Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Canada Politics Your Rights Online

Misleading Robocalls Went To Voters ID'd As Non-Tories 148

Posted by timothy
from the set-phasers-to-annoy dept.
silentbrad writes "An investigation by CBC News has turned up voters all over Canada who say the reason they got robocalls sending them to fictitious polling stations was that they'd revealed they would not vote Conservative. Although the Conservative Party has denied any involvement in the calls, these new details suggest that the misleading calls relied on data gathered by, and carefully guarded by, the Conservative Party. Known as 'CIMS,' the database assigns a 'smiley' face to supporters, and a 'sad' face to non-Conservatives. Liberal and NDP politicians say it would make no sense to call randomly, since many of the voters misled would be Conservatives."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Misleading Robocalls Went To Voters ID'd As Non-Tories

Comments Filter:
  • well, obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:15AM (#39387989)

    The Conservative party is the party representing the interests of powerful people who wish their interests to be represented in law (*). It is in the interests such people to have such a party in power. It is a logical consequence that they will use any means possible to get this party into power.

    Owen Jones said of the granddaddy English Conservative Party, quoting a speaker at his college: "What you have to realise about the Conservative party is that it is a coalition of privileged interests. Its main purpose is to defend that privilege. And the way it wins elections is by giving just enough to just enough other people."

    (*) Contrast e.g. philosophical libertarians who in principle (at least) will not want the government to give them special favours.

    • (**) Other than the privilege of land ownership of course. (If for a moment we assume that with libertarians you mean Rothbard style libertarians and not Geolibertarians.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It was a coincidence and nothing more!

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:23AM (#39388003)

    Listing the wrong date seems to be a favorite tactic of misleading American robocalls. There was some legislation [projectvote.org] recently introduced to specifically tackle it, but it's probably illegal under existing laws as well. The main game seems to be whether, as here, political parties can feed the data to "third party" callers without it getting traced back to them.

  • Maybe the conservative party is behind this, maybe not... but does it really matter?

    Let's go with the assumption that someone high up in the party organization is to blame. How many people knew about this tactic being employed? Three? Five? Seven? How many people are employed by the party? Three hundred? Five hundred? Seven hundred? How many people voted for them? Twenty million? (I really have no idea, actually. But the point is, we're talking about many, many orders of magnitude in difference here)

    So,

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:39AM (#39388043)

      The problem is they got a thin majority, and that some of the ridings they won were won by fewer than 1000 votes. Many of those ridings, there are reports of this kind of robocall happening. There is every possibility that they wouldn't have won, or at least wouldn't have won a majority, if this kind of disenfranchisement wasn't happening.

      More than that, it's illegal to represent yourself falsely as an official working for Elections Canada. It's also electoral fraud. Strictly speaking, under the law, they can have their charter as an official party revoked over this, meaning that if this goes all the way, we don't currently have a legal government, and our last election was invalid. Particularly interesting considering that Canada is one of the few countries that always gets asked to send observers to foreign countries to make sure the election is done properly.

      • by alphatel (1450715) *
        It's all kosher as long as we say it's kosher

        The Kosher Guy
        • by pinfall (2430412)
          Really, find a victim. No one was injured and voting is pointless anyway. At least that's what I would tell my attorney to say.
    • by SigmundFloyd (994648) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:39AM (#39388045)

      So, if we find out that a handful of corrupted people employed a
      dirty tactic, what should follow? Sure, let's convict those guys but after
      that... Should everyone stop voting for the party they felt to represent them
      the best, because of a couple of bad apples?

      "A couple of bad apples"? Are you serious? You might want to study some recent history. It's always the conservatives spying on people and generally pulling dirty tricks. They're the scum of this world.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Nope all sides spy and pull dirty tricks.

        Conservatives are stupid enough to get caught.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:55AM (#39388095) Homepage Journal

          By definition, liberals spy on government and conservatives spy on people, so really, your argument falls flat on its face.

          All sides spy and pull dirty tricks, Conservatives are evil enough to do it to people; liberals do it to corporations, which conservatives would like us to believe are people.

        • by Secret Rabbit (914973) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @08:21AM (#39388187) Journal

          Nope, they pull *far* more than any one else; others don't even come close. Just check out the number of votes of no confidence that they pulled when Martin had a minority; they didn't even try to make it work. At that point the Cons pushed for a coalition government, then when the Cons get a minority and the other parties go for a coalition Harper cries about it not be democratic, etc taking advantage of the electorates ignorance of how our system of government works. Not to mention during that minority they attached a no confidence rider to bills so they'd pass. He promised he wouldn't do it during the following election, but then that next time he gets in, what's one of the first things he does? That's right, the same bloody no confidence rider BS.

