Thursday, 5 May 2011

Here's a worthy challenge, NDP & LPC! (update)

How about joining forces to investigate whether this Con tactic is legal in Canada?

At doors I canvassed I kept hearing certain stories about how I spent too much time in Africa, or that my voting presence in the House wasn’t too impressive. When I informed them that I only spent one week a year on that continent (Sudan), and that I take it on my holiday time over New Years and on my own dime, I could sense the hesitation in their voice. “Oh … that’s not what we heard when the Conservatives phoned us last night.” Something that hadn’t been an issue heretofore was suddenly looming large in the final days. It was frustrating, but I didn’t know who to talk to. It was only when the election was over that a good Conservative friend informed me that they had actually been utilizing a central office for phone calls and that none of them emanated from London itself. They had poured big money from afar into influencing my riding. What I had thought to be a local campaign had suddenly taken on national dimensions.

I should have figured it out earlier. While the opponents from the other parties were front and centre in the campaign, the Conservative candidate had been AWOL, appearing at only one televised debate in the entire five weeks. Instead, the Conservatives opted for phone calls and signs – no replacement for flesh and blood candidates, but they were looking to win from a distance.

From here.

There were also documented calls to voters in specific ridings, deliberately creating the impression they came from Elections Canada, telling people that locations of polls had been changed when in reality they had ^NOT.

Thus does democracy crumble. Investigating and bringing criminal charges requires a united front, as well as a well-funded legal commando strike force.

If the Contempt Party financed these dirty tricks, they should be held accountable. After all, aren't they allegedly the *Tough on Crime* party?

Update: The Waterloo Region Record, which covered the attempt by Con staffer Michael Sona to disrupt a legitimate special polling station in mid-April, has more about the robo-calls.

Tom Deligiannis is a political science instructor who lives in Guelph but teaches at the University of Western Ontario in London. He received an automated call early Monday morning.

“I was skeptical at first because I follow elections very closely. And it’s highly unlikely Elections Canada would call the day of the election to make a change like that,” he said. “I was pretty upset by it all, actually. It seems to be a blatant attempt to manipulate the vote in some way.”

Deligiannis said he filed a complaint with Elections Canada. Deligiannis said he would never fall for such a tactic, but others, like his 70-year-old mother who moved to Canada from Greece, just might.

“The message has the potential to sound legitimate to some people, at least on the face of it. There is a reason it’s done,” Deligiannis said of the tactic. “It can confuse elderly citizens or new Canadians who maybe aren’t familiar with Canada’s democratic process.”

The penalty for being found guilty of such illegal actions is a maximum fine of $1000. That's not going to hurt the Contempt Party much. They probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on these dirty tricks, across Canada, in target ridings which evades the scrutiny of Elections Canada, since that money is likely off their books. The companies who provided the service are based in the US and they won't tell anyone who paid the Cons' bills.

Harper got his majority; his ReformaTories are laughing all the way to the bank, where they'll cash in the rewards the tar sands industry will provide to them. *Ethical Oil*, anyone?


fern hill said...

That is disgusting and infuriating. It should be investigated.

900ft Jesus said...

just nauseating. Cheating elections is criminal. Do you know if anyone has alerted anyone in the opposition to this incident? Someone needs to file a complaint with Elections Canada. No use leaving it to the House in a majority situation.

Beijing York said...

There was also the harassing 2:00 am phone calls in Shelley Glover's St Boniface riding, claiming they were Liberals. The number was traced to North Dakota. Like WTF?

And what about the "In and Out" court proceedings? Will we see that resolved?

We should of called in UN election observers.

ck said...

After all, aren't they allegedly the *Tough on Crime* party?

tough on crime is for mere mortals like us. Not for folks like disbarred & disgraced lawyers, fraudulent senators and campaign cheats who have mastered the fine art of brown nosing Sir Stevie, especially those who help him achieve his sick goals.

ck said...

BY: this happened to a co-worker of mine who lives in Lac-St-Louis as well. She found the area code a bit unusual so she looked it up and indeed it was from somewhere in the US.

Also, in Lac-St-Louis, there were phone calls to another aquaintance there from an automated switchboard claiming to be from Senator Touchdown's people, again with some US area code.

Orwell's Bastard said...

Liberals and New Democrats joining forces? Yeah, that'll definitely happen. The hissy fits, entitlement tantrums and mutual sniping are still going on.

The more of this shite I read, the more I'm convinced that the key to a truly effective opposition lies somewhere other than in party politics. Right now I don't have much confidence in partisans, either Liberal or NDP.

Beijing York said...

When have partisans been willing to look at the big picture? Had they been able to, we wouldn't have suffered through two Harper minority governments or ushered in a majority for him.

Major individual efforts were made by non-partisans but even that wasn't enough, especially without established political force behind such movements.

Dana said...

You're presuming sanity and love of country.


janfromthebruce said...

I agree. I had no idea but note only does it need to be tracked but next time, we need to be pro active about this - out front - radio spots, call in shows, articles in newspapers - this might happen and how to get the truth.

Anonymous said...

"How about joining forces to investigate whether this Con tactic is legal in Canada? "

Sure. What do I do, exactly? Do I write a letter? to whom? Some days I feel like we're in Life of Brian, members of the People's Front of Judea, or was it Judean People's Front.....


Anonymous said...

I think the talk of merger is ridiculous (I know that isn't the point of this post), despite what non-partisan people think the two parties are wildly divergent in ideology, internal culture and approach. So you've got to get the idea of non-competition out of your heads. Not to mention the fact that 1 + 1 doesn't = 2, as many partisans from both sides would just go join the Greens, go start a new party, go support the Conservatives or even drop out of the process all together. Despite what some people think, the time for official cooperation was back in 2008-2009 before Ignatieff deep-sixed the coalition agreement. An NDP-Liberal merger, or non-competition agreement in the next election is a complete non-starter - it isn't like the Reform take over of the PC's, since both parties were both united in the past, despite how some people wax nostalgically about how the PC's were ever so progressive before then (under whom? Brian Mulroney - no they hadn't been 'Red Tories' since the days of Clark and Stanfield).

All that being said, for the sake of Canadian democracy, legality and decency, as a partisan (but independent minded) NDPer I would like to see nefarious and potentially illegal tactics like those used to defeat Pearson investigated. Even if Pearson's defeat resulted in an NDP MP (which it didn't) due to these tactics it would be nothing to cheer about since this sort of poisonous tactic cheapens our democracy, drives turn out down and creates a more fertile atmosphere for Con(tempt) Party government. So yeah, in these sorts of cases the Liberals and New Democrats (and Greens!) ought to pool some resources and take on the blue monster. Will they? I don't know... one can only hope though.


deBeauxOs said...

For those asking, I think that a groundswell of support for Elections Canada to investigate this systemic erosion of democratic principles would be appreciated. Write to Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer, here.

Remember, MP Maxime "Empty Suit" Bernier claimed the existence of thousands of emails complaining that the census was *intrusive* as proof the long-form questionnaire should be eliminated. Alleged emails that somehow disappeared.

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