Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4581
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:31 pm UTC

Allegations have surfaced that the Conservative Party, who won a majority government this past May, used an automated calling service to call voters just prior to election day. These calls appeared to either: pretend to be from other parties, and would call during very inconvenient times (in the middle of the night), or to pretend to be officials from Elections Canada, telling the voters that their polling stations had changed and sending them to a false destination. These calls appear to have been targeted toward voters and demographics likely to vote for the Opposition Liberal and NDP parties, particularly in close ridings. Impersonating someone from Elections Canada would definitely be against the law.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Elections Canada are currently investigating; complaints have currently been brought forward in 29 (out of 308) ridings.

From the Globe and Mail

Spoiler:
The “robo-call” and voter-suppression scandal is rapidly threatening to become a full-blown political crisis for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, with the number of ridings where dirty tricks are alleged to have skewed races in the last federal election climbing to almost 30.

The New Democrats and Liberals on Sunday both listed 29 ridings in which they claim voters were either misled by automated calls purportedly from Elections Canada about where to cast ballots, or where live callers misrepresented themselves as working for rival parties. In some cases, voters allegedly received harassing late-night calls.

The opposition contends the growing list of ridings across the country shows several people, not just one or two bad apples, were involved in a systematic, orchestrated effort to win tight races by misleading non-Conservative voters. This is a tactic, the opposition says, that has been imported from the rough-and-tumble culture of U.S. campaigning.

Neither Elections Canada nor the RCMP could be reached for comment Sunday, so it is not clear if they have expanded a joint probe already under way into reports that automated “robo-calls” in several ridings told voters that the location of their polling stations had changed.

The newest allegations to surface are in a letter that NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice sent to Elections Canada over the weekend, including two phone numbers they say were the source of harassing or misleading calls to NDP supporters in Thunder Bay-Superior North and Edmonton East on the evening of April 29, 2011, three days before the May 2 election.

“As we unearth additional specific evidence, we will forward it to you,” the MPs wrote, listing several ridings where they are doing their own investigation of complaints from campaign workers or party backers. “We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to ensure that the people or parties responsible for these dirty tricks are held to account and charged accordingly.”

The controversy highlights the tough, bare-knuckle nature of 21st-century politics, as parties use technology to blast messages out to targeted groups of voters, leaving little to chance. The question that will grip Ottawa in the coming weeks is whether the Conservatives are guilty of no more than hardball tactics, or whether some operatives’ behaviour amounted to electoral fraud.

On Friday, Liberal Leader Bob Rae wrote to House Speaker Andrew Scheer to demand an emergency debate in the House of Commons when MPs return Monday, but this seems unlikely for now, in part because the allegations do not relate to legislation.

Robocalling, while useful as a relatively inexpensive, efficient way to reach current or prospective supporters for fundraising, event planning and the like, also makes it easier for anyone inclined to use it for dirty tricks.

Brad Lavigne, national director for the federal NDP, said he views robocalling as a perfectly legitimate, cost-saving and efficient tool – depending how it is used.

“The issue here is not the technology, the issue here is the fraudulent claims, impersonating Elections Canada officials and obstructing people’s ability to vote,” he said.

Wherever the opposition parties’ allegations lead, the growing scandal is raising other questions, such as how campaign workers in dozens of ridings had a sense that shady, possibly illegal tactics were being used, and yet those suspicions apparently flew under Elections Canada’s radar.

“After the investigation is complete and after this issue has been dealt with a little bit more, I think MPs are going to ask themselves, ‘does Elections Canada have all the tools that they need to investigate these kinds of allegations?’ ” Mr. Lavigne said. “It’s certainly something that will be looked at, after this investigation is concluded.”


[edit]The CBC is reporting that the number of ridings with such complaints is now at 39.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby ahammel » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:52 pm UTC

Just for reference: if the Torries had lost ten of those seats they would have had to form a minority government, and if they'd lost twenty the NDP and Liberals could form a majority coalition. Too early to say if they're guilty, of course, but this is pretty serious stuff.

What exactly does Elections Canada have the power to do if the CP is found guilty? Fine them lots of money? Call by-elections in those ridings? General election? Death penalty?
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4581
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:06 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:Just for reference: if the Torries had lost ten of those seats they would have had to form a minority government, and if they'd lost twenty the NDP and Liberals could form a majority coalition. Too early to say if they're guilty, of course, but this is pretty serious stuff.

