ConCalls: RoboCall Boundary Edition #RoboCon 650 days and counting

Last week I got a robocall from “Chase Research” and listened to it all, taking notes when I realized it was a Conservative push-poll and would cause a scandal. I waited for the number to push to repeat the message or options, but pressing 9 just erroneously thanked me for responding, provided a contact phone number (306-993-2392) and hung up. I called the number to find out more, right away, and got a message that it was Chase Research and to leave a message, which I did. A friend’s place I was at an hour later also got the call while I was there. (Tried the number at 12:30pm today, and it immediately says I reached Chase Research and to leave a message, not disconnected as some media reports state {so they may be working with an alternate disconnected or wrong phone number, or it’s been reinstated since}.)

ADDED: Audio of their voice mail presently.

It referred to “drastic” changes to “traditional” riding boundaries and said the new way would pit “rural vs urban” against each other. After being negative about the situation, it asked for a yes or no option to the changes, or to have options repeated.

The next day I saw the SK media buzzing about it, so provided them with the phone number and notes from the call. The Conservatives federal ‘spox’ spokesperson DeLorey (who has graced the pages of my blog before for saying untrue things), lied about his party’s involvement in the call. He later admitted that the Conservatives were behind the call, and blamed his lie on having apparently been mislead himself due to miscommunication in their tightly centralized party.

I got a call from the Star Phoenix journalist doing the story, but I didn’t say what he was looking for to include in his story, so he quoted someone else who got the call. I stressed that boundary redrawing is a sideshow to real electoral reform such as proportional representation to replace First Past the Post. If non-Conservatives win the urban seats as expected, it still leaves SK disproportionally represented by Conservative MPs when the popular vote would have them winning much less power in the House. This partisan phone call was meant to interfere in the traditionally non-partisan process of riding boundary creation. Efforts to move them for partisan gain is called Gerrymandering and is not an ethical way to win an election.

There’s evidence suggesting that Chase Research is connected to the operator of RackNine that was at the centre of the Pierre Poutine robocalls. When NDP MP Martin said unkind things about RackNine, they sued him for millions of dollars. They are obviously nice, litigious guys. They happen to have an exclusive contact with Conservatives or Conservative approved parties. There are suggestions that they made calls for the Wild Rose Party (which Harper’s Conservatives are linked to). There’s presently no evidence that suggests RackNine’s head honcho Meier knew of Pierre Jones/Poutine’s evil scheme prior to being contacted by Elections Canada’s glacially slow, token investigation.

A little “Ha Ha!” goes out to the Conservatives who gloated about the Liberal MP from Guelph who got a $4900 CRTC fine for running a robocall that failed to identify who it really was from. The Pierre Poutine misdirection and misidentified robocalls have still not even prompted charges for the Conservatives behind that election fraud.

ADDED: Cathie talks about Conservative crime.

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Is it normal to wait 650 days for charges to be laid in a major criminal election fraud investigation that has narrowed suspects to fewer than 5 people in Guelph, and fewer than about 5 in Ottawa with system access required to delete/lose specific logs? Consider, citizens only have 30 days to complain of suspected crime coverups to the courts.

In Conservative Controlled Corrupt Canada, it’s Cromulent & Completely Crooked.

Throw National Post a Lifeline

I haven’t encountered a Kelly McParland article that I can say I agree with. His latest, about Elizabeth May’s attempt to subvert the stalemate in Parliament amongst the opposition parties, is missing the point. May isn’t just out to help the Green Party, which of course is a given, despite McParland’s ridiculous claim that he’s revealed a dastardly, secret trap that the NDP or Liberals could fall into. May’s insistence that she’s putting the country before partisanship isn’t hot air, she’s attempting to win the next election using co-operation. Co-operation was not tried on a grand enough scale the last 3 elections, and the Liberals, NDP, and Greens have come out the losers in them as a result. (Widespread election fraud by Conservative supporters, didn’t help either, of course.)

