornographers (ok; “standing with”; not much better) made it personal, bucko. If he apologized, I missed it. All he did was give Vic a teaste of his own medicine & graphically demonstrate the kinds of things the bill will enable the govt to do to us. And yes, I think the current governing party would use the law to spy on / blackmail its oppoents.

      • You better watch out. They’ll probably start with you. I’ll recommend that you’re added to the top of the black list (along with all the other Keiths in Brampton). What the heck, why not spy on all of Brampton!

  48. Too many people here not willing to view the issue in a fair and balanced way. Conservatives must be guilty because, after all, they are Conservatives. No other proof needed. I begin to think that the human capacity for reasoning is not much beyond that of the Dark Ages. This is group-think at its worst.

  49.  ”   I picked it up and said hello several times. No voice responded but I
    could hear voices in the background. I then said, ‘Hello, speak please.
    You’ve called me.’ ” Damning proof of a conspiracy that reaches to the top echelons of the Conservative party, or a prank pulled one boring afternoon at a call center staffed by the young.    Get out as quick as you can Bob, we traced the number to your house !!!!!!!

  50. People who were called and as a result of misinformation could not vote should go to the RCMP.

  51. So the guy who runs the Conservative war room writes an article denying any wrongdoing.  Since when does this pass as journalism?

    • When his bias is clearly identified in the piece.

    • You mean, you have to be a journalist to work here.

    • Writes a Blog…, in the McLeans Blogging section.

      McLeans has lots of people who blog.

      It passes as journalism when people who can’t tell the difference between a Blog and a Journalistic article read without comprehending.

  52. Jason Leiter was the head of opposition research for the CPC– Not a person i would put out there as a surrogate on the issue.

  53. I filed an election canada complaint about the local conservative MP having an election sign placed on the property of the public school where I voted… it was taken down.. but  there was no post election prosecution for the sign being illegally placed. Come on Vic tough on crime.. lets get started

  54. The CPC should have been de-certified, made non existent with the in and out scandal… this takes it to the next level and if the justice department pleads the conservatives out.. then every murderer, rapist, sex offender deserves the same treatment.you have no credibility for justice!

  55. Shame on Maclean’s for instantly publishing the CONSERVATIVE PARTY WAR ROOM MEMBER’S take on the story. Try real journalism for a change. This is undoubtedly the weakest editorial board in Canadian publishing. 

    • If you want Journalism….  go read the part where the journalists Print stories.   This is a Blog….   In the blogging section….

  56. You saying your new tech is worse than NDP Vote? Baaaaaahahahaaaa!

    I’ll give you one for trying to make nothing out of what’s looking like one of the biggest cases of electoral fraud this country has seen in over a century!  Your explanation does little to improve that appearance, btw. The mom in me advises cleaning up some more of that mess before the NDP and Libs find even more evidence to submit to Elections Canada and the RCMP.  I hear those bodies are already conducting further investigations which, given today’s comments by the folks at Democracy Watch, should have started with more vigour months ago.

    But hey, nice try, fella! And for a graduate of the University of Guelph, no less, where Conservative operatives were busy using shell campus orgs to attack public interest research groups– oh, after your time, I’m sure, but, well, you know how culture is, eh?  And with your Conservative connections across the country, well who knows what else you might wanna give a washing.

    You are a guy who likes dirty politics if the recent Tim Hudak and federal election pre-election and election campaign are any indication.  And just what was L. Ian MacDonald not talking about when he mentioned targetting “Blue Grits” and bragging about all the GTA seats the Conservatives won?

    • Of course they are running investigations..   The opposition made the allegations.    But if they didn’t provide those organizations more than they provided to the public… I wouldn’t expect the investigations to last that long.

  57. “CIMS, does not differentiate between NDP and Liberal supporters in these
    ridings. So the allegation that we ran off a list of “NDP supporters”
    and “Liberal supporters” to target is bogus.  It can’t be done with our

    The CIMS does identify “non-supporters”. Check the link to a powerpoint presentation in this Toronto Star article.


