Canada’s Robocall Voting Scandal

Call center agent 2Canada is in uproar over a Robocalling scandal which suggests that the last election could have been decided by automated phone calls. Michelle Zilio reports in the Montreal Gazette:

Canada’s former chief electoral officer says recent allegations of systematic voter-suppression phone calls are unprecedented in the country’s electoral history.

“We have never seen anything like this alleged case in terms of this potential organization and impact in terms of numbers,” said Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canada’s chief electoral officer from 1990 to 2007.

“People vote twice, people destroy the signs, but this automated means and this use of call centres is the first time the allegations go as far as they are going. They’re serious.”

Last week’s Ottawa Citizen-Postmedia News investigation revealed evidence of fraudulent pre-recorded phone calls made during the May federal election in Guelph through services provided by the Edmonton-based voice-broadcast company RackNine Inc. Further developments in the story suggest that harassing live phone calls were made by callers posing as Liberal candidates in swing ridings. The National Post and the Toronto Star also report that more live phone calls had been made in the Thunder Bay area, with callers phoning on behalf of the Conservative Party to alert voters of purported polling location changes.

Kingsley said the allegations may fall under one section of the Canadian Elections Act — section 482(b), which finds anyone who “induces a person to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate at an election” guilty of intimidation of the electoral process.

Whether the calls were pre-recorded or live is irrelevant, said Kingsley.

“If someone is representing themselves to be Elections Canada, giving false information, changing the polls, and the purpose is to confuse electors to the extent that you’re attempting to discourage them from voting, then that is against the statute, in my view,” said Kingsley. “This is not small potatoes because what you are trying to do is interfere with the right of Canadians to vote and that is a constitutional right in Canada.”…

[continues in the Montreal Gazette]

Not that this is unique to Canada; as disinformation collaborator Albert Nerenberg points out (thanks for the tip on the story above Albert), Mitt Romney is accusing Rick Santorum of employing a “dirty trick” by sponsoring a computerized phone call urging Michigan Democrats to vote against Romney in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

  • Gergith

    Lets see him prorogue his way outta THIS one… (I wish that was a joke…)

    • Jin The Ninja

      i am sure he will try….

      • Gergith

        As I said, I wish it was a joke :p Instead its just a sad observation.

        • Jin The Ninja

          i wish it was a joke too…

  • Jimmyz619

    as much as i wanna believe that the world still have a piece of humanity and justice, every little bit of information i find out just kills me inside… 2012 have mercy on us

    • Anarchy Pony

      Sometimes I hope that the world will end at the end of 2012.

      • Jin The Ninja

        sooner rather than later.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Well, to be entirely honest, I haven’t the guts to bring an end to myself. They say it’s the coward’s way out, but really it takes no small amount of personal fortitude to carry it out, which makes one wonder why it is they can’t manage to carry on, but that brings on a whole philosophical/existential discussion. 
          And I can’t bring an end to the rest of the world because I lack the material resources.

          • Jin The Ninja

            double post.

          • Jin The Ninja

            damn we’re getting deep here. i meant that on weak minded occasion, i also hope for some kind of societal shock that would radicalise the world- although sometimes i don’t know if it’s all the years of cyberpunk books, comics, and flics that has resonated with me, or simply that the dystopian atmos is the reality (in a subtle way) of the world… although i haven’t extensively discussed it before, i am a practicing buddhist, and i find the acceptance of suffering to be one of the most difficult reconcialitions i’ve ever encountered. i’ve always been in awe (not in terms of emulation, but simply of the strength of mind) of the monks who commit self-immolation…

            on a lighter note (somewhat) it could be worse. we could all really be unrealised cylons doomed to repeat the apocalypse over and over…

          • Anarchy Pony

            All this has happened before…

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            I especially like the parts in buddhism about visualization and manifestation…

          • Jin The Ninja

            ? soka gakkai ?

  • TruthersSoSmart

    Guess what?  Canada actually IS full of retards who will vote Conservative NO MATTER WHAT.  The only people outraged are the ones who didn’t vote for these idiots.

    • Jin The Ninja

       By the numbers, only 28% of the people who were present on election day voted conservative party. That is hardly a ringing endorsement- or even a mandate to rule.

      • Anarchy Pony

        “Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcical aquatic ceremony!”
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvKIWjnEPNY 
        Given my recent education, I have gained a whole new level of appreciation for that sketch.

    • Gergith

      An astute observation. Yes, in fact, in an article pertaining to robocall voting scandal it IS in fact the people who didn’t vote for these idiots that are the ones outraged… :D Reading comprehension and summarizing the article FTW!

  • Eric_D_Read

    Slick motherfuckers. Yet another reason for me to have zero faith in the democratic process.

  • Anarchy Pony

    It sounds like you Canucks are fucked, just like us.

    • Jin The Ninja

      we are. we’ve had 5 or 6 huge gov’t scandals in the last few months (we’re somewhat like the british in terms of our media), and this one is just starting.

      • DeepCough

         Please, we Americans have scandals everyday, you Canucks don’t know the meaning of the word.

        • Jin The Ninja

          you have them frequently, but they get lost in the news cycle, when we have them- they drag out for months and months.

  • smooth_operator

    The Harper regime is more Republican than the Republicans. They even have a harder hard-on for Israel than anyone in the States does. It’s a good thing Canada doesn’t have a larger military, because we’d already be bombing Syria and Iran, making America look neutral in the process.

  • D.D.B.

    The more people that just say “Fuck it!” and completely lose faith in the democratic process, the happier the Corporatocracy  will be!
    Catch 22.

    • Jin The Ninja

       the real catch 22 is whether or not a british parliamentary system + first past the post + constitutional monarchy is really democracy…

    • UselessJunk

      You mean like all the ones who say “FUCK IT” and vote Conservative?  There is more going on here than simple inaction.  A good portion of Canadians *want* fascism, and they are purposely casting their votes to get it.

  • Okarin

    i robot making a takeover

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