          I could say the same thing about their Economic "action plan." According to the PBO it was their policies that got Canada into the situation it's in (made it worse that is) and their plan to get out of it was to do more of the same type of policies!?!?!?

          And now with their majority, what do they do? They don't listen to every study done with regards to mandatory minimum sentences (they don't work), nor anything even approaching Science (hey, why use logic when yah got ideology). Thus, C-10 passes. Similarly, for C-11 with regards to digital locks and no doubt once the fire dies down with C-30 (the spying bill). As in, after C-30 passes, they'll, by regulation (add/delete by reg is already in the bill), add in information that'll be available without a warrant.

          I could go on. (It's funny what a memory can do when used, eh.)

          Harper is a two faced asshole that does nothing but dirty political gamesmanship. He's a disgrace. Same goes for Vic Toews and Dean Del Mastro and...

          Now, I'm not saying that the other parties are squeaky clean. But, in comparison, Harper et al look as though they have been rolling in the mud while the other parties might have scuffs on their shoes (Liberals likely worse than the NDP).

          Seriously, this election fraud shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. But, what would be nice is if the Cons would see at least some repercussions for their actions.

          • by Nemyst (1383049)

            Harper isn't a two faced asshole. He's quite content with showing to the world that he's an asshole, thing is some people actually like it. You don't even need to dig to find out what he's doing, he doesn't bother covering up anything anymore. He's got his majority.

            • by microbox (704317)
              I agree with that. On average, people are attracted to the powerful before they are attracted to the just. Harper is powerful and unjust.
            • Harper isn't a two faced asshole.

              Mod +insightful.
              Harper appears to lack a human face entirely. In its stead there appears to be an asshole (of goatse proportions) uncontrollably spasming his vile ordure on the people of Canada.

            • Well he effectively is when people don't know about it and it isn't readily reported. You actually have to dig to find it. That isn't to say that you have to dig much. You're right in that the veil is... thin. However, generally people don't even attempt to dig these days. And if/when it is discovered, people generally go into a daze with rolling their eyes and just saying something along the lines of, "Politicians, eh." That without remembering it at all.

              It's kind of ironic that the Liberals got oust

        • by tomhath (637240)
          No doubt supporters of the Conservatives were involved, but nobody has been caught. All this report shows is that someone knew which voters to call on election day, I get "opinion poll" calls all the time, so identifying those voters wouldn't require access to a secret smiley-face database. But mentioning it in the same article makes for a juicy story,
          • by microbox (704317) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:49AM (#39389491)
          • by dryeo (100693)

            It doesn't matter who did it. If enough people didn't vote in some ridings due to the Robocalls then those elections are null and void and there needs to be bye-elections in those ridings.
            If there are enough of those ridings that the bye-elections could remove the Conservatives majority then Royal Assent should be withheld on all bills until after the bye-elections.

          • The extent of the calls suggests otherwise, that CIMS was used. It's beyond belief to imagine that independently several Tory campaigns compiled lists of voters sufficiently accurate to be able to make misleading calls directed at non-Tory voters, all being done at the same time.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Stupidity is a good enough reason to vote someone out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      WTF? Do you apply this to every crime? Assuming the content of your message was supposed to support the subject, saying that it's irrelevant who was responsible.

      "Okay, if we could catch the axe shop-lifter/axe murderer we could prosecute them but how many people in their neighbourhood aren't implicated? Surely we're not going to burn down the whole neighborhood! So what does it matter who actually did it at all??? Let's just sweep the whole thing under the carpet and let them get on with it."

    • by arcite (661011) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:42AM (#39388053)
      We have a system of law and order. The law was broken and HOPEFULLY the investigation will find out who was involved in this plot to steal the election. The Conservatives only won around 35% of the popular vote, it was a TIGHT election. A few thousand votes swinging either way in close ridings would have been enough to radically change the outcome.

      "Should everyone stop voting for the party they felt to represent them the best, because of a couple of bad apples?

      Canada is not the USA, we have more than two parties. We have dozens of parties! Are you so ideologically blind as to vote for one party, even if you know they are corrupt and do not represent your best interests as a tax paying citizen? Really? Are you that cynical? Because if so, that is incredibly sad. We deserve the best government money can buy. If there is corruption, it should be routed out. If a party is rotten, it's leader should resign. If the Prime Minister can no longer guarantee he/she has the trust of the citizenry, a confidence vote should be called. We have many options in our democracy, we do not have to accept corruption, lies, deception.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Personally I'd prefer the best government money can't buy.