“Should the other parties agree to pool resources with her in some ridings, as Ms. May suggests, her troops are likely to gain far more than they can contribute.”
This notion that McParland puts forward is built upon the opinion that it’s unfair for Canadians to be represented proportionally in the House of Commons, based upon popular vote election results. May isn’t only out to help the Greens take seats from Conservative MPs, she’s offered to help Liberals and NDP MPs win in place of Conservatives also. The result from another First Past the Post (FPTP) election could very well be totally unbalanced, where the NDP, Liberals, and Greens win all but a dozen seats, and the Conservatives end up under-represented in the House. The next step isn’t to hold onto power unfairly, but to change the electoral system so Canadians can decide and feel more satisfied with the resulting Parliament.

The dull, partisan point McParland is trying to have people agree with, is that it’s better for Canadians to be subjected to FPTP perpetually, than it is to support Greens who oppose it. May is seeking a functional, practical solution to overcoming the system, but McParland wants to protect that system, along with Mulcair, and other power hungry political leaders who think they are better off with all or nothing. The Greens hold a sort of ‘nuclear option’ as does any other national party that can get a million votes or more. If co-operation isn’t reached in time, the Conservatives can basically win by default (or so it seems). This means the NDP and Liberals have more to lose by failing to talk with the Greens, than they have to gain by ignoring co-operation. If it’s more important to Mulcair that May’s Greens not pick up any more seats, than it is for him to win his party a fair amount of power, then McParland and the Conservatives get what they argue for.

So how does a national newspaper writer get national politics so very wrong? Probably intentionally, right? It’s hard to see how his analysis supports the progression of a fair democratic country, unless we assume that’s not his mark.

F-35: Don’t Need No Stinking Accountability

I am genuinely concerned that there is no viable alternative party for conservatives in Canada who have, to this point, put all of their eggs into the Harper basket(case) Conservative Party of Canada. It’s staggering, the amount of intellectual fortitude (dishonesty) it takes to justify the crimes, the lying, the harassment, and general bad-neighbourly things the Harper Conservatives have done to Canadians.

It must taste awful to have to claim that Stephen Harper is a sound fiscal manager, while there are indisputable lists everywhere showing how he’s not even close to such a title.

The Harper Cabinet is filled with liars, habitual ethics violators, and hypocrites. Cynics will say it’s always been this way, but it doesn’t have to be, with this group of distasteful, mean people ruling by fear, while simultaneously ^NOT fearing an early end to their own cushy jobs. “If you vote NDP, they’ll destroy the economy and you’ll lose your job,” can’t you hear the Info Alert emails spreading that line? “Strong, Stable, National Conservative Majority Government”? How many strong and stable people do you know who describe themselves that way? Isn’t it a bit like someone driving a Hummer or Corvette to compensate for, uh, intrinsic shortcomings?

There are so many millions of Canadians willing to put up with the abuse, but it really should stop. There are people without proper shelter, or enough food or hope, but the rail line is luxury travel these days, so good luck seeing a fruitful On To Ottawa march in the world’s second largest country. What will be the flashpoint of democratic change, if RoboCon and the F-35 $10B+ lie haven’t been it?

It’s been more than a month that many ministers of the government should have resigned or been fired in disgrace for openly lying to the House of Commons. What happens when mere commoners like you and I lie in court? For Conservative MPs, there is special treatment from the Speaker. If you find yourself on the stand entering your words into the public record, and are caught in a lie, see how far you get claiming it’s your constitutional right.

Has the media been pushed too far to accept the Harper government as acceptable, and even endorsement worthy? Still, it’s been months since RoboCon became widely known among well informed Canadians (like journalists), and still there is great hesitation in their papers and shows to identify Poutine, or mention that his scheme took place in only half a percent of the ridings affected by similar democracy-stealing crimes. That kind of forgiveness is really Christ-like. Maybe they’re all Christians before Canadians, or before journalists, or before people who want to live in a free country with a functioning democracy. Who among them are not cowards, or are edited by cowards?