  58. I’ll keep holding my breath for the decision of the RCMP, over the opinion of some Tory grunt.

  59. just days before the federal election, I filed into the Conservative party war room and took my seat. Everyone who’s had this experience knows the drill: an empty desk, a forlorn looking computer, some sort of phone and five weeks of exhilaration and hell staring you in the face.
    Which is it? Just days, or five weeks?

    • The election was April 26 to May 2,   …..Just days before it started….  

      so 5 weeks before election day…..

      Why isn’t General Math required to leave the home, let alone vote??

  60. So let’s sum up shall we?

    To paraphrase: “…I didn’t see anything like this happening, so it can’t be true! Oh, except of course that the Liberals were doing it to us! Honest! Oh and hey, how about that Vikileaks thing? Isn’t that disgusting gossip just so much more horrible than voter fraud?…” Yada yada yada.

    Sorry, but it beggars belief that so many reports from so many places by so many voters concerning calls from Elections Canada THAT ELECTIONS CANADA SAYS IT DOES NOT MAKE could be done without group coordination, without use of an electoral database, and without the knowledge of someone in a position of power that oversees multiple ridings.

    And to me that’s a major understatment.

    As a side note concerning the complaints about harassment rather than misdirect voters to other polling stations: Perhaps you idiots might wish to consider that you’re deluge of robo-calls, of which I received half a dozen alone over several months, might be a case in which you’re ticking people off beyond their patience level!?!?

    It’s like these people take nothing seriously except whatever will lead to power.

    • I have no problem sending Stephen Harper to jail if that is where he belongs for Election fraud, but so far you have not made a case, not even a little one. Where is the tangible proof that CPC top brass coordinated this?

      That some campaing moron committed fraud on Guelph isn’t proof that Harper or team had any idea about it.

      Read some of the blind partisans here and there bunch of nonsense and hatred, they all if could would make exactly the same thing, commit fraud to get rid of Harper.

      You hate the man, fair enough. But you better have proof of what you are saying, real tangible proof.

      • “I hate the man”?

        Where’d you get that? Seems to me I didn’t even mention Stephen Harper in my comment, or “top brass” for that matter.

        To paraphrase: What I said is that it beggars belief that this wasn’t orchestrated by someone with access to a well-established database who was focused on multiple ridings, i.e. not someone who was merely part of the local campaigns, but someone who was part of the national campaign.

        I don’t really know or care whether Harper himself was directly involved.

        What concerns me is that clearly someone in a position of power (not neccesarily the “top brass”) felt assured enough of their position to orchestrate something this elaborate.

        And again, I don’t see how this could not be elaborate given what evidence we have.

        To me this constitutes treason, and the fact that the CPC seems to have little interest in finding these people to me speaks volumes about their character, if nothing else.

  61. Bob Rae will resort to anything to focus on the wrong doings of the Goverment,  after all the Liberals think it their God Giving Right to be the only one to Goveren Canada, The NDP are in a so call Leadership Race, so this is what they will do to get a rise in the polls.  Anyone @ this point can say they got calls, where is the solid proof,  A person is Inocent untill proven Guilty, does this not work for Goverments also.   ????? 

    • Given that this whole thing was started by Elections Canada, I’m not sure precisely how it is you’ve managed to convince yourself that this is a fabrication of the LPC.

      Elections Canada doesn’t do month long investigations of nothing.

      They don’t subpoena records over nothing.

      Thousands of people report being called and misdirected to non-existent polling stations on election day.

      What part of that has you focused on partisan politics and not voter fraud?

  62. It seems to me that the most alarming evidence that the CPC must have done something very wrong, is that MacLeans and the CPC have together agreed to have a CPC campaign official write a propaganda piece poorly disguised as journalism. 

