Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crank calls aren’t necessarily Conservative or necessarily illegal

The Liberals and New Democrats seem to be gathering together evidence of every crank call made during last year’s federal election and lumping them together under the heading of “robo-calls” and “voter suppression.” This may excite the bases of their parties and give them something on which to hang a fundraiser, but it’s neither a fair nor a democratic practice.

Here’s a list of the type of calls the opposition parties are including in their allegations (source)—I have appended my comments:

  • Calling people at mealtimes—this proves nothing, most unsolicited calls to my home come in at or near mealtimes.
  • Mimicking accents—it’s almost impossible for most people to tell a fake accent, especially on the telephone. Over decades in Canada, I’ve yet to meet someone who was able to guess my accent without hints. 
  • Treating people rudely—this is pretty subjective and could indicate insufficient training by either the Liberal or New Democrat campaigns.
  • Calling on the Sabbath—this insensitive behaviour is common when the Sabbath in question is not Sunday. Campaigns have the same challenge with scheduling events on Jewish and Muslim holy days. This may very well not be intentional
  • Calling late at night or early in the morning—too trivial for words. 
  • Pronouncing Guy Gallant in an anglicised manner—I have a cousin by this name, and his is an English name—it’s an easy enough mistake to make in a bi-lingual country.
  • Jamming a Cambridge fax machine with calls—kids will be kids, I suppose.
  • Calling Dr. Carolyn Bennett by the name of “Doctor Carolyn Bennett.” Wow, I don’t have an answer to this one.

Hardly the sort of evidence that would justify an allegation of, as the NDP’s Pat Martin suggested, “the largest electoral fraud in Canadian history.” Many of these calls could just as well have been made by poorly trained Liberal operatives—or, for that matter, New Democrats.

Liberals are not nearly as squeaky clean as they’d have us believe. Just days ago they were caught in a sleazy trick involving nasty Tweets about Conservative minister Vic Teows’s private life.

And, during the 2011 election, a man canvassing for Liberal party candidate and former Grit cabinet minister Joe Volpe was seen by a Green Party supporter removing Green Party campaign flyers from mailboxes and replacing them with Liberal materials. Note: according to Green candidate Paul Baker, “Mr. Volpe was nearby when the flyers were trashed.”

The NDP also are not strangers to dirty tricks: New Liberal MP Lise St-Denis has accused her former NDP colleagues of playing dirty political games in her riding. And NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton charged that Tom Mulcair’s campaign has been spreading false rumours that she is dropping out of the race so they can attract her Quebec delegates.

In one of the allegations of wrong-doing, the caller apparently conveniently self-identified as, “The Conservatives.” How very deceptive. This shows the opposition is tossing in even the most farfetched allegations in an attempt to bolster their case.

Furthermore, The Toronto Star reports that members of Responsive Marketing Group Inc.’s call centre staff in Thunder Bay seemed to have known on election day that they were directing people to the wrong voting stations, and that they admitted to sometimes changing scripts on their own, without the knowledge of their superiors or of the Conservative party.

According to that report, the call centre employees were told to identify themselves as representatives of the Conservative Party of Canada. Some of them, however, decided to say instead that they were calling from Elections Canada. How is this the fault of the Conservative party?

I’m troubled by some of what is alleged to have gone on in the Guelph, Ontario campaign. As to the rest, however, while these sort of activities may well be seen as unfair by many including this writer, I doubt any of the above will prove to be illegal and that any of it affected the final result of the election.

© 2012 Russell G. Campbell



  1. o/p,

    United Steelworkers Caught Contributing to Far-Left Political Party in Canada

    Here’s a question: Why is the United Steelworkers taking its members’ money and spending on a “social-democratic” political party in Canada?

    According this report, the Steelworkers here in the U.S. has sent nearly $70,000 to fund the NDP in Canada over the last four years.

    OTTAWA – A U.S.-based union’s financial contributions to the New Democrats in Canada have raised some questions for the party’s federal branch.

    The United Steelworkers of America’s headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., filed paperwork with the U.S. Department of Labor that shows tens of thousands of dollars sent to the NDP in Ottawa between 2007 and 2010.

    Records show the American union sent $5,000 last year, more than $39,000 in 2009, $8,500 in 2008, and in excess of $17,000 in 2007 to the New Democratic Party of Canada or the New Democrats of Canada.

    Read more:

    Here’s another story on the same story

    BTW, how many liberals today still owe election canada since what, 4-6 or more years ago.

  2. I was involved in placing and maintaining signs for the conservative candidate in a Toronto riding during the 2005-2006 election. We stood no chance in hell of winning but we tried.

    One of our supporters who was previously a Liberal supporter caught individuals ripping out the signs during the night and they were traced to the Liberal candidate.

    Later in the campaign signs in a 2 km squared area had signs ripped out for all conservatives & all liberals 2 days before election day. When elections canada was contacted, it was stated well this was something that happens thus go on.

    Needless to say our riding was won by an NDP candidate because the conservatives won enough votes from the liberals to cause them to lose the seat.

    Funny how this is not covered by the MSM


  3. A few months ago I got a call from a CPC minister, and he gave his name, phone number, e-mail, rules that the CRTC had set up for such robocalls etc. And his number showed up on call display. This was months before the ringy thingy broke out into the public.

  4. The Toronto Star cites three call centre whistleblowers from the RMG(Responsive Marketing Group) call centre in Thunder Bay who seemed to have known on election day that they were directing people to the wrong voting stations. Of course, in the same breathless article, the three call centre employees also report that:Quote: call centre employees sometimes changed scripts on their own, without the knowledge of their superiors or the party; the callers were clearly instructed to identify themselves as representatives of the “Conservative Party of Canada;” some of their call centre co-workers decided on their own to falsely say they were calling from” Elections Canada.”Election’s Canada changed 127 voting booths a few days before the election which had parties in panic mode to notify their voters of the changes.
    There is a scandal here, which doesn’t have anything to do with the conservative party.

  5. These calls are immoral in a democracy. So far the evidence points to illegality.

    Why won't Harper release Con Party records? Why did he fire the young party member?