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Another Independent

The House of Commons has a new Independent MP. Hyer has quit the NDP to sit more freely to represent his constituents. What that means to him and Thunder Bay – Superior North, is for others to tell you because I know only what I’ve read of the man’s bio on his website today. My hunch is that he’ll still usually vote as the NDP would, except on whatever significant issues he quit over. The press release suggests gun control and climate change inaction, which are two examples cited where parties are at loggerheads and act like block heads. Since Hyer is an ecologist, I have a faint hope that he’s planning to eventually join Elizabeth May as the second sitting Green MP this session of Parliament. If May can convince Hyer that he’d have enough freedom to vote against party policy where his constituents demand, she might have a shot. Sitting with the Greens would probably do more for the Greens than for Hyer’s re-electability at this point in his riding, so my hope is more of a fantasy I’m sure.


Hat tip to Reddit

Jack Layton: Canada’s Defrauded Prime Minister

Hindsight. It’s a bitch. It’s also bitter and hypothetical at times, so take these particular musings in that context. It’s a “what could’a been”.

Jack Layton would have possibly been Prime Minister last year, had a sweeping campaign of election fraud with voter suppression not taken place across the country.

Image by Brian-Michel LaRue

Take a moment to let these results sink in. Imagine what could have happened from the honest result of Canada’s electorate (using our effed-up-and-ancient First Past the Post electoral system). The NDP were projected to win over 100 seats, while the Conservatives were to win fewer seats than a majority. Had the Liberals (and Greens) finally decided that Canadians had had enough of a Harper minority government, they may have formed the fabled coalition with the NDP. Layton, having the party with the most seats in the majority coalition, would have been PM.

Was the state funeral for Layton granted to ease PM Harper’s conscience, since Layton could have rightfully been the Prime Minister at the time of his death last year?


Hat tip to Rabble for the idea.

Chantal Hebert – liveblog at UofRegina

image
Intro by Mitch D.
Then Rick Kleer
Last time she was here was 2004 when Martin won PM.

Journalists drank Regina out of white wine.

She broke a rib and got to cover an election from the ground, where most voters are anyway, giving her a better perspective.
Our new tools have built better silos. Sharing isn’t routine.
Background info from the govt is treated as FYEO (For Your Eyes Only).

140 char delivery is not delivering enough details to people. 30 seconds means 12 in radio. She’s had to edit some people down a bit so they sound effective, and to save her 8 seconds.

Rene Levesque was explaining a policy in detail once she recalls, and politicians don’t do that often anymore.

Layton didn’t produce a lot of memorable quotes prior to his deathbed letter filled with them.

Form response from government gives us “cones of silence”. A human can’t make themselves give detail-free form responses five or six times, but computers give us boring responses that people tune out.

She’s talking about media tech during Meech Lake. The TV was the best place to learn about a national debate. There was no great advantage to being in Manitoba or Newfoundland with only the politicians meeting there.

Ignatieff speaking at a rally in Quebec, talked about Harper barring attendees from his rallies. Some man told Hebert he wanted to hear about something the audience there cared about.
Twitter as a window into what people are interested in, is a distorted mirror.
“People on Twitter are junkies”.

People need to take to the streets still to finish the change started in cyberspace, like in Egypt for instance.

Not totally kidding, couldn’t use “prorogation” in news because it was too long.

Long form census scandal in July was surprising.

Nenshi in Calgary started at 1% in the polls. (Phone corrected Calgary to Calgarygrit – I must be a blogger.)

“Disconnected chattering class” is part of the problem.

Questions start. It’s unlikely that I will ask one this year.

Hebert likes a spin free environment. Know when they are going on holiday and ask them things when they have nothing going on. Know what they sound like when they are telling the truth. Each MP thinks what they are doing is in the public good.