      • Well said... Altough I think I get what you meant, the turn of phrase

        We deserve the best government money can buy.

        sort of undermines your point.

      • You have the best government money can buy. It's not your money that buys it, but rest assured, just like any other whores out there, they don't do it for free.

      • We have dozens of parties!

        Orientation note for foreigners: it's really more like three or four.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Should everyone stop voting for the party they felt to represent them the best, because of a couple of bad apples?

      I'm not sure what sort of a "should" that is. Certainly people are entitled to stop voting for a party on the grounds that it's culture is one that has allowed criminals to gain influence within it. Beats deciding on whether you like their faces or even if they seem charming in interviews let alone tribal loyalties. What sort of factors do you think the average voter takes into account in deciding which part "best represents" them?

    • by Sique (173459)

      Normally it goes like this: In every election district, where this happened, the candidate most likely to profit from it gets disqualified, and the runner-up is declared winner. Any honest candidate falling victim to it can then thank for the support by unwanted robocalls.

      • Normally it goes like this: [...] the runner-up is declared winner.

        The most likely scenario is that a by-election would be called.

    • by strack (1051390) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @08:03AM (#39388115)
      considering that a database of personally identifiable voter intent was kept at all, it would appear a atmosphere of disrespect for the electoral process already existed in that party, and provided fertile ground for electoral fraud. so yes. it does matter. and as for the numbers, how about when bush won florida in 2000 by 200 votes? its not the total amount of people who voted that matters. its about how much you can influence the often razor thin margins in certain districts, especially in close elections.
      • by Shavano (2541114)

        There's nothing wrong with knowing who your friends are and which they aren't or at least who you don't know are likely to vote for you. The only wrong is attempting to interfere with their right to vote. The penalty for that should be severe prison sentences.

    • by khallow (566160) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @08:27AM (#39388215)

      Maybe the conservative party is behind this, maybe not... but does it really matter?

      Yes. Aside from being very illegal and possibly throwing a number of elections, it's a blow to the reputation of that party. if they're leaking confidential information to a sleazy robocaller, then what else could they leak? Credit cards? It might also have legal consequence for the party even if "a few bad apples" did it.

      And yes, such a display of criminality and incompetence would affect my voting decisions.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        if they're leaking confidential information to a sleazy robocaller

        Not just confidential information but private information that is illegal for anybody else to have. If you're a corporation (or non-profit, etc), there's a set of privacy laws that covers you. If you're the government, there's another set of privacy laws that covers you.

        There are no privacy laws that apply to political parties in Canada. They can collect anything they can get their hands on and do whatever they want with it.

        • Exactly. Political parties have built a blank cheque into the privacy legislation both at the Federal level and in pretty much every Province as well. There's been no big shit-storms from the Opposition parties either, because they benefit from it. This is all the politicians, regardless of affiliation or ideology, getting together and deciding to allowing themselves to compile databases with probably the most sensitive and important information one can gather on a voter; who their preference is. Frankly, w

    • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @08:40AM (#39388267) Journal

      Should everyone stop voting for the party they felt to represent them the best, because of a couple of bad apples?

      If you are represented best by a bunch of criminal thugs, then feel free to continue voting for them. Your apologetics are every bit as disgusting as their tactics.

    • does it really matter?

      Does it really matter if they stole the election? Does it really matter if the government is run not by democracy, but by fraud?

      Should everyone stop voting for the party they felt to represent them the best, because of a couple of bad apples? As disgusting as this tactic was, I have hard time seeing how "Yes" would be a reasonable response.

      If you feel that the party of the anti-democratic, election-stealing, frauds and liars is the party that represents you...

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      Yes it matters. I am cynical and assume all politicians are criminals who simply haven't been caught yet. There have been a few exceptions that I think honestly wanted to bring changes and meant what they said, but the rest I think are lying through their teeth to get power and influence.
      However, whether or not that is true, if we want a system that works, we need to hold politicians up to a higher standard than their voters. If they break the law then they need to be held accountable. Too much goes on thes

    • by sjames (1099)

      Next step is to see if the people above them knew or should have known about the corruption. Either way, they should be on notice that they MUST vigilantly police this sort of thing in the future.

      Of course, if the party keeps attracting a disproportionate number of bad apples, it might be worth a good apple's time to think about how well represented they really are.

      Perhaps it's worth considering if the party's philosophy is creating a framework where corruption can thrive. I know *I* wouldn't want to help c

    • You're right on one level. It's unlikely that that many people knew about this. You don't want it widely known, even among the campaign ranks, because someone with a conscience might just say "fuck it" and call Elections Canada. And you certainly don't let the highest echelons, particularly the leader, because if there ever could be a line drawn between the act of fraud and the leader, it would likely lead to catastrophic damage to the party, both legally and electorally.

