Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled tonight on the “robocalls” case, the attempt by a handful of voters in six ridings, backed by the Council of Canadians, to have the 2011 election results in those ridings thrown out and new elections ordered because, the applicants alleged, there was widespread voter suppression using “robocalls” and possibly other means to do so. The Council of Canadians alleges the Conservative Party of Canada was the bad guy.
Here’s the questions Mosley asked and I have summed up his answers: Continue reading The Federal Court fraudulent call judgement: short version
The Ottawa Citizen‘s Glen McGregor and Postmedia’s Stephen Maher have spent a great deal of time digging away at what in Ottawa is called the “robocall” story, a story that reports on incidents of the use of automated telephone calls during the 2011 election. McGregor and Maher’s reporting has won them acclaim from their peers in the form of many awards mostly (I believe anyway) for the creativity and doggedness in which they’ve tried to sort out what is a complicated story about what will turn out to be either a marginal event in the 2011 election or an epic event in the 2011 election.
Elections Canada is investigating many of the allegations of potential skulduggery that McGregor and Maher report on and, nearly two years after the election, Elections Canada appears set to recommend the laying of some sort of charge. (We know that because McGregor and Maher reported it.)
And, today, partly as a result of their work, Elections Canada is recommending Parliament introduce some new laws that Elections Canada says will help prevent any future problems. The Harper government says it will review the recommendations but might — or might not — have its own ideas about this issue.
Now, I mentioned up top that the Robocall affair will either be marginal or epic — largely depending on what investigators come up with and can prove in court. The Council of Canadians believe this to be epic, arguing in court that there was a massive conspiracy organized by the Conservative Party of Canada to use robocalls to suppress the votes of non-Conservatives and, in doing so, win ridings it otherwise would not.
A new book says McGregor and Maher, iPolitics.ca columnist Michael Harris and others in the Parliamentary Press Gallery are “grassy-knoll types” for buying into this meme, most loudly advanced by the Council of Canadians, that runs though the Robocall reporting that somehow the majority government of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives is illegitimate. Continue reading Globe and Mail's top politics writer on "grassy-knoll types" in Parliamentary Press Gallery
A Simon Fraser University professor says there is statistical evidence that the votes of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of non-Conservative supporters were suppressed in last May’s general election by some kind of robocall campaign. Continue reading SFU prof on the evidence of robocall vote suppression
Just in from Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott:
March 5, 2012
On the issue of robocalls, as an example, in the 2008 election, my MP and campaign office, had constituents [in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin] phone us from Corman Park north of Saskatoon toward the river, who in systemic fashion, received Elections Canada voter identification cards telling them to vote on the other side of the river in Aberdeen. Not only is that an unreasonably long way to have voters go to cast a ballot, but it’s not even in our Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency. Continue reading MP Maurice Vellacott's theory on robocalls: Could be EC's fault!
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett and Conservative MP Dean del Mastro have this much in common at least: They both say that supporters in their ridings were hit with annoying, abusive, and possibly illegal telephone canvassing during last spring’s election. But that’s about all they have in common … Continue reading MPs Del Mastro and Bennett on robocalls; Solberg and Kinsella on that and Vikileaks
The Liberal Party of Canada this afternoon identified 27 ridings in which it says voters received harassing or threatening phone calls ahead of the general election on May 2, 2011.
Now, in these ridings, the incumbent candidate or party won 21 of 27. In six of these races, the winner won by less than 1,000 votes.
Now, as one of my Twitter followers, an unidentified southern Ontario tweep who goes by the handle revpaperboy , noted “who won the ridings is immaterial, voter suppression by fraud is still antidemocratic and despicable,” a point with which I am in 100 per cent agreement. Still, for your consideration and to put some of this robocall debate in context, here is an annotated list of the ridings identified by the Liberals: Continue reading Liberals say harassing phone calls hit voters in 27 ridings
A few minutes ago, the Conservatives issues the following release:
Statement by Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro on harassing and misleading phone calls during the 2011 federal campaign
“The Conservative Party is calling on anyone with any information about harassing calls or calls giving inaccurate poll information to come clean immediately and hand it over to Elections Canada.
My own campaign in Peterborough was the victim of dirty tricks phone calls, with Conservative supporters harassed by late night abusive calls, and our Party condemns these acts. We are providing this information to Elections Canada.
We call on Elections Canada to investigate and get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible so the truth is known.”
The cynical might wonder:
a) When Del Mastro says “We are providing this information to Elections Canada”, what information is he referring to?
b) Did Del Mastro file complaints or go public with these complaints back in May, after the election?
There is is this, from the Peterborough Examiner of May 4, 2011, in which Del Mastro takes responsibility for some phone call funny business his Liberal competitor claimed was aimed at him: Automated calls not a prank against Leal.