Most politicians sound smarter when they are not in politics anymore. Party line is often a problem.

Twitter used to bounce stories off of it.

Election night publication law.
Elections Can may sue a lot of ordinary people. Voting isn’t like First Communion. BC might want to undo the damage done by voters in the East.

Municipal election lacks entertainment, except Toronto might object. She has a low interest in municipal politics these days.

Coverage of Ford is interesting in part because the cities are bigger than they once were, and many people vote for a mayor, as opposed for an MPP.

The nonConservative voters don’t have an easy way to win now that the Conservative party is united.

The Liberals and NDP are struggling for the same voters. Bruce Anderson argues the Liberals may come back as the spare wheel of Canadian politics. Minority govt is likely.
NDP and Liberals fight for the voters that Harper doesn’t want.

“We vote, and you don’t” is why govt talks about old age pensions instead of childcare.

Dan B. asks a question and starts out by mentioning that he isn’t a journalist. “Good” she said. (Too much competition in a field makes it harder to stay in a job anyway.)
Need healthy debate for healthy politics.
She votes as a citizen. Does a doctor like cancer more than cardiac arrest?
Vote as a parent to show your kids it is important.

ADDED:
Toward the end of the questions, someone wondered why OWS gets less coverage than he feels it deserves. She said OWS has unclear objectives, and doesn’t see the value in occupying public space. I found that odd, since earlier she praised youth in Egypt for taking their protest into the real world off of MySpace and Twitter. She thinks the ballot box is the way to make change happen, but also knows that her generation is more likely to continue to win, since it votes.

Another questioner was also disappointed by the answer they got regarding electoral reform. Hebert said voters and politicians don’t bring it up, so journalists shouldn’t. She neglected to mention that every political party uses methods other than FPTP to elect their party leader and/or executive. She did say that there is no voter appetite for PR or electoral reform. She thinks PR would work well federally though.

Who Won in Wascana? The “Losers”

The non-voting bloc won. Or might I say, they almost certainly didn’t get what they wanted, or didn’t try for what they wanted.

The federal riding of Wascana is the only Liberal seat in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, and will probably remain that way for the next 5 years. The results of it are interesting, as are many of Canada’s 308 elections, because the non-voting adults could have singularly elected a different candidate without changing other voters’ votes.

Voter turnout: 38,777 of 57,034 registered electors (68.0%) = 18,257 non-voters
Liberal Ralph Goodale 15,842 40.9%
Conservative Ian Shields 14,292 36.9%
NDP Marc Spooner 7,689 19.8%
Green Party Bill Clary 954 2.5%

My critics may say, “Yeah, but Goodale [or insert your "winning" MP in place of his name] got the single most votes of those who ran.” My critics would technically be correct, but it’s also technically correct to say that he got the most votes of the available candidates, who all failed to suitably impress at least half of the electorate enough to mark an X beside his name.

As Stephen Harper said before the election campaign, “Losers don’t get to form coalitions“.


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Moore on CNN ; Media Failure ; Election Results

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Press freedom was a huge issue in Election 41, and when I was kindly asked by canada.com to write for the Real Agenda feature, I made media complicity in Conservative propaganda over the last few years and during the campaign, my top issue. Not surprisingly, the canada.com editor refused to publish it. Giving me another chance, I again gave examples of how the media was distorting the democratic outcome of the election through selective coverage or neglecting to point out lies by politicians. I also gave positive examples like Don Newman cornering Baird in his infamous 2008 lie about coalitions.

On my third try, after I was given the explicit reasons why my first two wouldn’t be published, I wrote about nuclear power, and energy strategy, was applauded for it, and then didn’t see it in print anyway. The campaign wound down and maybe they had too much work and not enough time to print everything? Those articles will come to you through my blog, and possibly independent media willing to publish them.