      That being said, the political parti

  • by moderators_are_w*nke (571920) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:49AM (#39388081) Journal

    Don't tell them who you're going to vote for. They have no right to know.

    • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@NOspam.nexusuk.org> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:38AM (#39389005) Homepage

      Don't tell them who you're going to vote for. They have no right to know.

      There are good reasons to tell them that you're not voting for them (and explain why): If they are able to understand the reasons why people aren't voting for them, they can change their policies to reflect what the public want. If no one ever explains that they aren't voting for them (and why) then the party is left losing the election and having to guess what people want for the next time around, by which time what people want may have changed.

      Certainly, there are good reasons to _allow_ people to keep their votes secret, but there are also good reasons for people to opt to waive that right to secrecy.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        There are good reasons to tell them that you're not voting for them (and explain why): If they are able to understand the reasons why people aren't voting for them, they can change their policies to reflect what the public want.

        If you still think that people change their views based on outside feedback, you probably aren't old enough to be allowed to vote yet.

        • by Imrik (148191)

          People will occasionally change their minds about things they don't care much about based on outside feedback. It's possible that the points you disagree on are things which aren't all that important to them.

        • If you still think that people change their views based on outside feedback, you probably aren't old enough to be allowed to vote yet.

          I change my views based on outside feedback. Not directly because I want to change my view to please people, but because feedback lets me see the subject from a different perspective which allows me to realise when my view doesn't mesh well with reality.

          If you're the sort of person who never changes their view based on new information, I guess you're some kind of religious nut?

          • by am 2k (217885)

            I change my views based on outside feedback. Not directly because I want to change my view to please people, but because feedback lets me see the subject from a different perspective which allows me to realise when my view doesn't mesh well with reality.

            If you're the sort of person who never changes their view based on new information, I guess you're some kind of religious nut?

            Maybe I'm just bitter. Everybody has certain principles, based probably on upbringing. Those only change very very slowly (over decades).

            Changing the perspective is something else, since you're only providing new information to enhance someone's world model, not trying to change what someone believes. For example, you'll never get modern conservatives to not feed as much money as possible into the military, no matter what you tell them.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:39AM (#39388601) Homepage Journal

    Many people don't understand how serious this issue is, including many of my fellow Canucks, friends, and family.

    Several of the ridings which the Harper "government" won were very closely contested and were victimized by these robocalls directing people to non-existent polling stations. Whether they were smart enough to realize it was fraud, checked it out with Elections Canada, or were actually duped by the calls is irrelevant.

    It was illegal for anyone to try to interfere with the vote in this fashion. The fact that there was interference invalidates the results in the affected ridings.

    That means that there are more ridings that need to be re-elected than the Harpercrites had "won" to achieve their "majority." The quotes are because the only people who believe they have a legitimate majority any more are die-hard Conservatives who refuse to accept their party was involved despite the increasing evidence that not only were they responsible, but the how of the crime is being dismantled as well by investigators.

    This is a serious, serious threat to the very foundation of democracy in Canada.

    If the Harper "government" is allowed to continue in power after this kind of blatant vote interference, Canada will have allowed itself to be taken over by an organization using tactics no more ethical than that of any totalitarian regime or banana republic. This is as bad as or worse than the "votes" in the Ukraine and Russia, which are perpetually questioned by the entire world.

    Yet sickeningly enough, it's our own Canadian observers who are requested to go and monitor elections in countries like Ukraine and Russia and to report on them.

    The Elections Canada investigation is moving along as quickly as it can. While I wish it were moving faster, my one fervent hope is that they start tagging ridings as invalid and pulling the "elected officials" from power in those ridings, regardless of who is behind the calls.

    That's the key point: I don't care who is behind the calls. The identity of the person, persons, organizations, companies, foreign interests, or political parties who were behind the calls does not really matter to me all that much. What matters is that the election results in those ridings are invalid and the seat-holders can not be allowed to remain in power without a re-election in those ridings. Not if Canada is to be able to continue to claim to be a "democratic" country instead of one where electoral fraud and interference are shrugged off as being "normal."

    • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:49AM (#39388679) Homepage Journal

      By the way, the reason I have absolute confidence that the robocalls happened is I received one.

      Roughly two weeks after rudely informing the Conservative party pollster that I was deeply offended that they would even ask who I'm going to vote for (because it's an invasion of my right to a secret vote), and thereby would definitely NOT be voting Conservative, I received a robocall directing me to a supposed polling station west of the General Hospital here in Regina.

