Friday, November 30, 2012

RoboConch! We're not in Guelph anymore, Robo

In August Elections Canada updated the total number of misleading phone call complaints in the last federal election to 1,394 complaints, alleging specific instances from people in 234  of Canada’s 308 federal ridings

Now we get some concrete evidence. Elections Canada obtained phone records from Shaw and Videotron to verify complaints in 56 separate ridings across Ontario, BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. They were released to lawyers in Federal Court yesterday.
1,043 complaints are from voters who say they were directed to a wrong polling station by callers, 625 of them from live or recorded callers “claiming to emanate from Elections Canada.” 
And that's just from two phone service providers.
The new docs from outside Guelph, before and on May 2, detail a widespread vote suppression campaign : mostly robo and live callers pretending to be from EC as they direct people to wrong or non-existent polling stations, pretending to be the NDP phoning people up several times in a night between 2 and 5am, and rude canvassing from fake Liberals. 

Also in August we heard from McMaher that brand new EC Commissioner Yves Côté "declined to hand over robocalls investigation data to Federal Court", citing that it would "encroach upon the public interest".

So how come their big data release yesterday?
Well ...Council of Canadians posted last week's correspondence between EC and Steve Shrybman, lawyer for the plaintiffs in the six contested ridings. [Page 70]
Feel free to add Christopher Walken/Danny DeVito voices as you read my shorter version :
Shrybman : Yo, EC!  Those docs I asked for - the Guelph stuff with Allan Mathews' sworn statements - where are they? The ones the Con respondents say are inadmissible and all just hearsay. 
EC : It is all just hearsay. 
Shrybman : Sorry to hear you feel that way. I guess we'll just have to get Mathews on the stand to swear it isn't hearsay. Yeah, that way we can ask him a few more questions while we're at it.  
EC : Uh ... hey guess what! - we just scored these brand new docs for you today! 
Shrybman : Real nice doing business with you, EC.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Steve : "Who wants pie?"

Another massive majority win for the Canadian Non-voting Party in by-elections this week.

"We were a bit worried that election fraud, selling Canadian resources off to China, and turning the Canadian government into an branch office of the tar sands would galvanize non-Con voters," explained a Non-voting spokesnobody, "but it turns out that feeling powerless and disenfranchised is still a winning combination for us."

Good thing they only use their awesome power for good, huh?

Alice crunches the numbers.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

RoboConjob Disclaimer : No voters were harmed in the making of this election fraud

McMaher and CBC's Terry Milewski report on this week's  release of internal emails between an alarmed Elections Canada and a stonewalling Con Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton.
Turns out EC officials' were reporting on a robocall "scam" in a "dozen ridings" across "at least 6 provinces", starting three days before the last election.
Four months later Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand was still publicly referring to them as "crank calls".

Milewski :
"Ever since the scandal broke, the Conservative line has been it was just a rogue operation in one riding, in Guelph of course, and that otherwise they ran a clean and ethical campaign. So no systematic campaign by the central party as a whole - that's the point of their position."
However ...
"Elections Canada kept track of the complainants' caller ID of the people who phoned in saying : hey I'm getting these crazy calls - what's going on?
Check your caller ID - what's the number? Where did these calls come from?
And they called those numbers -the whole list of them all over the country, different area codes, all over - and guess what? The same voice was on the voicemail of all of them which said : " Thank you for calling the Conservative Party."
So all of that suggests that this was not one rogue operation in Guelph but it was a wider scheme to suppress votes."

Uh oh. Time for a new Con defence position :

No evidence anyone failed to vote due to misleading calls, say the 6 Con MPs facing a separate legal challenge to their respective election victories

The Cons have apparently given up claiming innocence in election fraud and are now just going with  "no harm, no foul"- an illegal move ignored by the ref because in his opinion it didn't change the outcome of the play.

Now here's "no harm no foul" again - this time from the Commissioner of Elections Canada when he dismissed the complaint that US rightwing Front Porch Strategies violated the Non-interference by Foreigners clause of the Canada Elections Act when they went door-knocking and manned phonebanks in a Canadian campaign office.

After stating that it's just too darn difficult to investigate voter interference by foreigners because they're foreigners, the Commissioner concluded :
"No complaint to this office provided a basis to believe that any elector was actually induced or affected in their voting behavior due to the activity complained of. It is the Commissioner's view that ... it is not in the public interest to pursue this further."
No harm, no foul ever, apparently, in the case of foreign interference.

RoboCon Pilot Project Flashback : Environmentalist Briony Penn lost the 2008 election when taped robocalls advised Saanich Gulf Islanders on the eve of the election to vote for a candidate who had very publicly dropped out 3 weeks earlier. Seems 3700 voters did just that, likely throwing the election to Con MP Gary Lunn who consequently won by a 2,625 vote margin.

Ok, some harm there for sure, huh? Definitely a foul.
Wait for it ...

Elections Canada stated it had "…found no one who had actually been influenced in their vote because of the purported telephone call, nor was he [the Elections Canada representative] able to identify the source or the person or persons who actually made the calls."

Penn :
Our riding association and the citizens’ groups continued to push Elections Canada for over a year. My last personal email inquiry elicited this response in March of 2010: "In this case, this Office examined thoroughly the complaints received and advised the complainants that there is no evidence that the Canada Elections Act has been contravened."
No harm, no foul, another big dollup of we-couldn't-figure-it-out-so-screw-it, and hence no mention of it in the Elections Canada 2008 report.

Democracy Watch would like to know what happened in 3,000 other rulings EC has made over the last 15 years and they have a letter and petition calling for "a law to stop false election robocalls and strengthen election law enforcement".
As Pogge says : only 56000 signatures? That's the best we can do?


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