ConCalls: CBC vs. Postmedia vs. Elections Canada #RoboCon

There’ve been several Canadian media organizations investigating the RoboCon election fraud scandal linked to the Conservative Party. In February, Postmedia broke the story by tying the many localized reports of misleading phonecalls together by unleashing details of the mysterious Pierre Poutine alias.

At that time they also reported there were emails from Elections Canada staff who were gravely concerned about the Conservatives’ misleading phone calls. The Conservatives attempted to explain this away as Get Out The Vote calls that went awry. That’s a claim that appears totally bogus.

Internal Elections Canada emails obtained under Access to Information legislation show officials were rattled by the calls.

At 11:06 a.m., election officer Anita Hawdur sent an email to to legal counsel Karen McNeil with the header: “URGENT Conservative campaign office communications with electors.” Hawdur reported that returning officers were calling to ask about the calls. McNeil responded by asking Hawdur to alert Rennie Molnar, the deputy chief electoral officer. He later emailed Michel Roussel, a senior director: “This one is far more serious. They have actually disrupted the voting process.”

Then, in November, CBC reported they recently obtained emails from Elections Canada which expressed grave concerns about a “scam” being run by the Conservative Party to mislead voters away from real election polls. The Conservatives’ lawyer eventually responded just prior to the polls opening, that there was no illegal activity going on. The illegal calls continued, as we now all know.

The reply from the party’s lawyer to Elections Canada more than a day later said that polling locations had changed in “a number of electoral districts.”

“As a consequence, a number of our candidates have had to confirm the proper location of polling stations to a number of supporters during their respective get out the vote efforts… There is no indication by the caller that the location may have changed, or words to that effect.

That answer from the lawyer presumed to be Hamilton, doesn’t jive.

In an email sent at 8:16 p.m. ET on April 29, 2011 — three days before voters were to cast their ballots — an official with Elections Canada said she was getting complaints that Conservative officials were communicating with voters to tell them that their polling stations had changed.

“Directions offered to one of the electors would take that person more than an hour and a half from the real location that according to her is a few minutes from her home,” Sylvie Jacmain wrote in French, putting “Strange situation” in the subject line of the email.

At 8:44 p.m., about half an hour after Jacmain’s email, another official replied that, according to the Conservative riding association in Saint-Boniface, the calls had come from party headquarters.

“It’s resolved, the local association communicated with the headquarters who made calls to people in Saint-Boniface following a split in the polling stations. Party headquarters stopped the calls following the request of the local association,” Sylvain Lortie wrote.

I’ve asked the journalists at Postmedia and the Ottawa Citizen to compare notes with the journalist(s) as CBC who obtained these Elections Canada emails through Access to Information requests. If Elections Canada provided different sets of emails for the same sort of request, there could be another scandal at hand. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation why the “scam” emails appeared lately instead of in February, however.

Looking at the meat of the emails a bit:

Some voters had recorded a phone number so they could try to trace the call.

“When these numbers are called, the voice message is recorded by the same person even though the numbers are different,” Anita Hawdur, the election official in charge of the voting process wrote in an email to one of Election Canada’s lawyers.

In another email, Hawdur said the polling stations “given out by the Conservative Party … are all wrong. Most of them are quite far away from the elector’s home and from the initial polling place that showed on their [voter identification card].”

Why did Elections Canada officers, with the power to write arrest warrants for people caught in the act of committing Election Act crimes, apparently accept the Conservatives’ claims that they weren’t behind the misleading calls when the source phone numbers distressed citizens were providing, led back to Conservative Party call centres’ voice mail?

This is getting pretty suspicious. The workers in the returning office think these people are running a scam.

-Anita Hawdur. Why Ms. Hawdur and Elections Canada weren’t able to immediately follow up that week with production orders and arrest warrants, is for a Royal Commission to work out. What can people do in the meantime, besides fume? The Council of Canadians may need your support in their court challenge. Your MP should also hear you’re still very concerned about the unpunished election fraud of last year. More “robocalls” public demonstrations must happen too, I suspect.

I love how cleanly DeLorey is exposed as a manipulator here:

“To ensure our supporters knew where to vote, our script read that ‘Elections Canada has changed some voting locations at the last moment. To be sure could you tell me the address of where you’re voting?’” DeLorey said in an email.

“In the days leading up to and including Election Day we were only calling our identified supporters to get out our vote, and in every call we identified ourselves as calling on behalf of the Conservative Party, so any accusation that we were misleading voters doesn’t hold up to those simple facts.

DeLorey said Elections Canada changed over 1,000 polls locations [in] the country”

Look at this simple fact, which doesn’t match the misinformation peddled by DeLorey:

only 473 polls of more than 20,000 locations were changed, and only 61 moved in the last week,

473 does not equal “over 1000”; Conservatives aren’t that bad at math by accident. DeLorey is attempting to provide cover for the RMG script which included mention of polls moving, despite Elections Canada asking parties not to do that. Why is this a big deal? Because a former RMG call centre employee is part of the Council of Canadians court challenge that alleges the script was to mislead non-Conservatives being intentionally called leading up to the election and on election day.