What exactly does Elections Canada have the power to do if the CP is found guilty? Fine them lots of money? Call by-elections in those ridings? General election? Death penalty?


The Elections Act is pretty complicated, but the powers of Elections Canada appear to be pretty wide-ranging. Definitely, such techniques could result in fines or jail time for any particular individuals involved. They have the power to declare void the results in specific ridings, which would force a by-election in that riding.

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby Роберт » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:37 pm UTC

Certainly some disturbing allegations. Hopefully the truth will come and the appropriate response will quickly be implement. How widespread was this? How high up did it go? How to fix the election?
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
Negated
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:31 am UTC

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby Negated » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:06 pm UTC

When I first heard the news, my first thought was "hey that sounds like something Harper would do." I don't think the investigation will prove Harper himself involving in the scheme. He is certain to proclaim his innocence and unawareness of the matter. He is also intelligent enough to stay well clear from directly involving in it. But for a man so well known for being a control freak, it's hard for me to believe that he does not know anything about it.

User avatar
Triangle_Man
WINNING
Posts: 1500
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 8:41 pm UTC
Location: CANADA

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

Negated wrote:When I first heard the news, my first thought was "hey that sounds like something Harper would do." I don't think the investigation will prove Harper himself involving in the scheme. He is certain to proclaim his innocence and unawareness of the matter. He is also intelligent enough to stay well clear from directly involving in it. But for a man so well known for being a control freak, it's hard for me to believe that he does not know anything about it.

Agreed on that point.I would like to proclaim him completely innocent, but the man strikes me as running a tight ship and am fairly certain that he had at least some clue that something was up. The most likely non-conspiracy possibility I can see currently is that he did know his party was up to something but choose to look the other way and let them do their thing. This would most likely make him an accomplice to the act of fraud that was going on.

Also, I'm liking the current government less and less and I'm hoping that the next Conservative Leader and the Conservative Party that they'll head will be better behaved then this. There may be a time when the Conservative Party is my best option when comparing all of Canada's Parties, but if this is the way that they're going to behave from now on then I'm not sure I'd be able to do that even if the other parties somehow became complete crap.
I really should be working right now, but somehow I don't have the energy.

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:My moral system allows me to bitch slap you for typing that.

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby Роберт » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:25 pm UTC

At least the impression of Harper is that he's at least semi-competent...
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:30 pm UTC

Negated wrote:But for a man so well known for being a control freak, it's hard for me to believe that he does not know anything about it.

All he has to do is hire people that he knows will do whatever it takes, and then wash his hands of it. He's clean if that's the case.
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
- Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (14 Jan 1875-1965)

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby ahammel » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:55 pm UTC

Ok, I'm no fan of Harper either, but let's at least wait for the investigation before we lock him up :wink:
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

Aw, can't we just lock him up on general principle?
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
- Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (14 Jan 1875-1965)

User avatar
meatyochre
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:09 am UTC
Location: flying with the Conchords

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby meatyochre » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:07 pm UTC

My first impression was that this is something a conservative would do. But then, I'm a dirty humanitarian liberal.
Dark567 wrote:"Hey, I created a perpetual motion device"

"yeah, but your poster sucks. F-"

Image

User avatar
Triangle_Man
WINNING
Posts: 1500
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 8:41 pm UTC
Location: CANADA

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:15 pm UTC

meatyochre wrote:My first impression was that this is something a conservative would do. But then, I'm a dirty humanitarian liberal.

It's never wise to assume that evil comes with political affiliation. That is how society reaches a very bad state.
I really should be working right now, but somehow I don't have the energy.

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:My moral system allows me to bitch slap you for typing that.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4581
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Possible Election Fraud in Canada

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

But wait, there's more!

Three employees from a Thunder Bay call centre have come forward saying that the "scripts" that they were given to read out also appeared to be directing voters to the wrong polling stations.

[O]ne employee was so concerned that something was amiss she says she reported it to her supervisor at the RMG [the call-centre company] site, to the RCMP office in Thunder Bay and to a toll-free Elections Canada number at the time.

Annette Desgagné, 46, said it became clear to her — after so many people complained that the “new” voting locations made no sense or were “way the hell across town” — that the live operators were, in fact, misdirecting voters.

She said she has no way of knowing whether in fact the poll station locations she gave listeners were wrong addresses or phony locations. But she said the “feedback” elicited by the script was so negative, “we started getting antsy.”


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests