Saturday, 3 March 2012

Robocalls Scandal

Fraudulent pre-recorded phone calls were made during the May Federal Election in Guelph ridings. The use of voter-suppression campaigns and push-polling are used with more frequency south of the border in the United States. The Conservative Party has been accused by the Opposition of using robocalls that pose as Liberal Party members and misdirect voters to the wrong polling stations.

David Soberman, Canadian National Chair in Strategic marketing at the University of Toronto predicts that changes will occur within the Canadian election process to prevent this occurring again in the future. Soberman said that "if you're Elections Canada, you think, 'What is it that we can do to ensure this doesn't happen again ... considering it's never happened here before."

NDP Opposition MP Pat Martin said the Tories appear to have borrowed their tactics from gangsters and criminals. Martin is pictured above during Question Period February 28, 2012.

An article by Michelle Zilio of the Ottawa Citizen stated that the robocalls are a shock to the system of Canadian democracy. Joseph Cummins, a U.S. author of electoral 'dirty tricks' said that "Misdirecting voters to a different place is a pretty serious dirty trick because you're disenfranchising them and taking away their right to have a voice in their government."

Another Ottawa Citizen article by Jeff Davis stated that Elections Canada was falling down on electoral fraud. The article goes on to describe the Harper Government's reaction to the scandal in the House of Commons during Tuesday's question period. RackNine, a Tory-linked firm has been connected with the scandal. Among the activities flagged by Elections Canada in the 2011 Federal Election are unsolicited telephone calls, automated telephone messages and crank calls.

Former Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley said "judges might crack down on any attempts at voter suppression ... We've never seen anything on this scale. Since we're attacking constitutional rights of individual electors, the judge could expand the maximum penalty and impose a jail sentence."

A spokesperson for Elections Canada has publicly stated that "The Commissioner of Elections Canada will not confirm or deny that a complaint has been received or that an investigation is underway"


  1. This is why I never answer the phone...

  2. This is a very serious issue. What do you think Ian, will be the consequences on the democracy if these accusations happen to be true?

  3. It's very discouraging to hear that these things are happening in a democratic society. Misdirecting voters is a serious violation to Canadians' constitutional right to vote. I'm glad your bring attention to this serious issue Ian.

  4. Crazy! Didn't know this actually happened!

  5. So far all I've heard in terms of actual evidence is a of a few isolated incidents, nothing like that massive nation-wide conspiracy that the media are hyping it up to be.

  6. I think its great that accusations start and suddenly the NDP starts calling Tories Gangsters and criminals...time to find some new parties.

  7. Ian, I'm so glad you posted this! I never knew exactly what this scandal was when it gets referred to in class, then I saw you're label for it which conveniently bought me to this post! Thanks for the explanation :) and yah I agree with Pam, this is why the girls at 116 don't answer the house phone haha