Bonus math: It’s only 2% of total polls that were changed nation-wide sometime between the drop of the writ and election day.


13 responses to “ConCalls: CBC vs. Postmedia vs. Elections Canada #RoboCon

  1. There are probably people at Elections Canada fuming at how their superiors are conducting a cover-up. I’m done with Elections Canada though. We need to bring this government to heel ourselves.

    • What I’m baffled about is how it’s possible for EC to create a “compliance agreement” or such BS that lets scum like Van Loan off with an Elections Act violation and no charge for a judge to rule on. A police force can’t just let a thief off with a warning and “compliance agreement”, can they?

  2. One big problem with the Conservatives is that they overwhelm the senses with so many offensive and anti-democratic actions, that it’s really impossible to keep up and keep the news straight.—speaker-set-to-rule-on-omnibudget-vote-a-thon.html

    So if I miss or skip anything, it might be that I’ve seen it, but simply have decided that it’s a dead-end in helping to inform people as to the danger our country is in with continued Conservative governance. The intricacies of Parliamentary procedure are important, but they are very minor details to the average Canadian who doesn’t have time to figure out for themselves if the Cons are justified or not. Too many people are still taking the default assumption that the Conservatives mean no harm.

  3. “they overwhelm the senses with so many offensive and anti-democratic actions”

    Yes, and then they turn around and attack people who are trying to get the facts straight with all kinds of accusations of making things up. It’s like if we had a list of 200 crimes committed by the Cons but one comma was out of place, they would argue that the list was null and void and that it was our fault for misplacing the comma.

  4. “Did EC return different emails to @laura_payton of CBC than @glen_mcgregor & @stphnmaher of Postmedia?”

    The emails in the McMaher story you link to begin on Election Day whereas the CBC ones date from 3 days earlier. I’m guessing the difference is because CBC asked EC for a wider date range of material.

  5. Just a thought .. Sask .. and for anyone following/reading/commenting .. which I’d assume are mainly pretty damn coherent and extremely concerned Canadians eh … many of whom are heavyweight bloggers themselves ..

    Is there a way to ‘mirror’ or duplicate, triplicate yours or their blogs as they are added/updated? So they appear elsewhere… whether to Facebook, other aggregators or other social media .. or linked/mailed direct to traditional media like CBC, Globe, CTV, Post, Global, Tribune, Sun, Ethical Twits et al ?

    I know where to find you.. I see the new blogs added either via email or because I actually look for new entries. Same with about 50 to 200 other sites I ‘watch’ – read.

    I love that I can easily see your new entries via but .. what of those who may be searching for why we have a dude called John Baird shrieking against some non-jewish folks with brown skin at The United Nations.. or wondering if Elections Canada defends The Charter of Rights and Freedoms.. or how many years the caribou or salmon have left before extinction.

    When I see one of your exceptional reportages.. I warmly feel there’s another Canadian who sees lots of things the way I do.. and expresses it way better.. that’s great. But when I see the same information in a mainstream media outlet.. I’m over the moon.. as I know a lot more Canadians will at least get a small dose of the truth ..

    I’ve talked or commented in the recent past about ‘milking the media’ … a guerilla strategy to take advantage of mainstream media’s hunger for ‘sensational’ or timely news that costs them nothing and does not require much in the way of journalists or even those that can spell.. A ‘Field of Opportunity’ that needs some serious ploughing ..

    Keep up the fine work .. I’ll get back at you.. after refining my strategies.

    We need to be risk oriented opportunists like Wolfe suddenly ascending to The Plains of Abraham at night to array in column at dawn. We need the courage & honor of Montcalm .. immediately sallying out bravely to meet the British forces. Even more-so, we need to be running through the forest as warrior members of an exceptional tribe.. that knows where they are needed.. and why.

    • I too crave a little extra MSM-lovin’. Hard to get when I’m so very critical of them so often too, but I can’t help but feel that over the mooness too when it happens and my readership grows.
      Funny you should say instead of as I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have me if I asked, LOL.

  6. 2006 Election: There was no appropriate consequence for the Conservatives (Reform Party) breaking Canada’s election law. Harper spent $1.3 million more than allowed to by law, “won” the election, and paid a penalty of $52,000 (granted this was the highest penalty the courts were allowed to charge Harper with, but still, pretty low sum).

    The reward? Gaining access to the levers of power and deciding how to spend the Government of Canada’s $270.5 billion dollar budget.

  7. Pingback: ConCalls: Are Canadian Elections Unfair Now? #RoboCon | Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff

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