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6201 voters in select ridings in Canada gave the Conservative a majority government instead of a minority government. Yes, it was that close. Vote splitting had a big role in the outcome, so the parties on the centre to left, need to find a way for their competition to work out better next time. I’m tossing around the idea of each in a riding organizing their own rally, and the rally with the biggest number of attendees gets to run their candidate in a swing riding. After all, there is more than just the careers of politicians on the line.

The Sixth Estate is hoping Canadians will organize to come up with solutions to give the majority a majority say in governance.

Of eligible voters in May 2011,
24% … voted Conservative
13% … voted for an MP now in government
2% … voted for a Cabinet minister
0.1% … voted for Stephen Harper
Percentages will be updated pending final results from Elections Canada.

And the Christian Heritage Party and Marxist-Leninist Party each got about 0.1% of the popular vote. The Greens got 3.9% of the popular vote. One concern mentioned by many people who opposed the Greens being in the debates was that it was “one issue” or “fringe”, which is disproved by both its platform and its vastly higher turnout than the most well voted-for other new parties. If the criteria for debate were set at a previous electoral turnout of 0.5% of the popular vote, all minor parties except the Greens would still be excluded from the televised debates. For the record, it’s possible to have televised debates with most or all registered party leaders, but the professional media in this country is hijacked by consolidation, monopoly, and loss of relevant ethics.

Strong and “Steady and Stable” Conservative Majority

Orange Crush
Layton’s going to “focus” on about 5 things according to his sort-of-victory speech.
It’s hard to focus on an Orange Crush sugar rush.

May: “It’s an election that proves that pundits aren’t very useful.” (Green poll pundits were way off too, with Carr placing 4th in Vancouver Centre.)

Liberals in Regina
Iggy lost. Period.

Duceppe lost. Period.

Harper won, his lying and hiding strategy obviously worked. I’d congratulate him, but I don’t feel it was a very honourable campaign, or victory. While there are many honourable people working for the Conservatives, they don’t have control of that party and it shows in the results of their party’s work.

Some pollsters were close with their guesses, and changed the election with their feedback loop that informed the voters that it was okay to vote NDP instead of Liberal. My electoral prediction on James Bow’s blog were way off in most cases (flip the Liberals and NDP, and give nearly all Bloc to CPC and I’m bang on), except for popular vote which I apparently nailed down weeks ago when I placed my bet. I also won a bet with Mark H. in Saskatoon, and the benefactor of my prediction will be a park that needs a volunteer. Thank-you Mark; make Saskatoon Shine! Photos will be appreciated.
Fairvote.ca’s predictions were these.

I’m disappointed, and concerned about the future of Canada, but sometimes things have to get worse before enough people are willing to make them get better.

CBC Q’s DJ had a short dispute with me about the number of parties now in the House. His was a ‘Top Tweet’ around the world that has helped propel the phrase “Conservative Majority” to the top 10 (9) most tweeted in the world tonight (Saddam Hussein was strangely 10th). Evan Solomon claimed that the vote splitting in many ridings between the Liberals and NDP “sent votes” to the Conservatives. Sorry Evan, we don’t have that sort of electoral system (yet, but it’d be nice if we did). Live TV can’t be easy, but if the media was a bit more sober it would inform people better. I guess it won’t matter for 2016, as the Conservatives will shut the CBC down for the most part. I probably won’t have a local CBC station by then to protest in front of next election.

With approximately 40% of the popular vote, Stephen Harper has been given a majority government despite his government being recently defeated on CONTEMPT, the issue of lying to Parliament on several occasions. I have to wonder how many Canadians are concerned about the legitimacy of Parliamentary process, and what the loss of it will mean for each of us.

First Past the Post (FPTP) had its way tonight and was a major player. Convincing the Conservatives to pass electoral reform would be like convincing a dog to vote for fewer tummy rubs. Less than 2% increase in his popular vote was enough to hand Harper another ~20 seats to give him majority control of the House of Commons. He already has control of the Conservative majority Senate. Soon he will appoint more Supreme Court justices too. I’ll stop there before I concern you (more).