      I did check into it, and did vote successfully. But that's because I was skeptical about my polling station changing two days before the election, not because someone didn't try to trick me into missing out on my chance to vote against these vote-frauding neanderthal jackboots.

      I have many reasons for hating the Harpercrites, a list of issues built up over a decade. I'm actually glad they stuck their neck in the noose with the robocalls, regardless of whether it was a few party underlings or a "big plan" by the higher ups. Because the end result is the same: The Canadian Reform Alliance Party (the true roots of the Harpercrite Conservatives) may be dissolved as a party entirely, or subjected to fines so heavy that they can't afford to continue operations.

      And in my books, that would be terrific for Canada. Because the Harpercrites have a long-standing tradition of fighting against the very Charter of Rights and Constitution which define the obligations of a sound a legally-moral Canadian government to the people of this country. And I do not like seeing any politician of any stripe violating those ethics, regardless of how "moral" their stance may be.

      From my perspective, the history of violating the Charter should itself be sufficient justification for removing these "people" from power.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        informing the Conservative party pollster that I was deeply offended that they would even ask who I'm going to vote for (because it's an invasion of my right to a secret vote), and thereby would definitely NOT be voting Conservative

        So you said you were offended at being asked how you were going to vote, and told him anyway? You let your emotion and righteous indignation override your sensibility, and gave him exactly the info he wanted when he called you.

        The iocane powder routine from The Princess Brid

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          So you said you were offended at being asked how you were going to vote, and told him anyway? You let your emotion and righteous indignation override your sensibility, and gave him exactly the info he wanted when he called you.

          NYFB either.

        • And with so many calls, has there been any attempt to cross-reference them with phone logs to try to figure out where the calls originated from?

          Oh, yes. The most hilarious detail is a burner phone registered to "Pierre Poutine, Separatist Street, Joliette Quebec." It's one of our best/worst political scandals in a generation.

          • Yup. I think if it goes much further, it will likely go over the top of the Sponsorship Scandal that ultimately destroyed the Liberals.

            Stupid fucking Conservatives, they were actually gaining some momentum. They probably would still have had a majority in the last election (if somewhat slimmer), but now they're getting buried in this, and that nasty piece of work Del Mastro is making it worse every times he opens his mouth.

  • ...and repeal all laws passed by the Republican, er, PC party since they came to power, and forbid them from acting in any capacity in Canadian government for the next 20 years as punishment for their gross malfeasance and betrayal of trust.

    This will never happen, but one can dream.

  • by Maow (620678) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:01AM (#39388755) Journal

    Contact the Governor General [mailto] and demand he dissolves Parliament and call new elections.

    These Conservatives (party of "Law & Order") have committed several counts of election fraud (In & Out and much more [sixthestate.net]).

    Fascinating how they love to claim something along the lines of, "Libruls got a speeding ticket, we committed election fraud, everyone's the same". Like speeders & murderers are somehow equivalent in their law breaking.

  • We kind of saw it comming in Quebec, and it was one of the main reason we (and I) sacrificed the Bloc Quebecois in favour of the NPD, so we could actually have a strong government that represent the overall values of the canadian people. The result of these tactics is that separatism is now seen no more as an economic perspective than a difference in belonging. Separatist parties have seen a recent raise in interest here province-wise. As recently reported on television (Radio-Canada), it was said by journ
  • by Maow (620678) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:38AM (#39389001) Journal

    "A former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper says last year’s election day robo-calls are of a scale he’s never seen before and warrant a “huge investigation.”

    Globe & Mail [theglobeandmail.com] article about former chief of staff to Harper calling for investigation.

    Don't forget, write the Governor General [mailto] and demand Parliament be dissolved until new election has been held.

    • Yes the Governor General could, but he won't, not unless he were to be presented with a sufficiently compelling case that the calls in fact caused a completely invalid result. To invoke the Reserve Powers prematurely would only serve to bring his office and his personal judgment into question. The power to dissolve Parliament without the advice of the Prime Minister or without a vote of no confidence is there for the most extreme of circumstances, and as bad as this is, it's nowhere near that point yet, and

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actively subverting a democratic process should be considered treason. It is in essence, an attempt to destroy a government, and should be treated as such. Those found guilty of such activities should be shot or jailed for life.

  • by dwpro (520418)

    I don't know how else to define acting to maliciously interfering with the underpinnings of a functioning democracy. This is one crime that we could benefit being prosecuted more vigorously. Canada, you first.

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

Working...