How about joining forces to investigate whether this Con tactic is legal in Canada?
At doors I canvassed I kept hearing certain stories about how I spent too much time in Africa, or that my voting presence in the House wasn’t too impressive. When I informed them that I only spent one week a year on that continent (Sudan), and that I take it on my holiday time over New Years and on my own dime, I could sense the hesitation in their voice. “Oh … that’s not what we heard when the Conservatives phoned us last night.” Something that hadn’t been an issue heretofore was suddenly looming large in the final days. It was frustrating, but I didn’t know who to talk to. It was only when the election was over that a good Conservative friend informed me that they had actually been utilizing a central office for phone calls and that none of them emanated from London itself. They had poured big money from afar into influencing my riding. What I had thought to be a local campaign had suddenly taken on national dimensions.
I should have figured it out earlier. While the opponents from the other parties were front and centre in the campaign, the Conservative candidate had been AWOL, appearing at only one televised debate in the entire five weeks. Instead, the Conservatives opted for phone calls and signs – no replacement for flesh and blood candidates, but they were looking to win from a distance.
There were also documented calls to voters in specific ridings, deliberately creating the impression they came from Elections Canada, telling people that locations of polls had been changed when in reality they had ^NOT.
Thus does democracy crumble. Investigating and bringing criminal charges requires a united front, as well as a well-funded legal commando strike force.
If the Contempt Party financed these dirty tricks, they should be held accountable. After all, aren't they allegedly the *Tough on Crime* party?
Update: The Waterloo Region Record, which covered the attempt by Con staffer Michael Sona to disrupt a legitimate special polling station in mid-April, has more about the robo-calls.
Tom Deligiannis is a political science instructor who lives in Guelph but teaches at the University of Western Ontario in London. He received an automated call early Monday morning.
“I was skeptical at first because I follow elections very closely. And it’s highly unlikely Elections Canada would call the day of the election to make a change like that,” he said. “I was pretty upset by it all, actually. It seems to be a blatant attempt to manipulate the vote in some way.”
Deligiannis said he filed a complaint with Elections Canada. Deligiannis said he would never fall for such a tactic, but others, like his 70-year-old mother who moved to Canada from Greece, just might.
“The message has the potential to sound legitimate to some people, at least on the face of it. There is a reason it’s done,” Deligiannis said of the tactic. “It can confuse elderly citizens or new Canadians who maybe aren’t familiar with Canada’s democratic process.”