It’s going to be an interesting 5 years in Canada. One bright note is that progressive accomplishments in the next half decade will be all the more sweet and hard won, and Canadians will see if repeating the mistake they made on Mulroney will be repeated as it’s widely expected among the majority of Canadian voters.

The bubbling enthusiasm I felt this campaign, this morning, and through the day, left me when I turned on the radio to hear the results. Staying positive is hard tonight, I’m indulging in some wallowing, but I’ll get back to it all with a smile on my face sooner than later, and not just wait for grassroots change, I’m going to be grassroots quack-grass; difficult to uproot, and spreading my reach with the determination of a weed. I don’t want my strategy to be “Duck and Cover” until 2016.

Greens To Support Conservatives?

In Canada’s antique First Past The Post electoral system, smart people end up saying stupid things. Add to the list Peter’s claim, “I believe that every Green vote is, in effect, a vote for Stephen Harper.”
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I must admit, I’ve pondered a similar thought at times, but call it my mild partisanship, or possible mental retardation, but I really don’t believe that it’s an accurate assessment of the situation. Take the riding of Wascana as an example. If there was a safe seat for the Liberals in the west, this is it (and I just happen to live here). Pretend I lost my mental faculties and voted for Ralph Goodale instead of Bill Clary of the Greens on May 2nd. What result would that have? Would Peter’s claim be true? No. It would add $2 to the Green Party for next election, and Ralph would still get his seat. Assume 10 of my friends, and 10 of each of their friends did the same thing as me. Ralph would still get his seat. “But how?!” you puzzle incredulously. Because it’s my complete speculation that the overwhelming number of Green voters are first time voters. They aren’t flipping from the Liberals, or NDP, they haven’t voted before, period.

And the Greens are certainly not inspiring new Conservative voters, for one thing most Conservatives aren’t concerned about us taking votes from their candidates, or mounting enough of a total to challenge them directly either. If anything, they’re more complacent because they are resting their hopes on vote splitting that may not happen. It’s business as usual, for them, which describes their view of the environment too I might add.

By some coincidence Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, agrees with me:

Caller from Toronto asks about Vote Splitting. The caller knows people who are concerned.
Answer from May: Common fear among progressives, but they are forgetting that last electoral result wasn’t due to vote splitting (or even happened in spite of it). NDP strategy changed in 2006 to side with the Conservatives to destroy the Liberals. Greens being present changes party strategies. Last election the only party to increase voting base was the Greens. “Greens kept people in the process”[...]“asking people to vote for something they believe in”. “Holding the line between” a minority and Harper majority.

Harper hasn’t put Mulroney’s success in Quebec together, he can’t get a majority.

“A minority government is not a ‘win’ for the party with the most seats.” “The GG should be asking ALL the parties who is best to form government.”

A vote for the Greens, in many ridings, is certainly not a vote for Conservatives. Are there exceptions? Possibly, but they must be narrowly identified, and a careless brushstroke that paints “every” Green vote as Blue, only hurts our democracy as much as Stephen Harper already has. Don’t deprive the Greens of needed votes to bolster their legitimacy, instead encourage more of your progressive friends to vote for whichever party they support, and Get Out The Vote above all else so there are enough Liberals to form government with a few Green MPs in the backbenches.

And since I know Liberals are reading this, I should point out that there are seats in Saskatchewan that could go NDP instead of Conservative if every Liberal voter went with the NDP candidate instead (and vice versa). Put that into your thinking caps, and come up with a solution for the old parties to work with each other before we might regret the result on May 2nd. How can the progressive parties informally and actively assist each other in these vulnerable Conservative ridings? Progressive car pools to the polls? Release better platforms that immediately address FPTP electoral deficiency? What else?