    So do we have investigative journalism: NO  Comment from other parties: NO  Comment from Elections Canada: NO   Comment from the RCMP: NO  But do we have obvious propaganda created by one of the individuals most likely to have perpetrated this election fraud: YES 

    Man oh man this is really starting to smell to high heaven.

    • Yeah. You’re right. Maclean’s, for balance’s sake, should have gotten comments from the RCMP and Elections Canada about ongoing investigations. Fantastic idea. #notreally

      No investigative journalism? I’m pretty sure Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor would be quite offended by your slur. Maclean’s linked to their story.

      No comments from other parties? Head on over to Aaron Wherry’s blog, where you’ll find every single minor complaint from every opposition MP reported verbatim, without the slightest bit of due diligence done on their claims.

      That seems to be the gold standard for the kind of one-sided journalism you’re looking for. Enjoy!

      • For heavens sake Maher and McGregor work for PostMedia, not MacLeans.  Except for this article by a CPC operative, MacLeans has published no in depth article about this issue.  There were only short quotes from Maher and McGregor.  Aaron Wherry’s work is good, but as you said it is simply stuff taken verbatim from Question Period not requiring much in the way of journalism.  The bias from MacLeans is decidedly in the direction of CPC and no investigative material is on display.  This is certainly NOT gold standard. 

        • I went out and got Jason Lietaer to write for us because I was so happy with the work Jordan Owens and Adam Goldenberg did at the Liberal convention that we decided to widen our partisan portfolio. We’ll get a New Democrat too, hopefully within the next several days. All our partisan bloggers will be encouraged to write about what they like, as they like. 

          If John Geddes hasn’t been writing on the website about a big story, you can be certain he is working on an article for the magazine, which we like to put out most weeks and which draws a readership many multiples the size of our blog readership. John’s first story appears tomorrow. It won’t be his last.

  63. Michael Sona was served up by the CPC in the hopes that his resignation would blunt criticism.  But now we know that Sona has publicly denied any involvement in the election fraud activity or that this was why he resigned.  He claims he resigned because the media attention was harming his family and that he did nothing wrong. 

  64. More right wing propaganda.

    • Yes…   Easily dismissed by sticking your fingers in your ears and going  “lalalallalalalallalalla”

      If you are not open to facts, you may resume flapping your arms in the air.  Leave the important conversations to the people who don’t live in their parents basement.

  65. This has as much credibilty as hearing a Taliban insurgent say that “I never heard derogatory comments about Jews, so that proves there were none.”

  66. this is exactly why i stopped reading Macleans

  67. The phone calls were real. I was a polling station supervisor in Guelph, responsible for 6 stations located at the ?
    Best Western Royal Brock Hotel? Several people over a period of 3hours starting around 10:30 until just after lunch, came in complaining they had been phoned and told polling stations had been changed. The callers claimed they were from Elections Canada, a clear case of fraud. I asked each complainant details and in three cases I called the RCMP to report the situation? When I called, the RCMP had not heard from anybody up to that point. One concerned citizen gave me the phone number that was on their phone caller ID, and I gave that. Umber to the RCMP? I tried calling the number, it was not answering. I also called
    Elections Canada after the first two people complained

  68. The people at Elections Canada in Guelph also reported the calls to Elections Canada in Ottawa, so in fact the information was sent to Elections Canada within hours of the situation. More and more calls started being phoned in. I personally spoke with 9 people who wanted to report these calls and lodge complaints. I went to each candidate’s scrutinizes, sat them down and told them to phone their candidates offices to warn them of what was happening and that the incidents had been reported to Elections Canada and the RCMP and to tell them that if they were anyway linked to the calls, the RCMP would be investigating. I am not siding with anybody! I was doing my job as a representative of the Canadian government in trying to protect the rights of Electors. This is reality, not fiction, Richard Buck, Polling Station Supervisor! Guelph, Ontario

  69. “I don’t dismiss the possibility of individuals acted on their own to skirt the rules. But I also know that it wasn’t just Liberal or NDP supporters who received inaccurate information on polling day. On a day when probably a combined 20 million GOTV calls go out from the campaigns, mistakes happen.
    It is interesting how many “individuals” skirted the rules ( translation: acted illegally) in various ridings across the country. An attitude of entitlement and blatant disregard for the rules is what the Conservative Party projects to the public and no amount of spinning can hide that. They flout the rules and like an indulgent parent, the top brass make excuses. The erosion of the rules and the spirit behind them will only lead to a less democratic process than we have now and we should all be very concerned. They are laughing behind their hands every time the Canadian people let them get away with their various antics.

