Saturday 1 June 2013

One of These Things Is NOT Like the Others

Let's get something straight. 'Robocalls' is NOT a generic term for electioneering or marketing techniques that piss us off.

A robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized system to call targetted numbers and deliver a recorded message.

It is not unlike a flyer in your mailbox or an ad on your telly.

In Canada, robocalls are legally used for political purposes and are subject to regulation by the CRTC.

Sometimes, operatives misuse them -- knowingly or not -- and, when the system works, they get caught and fined by the CRTC.

As was reported last week.

Robocalls are the tie that binds politicos of all stripes — in trouble, that is, to the tune of $369,900 in fines for leaving voters in the dark on who was making the telephone sales pitches.

Running afoul of federal rules on the controversial calls is clipping the finances of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, Montreal Liberal MP Marc Garneau, the federal NDP and Conservatives, Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance Political Association, Alberta Tory MP Blake Richards and Edmonton telemarketer RackNine Inc.

Scripts for their automated, pre-recorded telephone messages did not say which political party or candidate was behind the calls, nor did they leave a phone number, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday.
Some of these may indeed have had fraudulent intent or effect, but this 'robocalls' matter is a wholly different kettle of fish from the ELECTION FRAUD case.
The Federal Court has found in no uncertain terms that widespread election fraud took place during the 2011 federal election. The ruling clearly states that "there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the [Conservative Party's] CIMS database."

"This Federal Court decision is a major indictment of the Conservative Party of Canada," says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. "Either senior leaders of the Conservative Party were directly involved in election fraud or they were astoundingly negligent in securing access to their voter database. Illegal or incompetent -- just like in the Senate scandal."
Or as Andrew Coyne put it:
Someone is trying to frame the Conservative Party of Canada. Either that, or the party is the victim of a theft, possibly by its own supporters.

Someone, at any rate, hacked into the party’s closely guarded voter database in the closing hours of the 2011 election, using it to call thousands of voters across the country whom the party had previously identified as non-Conservatives, telling them, falsely, that their polling station had been moved. Someone, that is, committed massive electoral fraud, in a way that could only benefit the Conservative party and making use of proprietary party information. But they did it without the party’s knowledge or participation.
The means may have been automated dialling, but the resource was the Conservative Party of Canada's 'closely guarded voter database'.

And the beneficiaries were solely the Conservative Party of Canada.

And yet, said Conservative Party of Canada seems strangely sanguine about it.

Asked about the database breach, Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey said: “We take security very seriously.”

So. The Cons' only plausible defence is that the database was hacked, yet that's not what they're claiming.

If anything, they are celebrating.

And yes, they fight all investigations tooth and nail. And yes, they are trying to conflate ELECTION FRAUD with the CRTC's robocall probes, which they are pleased to note nabbed actors from several parties. And yes, they are deflecting as hard as they can onto the Duffster's greed and vainglory -- who is leaking all those damning emails to the media, by the way?

But they seem quite unconcerned about their precious database.

Susan Delacourt is almost alone among the media wondering why.

Or as a famous detective wondered, why aren't the dogs barking?

I'll leave you with this because we are knee-deep at the moment and it's going to get waaaaay deeper.


Beijing York said...

The Council of Canadians have launched a petition demanding a federal inquiry to determine who accessed the CIMS database and committed the electoral fraud:

Responsive Marketing Group (responsible for the Thunder Bay call centre services where a worker admitted reading one of those misleading scripts) has some hard core Conservatives on staff and the savvy to come up with such a campaign. And I'm sure they probably studied best practices in GOTV technology and its successful manipulation in the US.

fern hill said...

Thanks for that, BY. I meant to include a link to that petition.

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