  70. Did I miss the notice “This is a paid advertisement”? This writer is so full of it his eyes are brown.

  71. There is no way the Prime Minister or any of his top advisors, and or MP’s would be involved in such a stupid prank.  They’re too smart, and yes…I do believe principled to agree to such a silly prank.  Find the culprits and let’s get on with getting our economy going again,

  72. Jason, I have asked you over on Twitter that you should fully disclose this “new language to our volunteer and employee agreements” that you refer to. You said you don’t have a copy, and I replied that that is something you could easily remedy by asking for one, preferably the one you had to sign. Did you actually sign anything? Would you fully disclose please?

  73. What a load of fucking rubbish, now you want to use the people who worked in the call centres as scapegoats and say that they just all of a sudden wanted to start saying they were calling from Election Canada. Give me a break, give Canada a break and fess up so we can drag your sorry Neo ConArtists to jail.

  74. If Stephen Harper and the CPC think this is going to blow over they are sadly mistaken. It is impossible to comprehend that 31000 calls ( that we know of) are a result of 3 rouge call centre workers. Rubbish , someone needs to come clean on this .

  75. It doen’t matter WHO HOW or WHY ‘someone” tampered with the process.

    The FACT that the process was tampered with is ENOUGH

    Tampered process = invalid results
    invalid results = illegitimate winners

    therefor, as the PROCESS has been tampered with, it has to be redone completely!

    and as we will nto found who did  it, or even if a ridding has NOT been tampered with, it brings us back to square one: Process has to be redone!


    and NOTE: to all parties: if your ridding has NOT been tampered with..the results should be the same !

    But it will bring CREDIBILITY and LEGIBILITY to whom holds the power in the ridding and in parliament.

  76. Comparing vikileaks ( the leaking of Vic Toews’s thirst for diddling babysitters)  to a massive widespread national campaign of election fraud might just go down as the worst attempt at distraction in Canada’s History.

  77. -‘vague’ ‘misleading’ sounds like Harper’s campaign.
    -‘the only information I have is what I have read in the media’ but in any case this government does not want facts, evidence and information that is NOT in its interest right?

  78. Isn’t Maclean’s legally obligated to header this advertorial with ‘Advertisement’ ?

    Ahem…I mean…to at least    provide   the appearance of being a news organization?

    Is it just me… or is this piece completely lacking impartiality and public accountability?


    Is this what strong investigative reporting from leading journalists looks like? Journalist?


    If I was the editor that let this run as is….I’d adjust my collar a little looser next time.

    • You think this helps your side – seriously?  Here’s some advice – bench Del Mastro.

  79. what about when u whined about a re count makes me wonder if u did something of the same sort and fixed the ballots  mr harper sorry was that putton or sadam husaine or was it gadaffy u my friend are a dictator dosent matter how u slice it u still smell like shit.

  80. The preceding comments reveal what’s wrong with the current government – a bunch of wee lads pissing in each other’s sandboxes. Cannot those of various parties accept that the others have different views as this inane bickering goes around & around like dogs chasing their tails.
    No wonder we are not moving forward or resolving/addressing problems within Canada & certainly with BOOBOO at the helm we’re ranked 59th or even lower as BOOBOO came in with the leaders of Peru & Costa Rico on a poll of world leaders.
    If this is the intellect of electorates then we’re in deep trouble – suppose that’s why sports & Hollywood gossip leads the breaking news.